The Birth of Paradigm Shift Thrillers
THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA
By Leonardo Wild
Ten years of writing commercially went by and one day I felt that I needed to make a shift in my career. It took me another ten years to figure out how to do it, and then five more before the result—THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA—saw the light of publication.
The details of how and why I felt the need to change are not part of this story.
Maybe another time.
This is the story of what I decided to do when I decided to shift. In short, I decided to create a new sub-genre within the thriller genre. Or rather, I discovered that, what I had to do, was find a vehicle for the topics that I wanted to write about—to share my discoveries—a format that would allow me to follow the rules of publication without, well, actually being stuck in a jail of my own making!
One of the first rules is that if you wish to be successful in a writing career—besides writing well and telling a damn good story—you must choose a genre to write in.
A genre that your name will be attached to.
“Oh yes, he writes ‘medical thrillers’” or “She writes ‘vampire stories’.”
As a quick side note, the “jail of my own making” thing was something I’d seen happen to others over the years: they became successful in a given genre, but because of the genre’s canons, they were more or less forced to write a similar book every time, and that led to something they probably hadn’t bargained for.
Many of them I admired, but stopped reading them. And many of them even stopped writing their books themselves.
What did I come up with to avoid this pitfall?
In short: Paradigm Shift Thrillers.
Stories where not only the protagonist goes through a character arc, but readers as well. Stories where readers will (I hope) experience a shift in their understanding of something—of an aspect of our world—which they most likely didn’t know or weren’t aware of. Something potentially monumental. Something to make them “shift” their paradigm about an aspect of society and the world we live in.
In The Galapagos Agenda—the first book in the series—the topic is politics. Or rather, the profile of people in positions of power—political or otherwise … though they have always been very closely linked (behind the scenes).
The science is called “Political Ponerology,” as coined by Andrew Lobaczewski, a Polish psychologist who wrote a book with that name. Basically, Lobaczewski recognized that the percentage of people in positions of power that are psychopaths is larger than we might think.
First of all, about one percent of the population are “true” psychopaths—clinical psychopaths and criminal psychopaths.
Another three percent—mostly known as sociopaths—are also psychopaths, yet social and personal experiences have been the reason why their ability to feel empathy and have a conscience has been destroyed, why they are compulsive liars and disregard laws, social mores, the rights of others and fail to feel guilt or remorse.
In other words, four percent for the world’s population are psychopaths, yet they seem to be called to positions of power like moths to light.
For example, about ten percent of employees working in Wall Street are considered to have psychopathic traits, and about twenty percent of top CEOs, according to Robert Hare (Without Conscience), are clinical psychopaths.
Basically, the people who have found their way to top tiers of management and basically call the shots in the world—in one way or another—are not necessarily criminal, but there is definitely something wrong with them.
Because they can do anything at all. Stuff, we normal mortals, couldn’t. Or will not unless utterly forced to. Maybe not even then. But four percent of humanity … no problem at all! In fact, they are the main single cause for deliberate mass human extermination, paling the social effects provoked by serial killers.
My question was, though, How can they not only survive but thrive in our society, throughout millennia, to the point where they are the ones basically calling the shots in our society?
You see, if something isn’t right in Nature, it doesn’t last. If certain limits are surpassed, destructive behavior as well as self-destructive behavior will turn itself against the species that is causing the harm. Yet these folks have somehow managed to appear again and again in our history, and we don’t seem to learn the lesson. We actually vote for the Hitlers of the world to rule over us. We actually admire those who have made their millions—if not billions—by sheer ruthless behavior. They are with us all the time, but just haven’t realized it.
How can that be?
The answer to my question came from biology, from something called “stigmergy,” where an action leaves a trail or mark in the environment—such as the chemical trails left by insects—giving rise to apparently intelligent, coordinated and complex behavior.
These agents—psychopaths—have been leaving a trail in an environment—bureaucracy—and now we are stuck with a system that not only supports their kind, but nurtures them.
This, I thought, would be a great subject to kick off my new sub-genre.
In The Galapagos Agenda, the son of a clinical psychopath—a corporate tycoon—ends up having to face not only the truth about what his father is, but how such people have managed to rise to top positions throughout history being the main cause for the recurrent man-made sufferings of humanity.
Because they can remain invisible … until it’s too late.
The Galapagos Agenda’s launch date is November 17, 2015 (http://amzn.com/B016Z3EYV6) and it is the first book in a series of Paradigm Shift Thrillers that will touch upon subjects of similar social impact. The victims, in all of them, can be many.
And you probably didn’t even know it. Hell, you might even be one of them!