The Blue Nowhere – A worthwhile thought exercise on the “what if” level

My initial post on The Blue Nowhere, by Jeffrey Deaver, dealt with an ethical analysis of the first half of the book.  Throughout my experience with The Blue Nowhere, I found that it was full of surprises, but it was also full of predictability.  I have always wondered what it is about books, movies, etc. that requires them to end on a happy note?  What would have happened had Deaver ended the novel more realistically – would the novel no longer be considered an exciting thriller?  Or, would it just have sold fewer copies because readers would have finished feeling depressed?

And so, in the end, Pattie Nolan was a traitor who, miraculously, was stopped from murdering Gillette after she had just killed Phate. Shawn turned out to be computer whose actions were destroyed by the pressing of a scram switch.  And while Gillette does end up back in prison, his ex-wife and son decide to give him a second chance.  In addition, Gillette gets off scot free from his standard 12 hacking charges, and is allowed to work on a few further hacking cases while in San Ho.

So did The Blue Nowhere leave me with a general feeling of fear, as it did many of my other classmates?  No, it was truly a work of fiction.  In his after-note to the novel, Deaver himself states that a program like Trapdoor doesn’t currently exist, although some day, it could.  And as far as the plot is concerned, what is the probability of any citizen possessing the skills that make him or her a top hacker?  Secondly, what is the probability that any person is demented enough to murder fellow citizens by stabbing them through the hearts, in the spirit of an online game?  The laws of probability state that any two things happening simultaneously are a product of their individual probabilities.  This law makes a person with the above characteristics amazingly unlikely to exist.  Therefore, is it possible?  Yes…. barely. Is it probable?  No.

What this means for the reader is that The Blue Nowhere is a worthwhile thought exercise on a “what if” level, as long as one realizes that The Blue Nowhere is, at best, an extreme-case scenario worth pondering, and at worst, a flight of fancy worthy of Hollywood.

Sean Nash

Biology teacher in the great state of Kansas. Back at it in the classroom after a 30-year career in Missouri. Former District Curriculum Administrator, Instructional Technology Coordinator, and Instructional Coach. Biology instructor since 1993. Find more about my passions and my work at

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