Famous fake memoirist James Frey is currently co-writing the six-part sci-fi series I Am Number Four along with newcomer Jobie Hughes under the pseudonym Pittacus Lore (he’s already sold it to Michael Bay!). This has apparently set off speculation that Frey is also John Twelve Hawks, the mysterious author of the Fourth Realm Trilogy, a sci-fi series about a group of parallel-universe-traveling rebels fighting a totalitarian society under the control of something called the Vast Machine. Allegedly, Twelve Hawks lives “off the grid,” has never been seen by his publisher at Doubleday, and communicates using a satellite phone and a voice scrambler. The Traveler, the first book in the trilogy, was just optioned this week by Fox, and The Watchmen co-writer Alex Tse has been hired to whip up the screenplay.
So, how’s this tie back to Frey? It doesn’t, really — speculation on Twelve Hawk’s real identity has previously landed on James Patterson, Stephen King, and Michael Chabon, and Frey’s just the latest in line. Frey’s statement to the Post, however, is purposely ambivalent: “I will neither confirm nor deny that I am John Twelve Hawks, Pittacus Lore, or anyone else … I will say that I have done, and I am continuing to do, projects that will come out anonymously or with invented names on them.” The Traveler was released in 2005 in the U.S., two years after A Million Little Pieces, with its two sequels coming in two year intervals after that. If Frey really is Twelve Hawks, it means he’s both much more hardworking than we previously thought, and also much more able to sell books without having to pretend the things in them actually happened.