[LMB] OT: When Favourite Authors Screw Up

Beth Mitcham mitcham.beth at gmail.com
Tue Oct 2 06:23:46 BST 2007


On 9/30/07, Raye Johnsen <raye_j at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Anyone else encountered something like that, where
> what should be a casually passed-over aside hits just
> the right way to reveal a sad lack of research, and
> colours the rest of the book?

In E.L. Konigsberg's _The B'nai Bagels_, the boys hide a copy of
the magazine _Playgirl_ under their mattresses.  I found this very
off-putting, because Playgirl was full of pictures of naked men. I
thought it was very careless of her.

This example is very like Raye's in that the mistake was mine --  the
magazine I knew was not the one the boys were hiding; their copies
were from the Playgirl of a decade earlier which did indeed involve
naked women.

For Regency romance writers, there is a genre convention that they
are basically writing in a shared world pretty much invented by Heyer --
if it feels off then it's not good enough to claim that your book is more
like the real thing because it will just feel wrong to most of the readers.

Sometimes facts creep up on an author.  Like all the books listing Pluto as
a planet -- will they seem just dumb to people in a few dozen years?

Beth Mitcham



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