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John Twelve Hawks -- The Traveler

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Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 06:03 am:   

It seems to be a very open secret that John Twelve Hawks is a pseudonym . . . anyone have any idea who he is, or whether he's been published before?
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Lord Ruthven
Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 09:40 am:   

It's one of Gabe Chouinard's crew.

If I had to guess, I'd say Vera Nazarian or Kage Baker.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 03:11 pm:   

Craig Strete is a guess that a few people have made.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 06:00 pm:   

Strete was the first to pop into my head too.
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Lord Ruthven
Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 11:16 pm:   

Why, because it's a Native American name?

I'm tellin' ya, it's one of Chouinard's cronies. He's been pimping the book and the "conspiracy theory" all over the Internet.
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montmorency
Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 04:14 am:   

It's smoothly written and definitely by someone with some experience, but no new ideas to talk about. Possibly someone writing mainly thrillers?
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 07:38 am:   

I said elsewhere that I had the nagging sense it might be Craig Kee Strete. My reasons include:

* He's a very facile writer and I've heard the writing in the book is slick.

* He has written under pseudonyms before and likes to play games with identity.

* The Native American pseudonym sounds like something he might adopt.

However, this nagging sense of mine has faded since I looked at the Website for the agent handling the book, Joe Regal: http://www.regal-literary.com/books.html

Given Regal's clientele, and given the fact that Craig Strete was with another agent in the late 1990s (an agent that's still in business), I suspect that if it is Craig Strete, then he's putting it over on Regal. Which I find unlikely unless Craig Strete has someone else cashing his checks for him. (And yes, I'm aware that when Joyce Carol Oates started writing those books under the name of Rosamund Smith, she was with a different literary agent from her longtime one.)

So my suggestion now for anyone looking to guess the identity of John Twelve Hawks is: start with Regal's client list.
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 08:31 am:   

I'd be pleased as punch if someone like Kage or Nazarian were the beneficiaries of what's by all accounts an ultra profitable deal, but I'm sure that's not the case here. I started the book yesterday. It's not unentertaining, but so far it's the usual unexceptional, quick, movie-friendly (and, to me, ultimately boring) style we've come to associate with bestselling thrillers. I don't think it necessarily improbable that it's a first novel. (The first novels by, say, Caleb Carr or Thomas Harris were also thrillers and significantly better written than this.) It could also be by someone who was previously writing scripts or movie tie-ins. Still, Gordon's suggestion seems to make the most sense.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 09:14 am:   

The agent has a great list. And several of the authors on it deal regularly with native american themes. So Gordon may indeed be on the right track.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 10:17 am:   

Lord Ruthven: Yes. I didn't say it was a reasoned idea, just the first one that popped in my head. When I'm reflexively cross-indexing names of Native American sf writers I'm familiar with who might be wanting to start fresh with a new name, there's a pretty short list. I have absolutely no actual reason to think it is Strete. I'd never heard of the book till yesterday. Hot off the mental press!
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Claude Lalumičre
Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 02:45 pm:   

I read the book because I had to review it. It's indeed quite slick (although it's heavily laden with repetitive and preachy exposition, but it feels like it's done intentionally, with the no doubt accurate assumption that will help the book's sales), and obviously written by someone with experience. It's also very crass, in its transparent attempts to jumble together elements from popular sources such as The Da Vinci Code, The Celestine Prophecy, Buffy, Harry Potter, Left Behind, etc. Just add water, and there's your bestseller.
I aksed my contact at Random House, and she claimed that no-one knew his real identity.
Here's one clue to consider: there's a lot of stuff the feels like Zelazny. The fight scenes are pure Zelazny, and the basic scenario borrows elements from Amber.
So someone who admires Zelazny, or who is known to write like him at times?
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Rob
Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 09:57 am:   

Philip K. Dick?
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Carole C
Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 09:59 am:   

I know nothing, but could it be William Sanders?
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Claude Lalumičre
Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 11:38 am:   

William Sanders had occured to me as a possibility, but the book is so humourless; could he really so utterly expunge his wit from anything he wrote?
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 05:08 pm:   

I've got the promotional DVD that came with the ARC of this book. Anybody know of any clues hidden in the bookseller promo stuff?
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Carole C
Posted on Friday, July 01, 2005 - 01:41 am:   

Maybe there is a clue in the name itself - perhaps an anagram, or some other connection?
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cybersoul
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2005 - 11:39 am:   

This is THIRD hand knowledge (sorry!) -- from a girlfriend who knows someone who knows someone at Random House, but the only real fact she's heard is that Hawks has some kind of serious physical problem and that he might be in a wheelchair. The mailroom sent a package to an address and it got sent back because Hawks couldn't drive and pick it up. Apparently he needs a helper to do things like this for him. No names. Don't want to lose anybody's job over this. I have read the book and liked all the stuff about the different realms. I would bet that Hawks has taken some heavy duty drugs. Had that feeling to me...
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 09:21 am:   

Well, I can tell you safely that John Twelve Hawks is not me. :-)

However, based on some of the comments upstream, I am venturing my own guess:

Stephen Hawking

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GC
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 08:04 pm:   

I recently read this book. Slick is a great description of how it's written. The ease in reading it and the word choice left it feeling more like a pretty little shell of a story than anything of real depth. It kept me interested enough to read it but I came away feeling like i just read a book geared to not so advanced middle school readers. I did read it all though, I just feel like I need to go read DREAM OF GLASS again.
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Edna B Sankey
Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 12:42 am:   

According to a report in today's Observer (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1539746,00.html): "Not even his New York editors at Random House, has yet met [him]... [he] has refused to appear in public to promote his hugely successful debut work... [he] will only communicate with his editor on a telephone connection that is scrambled and he calls on an untraceable satellite set."

He's quite clearly Bin Laden.
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JV
Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 10:22 am:   

I started reading the book in the bookstore and was bored stiff.

JeffV
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Mr x
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2005 - 04:48 am:   

Pretty obvious really.
Same publisher, same editor, and same globe hopping ( I know every foreign city intimately, but from an simplistic American viewpoint )condescending writing style.
And who else could get Random house to spend an insane amount of money on promotion and pr.

Dan Brown
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Lawrence Evans
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2005 - 01:53 pm:   

Will Sanders says he's insulted that anyone would think he'd have written such a thing or used such a pen name; he is very definitely NOT this John Twelve Hawks.

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Reginald Beaty
Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 12:36 pm:   

Good lord, success breeds contempt. I truly enjoyed the novel dispite its lack of literary gravitas. Is it breazy and slick? Yes it is. Did it touch my soul? No, not so much. It is however, what summer novels are intended to be but so seldom are: a blistering page turner. I like the suggestion that Hawking wrote it. It has been rumoured that the author is wheel chair bound as was the Thorn character. References to to scrambled voice communication with the author makes since if he communicates through a computer as Hawking does. As an added bonus, if it is Hawking, i can now state truthfully that I finished one of his books and completely understood every concept.
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London Dave
Posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005 - 12:15 pm:   

The Traveller is currently selling well here in London (#7 on Amazon.com.uk). In a recent newspaper article, odds were offered on the John Twelve Hawks identity. The leading candidate appears to be Dan Brown. I've read the book and don't think Hawks is a science fiction writer. I don't think it's Brown either. Listening to the voice recording, it's clear that Hawks has some kind of physical problem -- perhaps a stroke??? The wheel chair idea would match this theory. Don't know if anyone is still reading this string, if so please offer any more information if you have it.
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mastadge
Posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005 - 12:55 pm:   

I think it's a college professor who doesn't want to sully his name by having it attached to a science fiction novel.
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JV
Posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005 - 05:31 pm:   

It's not Dan Brown. Dan Brown can't write his way out of a paper bag. This cat can at least do that.

