An Open Reply to John Twelve Hawks

Dear Mr. Hawks:

I feel uncomfortable typing those last two words — “Mr. Hawks,” that is — because it provides the faint hope that I might be channeling Howard’s great spirit or addressing an eccentric falconer. But I have received your message. I have my considerable doubts about whether you are indeed the John Twelve Hawks who lives off the grid. For if you are aware of my work, surely this runs counter to your secular manifesto? Or is this all the secular marketing whipped up by others? Whatever the case, if you are who you say you are, I accept your proposal, although I’m sure both of us have plenty of time left to live. If you wish to follow through with your idea, then you can send me another message at some future point with additional details and I will confirm it all here. Rest assured, as a man of my word, I shall not reveal your secret identity. Although I must confess that I was highly amused by the envelope and the postmark. You have friends in very interesting places, sir.

Very truly yours,

Edward Champion

[UPDATE: It appears that Jeff VanderMeer was also contacted by “John Twelve Hawks.” I received the same letterhead, same envelope, same postmark. Matt Staggs offers additional speculation.]


  1. It seems unlikely that the real John Twelve Hawks would come out of his veil of relatively safe anonymity to contact both you and Jeff VanderMeer over the course of a week. But what do I know?
    Then, that’s the danger of being utterly anonymous: There’s always the danger of legions of people claiming to be you with little danger of repercussion.
    Maybe we should all choose a day to “be” John Twelve Hawks.

  2. John has hardly remained separate from the SFF community. In fact, he has reached out to numerous people in the past, whether through proxy or via email or snail mail or via telephone. I’ve spoken with him several times. Colleen Lindsay, who handled publicity for The Dark River was often in contact with him.

    Just want to keep the facts clear, to hopefully fend off any baloney conspiracy theories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *