this isn't an answer to your question, because I don't know, but it could help: one of my favorite authors, Diana Wynne Jones, would joke that her books seem to come true, like one of her characters had a traveling curse and she would have problems traveling, and someone sent her a message about how their family had names like a family she wrote about. she wrote about it in various places on her website: [link] so if that doesn't help, sorry; i mostly thought it was a cool connection.
Isn't that always the ideal situation in SF? To be so prescient that you can seem to predict certain technologies or events?
If I were in the situation of my work eerily matching a real event after writing, I probably wouldn't bother with retcon or anything. It would be a nifty coincidence, or say something about our ability to take what we know and speculate/project based on that. Science fiction is often just as wrong as it is right in its predictions.
If you talk to most science fiction fans or read enough criticism within the genre, you will see that predictive ability or accuracy of speculation is often a concern. Or at least something that is often discussed. I don't see it as the only function of science fiction and if it were that would render tons of good books obsolete. For instance, intelligent life on Mars is no longer remotely plausible, but The Martin Chronicles or Martian Time-Slip are still good books. I think we're even well past the time frame they're set.
Well, plausibility of a concept is determined by what is known at the time. How far a writer wants to push that depends on the writer and the story. A lot of science fiction pushes those boundaries of plausibility (and possibility!) all the time.
As I am not writing SF, it hasn't happened to me yet. I encountered other odd coincidences instead. I make something up, soon after there is a movie or documentation about exactly that topic/detail/type of character.
Anyway, I wouldn't change much of the story. Maybe work out the differences between the story and reality a bit more, but that's all.
People are bound to interpret fiction as predictions sometimes. They'll find ways to take impossible, vague prophecies like fortune cookies and such and point to instances where they "came true". The Mayans made a calender, and now people point to it saying it's predicting the end of the world.
I'd say if something reflected your story while you were in the middle of writing it, and you wanted to present it publicly, wait a couple of years and then show it to people. There are too many disasters in this world for people to remember them all.
Did you ever see the 1997 Starship Troopers film directed by Paul Verhoeven? It was a movie where space soldiers were fighting big space bugs for no adequately explained reason. Then the bugs launch a big rock at the Earth and kill a bunch of people in a surprise attack, which the Earth's government uses as an excuse to launch a morally questionable and incompetently lead invasion into the bugs' planet. That was in the 90's, and since then a LOT of people have pointed out that the film was basically space 9/11 with bugs instead of crazy people. Cracked did a whole article about it: [link]
Anyway, my point is that this happens a lot. When you're trying to write big epic stories with big epic disasters like super storms and city-wide explosions you're going to end up writing a thing or two before they happen. Really it's up to you or whoever in involved with the story to decide what's tasteful or not. If the story you've told is well crafted, then people might be even more interested after the fact. If you're not so confident in it, some revision may be in order. Otherwise I'd try not to put too much thought into it.
You know, unless this sort of thing happens EVERY DAY to you. If that's the case you should probably start solving mysteries or something. Use your powers for good, and all that.
Yes. I applaud you for having looked at examples of how it was done, so you can judge the proper method for your disclaimer.
Exactly. Nowadays, some family with the last name "Parker" might name their son "Peter" for the sake of it. However, like you say, it might earn the poor guy some teasing in school, due to having the same identity as Spider-Man. In your disclaimer, make it clear you have no disrespect towards what transpired to the people in real life, and that it is merely coincidental. This can help clear any misunderstandings.
Thank you. Yeah, it's not possible to predict everything. However, it may be possible to see what events will happen in the near future. Some people claim it to be true, while some people wish to disprove it.
I'll have to look at how other books have their disclaimers, and if it's my job to write it, or the printing company. They do the whole inside cover info stuff usually.
True. Well, the odd thing was October was the nearing end of hurriacne season.
There was this song I would dance to about a hurricane from 2010 on wards by Cascada. I mean to have that happen in NY after you writing about a Hurricane 'past' hurricane season that way you know? It's very odd.
I would have named it Shelly. It would be even more fitting for Frankenstorm.
Well... hmm Stephen King wrote "Storm of the Century" that was around OUR big storm in 1993 or so. I guess it can be well... coincidental, right?
That's how Syfy used to make all their cheesy midnight monster movies. Like a couple years ago when we heard about weird fish from Asia showing up back east, Syfy made "Frankenfish" to cash in and say that their story was "ripped from the headlines". That's also what pretty much every cop show on TV has ever done. It's a little different since it's ex post facto and you're talking more about, say, the Titanic passengers watching "The Poseidon Adventure" as the ship sank. But it's a similar concept, I suppose...
Well, it's one thing to be taken from a headline, it's another to make it. I mean the horrible 9/11 event. In the tv show "The Lone Gunman" about some dweebs that try to stop conspiracies, the sad thing is 9/11 'did' happen, only in the show they could stop it. I think it was like a year before it happened or something.
Well like Sandy. I mean it's not every day a Hurricane comes to NYC. I mean, as to live with, for fiction, noone wants to get paid from someone's tradegy. You know? It's one thing to have a criminal tell how they killed their girlfriend, it's another to have a plot of something come true.
"An Earthquake causes the state of liberty to plummet on 60 tourists as little Andy could watch in horror." Something like that 'actually' happen after you hate written the chapter 8 months earlier or say before you went to publish it.
How does that make you responsible for it or profiting off something you didn't even know about? Obviously it could throw a wrench in your publishing plans, but last I checked writers aren't omnipotent.
Also, gonna point out that the author may be the only one to see the connection. A terrorist attack in Manhattan wouldn't automatically make me think 9/11; it is an unfortunately logical setting for those kinds of things due to its importance. There is such a thing as legitimate speculation. I don't think the people writing black presidents for years now have felt vindicated since 2008.
What does being sad have to do with your book, though?
Okay, that's very different. When a person consciously chooses a real tragedy, they've got the sensitivity to consider regardless of what they do. If you write something and three months later, something like it happens, your treatment wasn't written with that consideration.
Haha, this is going to sound kind of silly, but you see, I wrote a story about a dead pop star last year. (I specifically made her a female pop singer because historically most of the famous 'died young' musicians were male rock stars and I didn't want the character to seem like anyone in real life). Then about 6 months later, Amy Winehouse died and the story got a daily deviation. Obviously I was massively stoked about the DD, but also I felt a little weird like I was pre-emptively cashing in on her death... ><
Anyway, f I was halfway through writing a story, and some sort of natural disaster or tragedy happened that was similar to something in the story, then I would alter it if the story would come out sounding insensitive or if it was drawing unwanted parallels, otherwise I probably wouldn't worry about it.
Oh snap! Really? Do you have the link so I could see.
I hope you are handling it well.
With Sandy, I mean, people can write about a hurricane in Alaska. So if it does happen, and you wrote it and then write away it happens, you do wonder if you have some prophetic gift, or good at predicting where devastation will strike next.
I once had a vivid dream of D.C. being bombed, which frightened me nearly to death because that's where I live. I sincerely hope that doesn't come true, and it frightens me more to know that it's quite likely. More likely than, say, a volcano eruption in Pittsburgh.