Ask John Twelve Hawks!

A few new members have joined the site recently, and I have noticed that many of them are disappointed to have missed the live chats we have ran in the past with John Twelve Hawks.

While not enough new members have joined to warrant us running another live chat (though this will probably happen again in the future) we thought we would run a John Twelve Hawks Q&A from here.
So, if you have a question for John, please follow the steps below:
  1. Google+ or Facebook ‘like’ this post using the button at the top of the article (optional, but it helps us get word out).
  2. Leave your question for John in the comments below.
  3. Await the follow-up post in a month or so with all the answers
It’s as simple as that!
In a month or so when we have a good range of questions I will collate them into an e-mail which I will send to John Twelve Hawks. Once he answers the questions I will post them on the website and send an e-mail to all registered users with a link to the post.
Ask away…

34 thoughts on “Ask John Twelve Hawks!”

  1. I wanted to ask John Twelve Hawks a mutiple part question. If and when a movie based on his Fourth Realm Triology comes out. Will he have a part in the casting for the characters? And if so, who does he intend to cast for the main characters?

    Such as:

    Maya?

    Gabriel?

    Thorn?

    The Preist?

    Mother Blessing?

    Vicky?

    Boone?

    Matthew?

    Michel?

    Also if he is open to suggestions on possible actors?

    1. Maya will be played by Drew Barrymore.
      Jack Nicholson will play Matthew again.
      Stephen Baldwin will play Gabriel.
      Thorn will be played by Willie Concannon.
      If Brad Pitt can get into shape he will get Michaels role.
      Patrick Evra will be Vicky.
      Roy Keane will be Boone.
      Pat Spillane will be the Priest.

    2. Odd that you would mention this. An executive at Warner Bros. asked me this same question a week ago.

      When I wrote the book, I thought of one actor in the role of Thorn …Klaus Kinski. I loved his acting in Aguirre, the Wrath of God (a 1972 West German New Wave film written and directed by Werner Herzog). Kinski died in 1991, before I started working on the Traveler.

      The RZA is a talented martial artist who has read the trilogy. I’ve met his martial arts teacher in New York. A few years ago, he would have been a perfect Hollis, but might be a little old at this point.

      Other than that…I’m open.

  2. JXIIH –

    Over the past few years media has played a significant role in the perception of information by public consumers. There is Wikileaks and their releases, such as diplomatic cables or the “Collateral Murder” video that resulted in an alleged conspirator in prison (without a trial as of the time of this writing). We also have the Arab Spring events and before that the Green Revolution in Iran. In the USA there are the aforementioned Occupy movements. In all cases media, social or otherwise seem to be large contributors to these movements. However, with the requirement of a computer or cellular phone to participate it would seem like this situation can also be detrimental. Looking at the Green Revolution, the government shut down the cellular network; the US government influences ICANN, the political powers in China run the Great Firewall, in aggregate it seems things are getting stacked in favor of control. With even more penetration of electronic devices things look more scary, especially with there being so few tools for anonymity (TOR for example). It is not my policy to buy the statement, “If you are doing nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worry about.” We all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions. With all that said, I am curious about what you think the role of social media in the panopticon, can you tell us your thoughts?

    1. Much of my thinking on this has been influenced by my involvement with Occupy Wall Street in New York City during the last two months of 2011.

      It was interesting to me to see social media in action. During several street demonstrations, we were marching down a street and someone would look at their phone and say: “the Twitter feed says that the police are waiting for us on 4th Street. Everyone turn right.” Twitter literally saved me from being “kettled” and arrested.

      It’s clear that social media can give opposition groups both a quicker response time and a faster way to disseminate information. But, of course, what is the message being sent? Can complicated political and economic issues really be summed up in a tweet?

      The other issue is government surveillance and control. The governments of every industrial country have developing scanning systems that target specific senders of email. But they also do general scans that give them a sense of what is going on.

      For many people, social media changes the way they see themselves in society. It’s still do early to understand the full implications of this new technology.

  3. My thoughts with social media is both the participants responsibility and the responsibility of those who have control over the social media.

    You use social media such as cell phones and computers willingly. If what your saying is inappropriate or questionable then it is likely you shouldn’t use such open forms of communication to express your ideas.

    But also the responsibility falls on those with authority who think the information is inappropriate to make sure the information is public knowledge.

    It’s pretty much common since that if your plotting a mass causality attack of any sorts, you don’t call CNN or BBC to do an article on it. As it is best for the person who is plotting the attack to tell someone who is logical to prevent it or if someone hears it to report it the responsibility is on them. It’s the same with sensitive information.

    If it’s information everyone with a computer or cell phone shouldn’t know; then it’s either to keep it to those who should know it and use discrete communication or the information shouldn’t be there to be known anyway.

    For example: We all have those embarrassing secrets that we only tell our best friends at the most discrete of times in person. Not on our facebook wall or make a video blog on youtube where anyone with a computer can find it.

