The Writing Life

From a newsgroup posted dated April 17, 2012:

I can’t remember what brought it on, but I was thinking about the Weird Shit Boys tonight.

For those who don’t recognize the name, this was a project I started many years ago. The premise is that the FBI really does have a team they send in when there’s something supernatural or mad-sciency, but it’s not Mulder and Scully, or the Men in Black, or Fringe Division, it’s the Weird Shit Boys — a middle-aged housewife psychic/witch, a boy genius, an old, old man who’s been a weirdness magnet all his life and has an eidetic memory so he can match almost anything to something he’s encountered before, and a more or less standard-issue agent who rides herd on the others. The FBI doesn’t admit these people exist, and they aren’t officially working for the FBI, but if you convince the FBI that you really do have a supernatural problem, the WSB will show up.

Tonight I realized two things about the WSB’s world. First off, nobody’s worried about the Apocalypse, or vampires taking over the world, or whatever, because if large-scale supernatural threats really happened, the way they do in Hollywood, then the world would have been destroyed centuries ago. The good guys can’t always be there and win, so the odds are so high that it’s a virtual certainty that if an Apocalypse was possible, it would have already happened. So the FBI doesn’t worry too much about this stuff, but on the other hand, you don’t want to just ignore it, either — thus the WSB.

Sometimes, though, if the events are public, you need to be seen to do something, even if the event doesn’t really call for the WSB, so they also have the Paranormal Defense Unit. The PDU is a bunch of guys in suits with heavy armament and fancy gadgets, but it’s all for show — they don’t do anything but show up, go through the motions, and issue a reassuring (and largely fictional) report. The PDU guys aren’t full-time; they’re regular FBI agents with some theater background who get called out as needed.

On the tricky cases, though, you call in both the PDU and the WSB, and try to keep them out of each other’s way.

So having worked all this out — I have no plans to actually write anything about them any time soon.

2 thoughts on “The Writing Life

  1. I wonder if, at the time, you had heard of Shadow Unit?

    That was a multi-pro-author work structured as seasons of a TV show about the FBI’s WSB, albeit under a different name. They included a boy genius, an old man who has been a weirdness magnet his whole life, a competent completely normal FBI agent (who was not in charge of the whole thing) and then a handful of other interesting characters.

    All of it is free online, and they have print and epubs for sale.

  2. Nope, I hadn’t heard of it until just now. Which might have something to do with its apparent lack of commercial success.

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