Writing a Politically Incorrect Book in a Politically Correct World – Guest Post by Peter Hallett

The funny thing is, I’m not sure if I have. I thought it might be fun to look at what the term politically incorrect means and then examine Assault On St. Valentines and see if it fits that bill. But first, it’s synopsis time…

assault-on-st-valentinesDie Hard meets Red Dawn in this adrenalin-fueled thrill ride that never lets up.

An internal terrorist sect has taken over the UK. Their only demand is a high body count of innocent civilians.

But people are fighting back.

Hicks: Mercenary. Trained to kill. Determined to survive.

Weapon: M4A1 carbine.

Companion: Singh. Ex-army. Great shot.

Bethany: Kid. Trained to eat all her vegetables. Determined to find her parents.

Weapon: A plastic gun that shoots bubbles.

Companion: Ringo Butterworth. Teddy bear. Terrible shot.

With the cover of night a day away, Hicks must train and arm a bunch of regular folks to defend the church of St. Valentines until they can make a break for an extraction point under the cover of darkness.

Eight against hundreds. Sounds like a fair fight.

If you are easily disturbed, prone to nightmares, or have a weak stomach then prepare yourself for the worst case scenario.

So now that you know what the book is about, it’s time to find out what politically incorrect means.

politically incorrect dictionary, www.politically.incorrect. dictionary com

politically incorrect dictionary, www.politically.incorrect.dictionary com

Politically incorrect – Adjective – If you say that someone is politically incorrect you mean that they do not care if they offend or upset any group of people in society who have a disadvantage, or who have been treated differently because of their sex, race, religion, or disability.

Did I care if I upset anyone when writing AOSV? Not really, but I didn’t believe I could. I thought there was a chance some of my characters behavior and words could upset some people but that’s not me doing the upsetting. And I wanted the characters to do that.

If I needed to elicit a reaction to a certain character, then I was not afraid to write anything and everything, from vile to beautiful. If they had an opinion about something, they had to voice it even if it might not be what I think or what you think or what society says we should think.

Why not be afraid of doing that and risk pissing people off, risk people being mad at me? Because those are the characters’ agenda and beliefs, not mine.

Peter Hallett

Peter Hallett

Are some of my beliefs and ideas in my writing? Sure, but it’s not for me to tell you what they are. If all my characters spoke like I did, behaved like I did, and thought what I did, they wouldn’t be characters.

The character of Donald is a nasty piece of work… in my eyes. I wanted him to be a racist. You could argue for him and say his actions and words are only a result of the situation in which he finds himself during the story. Maybe the fact Muslim terrorists have taken over the UK has just made him paranoid and angry and he is venting at anyone he comes across. Or maybe he was like that before we meet him.

One of my favorite moments from the book involves Donald.


“No way!” Donald said as soon as he saw Singh.

Singh gave Hicks a questioning look.

“No way, what?” Hicks asked.

“He’s one of them. How can we trust him?” Donald scowled at Singh.

“Nationality, English. Race, Indian. Religion, Catholic. Good enough for you … sugarplum?”


Donald goes on to use a racial slur. Does this make the book politically incorrect because of the use of such a word? No. I wouldn’t say so. It tells us more about the character then the book as a whole.

Now we’ve looked at something that is a small part of the overall work, maybe we should look at the premise. An internal terrorist sect has taken over the UK. Oh, and they happen to be Muslim.

Islamic terrorists, flickr

Islamic terrorists, flickr

Could this be it? Do the race and religion of the bad guys make the book politically incorrect?

If the bad guys had been the IRA, would that have been more acceptable because they are white and Catholic? Maybe if the story was set in Afghanistan and the bad guys were US troops, would that have been okay?

My point is one person’s terrorist is another person’s hero.

In choosing my bad guys, I wanted to play on the fears of what I know and what the majority of people in the UK and US know. The experience of terror attacks, bombings, and other such horrors. That threat is closer to home. Literally.

I also know many people in the UK and US have issues with immigration laws. So I also wanted to play on the fears of those people too. That’s why it’s an internal terrorist sect who is attacking.

So have I written a politically incorrect novel?

I’ll let you decide that as you read it.

Recommended Articles:
Assault on St. Valentines – a Review
There Be Dragons – a Review
Peter Hallett Interview – Inspiration, Dragons, and Vietnam

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