In light of recent events in the fandom I feel I should confess… Whenever I have included puzzles in my short stories for my readers to engage with, and whenever I have foreshadowed anything in any of my fiction, it actually was with the full intention of tricking my readers into resurrecting the Author-God. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Yeah. Sorry about that.

God, this feels so good to get off my chest.

There’s actually a big cabal meeting once a year. Me, and a ton of sci-fi authors, plus a smattering of horror and mystery authors, just sit around talking about how we can reify capitalist patriarchy through the use of every-day literary devices. You guys are like cattle to us: we feed you these cool things to make you feel good, but really, we’re conscripting you to help us fundamentally fuck you over. And you don’t even know it!

It’s been on my conscience lately. I dunno.

I never wanted to be that person, it just sort of happened.

It’s actually kinda fucked up how you find out about the cabal, you know. It’s usually an accident. That’s how it happened for me. Basically, you grow up reading science fiction, or horror, or mystery — or all of these genres — and you keep coming across stories where the ending is unexpected and the reader is actually supposed to piece together what happened and why. Other people get into it through sci-fi movies like Primer or Donnie Darko. Or television shows like, I dunno, Doctor Who or LOST, which further encourage you to predict future plot lines. You know: stories that engage your reason on a meta-level, rather than only the emotional story-level. 

I know, it sounds totally weird to people who didn’t grow up reading/watching this stuff religiously. Authors actually having intent that some readers actually care about? Human beings wanting to connect with other human beings on a level outside of the story itself? Having fun? But I swear it’s true! It’s a whole hidden world, and it’s been going on for at least a couple hundred years.

Then when you get old enough, you write a story like that yourself. And maybe you submit it to a contest, or you get it published somewhere. That’s what happened to me, with my sci-fi short stories. They’re all puzzle stories. And one day, I, like thousands before me, got a letter in the mail. These guys are organized, let me tell you. The cabal has this specific wax seal that— anyway, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the cabal is real, and Moriarty is our mascot: The Storyteller who puts puzzles out there not only for his audience to solve, but to hurt themselves in so doing. We love watching you guys dance, and with every step you take, our trap closes around you.

Once you’ve opened the letter, you’re IN the cabal. You don’t have a choice: they don’t let you live otherwise, because you know their secret. I wish I could say I immediately realized I was sowing evil with the kinds of stories I write, but I didn’t. You get the letter in the mail, and the truth is… you just feel special. You think it’s cool, is all. It sounds cool. And so you… god, sorry, this is so difficult to talk about… so you… go to this dinner once a year. Right? And I mean, the dinner is actually pretty great, the food is… Anyway. Jesus. You get all this positive attention from the people you admired as a kid, and… I hope you guys can… No. Look. You just go, every year, and you sit there and laugh and tell yourself you’re not forcing millions of people to commit an epistemological sin, right? Because those people elect to recognize the puzzles and foreshadowing. They want to make you a God. You’re not forcing them to…

You just… you justify it to yourself, okay? I mean… I just justified it to myself. God. There. I’m taking responsibility for it. Finally.

I can’t tell you that I’m as much a victim of the cabal as you are. That would be… That’s not what I’m saying. And I’m not asking for forgiveness, because I can’t be forgiven. Not for this.

I know my readers have assumed the best about me. They probably thought I wrote puzzles into my stories because it’s fun for them, and fun for me. Or maybe they thought it was another way that art can be used to connect with people.

But it wasn’t. It was never anything so wholesome. It wasn’t, and never will be, anything except politically regressive. Perceiving an intentional puzzle or foreshadowing in a narrative, and then daring to engage with it, is literally the worst thing I, or you, or anyone can do. 

So… there. I said it.


For years, I imagined this day and I thought I would be too scared but… No. Today is the day I quit living as a coward. I feel good. I feel… proud of myself for the first time I can remember. I don’t know what will happen next but… one day at a time. I need a… burner phone, a portable water filter…

I have to go into hiding now. The cabal may find me and exact its terrible vengeance, but when it does, at least I’ll be free of sin.

Stay strong, never have fun, and thank you for listening.

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