Maybe I shouldn’t complain about fiction that has a lot of “technical” errors: bad punctuation, bad grammar, bad spelling, bad science. It’s none of my business, right? If I get to read a novel for free, I should be grateful and not find fault, and besides, who gives a rat’s ass if the sentences don’t make sense a lot of the time because the punctuation is weird? As long as the reader can get the gist of the story, it’s all good…
Some days, I really dislike humans.
I recently started reading a contemporary sci-fi thriller. The basic premise of the story is interesting (and it looks as if the author is going to actually do something with that premise — huzzah!), and although there isn’t a lot of characterization so far, it isn’t the kind of story that requires it, so that’s no problem. ‘Sides, I’m only four chapters into the novel. I’d far rather wait for more detail than get hit with a truckload of info-dump in the opening paragraphs. The one thing I can find fault with in this novel is that the author doesn’t like commas. Doesn’t even use them to separate a direct address from the rest of dialogue! (Makes me wonder if a character is going to die because someone forgot that punctuation saves lives…) I do intend to keep reading this novel, though; as I said, it’s interesting. Be sure, however, that I’ll mention the wonky punctuation when I review it.
And then… I also started reading another novel, this one straight-up futuristic science fiction. And the author of this other novel likes commas too well. Doesn’t know that you do not always need a comma to separate adjectives, because sometimes the first adjective modifies the second one instead of each independently modifying the noun. Example: the light, blue car versus the light blue car. In the latter example, it’s clear that the car is a light shade of blue in color. In the former example, we know… what? That the car is some shade of blue, and it also doesn’t weigh much? Except much of the time is this novel, what the author has written instead would be the light, blue, car. *shakes head* This is not the only thing I have a problem with in this novel, but I won’t go into the rest here. Save it for the pseudo-review, right?
On a slightly related note: One of the blogs I’ve started following recently is called Planetary Defense Command. (Going by the traditional rules for italics, titles of blogs themselves should be italicized — they’re like print periodicals that way — and the individual blog post titles written inside quotation marks, but the Internet has also gotten a lot of people saying that italics should never, ever be used at all because they aren’t convenient, so who knows? I’m going to be traditional today, like the grumpy, grouchy old man I am. Italicize the names of periodicals! Turn down that loud music, you kids! And get off my lawn!) Anyway. Planetary Defense Command. The blog’s tagline is “Defending the planet from bad science fiction.” What a laudable purpose — and a daunting task. The Commander doesn’t get outraged over bad punctuation as often as Mercenary Proofreader does — go figure — but neither does he let bad writing get away with being bad. I like this guy.