I was going to do a wrap-up post on my thoughts on the WTC attack, but I put it off a little too long, lost interest in what I was going to say, and saw most of what I had been going to say elsewhere on the web, anyway.
So all I have to say is this: we are entering into a great new age for the spy novel.
Think about it. This war, as many have said, is going to be long. It looks as if we're going to send the Rangers into Afghanistan to knock out bin Ladin's camps, and possibly whack the man himself, but that's just the beginning. There are lots more where he came from, a whole octopus of an organization spread out over every continent except Antarctica, and lots of other little terrorist organizations as well. There's lots of work to do, and will be for decades, and most of it won't be conventional warfare by any means. All the covert operations that got such a bad rap in the 60's and 70's will be dusted off, clothed in fine new duds, and set out to party. Cloak and dagger is back in town, baby, and it's pissed. The laws against using nasty people (e.g., human rights violators) as informants and agents in foreign countries will be repealed. And won't they make incredibly colorful supporting characters? The law against assassinating foreign leaders will probably be repealed. Yep, we're talking the original Mission Impossible TV show from the 60's, updated and cyber-ized for the new millennium. There will be tons of colorful foreign locales straight out of Raiders of the Lost Arc, beautiful bar girls with mysterious pasts in Singapore will be replaced with beautiful Arab princesses with secret pasts in Cairo. The hero will get a new side-kick, the geek with mad hacking skillz and an attitude, ready to cyber-raid the terrorist's Swiss bank account, or break into Saddam's 23rd palace's security system to plant a virus that knocks out the motion sensors just long enough for the hero to break in, rescue the kidnapped ambassador's beautiful daughter who has the missing encryption key coded into her DNA, and escape with her to the Stealth fighter parked out back. Cue mile-high-club love scene in the Stealth fighter, as the side-kick remotely pilots it through the flack and the fire of pursuing Iraqi jets, cussing out the hero all the while.
The spy novel, thought dead with the end of the Cold War, will live again. Remember, you heard it here first.