News That’s Unfit to Print

Back in December I talked about media bias in the world of Night and Day, from the perspective of a country that is, for all intents and purposes, occupied by vampires. In response to that, a user named sexymaria said, on the TMU/TMOA forums:

But in an occupation with no other opposing media, the resistance can no longer openly express a different view, it must always conform to what the media proposes is the official view point. It must contend with it first before getting it’s own message across.

That got my wheels turning, and solved an essential Blood for Blood question… Something very bad is happening (well, worse than the usual kind of bad when vampires live in the neighborhood…). There’s a man who has found out about it. Welles gets sucked into the case, and it ends up being the main focus of the book (after the rom-comish beginning that I’ve talked about before).

I knew who the man was. But I didn’t have a reason for him to know about it. And I didn’t have a way for him to disseminate the information.

Let’s say the bad thing that was happening was that aliens were working to colonize the Earth (it’s not, but I’m making a point here, okay?) Like in the 60s TV series The Invaders. In that series, the man who had discovered the fiendish alien plot was an architect named David Vincent. Apparently an independently-wealthy architect, since he spent two seasons traveling the country, investigating strange happenings with connections to the aliens, never seeming to work or have any discernible income.

In those pre-Internet days, I’m not sure how he found out about all of these strange happenings. My guess is the Weekly World News. They seemed to cover that kind of thing in depth. As well as other related news…


But David Vincent wasn’t especially successful, and his show got cancelled before he was able to either stop the aliens or convince everybody that they were here.

Making my character an architect was out. As was making him a bus driver or grocery store manager. I could probably have figured out a way for him to find out the bad thing, but what would he do with it? Tell people getting on the bus? Program the grocery store receipts to have a little message on them? It seems…ineffective.

Maria’s comment gave me a shove in the right direction. Let’s say the guy was a reporter, an investigative reporter – had been one for many years, before the war the vampires and after. He’d have the contacts and skills to learn about the bad thing, and dig for information.

But what then? Remember, the media (newspapers, TV, radio) are all censored by the vampires. There’s an Internet of sorts available to people (AmericaNet), but it, too, is monitored and censored. He’s got the explosive story – what can he do with it?

To answer that, I reached back into my own past. Right after college, I was a newspaper reporter. After an “editorial disagreement” with my editor (even then, I knew better than anyone else…at least in my own mind), I quit and went to the police department. In between the police department and the fire department, I published a couple of free newspapers. The second one was called Concert World and was, as you might imagine, music-oriented. But the first was called The Stray Gull Gazette, and was more of an alternative/counter-culture kind of rag.

We covered a lot of local news of interest to hippies, music lovers, tree-huggers and arty-folk of all kinds, but we also subscribed to the Liberation News Service for news at a national/international level. A couple of times a week, a packet of memographed pages from LNS would arrive, I’d look through them, and depending on space in Stray Gull or how interesting a story was, I’d include it.


(In the end, neither of the papers was especially successful, and I went back on the public teat, first at the fire department and then at emergency management – all of which allowed me to retire so splendidly here in Birmingham that I could spend my days writing…I’d give you some pictures of both papers, since I have copies of every issue, but they’re in boxes in a closet with the rest of my papers, and I ain’t digging through 20 boxes right now…another time, perhaps…)

I started thinking about LNS, and decided that maybe a new LNS had arisen in the post-vampire war USA. Underground, of course. Disseminating information to small groups and individuals across the country, who’d publish it in underground newspapers (some professional looking, others little more than a handful of photocopied pages stapled together and left to be found on park benches and at bus stops) as well as underground websites on AmericaNet (up until the vampire authorities took them down, then reappearing on another server at another URL).

The truth cannot be suppressed! And thanks to Maria, the fictional truth in my fictional world will get out, and everybody will live happily ever after.

Well, at least happy-ish….

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