And it's not success breeding contempt. It's putting a pig in a tux and calling it aristocracy that's the problem. It's a perfectly good pig. It's a terrible aristocrat.

I could be wrong, but I think the high concept PR for the book doesn't actually fit the book.

JeffV
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GabrielM
Posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005 - 10:46 pm:   

The voice recordings use an electronic scrambler to disguise the speaker's identity, it's just part of the whole tiresome PR surrounding the author and I don't think necessarily means anything. (Other than that it might actually be a woman.)

Re it being Hawking:

"I studied martial arts for several years and have fought both in tournaments and on the street."

http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780385661355&view=qa

Assuming we take the interviewee at his/her word it doesn't quite fit Hawking, does it?

I don't think it's Dan Brown either, for the reason JV mentioned.
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Brian T.
Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 02:51 pm:   

Going to earlier posts...

Is Gabe Chouinard actually saying he knows who Hawks is? Because if that's so, then I can just cross-reference the writers he's being promoting for the last few years.

As for the Dan Brown theory, let's finally kill that idea off for good. I've read The Traveler and there are scenes where the characters go to another reality. Dan Brown would never write about something that didn't involve "research."

Mastadge's comment very insightful and probably true...


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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 03:53 pm:   

No, gabe's not claiming to know who Hawks is. He was just one of the early ones raving about the book.
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P.H. Dee
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 08:04 am:   

Steven Hawking wasn't always a chair-user...I'm really quite taken with that idea! Especially the anagrammatical excitement [hmm, until I find no "g" and what should I do with the "j" etc... LOL

I did consider Dan Brown but changed my mind pretty quickly - the beginning was too fuzzy for Brown. I'm actually enjoying The Traveller now.

I think it's a British writer [no American would allow a female London-based anti-heroine!]
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P.H. Dee
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 09:03 am:   

"From stephen hawking's own synthesizer...
"My dreams at that time were rather disturbed. Before my condition had been diagnosed, I had been very bored with life. There had not seemed to be anything worth doing. But shortly after I came out of hospital, I dreamt that I was going to be executed. I suddenly realised that there were a lot of worthwhile things I could do if I were reprieved. Another dream, that I had several times, was that I would sacrifice my life to save others. After all, if I were going to die anyway, it might as well do some good. But I didn't die. In fact, although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before."
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 01:56 pm:   

As reported at www.tinglealley.com:


In the LA Times article, the publisher of The Traveler, Doubleday, attributes the lacklustre sales to the lack of an “author”, that is, because “John Twelve Hawks” lives “off the grid” he’s not available for “promotional tours” and “the like.” (”Sorry.”) But as author Tod Goldberg noted: “I think the thing that has really hampered The Traveler, and which this article doesn’t quite illuminate, is that it would have been nice if it hadn’t sucked.”

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Brian T.
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 05:52 pm:   

With all due repect, JV -- go on Tod Goldberg's website if you want to experience a terminal dose of writer envy. He hates just about everyone. As Publisher's Weekly said about his first book:

"Goldberg's characters are cardboard and unsympathetic, his prose hollowly minimalist. Even worse, some of his plot devices seem to have wandered in from Chuck Palahniuk's superior Fight Club."

Palahniuk is a favorite writer of mine and I think people are going to be reading him 20 years from now. I can't say that about Tod Goldberg or -- for that matter -- John Twelve Hawks.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 07:46 pm:   

LOL! I don't even know who Tod is. I just think it's a funny quote. The fact is, word of mouth isn't working on the book. I find it fascinating from a PR point of view. I didn't really give the book a chance, myself. Maybe it's better than I thought from a glance. But from a PR point of view, I find the PR for it very "high tech" but the reaction to that PR to be kind of "eh--so what" from a lot of readers. So I'm curious--is it that the PR is somehow fatally flawed or that it was done around the wrong book? This is of great interest to me.

JeffV
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canty
Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 02:37 pm:   

I picked up the book from a borders book store. I had free time and was wondering aimlessly around looking for a book. There was a display in front of the customer service desk and the cover caught my eye. The back of the book seemed promising but I tend to avoid books marketed (for some unknown reason). I ended up buying the book and I read it fast. I had heard nothing prior of the book nor even read the blurb about the author until the end. Having been ignorant of it prior to reading it i can say i found it well written and easy to read, but in a paint by numbers sort of way. It may be pretty, but not impressive at all.
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tod goldberg
Posted on Monday, September 05, 2005 - 09:49 pm:   

Now, c'mon, Brian T, that's not even the best line about how bad Fake Liar Cheat is from the review you quote. They also say it's smarmy and self-congratulatory and they're probably right. Hell, I've even said so myself. I don't hate everyone, either. In fact, I like quite a bit of stuff, the Traveler not included, which was about as exciting and well written as, well, Fake Liar Cheat. What I will say is this -- I think the second book in the traveler series may have a better chance of succeeding simply because it won't be buried with the backstory that the first one has and perhaps it won't be sullied by the pr blitz that I think ended up usurping what is, at base, just a run of the mill thriller, no better or worse than many books released every year with little or no fanfare. And that's fine. Do I have writer envy? Of course. I'd love to have a million dollar ad campaign behind all of my books, even the ones that suck.
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Reginald Beaty
Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - 10:44 am:   

I think your choice of the word "usurping", is telling. You could have used "overshadowing" but usurpation is much more sinister. I sense a romantic proletarian heart laboring in noble obscurity. I am quite certain that Mr. Twelve Hawks, whoever he is, had little if anything to do with the marketing of his work. His little "run of the mill thriller" is no better or worse for all the childish gimmickery that accompanied its release.

Having said all that, none of this is really on point with the topic. Who is Mr. (or Ms., Mrs.) John Twelve Hawks.
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Janet Rice
Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2005 - 08:25 pm:   

I read The Traveler because the theme (per the reviews) of people with special powers whom bad guys sought to use was similar to Stephen King's Dark Tower series that I just finished.

My husband has some background in physics and says the science in The Traveler is not convincing. So not Hawking.

I don't read much fantasy or many thrillers, so I don't recognize many of the names mentioned. But I happened to read The Traveler in close proximity to Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days, and developed the theory (illusion? delusion?) that Cunningham was Hawks, mostly from thematic commonalities. Social criticism, science fiction, a character who wants to disappear, reference to The Family (like The Brethren?), focus on a character learning to feel love, even use of the expression "off the grid" at one point. Yes, I know Cunningham is supposed to be great with language, and I know his book came out at about the same time. Still. Maybe similar ideas (like inventions) just crop up at the same time. --Or maybe an acclaimed author, like a college professor, might get off on writing under an assumed name.

