Kyle Mills: Stranger Than Fiction - Part II


Last month, I outlined some interesting predictions I’ve made over the years and also explored some that Vince Flynn has woven into the Mitch Rapp series. The list was longer than I expected. This month I’m back with a few more examples of how we’ve used a crystal ball to peer into the future.

Once again, I’ve called on Ryan Steck, the Rappologist from The Real Book Spy to share examples of some of Vince’s all-too-real plotlines. Longtime fans of the Rapp series know how solid Vince’s intel was.


Transfer of Power

In the opening pages of Transfer of Power, Vince notes that some facts were omitted out of respect for the president and the US Secret Service. What I wouldn’t give to read the manuscript before the redactions! As longtime fans will recall, George W. Bush famously told Vince in a limo ride that he was “a little too accurate.”

Vince’s brother, Tim Flynn, joked at The Survivor 2015 launch event that Vince was a master at getting people to open up. He said that within a few minutes of sitting down with Vince, SEAL Team 6 was sharing details they weren’t supposed to talk about. He also mentioned the similarities between the bin Laden raid and Memorial Day, which I talked about in Part 1.

Protect and Defend

In 2007’s Protect and Defend, Vince wrote about the Israelis taking out an Iranian nuclear facility by embedding an agent and blowing up the plant from the inside. In 2013, a nuclear facility buried deep in an Iranian mountain was allegedly partially destroyed by a massive explosion, leaving 240 people underground. While both the Iranians and Israelis are tight lipped about what really happened there, the information available makes it sound very much like Vince’s scenario coming to life.

Here are a few other strangely prescient scenarios that have played out in reality long after my books were published.

The Utopia Experiment

I’m fascinated by wearable technology. Not so much the kind that spits out data about my workout, but the kind that will transform our senses and help us deal with our increasingly complex world.

In The Utopia Experiment, I dreamed up a device that was embedded into a person’s skull much like a cochlear implant. It fed information to the user via an augmented reality overlay that mixed the real world with holographic details. The device provided a flood of information: from emails, social media updates, and heads-up displays, to real-time fact checking and driving routes. Facial recognition even delivered instantaneous information about people and their backgrounds. Obviously, the military applications were endless, as were more sinister ones.

As I was finishing the manuscript, the Google Glass project was announced, leaving me scrambling to find out if I’d been just a few months behind the curve. Fortunately for me (but not so much humanity) their technology was only a primitive first step toward my vision and fizzled pretty quickly.

Now more sophisticated wearable augmented reality in the vein of what I imagined, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Meta’s headset, are taking shape, not to mention the virtual reality devices like Oculus Rift that create an entirely new universe for users. Real-time fact checking didn’t exist when my book was first conceived, but now organizations like PolitiFact do their best to keep politicians honest during their speeches.

Imagining this futuristic technology was challenging so I’m interested to see how it evolves. So far, I’ve gotten a surprising number of things right. 

The Second Horseman

Like most people, I appreciate a good heist—particularly when some incredibly clever criminal has thought long and hard about it. I decided to explore just such a scenario in The Second Horseman after having a fascinating conversation with a Vegas insider about how the city transports all that casino money to the Federal Reserve in San Francisco.

I recently read that thieves in the Netherlands stole a truckload of iPhones while the truck’s driver cruised down a motorway with no clue what was happening. Apparently this style of iPhone theft has been happening since 2008 in Europe. I dearly hope that my description of a similar technique in 2006 provided some inspiration.

I’ve already started my list for 2019 as I see some nefarious players making trouble that I envisioned long ago. It’s possible that the course of the world has already been laid out by today’s hardworking thriller writers. Stay tuned!

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