Our Never-Ending Story
by James Grady
This is the horror and crime stories year we all want to end.
The year 2020 will end, but its story won’t stop.
You all know the story of our now’s horrors and crimes.
The horror of a virus so-far killing 1,503,000 human beings who used to walk this planet with us. The horror of millions of our still-living citizens who wave their cellphones that science gave them but refuse to follow science and wear masks to keep from killing their neighbors and suiciding themselves.
The crimes of a mad orange hair clown in the White House who’s spoiled rich kid act kicking and screaming that he won’t go is threatening the democracy he swore to protect. The crimes of The Royal Court Of Donny that have poured millions of public dollars into their bankruptcies-built private pockets.
The comic horror of modern politics that a 78-years-old middle-of-the-road man and a dyed-blonde, breast-enhanced porno star were the most effective opponents of King Donny. The tick-tick-tick horror of Antarctica breaking off into the sea of catastrophe while most of the world shrugs.
The crimes of beating people because of the color of their skin. Again. Still. Still. Crimes of hate and rape. The damaged. The disappeared. The made dead. The silencing crimes against writers like Ahmet Altan in Turkey and a thousand other authors, journalists, filmmakers and musicians from Mexico to Saudi Arabia to Russia to China and back again.
The horror of hunger. Starving refugees. Food lines from Berlin to Brooklyn. A baby crying on the curb of a sidewalk. A bird on an empty telephone wire with nowhere safe to fly. The Terminator horror of Artificial Intelligence now being able to create fake people, write poetry and program itself.
What readers of CrimeMag know is that the kind of stories, books, movies and music that we appreciate and know have been the best predictors of where now everybody is in 2020.
Predictors like Edgar Allan Poe and Albert Camus, Alistair MacLean and Stephen King, movies like Matt Damon and Kate Winslet’s Contagion, all on our current plague.
Soothsayers like Shakespeare, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Upton Sinclair and scores of thriller writers on governments gone bad and mad, from Seven Days In May to The Manchurian Candidate to gotta say it: Condor.
Even rock ’n‘ roll warned about these days, from Buffalo Springfield’s Something’s Happening Here to The Great American Author of his/my generation Bruce Springsteen with his noir sagas of „a runaway American dream.“
Where are the dreams of yesterday?
Calendars where you could daydream your way over sidewalks filled with people who had bare faces and wouldn’t kill you with a laugh.
Where you could sit in a movie theater shoulder to shoulder with strangers and share the awakenings of emotions and thoughts triggered by the artistry flowing on the big screen.
Where you could sit at the bar of a crowded middleclass restaurant and stare at faces familiar in form if not flesh amidst perfumes that wisp your smiling flashes of what if, if only, what luckily is.
Where you could be alone in your home but leave all that for whatever less than lonely you could find.
We’re all so sad, angry and tired of the story 2020 put us into.
Tired of living it.
Tired of listening, watching and reading about it.
But the way real life works is that we’re all writers.
And maybe, if we get lucky, if we all try, if we all struggle, maybe we will write next year into a better story.
James Grady’s first novel Six Days Of The Condor became the iconic Robert Redford movie „Three Days Of the Condor“ and inspired the Soviet Union’s KGB espionage octopus to create a secret 2,000 man spy agency to mimic what Condor did, complete with a phony cover name on a brass plaque at the front door of the spy group’s Moscow headquarters. Grady’s gone on to write more than dozen crime, espionage and thriller novels, three times that many short stories, and work as a muckraking investigative reporter in Washington, D.C. after Watergate.
James Grady in Deutschland: Die letzten Tage des Condor. Bei CrimeMag hier: Interview mit Sonja Hartl: „Eigentlich war Condor niemals weg“
Anne Kuhlmeyer: Ver-rückt? Eine Frage der Perspektive.
Alf Mayer: Notizen vom täglichen Wahnsinn. Grady bei uns on Covid hier: Jungleland.