I didn't think the book was as bad as some of you did. It started off flat but picked up steam. The characters came alive, and I can remember them (and the plot), unlike Dan Brown's, for example.
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D. Gamburd
Posted on Sunday, September 18, 2005 - 10:57 am:   

Hello everyone! I just spent some time searching the Internet and this is the only site where people are rationally discussing this issue. Is this a major question that will change the course of world literature? Of course not. But it's a minor mystery that engages my mind and I think it can be solved. I'm going to propose five ideas as a starting point:

The audio. If the audio really is John Twelve Hawks, then I think it's clear that he's an American male.

The book. I really liked The Traveler and -- important conclusion -- I think John Twelve Hawks knows how to write. I have written a SciFi novel (the manuscript is stored in our guest bedroom closet and will never see the light of day!). It's difficult to write exciting scenes, difficult to create a plot with a lot of characters, etc. This is a writer who knows what he's doing.

The ideas. If you read John Twelve Hawks essay on Amazon Shorts you'll see that he's given a great deal of thought to the ideas in the novel. It's my view that he's expressed these ideas before -- and that they've been published. That's why Janet's idea about Michael Cunningham does have a logic to it. I don't know if she's right. But it's a productive manner of analysis.

Living off the grid. My work involves personal security issues.(How's that for a vague job description?!)Believe me, it's not that hard to create a false identity for yourself.

Clues. This part of the analysis is pure speculation, but I think that John Twelve Hawks has left clues in the book about his identity.

Conclusion. I am not proposing a name. Just trying to see if we can agree on a starting point. Most of you have probably read a more novels than I have. (I don't usually read fiction) Because of this, you'll probably have more informed insights.
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mybestguess
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 12:20 pm:   

I think it is J K Rowling.

John
12 (looks like a k when smushed together)
Hawks = rOWLing
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JV
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 12:33 pm:   

I think D. Gamburd is John Twelve Hawks

Gam = Ham (D. Gamburd goes on about how good John 12 Hawks is, hamming it up)

burd = hawk

D. Gamburd is obviously Spanish--thus the "g" sound is "h" (if my memory of long ago Spanish classes is correct)
jeffV
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JTH
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 12:35 pm:   

I am John Twelve Hawks and I don't appreciate the effing hatchet job some of you are doing on me. You bastards better watch out. I'll write you into my next book as the villains. That'll teach you sniveling spineless quivering cowards.
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Jim
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 01:01 pm:   

He's on the grid. Quick. Grab him!!!
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 02:21 pm:   

And I am Kage Baker.

Or is she me?

Or is Dan Brown both of us? And does that mean that JK Rowling and Dan Brown put together are...

Hey, waidamminut, I mean --

AHEM, nevermind.
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D. Gamburd
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2005 - 02:28 pm:   

Dear JV:

Please tell Doubleday to wire me the royalities c/o Night Shade Books.

Come to think of it, J = John. Roman numeral XII minus lucky VII = V. JV = JTH.
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spiny murex
Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2005 - 08:41 am:   

Local library got a copy yesterday and though I'd never heard of it, I read a lot of this kind of thing (...sad!), so I borrowed it.

I'm about a third of the way through (well I do have some other things to be getting on with!) and it's ok - nothing special... but so obviously a hype that I googled and wound up here.

I'm english. I think the sequences set in england have a ring of authenticity about them and the rest feel slightly researched - like early Lee Child. Given that his Jack Reacher is the definitive "off the grid" character I'd be inclined to chuck his name into the mix except...

His prose style is generally a bit more fluid than this...

...but in the vicinity. I think a published british writer who's spent some time in America, Neil Gaiman flicks into my mind (but the story would be better and anyway why would he bother?...
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Janet Rice
Posted on Sunday, September 25, 2005 - 02:25 pm:   

After posting my previous comment, I thought of more points. Then I read Twelve Hawks' essay from Amazon as suggested by D. Gamburd in his comment. I assembled my old and new stuff and posted it at another site (Grumpy Old Bookman, under his review of The Traveler), because I was taking up so much space here, for one reason. For the 1st time, I noticed Twelve Hawks' sounding like one of Specimen Days' characters, so rather than identifying Twelve Hawks as Michael Cunningham, I'm now thinking of Twelve Hawks as an alter ego of Cunningham, that he got into as into a character.

My husband says I'm obsessed by the idea that Cunningham wrote The Traveler. But, if so, it's a "little obsession" (an oxymoron?). For example, I didn't read the rest of Michael Cunningham's work, other than glancing at The Hours, which was on my shelf already. Others are better qualified than I am to compare Cunningham's and Twelve Hawks' grasp of science or to comment on what the significance might be of the two main male characters in each novel having biblical names. I didn't compare Twelve Hawks' and Cunningham's use of dreams. That was too much like work. This is not something that is going to change the course of life for millions if I make the wrong call. I may be wrong, but if not, you heard it here 1st!

What would dissuade me from my theory would be if someone could show that all the commonalities I've noticed are really not specific to those two books. Or, of course, if someone else is shown to be Twelve Hawks. Then Cunningham could have a good laugh at all this. I'm not convinced I'm wrong just because both books came out at the same time, though. Or because the styles are different, which could be b/c Cunningham as Twelve Hawks is "in character."

Could any of the rest of you say more about what led to your particular guesses? Neil Gaiman sounds interesting. I never heard of him before the above post. A review of his new book just appeared in my local newspaper. That just goes to show why I might be wrong. I've read such a small fraction of the universe of books. It's suspect in a way that I'm comparing The Traveler and Specimen Days just b/c I happened to read them at about the same time. What are the chances? But I don't go around thinking the same thing about everything else I'm reading--and reading them close together made comparisons easier.

If you're interested in checking me out, Specimen Days is a long way from paperback, even in Quality Paperback Books, and is not on the best seller list. So could be expensive. But I had both the unabridged audio and the book from my local library, so spent no money. The book consists of three parts, loosely connected, one set in the past, one in the present, and the last in the future. I can't remember when I started noticing commonalities with The Traveler, but if it didn't start in Part 2, it picked up speed there.

One last thought: why would Cunningham have bothered? (as Spiney Murax asked above about Gaimon). The cynics are all saying it's for money and the movie rights, and that Twelve Hawks is therefore part of Vast Machine commercialism. But couldn't it be for fun, as in award-winning author gets to let his hair down and avoid scrutiny about whether he's up to par? Or (and here's what I hope, but it's probably a Pollyanna-ish reaction to too much cynicism in the world), maybe the author had some ideas he wanted to get before a wider audience than he would have as a highbrow literary-fiction author. Couldn't it not be about the money, for once?
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Janet Rice
Posted on Monday, September 26, 2005 - 07:23 pm:   

Oops! I'm sorry I murdered the spelling of your name, Spiny.
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Brian T.
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 07:51 am:   

Hey, Grumpy Old Bookman is talking about you, Janet! And in a very nice way.

http://grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com/2005/09/who-is-john-twelve-hawks.html

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Will Entrekin
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 03:33 pm:   

Found this through GOB, very interesting. I can't speculate, but I can say with confidence that it's not Neil Gaiman, whose new book, *Anansi Boys,* just came out. I'd also bet, with confidence, that *Anansi Boys* is the better.
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Janet Rice
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 06:45 am:   

I feel like I've just had one or two of my 15 allotted minutes of fame. It's heady stuff, and I just relaxed and enjoyed it for a little while.

