My favorite part of the novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is when the mage, Mr. Norrell, is recruited as part of the war effort against Napoleon. The plan is to terrify Napoleon by troubling him with nightmares. The plan fails because the bookish old antiquarian is useless at imagining horrors. The worst he can come up with is a captain of dragoons hiding in Napoleon’s wardrobe.
Truth, however, is stranger than fiction.
As part of the effort to rid Bin Laden of a support base, the CIA commissioned a demonic action figure of Bin Laden. Unsuspecting parents in, say, Karachi, would buy their children an innocent looking Bin Laden toy, and after bringing it home the action figure would react to the heat, its original face being replaced by a demonic, red one. To make things even better, this mix between Get Smart and Team America was designed by Donald Levine, one of the creators of G.I. Joe. He designed the toy, and secretly manufactured it in China. Thus Habsboro’s role in the War against Terror. I personally can’t picture anyone being spooked by this toy, not even in regions were belief in devils, demons, and jinns is widespread, and the CIA seems to agree. They shelved the toy, but one source says that hundreds of toys actually made their way to Pakistan.
Who knows, there might be hope for a collector’s item after all.