It’s 48 years ago today that the The Warren Commission report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was released. On September 27, 1964, this most eagerly anticipated report found that there was no conspiracy involved in the president’s assassination, to the utter amazement of almost the entire nation, and the world.
Conspiracy theories have continued to circulate for nearly half a century despite the Warren Report. Why do they surge so strongly? My theory is that many people don’t like the idea that such a beloved president could be destroyed in such a senseless act as a single puny man acting alone for meaningless, trivial reasons. If Kennedy had to die, better it be at the centre of an all-powerful conspiracy, surrounded by overwhelming enemies working in concert to bring him down.
Put that way, it makes sense, and makes the world seem like a more balanced and sane place. Not a world where a single man with a gun can reach out and kill the most powerful man on the planet.
Conspiracy theories in fiction, however, are much more fun, both to write and read. I haven’t got around to doing a full-blown conspiracy plot yet, although I’ve done minor conspiracy sub-plots here and there — my Vistaria series is prime ground for introducing a conspiracy plot somewhere….
One of the best conspiracy plots I ever saw, a long time ago, was Capricorn One. Remember that one? About the first flight to Mars? Only it never happened. It was all faked.
And there was a great conspiracy sup-plot that got the whole movie rolling at the start of Deep Impact, starring Tea Leoni.
Name your favourite conspiracy theory story. Movie or book.