As to what's next, I'm looking into the expression "off the grid" a little bit. My husband Googled it for me. I'm curious about how common it was before 2005, when the hype for The Traveler started. Maybe I made too much of the fact that the term appeared in Cunningham's Specimen Days. I will post something in a few days.

Meanwhile, for those of you who read thrillers and suspense by the shopping-cart load, is that phrase cropping up a lot?
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D. Gamburd
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 11:09 am:   

Okay, I'll admit it -- my new job is REALLY boring. So it's fun to go on this site and spend my time searching through the Internet.

Re: Janet's question. It's my feeling that we're talking about two different uses of the same phrase.

The original "off the grid" term was introduced in the early 1970's -- relating to going back to the land, raising your own food, home schooling, etc

The way that Cunningham/Hawks uses the term is more oriented toward being "off the grid" as far as surveillance is concerned. Same phrase, but different emphasis. I don't know when this started.
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wayneH.
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 12:49 pm:   

i have read the book and believe it has a frank herbert ring to it. brian herbert or kevin j anderson?
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Janet Rice
Posted on Friday, September 30, 2005 - 09:48 pm:   

I'm at a disadvantage because I haven't read any of those, even Dune. Still, I have a hypothesis: only fairly recent books will deal with the kind of electronic surveillance that's in The Traveler, because the technology only recently came together.

I found about the same evolution of "off the grid" as D. Gamburd. Grid as related to electricity means "an interconnected system for the distribution of electricity over a wide area...." So "off the grid" 1st meant self-sufficient, unplugged, etc. Which could connote dropping out. As it got associated with environmentalism and the green movement, it sometimes took on anti-government, anti-big business overtones. But only fairly recently does it primarily mean hiding and concealment. Because I guess that wasn't so hard in the past, when you could just "drop out" or "go underground" (before your life support system would pinpoint you).

The term "off the grid" really hooked me when I read the reviews for The Traveler. It seemed to communicate "underground, undercover" from the 1st.

All this goes to show that it's not just that Specimen Days also uses the phrase, but it has the same meaning, in foreshadowing what happens in the rest of Part 2. So, anyway, doesn't argue against my theory--unless the two books are just looking to me like they are related because they both arose out of the same Zeitgeist.

Here a couple of interesting links, but you'll have to paste them into your browser b/c I can't figure out how to make Netscape copy in hypertext. The 1st one is pretty fascinating, from 4/03. Could it have inspired an author living in N.Y. when it came out in an apparent alternative newspaper? The 2nd one is a long and drawn out review of The Castaway from 2001. Being "off the grid" meant being traumatically ejected from your life support system, and the reviewer had to keep saying "invisible AND off the grid" because apparently it didn't mean both yet. If you google you get mostly links meaning unplugged, a lot of them trying to use the term to sell you something.

http://www.nypress.com/16/14/books/books.cfm

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/film/scopearchive/filmrev/cast-away.htm
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Janet Rice
Posted on Monday, October 03, 2005 - 08:05 pm:   

Well, I'm gratified that I could post my links, but starting Oct. 1, the website for New York Press has been down. I wonder what happened to it? The article was by Jim Knipfel, and though I found other columns by him elsewhere on the Web, I couldn't find this one, which is called "Be Seeing You--Keeping a low profile on and off the grid" (4/1/03). Jim Knipfel is to the point and humorous---and he's written some books, so maybe he inspired himself and is John Twelve Hawks.
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Brian T.
Posted on Thursday, October 06, 2005 - 08:04 pm:   

Janet, are you going to "cross the line" and write to Michael Cunningham?

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gabriel
Posted on Thursday, October 06, 2005 - 10:52 pm:   

Why don't you think he is who he say's he is?
Have you read his book?
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, October 07, 2005 - 04:14 am:   

For what it's worth, I spoke with an editor friend of mine who has read Cunningham and Twelve Hawks and his immediate reaction was, "Oh, Cunningham couldn't write that poorly if he tried." He thinks it's more likely a midlist British writer, or else it's a first novel that the publisher bought for too much money and they needed some publicity stunt to get people talking about the book.
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Friday, October 07, 2005 - 11:26 am:   

Well, I just finished reading THE TRAVELER, and the writing is extremely naive, almost "virginal", for lack of a better word.

Granted, there were many good things about it, such as solid ideas (cultivating randomness), and the other Realms were the possibly the best thing about it (in fact they did remind me a bit of my own color dreamworlds of the Tilirr in LORDS OF RAINBOW, so I can see how some people might *think* I am this author), but the writing itself is just not psychologically profound, lacking mature insight.

Very young, in fact. I wonder now about the author's age.... intellectually advanced, emotionally underage?

Also, the plot twists can be seen from a mile away. And, the execution of the "devious" aspects of the surveillance was just not that devious, sorry to say (without getting into spoiler territory). Encryptions, steps taken to elude detection, etc, were quite naive, considering the possible level of sophistication this kind of premise could command.

In short, characters were not as adroit as they could have been, the Tabula kind of dumb in some of their core philosophy.

However, the book was entertaining enough to finish. I enjoyed it even though there were groan moments at times. :-)

And yup, looking forward to book two.
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Friday, October 07, 2005 - 11:32 am:   

Also, wanted to add, the book was very cinematic. It could make a great summer action thriller.
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Marc
Posted on Friday, October 07, 2005 - 08:47 pm:   

+ I wonder now about the author's age.... intellectually advanced, emotionally underage? +

That would be the conventional criticism of the Science Fiction genre. Maybe that's why SF Authors are being accused of being this "Twelve Hawks."
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Saturday, October 08, 2005 - 09:46 am:   

Marc,

Personally I find this amusing. I don't have a comment about other SF/F authors (that would open a can of worms), but my fiction has been accused -- if anything -- of being too "mature" and "old."

A complete opposite.

Again, the most likely reason I think anyone might have thought of me writing this work is the descriptions / notions of Twelve Hawks' Other Realms being similar (only in some aspects) to the paradox worlds of the Tilirr in my novel LORDS OF RAINBOW.

But hey, I am taking this whole thing as a compliment. Despite its shortcomings (mainly characterization), there were plenty of solid high-points, and I really did enjoy reading THE TRAVELER.
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Janet Rice
Posted on Saturday, October 08, 2005 - 07:03 pm:   

Cool--Lots of new posts--and the New York Press site with the Knipfel article is back up, too.

I really hadn't thought of writing Michael Cunningham. Would he admit it if he were Twelve Hawks? Maybe if an author was going to acknowledge a pseudonym, he'd want to do so under more spectacular cirumstances that he'd get more mileage out of. How have pseudonymous authors "come out" in the past?

I thought of emailing the book editor of my local paper. I don't have any relationship with her or anything, but a year or two ago, I contacted her when I thought the book pages weren't carrying enough fiction reviews. She did respond, so maybe she would again, with advice or suggestions, or maybe she would think it would be an interesting story for the paper.

I knew when I took off after the phrase "off the grid" I was on a tangent, but revealing nevertheless. Also, I've had time for a reality check, a la does everything I read seem to be by Twelve Hawks. One of the most suspicious aspects of my theory is that I just happened to read Specimen Days soon after and started noticing all those apparent clues. So...I just read Seabiscuit, and the author is definitely not Twelve Hawks. So I'm not totally delusional. Now I'm reading a little mystery by Laura Lippman, who sets her stories in Baltimore. My dad is from there and I wanted to see if he'd like it. Well, some of the characters have biblical names (one of commonalities between The Traveler and S.D.). But the characters are very religious, so the names make sense. That's probably not too unusual. Also, there is a theme of a married lady character running away across the country with her boyfriend & children, so they don't want to use credit cards otherwise reveal their location. But The Traveler's paranoid flavor is lacking. And some of the characters have a sense of humor, totally lacking from both Twelve Hawks' and Cunningham's characters (at least in S.D.) as I remember. Laura Lippman is not Twelve Hawks. Also she never refers to her fleeing couple as "the travelers," as Cunningham does in Part 3 of S.D. Also just finishing the latest Harry Potter. Yes, Lord Voldemort divides up his soul, but really doesn't seem much like what the travelers do. Flavor entirely different. Paranoia lacking despite having to battle evil. Fear, yes, but not paranoia. Characters have lots of other life details. And all the Britishisms. Just can't see that it could be J.K. Rowling. Also, I read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell last spring. It's fantasy, but otherwise so very different (and a new classic). Etcetera, etcetera. So, so far, I'm just not seeing the same clues everywhere.

As to Gordon's editor friend, maybe he is just thinking too "inside the box." Tell him to read the Twelve Hawks Amazon Shorts essay, and then read the paragraph-long rant by the character "Walt" on p. 171 of S.D. Then read the comments of New Harmony residents Martin and Antonio about why they dropped out of the Vast Machine, on pp. 306-309 of The Traveler, and tell me those don't sound alike.
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Janet Rice
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 06:49 am:   

Well, I'm going to write Michael Cunningham. That's what the book-page editor said, too. Anyway, that's the only way I can stop being preoccupied with this--like once when I was thinking about ordering a specialty license plate. I had to finally go on and do it or otherwise keep puzzling endlessly about what I could make with (then) six spaces.

But then I'll have to think of something else fun besides posting on this forum. Maybe an online bookclub would be nice. I never liked the real kind because I like to read what I want to when I want to.

So, anyway, I'm working on my letter, but it won't be instant; has to be USPS c/o his publisher. If my theory is correct, than likely he's been trolling the Internet and will be expecting it.

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JTH
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 08:04 pm:   

A friend of mine has been reading this site. She sent me a message this afternoon.

Janet Rice, this really is John Hawks. If you want to contact me do it directly -- simply write John Twelve Hawks c/o my agent Joe Regal at Regal Literary. They will forward the envelope to another address and so on until it eventually gets to me (this may take some time).

I don't answer all letters, but I will write back to you. To verify ID, simply go to Ebay, search for "signed John Twelve Hawks" and compare my signature to those placed in the books currently being offered for sale.

While I'm in this public forum, I'd like to say "hello" to Vera Nazarian and thank her for having such a good sense of humor about this case of mistaken identity. Vera, you sound like truly generous person. If we met in a pub, I know I'd buy you a beer -- several, in fact.

To: "Lord Ruthven" (whoever you might be)... no, I'm not part of Gabe Chouinard's "crew." I try not to be part of any group. I do respect Gabe -- a man who has a full-time job -- raises two little girls -- and still has the energy to write with passion about new fiction in all its forms.

Reading the various posts I think I was fairly innocent -- perhaps foolish is a more accurate word -- in the months before The Traveler was published. For a variety of reasons, I made a decision about my personal privacy. I didn't think it would be an issue.

No, I'm not a bestseller committee or a member of some cult. I'm simply an ordinary person who likes Spanish wine, drives a car that belongs in the rubbish bin and happens to have some strong feelings about the end of privacy in our modern society. If you read my Amazon short, HOW WE LIVE NOW, you'll get a fairly accurate view of some of my ideas.

I will be answering "Q&A"s on a few websites in the next few weeks. Perhaps that will provide a bit more information.

That's all for now. I'm working very hard on Book Two and hope people like it.

John Hawks

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talray
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 09:22 pm:   

A few thoughts:

In the Random House interview, JTH makes reference to a former conservative Georgia congressman and the ACLU being on the same side of the privacy issue. Does this make JTH more likely to be an American author because he used US politcal references rather than UK?

Secondly, "off the grid" has been around for a long time. An old favorite book of mine when I was a teenager was "Nature's End," where the protaganists were forced to go off the grid to avoid detection by the Depopulationists.

So is John Twelve Hawks actually Whitley Strieber, author of "Nature's End"? Interestingly enough, on a message board from 2001, poster Chris Aubeck referred to another of Strieber's books, The Secret School, as "just a clumsy patchwork of the bestselling esoteric topics of the time: abductions, Cydonia, Star Trek physics, mock 'Celestine Prophecy'-type 'lessons,'and New Age predictions about the
future."

Kinda how an above poster described The Traveler?

However, Mr. Strieber uses on-the-grid electronic communication regularly. Message boards on his site Unknown Country discuss his memories of aliens, abductions and visits to alternate realities.
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Janet Rice
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 07:01 pm:   

Look at what happens when I go off the grid (in one of the other senses of that phrase) for a few days! And I thought the fun and games was over!

The timing is interesting here. Is this the proverbial red herring across the trail? I must say it occurred to me to be glad that I got interested in the identity of a literary figure, and not, say, a crime figure.

You have turned on the charm, John Twelve Hawks. I just don't think the time is right to write you, not while I'm still believing you are a figment of Michael Cunningham's imagination. It would be too confusing, as when one thinks too long about the plot of Memento, or Angel Heart. So for now, the indirect approach is best.

I am surprised that you refer to yourself as "John Hawks." I thought you would have a double last name, like McCall Smith. I have noticed that there was another author by the name of John Hawks--another author of some of that multitude of books I haven't read. Did your choice of pen names have anything to do with him? "Twelve" is a funny middle name.