    I know this is not exactly what is what JXIIH is talking about but it does place responsibility on both parties. The best analogy I can use is you get into a fight with someone. You didn’t hit the person but you called his mother stupid which provoked him to hit you and you reacted by hitting him back.

    Kind of the same thing with using computers or cell phones or computers. You didn’t mean any harm by blogging about how unfair American corporations are but you provoked such a stir online that now there is a social movements with protests and pepper spray. (I’m not sure if this is what happened but it’s my best guess that it is)

    I can also see where JXIIH has a point in that some of the information is one sided. The Collateral Murder video I watched showed the armed forces as the people in the wrong. I do not agree with the action during the event but I also don’t think that the helicopter pilots were completely wrong in their actions. I could point out flaws in their end. But I can also see mistakes that I could have made if I was in their shoes doing their job.

    Part of what is wrong with anything when it comes to information is that you only get 1/2 the story a majority of the time its rare you get all the information. The Collateral Murder is all one sided. American soldiers are bad guys and bullies. Does anyone who think that know what it is like to be in a war? Does anyone know the feelings of the people in Iraq who have had big bully U.S.A. in their backyard for 8 years? Does anyone know if the helicopter pilots were under any stress that made them make mistakes? You can’t form an opinion because a couple videos give a “Poor Iraqi” speech or show people (far from perfect) making mistakes or even show pictures of the victims. That’s not fair to the people who may have actually been attacking the Americans it’s not fair to the Americans who felt attacked.

    My point is that there are more then one point to a story, there is a right and a wrong side. Also there are different responsibilities when it comes to communication. With computers and cell phones it comes down to what the sender says, how the receiver reacts to it, and the authority in charge of cell phone or internet service to censor and/or monitor the information and to make those conversations private after analysis.

    1. The Harlequin, Sparrow, used a traditional Japanese sword — a katana or tachi.

      The European and North American Harlequins use a more western style sword — straight-edged with usually a 24-inch blade. In the New York Metropolitan Museum armory you can see Italian and German made short swords from the Renaissance. They were not used on horseback or wearing full armor, but were weapons carried during “every day” use. The Italian sword is called a “Cinquedea,” The German-made sword is called a “Katzbalger,” Short swords like this will give you a good idea of the length and shape of a Harlequin sword.

      Maya and Thorn carry swords that can be modified for concealment and travel with detachable handles and small hilts.

  4. A couple questions for John,

    In the ideal world. Would you want people to be informed of any monitoring and tracking in their daily lives? And would you want people to be able to refuse this monitoring and tracking if they so choosed to? Would you want this social system to only extend to law adbiding citizens and those not under investigation for criminal activity? Also I am looking at working with lawmakers to hopefully extend these hypotheticals into reality, could you give me any advice that may help better direct these thoughts into a law or admendment that would make this possible?

    Thanks,

    Raine

    1. Dear Raine:

      Yes! I can sum up my general view of this in two words: “Informed consent.”

      And I can also give a general philosophical statement that should guide both governments and corporations: “In a democracy, the assumption should always be that individuals are innocent of any crime. Institutions should not treat random citizens as if they are guilty.”

      I accept the fact that a law enforcement group might want to obtain a court order to watch a suspect’s Internet activity. But we have gone far beyond that. In every industrial country, all electronic communication is skimmed and monitored with distinctions.

      If I walk into a bank, an airport terminal or into a store, I accept the fact that I may be watched by a security camera. If there is a posted sign at the entrance, then it is up to the individual if he or she will accept this specific act of surveillance and monitoring.

    1. I think there is hope for everyone, but they have to step back from their ego.

      The breakthrough comes when you can see the consequences of your major actions.

      1. Can you see any positive consequences to Michael’s actions.
        Do you think Michael had any real choice in co-operating with the Brethren?

        1. If Michael gave up the drink and went to AA and steps back from his ego, would you make him cooler in the next novel.

          What’s the food like up there?
          Are they taking care of you?
          Are you getting enough exercise?

    1. This is a big issue here in America since many of the voting machine companies are owned by people who have given huge contributions to right wing candidates.

      I have no object to the machines. I’m not a neo-Luddite. But, as always, the question is: “Who controls the machines and are they truly neutral.”

    1. As Kia knows…I have finished a new novel and am very excited about it. At a certain point, the first chapter might appear on this site.

      Unfortunately, things are a little slow in publishing. I will probably submit it to my publisher in January. And I’m hoping for English language editions (in UK, Canada and USA) to appear in the Autumn of 2013.

      Sorry for the delay. But I wanted to write something that would fully engage you and my other readers.

    2. More news about the new novel. It has been accepted by my American and British publishers. The English language version will be published in the USA and UK in Autumn, 2014. At this point, the title of the new book is under discussion. It will be a stand alone book — not a continuation of the trilogy. Thanks for your patience!

