Michel Houellebecq couldn't have foreseen such a horribly swift real-life sequel to his latest literary provocation, the novel "Submission," available in stores on Wednesday.

At least 12 people died and 20 were wounded in a terrorist attack on the offices of Paris satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which had devoted its cover to the novel of France's Islamization. The terrorists are assumed to be Islamists because they shouted "Allahu akbar," and the bloodshed they caused poses the question of whether France, and Europe, should "submit" (to what?) more sharply than the author could ever do.

Houellebecq has a history of antagonizing militant Islamists. He lashed out at Muslims in his 2001 novel, "Platform," in which Islamic terrorists kill the protagonist's wife. He also called Islam "the stupidest religion," words for which he was tried and acquitted, and then threatened with death, leading him to flee to Ireland — all before 9/11. "You're saved," the writer Michel Deonreportedly told him as they watched the attack on the World Trade Center unfold. As today's events show, he was wrong: Houellebecq is in the cross hairs again.