I'm not sure your writing sample here is long enough for me to do much with. The tone is very different than in the Amazon short. What are the websites on which you're going to answer Q&As?
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Janet Rice
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 08:40 pm:   

P.S. Forgot to say I'm happy you're working on Book Two. My whole family read The Traveler and are looking forward to the sequel.
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caithlin auclair
Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 08:59 pm:   

I just finished reading The Traveler and have to say I quite enjoyed it. Why can't John Twelve Hawks simply be John Twelve Hawks? Why is everyone so adamant his name is a pseudonymn? I work in a bookstore in a very small town which serves as the only gathering place for locals. We have quite an eclectic mix of people for such a small population and many conversations I have heard in the bookstore eerily echo the subject matter in the Traveler. One customer has been traveling "astrally" since the 70's and claims to visit other dimensions. Other customers are convinced that new technology comes to us from non-human entities. I found the book to be thought-provoking. It asks the question "What price freedom?" Would you be willing to engage in a society where everyone is constantly tracked if
it brought you a greater sense of security? I look forward to book 2. And if John Twelve Hawks is a psuedonymn for some other writer I might guess Michael Crichton.
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D. Gamburd
Posted on Monday, October 17, 2005 - 08:46 am:   

Miss a week on this site and something happens.

If "JTH" is John Twelve Hawks, then I'm tossing out my previous theory.

My sister-in-law spent a long time in England. I asked her to read the message to Janet Rice from JTH and she thinks that he's British. It's not the use of the word "rubbish" that she reacted to, but the phrase "Spanish wine." According to her -- the phrase means something. People who drink French wine in England are a bit more upscale. "I drink Spanish wine" is short-hand for "I'm just a regular guy" -- which is what he is saying in this statement.
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Janet Rice
Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - 08:37 pm:   

Now that's instructive. But c'mon! Do you think he's trying to tell us where he is? Instead, wouldn't he want to throw us off his scent? I wouldn't be deterred from your previous theory too fast, D.G. Isn't truth stranger than fiction?

As to whether he is "just" John Twelve Hawks, it's he who says he is living off the grid. So he is more or less saying he's not using his real name. That much we can take to the bank; whether he is some known, already published author is another matter.

...I gotta correct myself. The other author I thought had the same name was John Hawkes, with an "e."
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - 11:31 am:   

I think you'll find out who Hawks is by reading this. It's buried in the middle:

http://vanderworld.blogspot.com/2005/10/atp-rankings-top-10.html

JeffV
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gabe
Posted on Sunday, October 23, 2005 - 02:53 am:   

I'll just pipe in and verify that the above post by the fellow claiming to be John Twelve Hawks was indeed the *real* John Twelve Hawks. I'd vouch my life on it.

And since when do I have a fragging *crew*, for god's sakes?

--gabe chouinard
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gabe
Posted on Sunday, October 23, 2005 - 02:55 am:   

PS: for my money, I'd say that JTH is just JTH, with no conspiracy surrounding some secret identity or other idiocy. Some people just want to lurk at the fringes, you know?

--gabe
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Janet Rice
Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 08:57 am:   

Gabe, are you saying "John Twelve Hawks" is not a pen name? Because, as I said before, I don't see how he could be using his real name, what with living off the grid and all. I realize the notion that he's really some other author is an additional inference, but I thought a pen name was a given.

As to my thinking he is Michael Cunningham, it did give me pause when I realized MC is a college professor. It was a little harder to think outside that box than when I was thinking of him simply as an author. I mean, not as to writing a book under a psuedonym; my speculations as to motivation would still apply there. But it seems a little weird or sick to think of his continuing to foist the charade by other writings like the Amazon Short or his post here. (I did think that the JTH comment here was by the same writer who did the Amazon Short. But is it an absolute given that he's the same person who wrote The Traveler?)

Anyway, I have received a reply of sorts from Michael Cunningham, or rather from someone saying she is his assistant. It was anticlimactic. It consisted of three sentences, thanking me for writing MC, assuring me that he is not JTH, and thanking me for my interest in MC. Not surprising, but a dash of cold water in the face after the responsiveness of this virtual community. He didn't answer my questions as to all the interesting parallels I found--and likely didn't even read my letter.

So I was frustrated and railing against an answerless world, but assuaged my tender feelings yesterday by looking at all the interesting discussion groups on this site and the new possibilities they raise.

Also, I've taken advantage of John Twelve Hawks' invitation to write him. Maybe he will answer my question.

I'll end with a quote, attributed to Mary Jo Salter, that Michael Chabon used at the beginning of his novella The Final Solution: "The distinction's always fine between detection and invention."

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Guest
Posted on Tuesday, November 01, 2005 - 10:32 am:   

A quick message: Look into the discussion on the Resurrectionautoparts website between Rhiannon and a guest called D.B they are discussing who John 12 Hawks is.
It is quite interesting.
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Zane
Posted on Friday, November 04, 2005 - 12:33 pm:   

His identity being kept secret has little to do with PR. Quite simply, he knows too much, and when you know too much, people watch you.
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Chelsea Forever!
Posted on Friday, November 04, 2005 - 09:10 pm:   

I found this website after spending an hour Googling John Twelve Hawks. It amazes me how much he's been slagged off by people who either haven't read the book -- or have read it and haven't considered what he's trying to say.

Somebody wrote: "the writing is extremely naive."
My advice: go to London or New York or ANY modern city and try to walk five minutes without finding a CCTV. The Traveller is about as far from "naive" as you can get.

I agree with Caithlin (see previous post).

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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Saturday, November 05, 2005 - 02:09 am:   

I do not think 'the writing is extremely naive' means what you think it does.
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Janet Rice
Posted on Monday, November 07, 2005 - 07:01 pm:   

The content of The Traveler lends itself to a cult following and Internet shenanigans. But The Traveler does not stand out among all the other fantasy, sci-fi, and international spy action techno-thrillers as the one that has the author who "knows too much." John Twelve Hawks is not the Salman Rushdie of the West. The Judith Strand blog, Evergreen game etc are marketing ploys, helped along by the eager conspiracy theorists.

That is not to say that one of the author's goals wasn't to get some ideas before a mass audience.
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Rhiannon
Posted on Monday, November 07, 2005 - 10:45 pm:   

I think what you all have brought up about J12H is very interesting!
I would love it if some of you would come to Resurrectionautoparts and help figure out some of the clues that D.B. is giving.Plus I have no clue as to who D.B. might be.
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Janet Rice
Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 08:11 pm:   

I guess I was a bit testy in my last post. It's a public forum, a free country, and to each his or her own.

We have never discussed which are the most noteworthy ideas put forth in The Traveler. I don't think my opinion would be typical.
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C. Coleman
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 07:05 pm:   

I just finished The Traveler this evening and found it very entertaining, even if not a literary masterpiece, and the message of the Vast Machine is an important one.

Living in Arizona, I paid particular attention to the desert scenes. The site of New Harmony sounds a lot like parts of the San Carlos (San Lucas?)Indian Reservation south of the Mogollon Rim. The author probably transported the Titan Missile Museum (open to the public) up there from south of Tucson unless the Apaches let the govt build silos on their land. lol Anyway, the desriptions rang true so I would guess Mr. Twelve Hawks has spent time here and maybe took his pseudonym from the res. Or, maybe he really is an Indian and does easily live off the grid as many of them do.

