Author Archives: Keith Thomson

An Otherworldly Piece of Fiction Turns 45

Tomorrow is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, as well as the best-ever sighting of alien spacecraft, by astronaut Buzz Aldrin (according to the Internet). Here’s the relevant part of the conversation between Aldrin and NASA that was overheard by ham radio operators (according to the site Above Top Secret): Mission Control: What’s there ? Mission Control calling Apollo 11. Apollo 11: These babies are huge, sir … enormous…. Oh, God, you wouldn’t believe it! I’m telling you there are other space Continue reading →

What Happens to a Spy with Alzheimer’s?

I was once dating a young woman we’ll call Jane, and I was intimidated by her prior boyfriends, who included an All-Big-Ten quarterback, one of the youngest Fortune 500 CEOs, and a comparably successful financier who was fluent in several languages. The financier and I happened to have gone to the same college and graduated the same year, but we never met, probably because I only hung out with mortals. I suffered from the comparisons to this pantheon of great boyfriends until Jane told me Continue reading →

Are there Coincidences?

Consider the familiar espionage novel refrain, There are no coincidences. It’s always bugged me, because, you know, there are coincidences. Odds are, you’re going to have a concurrence of events or circumstances without an apparent causal connection. You tell me you’re 28 years old, and, meanwhile, across the casino, the roulette ball settles into slot 28. One day I asked a spy, who said, “The summer I was eleven, I got a Siamese cat. I named him Rockford. A few weeks later, I started a Continue reading →

When Truth is Too Strange For Fiction

Say you were reading an action novel in which, every time the hero’s borrowed, dinged-up 1975 fighter jet reached a certain speed, it generated a cone of white mist and disappeared into it? Would you think, Kinda cool—if this were science fiction, for kids? I had that in my last manuscript, but needed to cut it. Readers found it implausible. Way too implausible. But the thing is, it actually occurs in real life. Per the Prandtl-Glauert singularity, vapor cones appear around objects as they near Continue reading →