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The Hollow Man is set in Spain and France during the early 1970s so I thought I would open my blog series by telling you a bit about the social psyche at the time.
The 1960s reshaped a generation’s soul not only because of psychedelic music and a new manner of altered consciousness but also because of changing realizations that we could no longer be insulated from our own fears. The cold war with the Soviet Union and the hot one in Vietnam had revealed two new faces of treachery to most of us. Vietnam was an instant casualty of life and limb that sucker-punched America in the heart and divided her children while the cold war slowly sucked away the remaining trust and innocence. Everyone began to understand that his humanity would eventually be ripped from his being and beliefs one way or another because neither side in either war held the high ground.
During the same decade, serial killers like the Zodiac and mass murderers like Charles Whitman were increasingly more commonplace, capturing greater portions of the news market by feeding on a growing public thirst for the gruesome and the gory. Closer to home for many Americans than far-off war, this type of violence was somehow more eminently probable than anything else imaginable. Fear of random personal reprisal shattered our windows and invaded our bedrooms every evening after dark. America was scared. We were all running at top speed from our own beating hearts toward distant and unknown locations.
As bad as all of this seemed, a different kind of horror began spreading in Europe and the Middle East about the same time. Religious zealots were sharpening their skill to incite human fear, getting better with each new creative scenario and we were virtually helpless to stop them. As a natural evolution to serial killing and mass murder, terrorism was making all our current fears obsolete and replacing them with the desperation that none of us were in control of our own lives and we could no longer protect the ones we loved. All of a sudden, madmen were gearing up to change the future of humanity, and it was my job to keep the coming carnage away from United States borders at any cost.