If anybody knows of a libertarian commune like New Harmony, let me know. lol
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yati
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 08:46 pm:   

van cleave
john:12 -- Lazarus
lazarus long -- libertarian
arizona
reservation
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Janet Rice
Posted on Friday, November 11, 2005 - 09:15 pm:   

I was looking for the new Q&As by JTH; didn't find them, but did find this interview. Some of the older posts had referred to it but I hadn't seen it before. It does confirm some of the ideas that have been suggested.

http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400079292&view =qa
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canty
Posted on Sunday, November 13, 2005 - 06:32 am:   

I know who he is ...

It's the next evolution in artificial intelligence ...
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Brian T.
Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 10:36 am:   

Fairly complex theories being offered on resurrectionautoparts these days.

I've searched some of the international websites and am offering a more practical solution.

According to the French, John Twelve Hawks hasn't appeared in public because he's in prison. Go to:

http://www.nouvelobs.com/articles/p2116/a269270.html

I know that most prisoners in the United States can receive letters. But do they get Internet access? Can they use phones?
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Janet Rice
Posted on Thursday, December 01, 2005 - 07:28 pm:   

It's been a month since I wrote John Twelve Hawks, and nothing yet.

John, if you or your friend read this and if you have written me, it seems that the person at the address I asked you to write me at has moved recently. So instead of writing to "Janet Rice, c/o so-and-so," just write directly to "So-and-So" at the address given. Then it should get forwarded on to her and then to me.

Such are the perils and pitfalls of trying to be a little bit off-the-grid, when heretofore I have just been rather low profile as per that Jim Knipfel article. But, heck, if you aren't Cunningham, then I don't know who you are!
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gabriel
Posted on Thursday, December 08, 2005 - 08:45 pm:   

Anyway! The book was great, made me remember
the past. Thanks!
Looking forward to book two!
Gabriel!
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Janet Rice
Posted on Thursday, December 08, 2005 - 09:11 pm:   

Here is a discription of a controlled society that stands in contrast to the evil aim that the Tabula have for mankind. It is the description of the bees that the aged Sherlock Holmes raises, in Michael Chabon's The Final Solution:

"....It was the song of a city, a city as far from London as London was from heaven or Rangoon, a city in which all did precisely what they were supposed to do, in the way that had been prescribed by their most remote and venerable ancestors. A city in which gems, gold ingots, letters of credit, or secret naval plans were never stolen, in which long lost second sons and ne'er-do-well first husbands did not turn up from the Wawoora Valley or the Rand with some clever backwoods trick for scaring an old moneybags out of his wits. No stabbings, garrotings, beatings, shootings; almost no violence at all, apart from the occasional regicide. All of the death in the city of the bees had been scheduled, provided for, tens of millions of years ago; each death as it occurred was translated, efficiently and immediately, into more life for the bees. It was the sort of city in which a man who had earned his keep among murderers and ruffians might choose to pass the remainder of his days...."

The difference, I guess, being that the bees' order is intrinsic, instead of being imposed on them from outside...
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Rob B
Posted on Friday, December 09, 2005 - 04:47 pm:   

I thought this might be of interest. I recently conducted an interview with John Twelve Hawks through a third party via e-mail. I hope the questions and responses are insightful.

http://www.sffworld.com/mul/146p0.html

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Janet Rice
Posted on Saturday, December 10, 2005 - 08:05 pm:   

Thank you.
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P.H.Dee
Posted on Monday, December 12, 2005 - 09:06 am:   

Brian T

Surely the French piece suggests Hawks is in "his /her" prison, rather than "prison" per se?
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Brian T.
Posted on Monday, December 12, 2005 - 11:14 am:   

I studied French in high school and the highest grade I got was a "B." I figured this out using translation engines. The relevant passages are below. P.H. I completely defer to you or anyone else who actually knows French.

Le nouveau Dan Brown? Selon "Livres Hebdo", il s’appelle John Twelve Hawks, et c’est un taulard.

Who is the new Dan Brown? According to Hebdo Books, his name is John Twelve Hawks, and he is a prisoner.

Seul hic: John Twelve refuse, dans sa prison, de se montrer en public.

The difficulty: John Twelve refuses, in his prison, to show (reveal) himself in public.
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P.H. Dee
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 02:05 am:   

LOL well my French is somewhat rusty, and I was just playing devil's advocate - I thought maybe "his" prison might suggest a disabilitity or self imposed reclusion or agoraphobia etc.
Taulard is a very slangy word and I agree I can't see how "con(vict)" could be used other than literally a prisoner.

So what do we think of the idea of JTH as a criminal doing time?
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gabriel
Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2005 - 09:11 pm:   

I don't think so by his interviews.
It would mean the machine caught up with him!
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rojogonzo
Posted on Monday, December 19, 2005 - 04:57 pm:   

Spanish Wine in person and Merlot in characters?

I think not
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dave
Posted on Monday, January 09, 2006 - 02:47 pm:   

has anybody thought that maybe it might be a famous celebrity who decided to begin a writing career and maybe doesn't want ppl to find out who he/she is.
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regalliterary
Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2006 - 03:38 pm:   

Janet, we've been trying to forward you a letter from John Twelve Hawks, and it has been sent back to us twice. Please send us a new address and we'll pass it along.--Regal Literary (office[at]regal-literary.com) We're legit, check the website. www.regal-literary.com
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Bill Reilly
Posted on Sunday, March 26, 2006 - 09:05 am:   

I have enjoyed reading this forum (so far). Maybe I am not literary or "arty" enough, but isnt it possible that this is just a fairly good book, without all the hidden messages and suspicious author? The vast majority of readers buy the book simply because it has been recommended by someone else they know that has read it - and have never read all the "hype". personally I am half way through it and it is quite enjoyable escapism. I do not live in a country that has many cameras etc, so do not suffer from the paranoia whether real or not.....anyway, my opinion !
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Morsey
Posted on Thursday, March 30, 2006 - 11:22 am:   

Doesn't L. Ron Hubbard claim to live outside of society. He is a science fiction writer but this book does touch upon the theme. His work is similar in idea to a writer who uses to names Michael Marshall and Michael Marshall-Smith. The latter sets his books in a similar time scale to the present day but changes certain aspects. He also uses the passing through of dimensions/alternate realities in three books(Spares, Only Forward and One of us). However, It is probably just a gimmick to make people buy into the book more.
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mattf
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 07:24 pm:   

I don't really care who the author is. I thought the book was a real page turner. I just want to know when the next one in the series will be out
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Andy Twelve Miller
Posted on Monday, April 03, 2006 - 05:26 am:   

Here is an interesting interview i found with JTH:

http://www.sffworld.com/mul/146p0.html

One of the more interesting comments:

Q: Do you envision a time when you will come off the grid and go public, or at least more public than you have since the publication of The Traveler?