  5. Just finished reading Traveler (was mentioned in “Bursts”)… I’ve also just finished watching “The Last Enemy”, PBS… saw some overlap there. It seems Americans have no problem with their info being monitored by private enterprise, yet not the government; while in Europe, there seems to be the opposite trend?

    1. Yes, Kertime…that is a very accurate statement. Americans are angry about government intrusion, but — when a big corporation tracks them — they shrug their shoulders. In Europe, it’s just the opposite. In Germany, for example, there have been significant restraints on corporate tracking, but it’s okay if the government does it.

      1. in middle europe they are installing cameras, voice cameras-recorders, rfid chips… In so small countries, as a Slovakia is… Why? Nobody says nothing. Government is doing what they want. No freedom. No people. Sheeps everywhere. „hipsters” .. Just consuming what TV says … I can´ t look at the world here…. btw – love your books , terrible is that it´ s true what you wrote about, it´ s no sci-fi , it´ s a real world ….. (why I need to write my email here, if I want to leave a reply? )

  6. I just finished reading the last book of the trilogy. I am continually shocked at how much of it is true. Just today I saw headlines about children in Florida elementary schools having their irises scanned without parental consent!

    1. Dear Lynm: When The Traveler was first published, I was routinely called a “paranoid” writing “paranoid fiction.” Now a great many of the things I predicted have come true. My new novel will attempt to make a similar look at the near future.

  7. John – I must start with saying that your work has completely and singlehandedly changed my life and world view. For that, thank you, thank you, thank you. Now, the US has released drones that are directly responsible for the deaths of citizens, while also attempting to ban assault weapons, preemptively arresting those they view as “threats”, etc. My question is, do you have any recommendations as far as further reading and research that one could do to be better prepared as your predictions are realized? thank you for your time, and again for changing my life.

  8. Sam:
    I have thought a great deal about your question. There are a great many books around about the contemporary. Most of the most current information is on the Internet. I think it’s important to prepare for the long haul. The question to ask is: How do I and those I love have a happy…and free…life?

  9. i can feel the freedom only in my mind, thats the only thing what they can´ t stole me. They can watch me in public, they can listen what i say… But they can´ t see in my mind, in my heart, and in my soul . I think , in despite the system , we can be free. When we close our eyes for a while. Feel the love . And use OUR mind when making decisions, respond to OUR feelings, love pure, sometimes doing something crazy, something unexpected … We need to enjoy the life in our self, not to look at the world around us . Thats the only way how to stay alive, if you hate the government, stupid rules, monitoring etc …

  10. I have just finished Spark and although I found it a little disturbing, it was also very interesting from a psychological point of view (there is interesting information on Cotard’s Syndrome to be found on the Internet). I’m impressed with the amount of research JXIIH must have put into this book. It is very different from the 4th Realm trilogy (less fantasy?), but there are also some similarities, like the insidiousness of underground crime. One of the important side themes of course is the dangerous pervasiveness of social networks. Something I find hard to understand is people who expose themselves to the world on Facebook, and then they are shocked when they become victims of identity theft. Even worse, in the US people are fond of calling this the “land of the free” without really understanding what freedom is and how their own “freedom” is defined by the Vast Machine! For my part, I sometimes wish I could live off the grid completely…

  11. Hi John,

    Just read Spark and it was amazing. Kudos!

    Am reading Against Authority – not done yet but it’s great so far – and the “Being Watched by a Machine” section brings up a theory I have read about that I term the Third Amendment Remedy (after Sharron Angle’s infamous “Second Amendment remedy” statement).

    The Third Amendment is nearly completely overlooked today because it forbids the quartering of troops in private homes and we have lots of bases and buildings for that. But this was intended not as protection from British soldiers eating the family out of house and home or raping the women and children, or at least not primarily. The technology of the day required a physical human presence to surveil a person. Want to know who they correspond with? Where they go at night? Whether they talk weather or politics at the dining table? Then someone had to be in proximity to watch and listen. The soldier’s report of a subject’s meeting with or reading the writings of a designated terrorist would be enough to cast suspicion upon him even if the spy could not perceive the content, proving that even then it was the metadata that was important.

    Now we all carry around listening devices and accept the monitoring of our communications, whether that is the mining of our emails or photographing the envelopes we send letters in or noting the number and duration of every phone call along with the GPS coordinates of both parties. We hardly need to quarter soldiers in our homes because we do the same job far more cheaply and efficiently ourselves.

    It isn’t a silver bullet but I think this is a piece of the puzzle of how to get people thinking about the value of privacy. The courts have failed to recognize the Third Amendment as anything but a colonial artifact, but the relative lack of case law at all on the subject may be an advantage: there has only been one significant ruling on it, regarding using scabs to replace striking guards who had housing on the grounds of a prison. There is potential for using this as a lens through which people may see the history and effects of mass surveillance, or at least getting people talking.

    Sorry this was so long but your writing is very intriguing and stimulating. I would love to hear your analysis if you are interested.

    Keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply