A Word of Caution: What are Political Correctness and Cancel Culture Doing to Fiction?

A Word of Caution: What are Political Correctness and Cancel Culture Doing to Fiction?

Mike Cobb

Dead Beckoning, my historical novel based on an 1895 cold case murder in Atlanta, is due to be released this fall.

In the front of the book, sandwiched between the Cast of Characters and the Introduction, is a Word of Caution:

In a work of historical fiction, there is often tension between fidelity to the time period and the risk of
#CancelCultureDoingtoFiction #PoliticalCorrectness

Dead Beckoning Teaser

Dead Beckoning Teaser


The blockbuster story of a cold case from the annals of Atlanta history. The year was 1895. On a rain-soaked Friday as dawn was breaking, a single gunshot pierced the early morning air. A prominent downtown businessman lay writhing on the sidewalk.

He was an ambitious man, a proud husband and father.

Writing - and reading - like a scientist

Thinking like a detective

I recently read an article in Psyche, the digital magazine from Aeon, titled How to think like a detective. The article caught my attention because, as a writer of true crime and crime fiction, I understand the importance of employing the skills of an investigator in my writing. …

Our Most Effective Weapon is Imagination

Last year, I wrote a piece called The Prince of Paradox and the Light-Beam Rider in which I discussed the power of awe and wonder. …

One True Sentence

To get started, write one true sentence.

My wife and I have been watching the documentary on Ernest Hemingway by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

Hemingway did his best work very early in the morning. While I would never purport to compare myself to one of the most…

Dancing with my Characters

My wife and I are huge fans of CBS Sunday Morning. It’s been our weekly morning ritual for years. I love the variety of stories, ranging from human interest to current events — a refreshing alternative to the barrage of political news invading from all fronts. My love of…

Mrs. Dalloway and Head-Hopping


Michael Cunningham is an American novelist and screenwriter best known for his 1998 Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Hours. The December 23, 2020 issue of The New York Times ran a wonderful essay by Cunningham, Virginia Woolf’s Literary Revolution, about Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway.
Given my thirty-year fascination with, and devotion…

I Write in Service to my Characters

“Never allow the integrity of your own way of seeing things and saying things to be swamped by the influence of a master, however great.” George P. Lathrop
George Parsons Lathrop. Ever heard of him? Probably not. Most people haven’t. But everybody’s heard of his father-in law. In fact, countless…

Nabokov and the Task of Writing


Okay. I admit it. The abiding controversy surrounding Lolita notwithstanding, I’m a huge fan of Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov.
Of his considerable body of work, perhaps my favorite novel is Pale Fire. The story centers on John Shade, a reclusive poet who writes a 999-line poem about his life and speculation…

Wabi-Sabi and the Craft of Writing

I don’t begin a piece, whether a short story or a novel, with some lofty notion of an ideal plotline that takes the reader through an exposition, a crescendo and a climax, a resolution and a denouement. Some authors write this way, and I respect them for it.
My approach…

Mike Cobb

I write because that is fundamentally who I am. My body of work includes both non-fiction and fiction. Both short form and long form.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store