John Twelve Hawks: I have no plans to "go public," though I am considering setting up a website. I have always seen the Internet as an extension of the novel’s fictional world – including the on-line game and the secret websites, which I helped create. But I wouldn’t want to establish a personal site that could be seen as emphasizing ego and/or marketing; I’d like to find a way to give something to the people who read my books.
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Andy Twelve Miller
Posted on Monday, April 03, 2006 - 05:35 am:   

The online game is quite entertaining and follows the story-line of the book.

http://www.randomhouse.com/features/traveler/
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mary barnett
Posted on Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 01:57 pm:   

I hve just got home with a copy of The Traveller and there appears to be blood stains on the inside front and back covers. Are they meant to be there?
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West Burnside Bob
Posted on Thursday, April 06, 2006 - 06:07 pm:   

When the hardback copies first arrived at Powells last summer, one of them had what looked blood stains on the back cover. We made a joke: "Oh, that's John Twelve Hawks' blood" and put it in the box of damaged books that got sent back to the publisher. Has anyone else found a book with blood? The previous post totally creeps me out.
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Dinah Russell
Posted on Saturday, April 15, 2006 - 04:06 pm:   

The chapter that takes place in "New Harmony" sounds like it came from Anne McCaffrey's pen. Could John Twelve Hawks be a name her son is writing under?
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Andrew
Posted on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 02:44 pm:   

All I have to add is that after a 'strange' and confusing start it is a very good read. Cannot wait for the other two books. Also JTH has a very 'wide' view of today's world. Just look at TV - satellite TV would love us to stay at home, so that they can feed us the 'news' and 'current affairs', where we can order anything through the TV or 'net. Have you noticed that only the really bad-news stories get maximum coverage - making 'outside' seem violent and threatening ? This si why I don't take a newspapaer - if sometyhing really important happens, someone will knock on my door and tell me !! Being in one place, makes things easy to control - look at hitler & third reich, the Uk Govt's ned for biometric Id ? - anyone wising up yet ?

Smell the coffee folks and take control of your own livew - you should decide what you want to do. It took me 20 years to realise where my true skills lay; in Retail (never said I was the sharpest knife in the drawer !

Regards
Ajayen
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Tom Aherne
Posted on Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 08:05 am:   

After a strange fruitless search of net for info on JTH. I came across this thread. A treat to read the previous posts. Some great ideas and some off the wall. I just finished reading The Traveller and it reminded me of 'The Dark Material Trilogy by Phillip Pullman. The Traveller is entertaining and easy to read. The physics is a little light but so is a lot of the sceince in most SF but it is entertainment. What I did not like about the book was it did get a little weird with the jonesies. What set JTH apart from other 'big brother' novels was the supporting evedience. I lived in Chicago for 12 years and also in London yes there are camera's everywhere. The USA has passed some amazing law's governing peoples daily lives. Can't wait for the next novel.
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Janet Rice
Posted on Saturday, May 27, 2006 - 10:23 am:   

I just finished the Philip Pullman trilogy! It has some content similar to The Traveler (for example travel between worlds and vampire-like creatures that drain you), but there is bound to be such overlap in fantasy writing. Other than that content, I didn't think there was much similarity. Pullman's characters are so very vivid; the action sequences are more exciting than the biggest special-effects blockbuster; and the ending is highly emotional. Yes, the book I happen to be reading at the moment is always the best, the most memorable, etc.--but JTH is no Philip Pullman.
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Tom Aherne
Posted on Thursday, July 06, 2006 - 12:29 pm:   

Just got got Dark Materials back from my mother via my wife and 2 brothers. None of them would consider themselves fantasy readers. Mum now reading The Traveler and I mentioned your post about Dark Materials to my brothers, we all agree we had a lot more 'emotional investment',(don't know what else to call it) in DM than Traveler.
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B.E.S.
Posted on Friday, August 11, 2006 - 03:45 pm:   

Using a satellite phone doesn't necessarily mean a person is untraceable - after all someone has to pay the bill. Also, this man has to live somewhere. Someone pays taxes on his home. Point being, if someone really made an effort, they could find this guy. Living "off the grid" is nearly impossible these days - unless you are hiding in South America somewhere - and that's still not 100% foolproof. I think it is just a marketing ploy by an author under a psuedonym.
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Brandon Eichler
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - 09:47 pm:   

I have searched the web for some place to post a theory of mine, and I suppose this is as good a place as any.
I have a very strong feeling that John Twelve Hawks may be a pseudonym for author Matthew Reilly.

Here are my reasons behind the theory:
Matthew Reilly is the author of various books, but the book that started me thinking about this is Scarecrow. First let me say that about a week ago I bought two books at Barnes and Noble. One was "the Traveler" and the other was Reilly's "Scarecrow". Now, usually I go into B&N and just walk around the fiction section until I see something that catches my eye. This time I happened to piok up both of these novels (I have read all of Reilly's previous novels). As I read through The "Traveler" a quote caught my eye and for some reason stuck in my head. "Turning and turning in the widening gyre, The faclon cannot see the falconer, Things fall apart, The center cannot hold" - W.B Yeats, The Second Coming. After finishing "The Traveler", I started reading "Scarecrow". The first thing that caught my eye was the quote on the page right before the prologue; THE SAME W.B YEATS QUOTE! This got me thinking that JTH could actually be Reilly writing under a pseudonym. I realized that the same quote has probably been used by multiple authors in their books, so maybe this was just a coincidence. After reading through "Scarecrow", Reilly does an interview at the end of the book. He is asked "So what else have you been doing". His reply is what finally did it for me and convinced me that my suspicions could be true. His reply? "....AND HAVE FINISHED THE FIRST PART OF AN EPIC SCIENCE FICTION TRILOGY THAT I THINK WILL ROCK THE WORLD ONE DAY". (November 2003) <--Traveler was published in 2005!

Now maybe this is just coincidence and I am going off in a crazy direction, but I have a strong feeling I might be on the right track to figuring out who JTH is. If anyone has any thoughts on this please reply because I'm dying to know if I'm just reaching here.
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jimx
Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2007 - 01:47 pm:   

hi janet; did the letter finally get through? I'm burning with curiosity!
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Ryan Strange
Posted on Monday, December 03, 2007 - 11:31 am:   

I have to look back at Scarecrow and you are so right, its been awhile since I looked at that book but you have a great theory there!
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evry1nozits
Posted on Wednesday, December 05, 2007 - 03:22 am:   

I was idly trying to think what I wanted to read next and I remembered how much I enjoyed The Traveler. I discovered that JTH's 2nd book in the trilogy is out and found this site. Did all of you complete the internet puzzle/game? Are any of you in the second book?
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Rb336
New member
Username: Rb336

Post Number: 1
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 01:29 pm:   

John Twelve Hawks is:

Dean Devlin, writer of:
Stargate (the movie)
Universal Soldier
Independence Day
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Rb336
New member
Username: Rb336

Post Number: 2
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 01:48 pm:   

No evidence, it just hit me while watching Universal Soldier. there is just an intangible feel to the stories that screamed to me that they are from the same mind plus he fit my criteria:

the author has to be someone well enough known that a company would agree to the JTH nonsense, but not so well known as a writer that the stylle would expose the writer.

the books read like novelizations of screen plays

and a few others I can't recall
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Rb336
New member
Username: Rb336

Post Number: 3
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - 05:11 am:   

all we will ever have

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