Fiction is a way to explore future worlds, what-if’s. Though Singer is an author of multiple bestselling books on war, this is his first novel. It is no mere flight of the imagination, however: The book has nearly 400 footnotes.
“We (he and co-author August Cole) grew up reading Tom Clancy, Michael Crichton, and we wanted to re-create that experience for people, that sort of fun summer read,” he said. And as for those footnotes? “We’re defense wonks; we set out to write a very different type of book.”
Fiction allows us to explore how our attitudes might change and to wrestle with issues.
“Will 3-D printing do to the defense industry what the iPod did to the music industry, totally disrupt it?” Singer asked. “… What would a state-on-state war look like in the 21st century?”
And fiction also helps with information dissemination: People in power are more likely to read a novel than a white paper or policy report.