One of the things that makes me so good (and modest about it, too!) at editing science fiction/fantasy is that I have a brain full of “trivia” which often turns out to be useful and relevant to whatever I’m editing. (Maybe I shouldn’t have given the author a min-lecture on the difference between garb and garbs… *shrug*) On the other hand, sometimes authors don’t want their scene or plot “ruined” by pesky facts.
The original quote I’ve “repurposed”? It’s from Sign of Chaos, by Roger Zelazny.
The picture below is of an embroidered thing Grace made for me to place on the shelf over my desk. It isn’t over my desk because my cats kept trying to eat it. She wanted to put a silhouette of a Bandersnatch on it (it was the sudden appearance of a Bandersnatch — a frumious Bandersnatch, as Humpty Dumpty made certain to point out — that prompted the egg’s comment about remedying zoological ignorance), but there is no official image of that critter, so she just used some generic medieval beastie instead. At least the generic beastie has a long neck and snapping jaws like a Bandersnatch. The sword, obviously, is the vorpal sword, which, according to the Cheshire Cat, costs twenty dollars per hour or portion thereof to rent. That was the price back in the late eighties/early nineties, anyway — it’s probably gone up since then.
I should have added meteorological to the list, too. Not that anyone cares, but extremely thin air can’t carry enough debris or move with sufficient force to be a real danger that way.
Sometimes authors (and other people) ask me, “Why do you know that?” after I’ve shared some interesting (to me, anyway) factoid. Why do I know that obsidian is sharper by far than any steel (although sharp should not ever be mistaken for strong), or that vanilla and nutmeg are both neurotoxins? (Mmmm… eggnog. Oh, sorry, HD.) I don’t have an answer for that, really. The information, it just sticks in my brain. (And — sorry, must use quote — “Information overload equals pattern recognition.” *weird grin* If you choose to capitalize Pattern — ’cause maybe you read some of the same fiction I do — I’ll tell you that I could tell the difference between ’em. Yeah. ‘Cause the new one is even more off-center than the original. And the real original, which doesn’t have half a mountain and a castle on top of it. And the first one, which is three-dimensional and inside a forty-carat ruby, so it’s easy to recognize. All that fan art that makes those Patterns look downright geometric in their regularity? Wrong…)
Now that I’ve allowed the, um, less orderly side of my brain have its say, I’m once more picking up the Red Pen of Doom (DOOM, I tell you!) to correct a few, um, haphazard comma splices or missing apostrophes.
Oh, yeah — I have acquired a new title. I am now Thomas Weaver, Mercenary Proofreader and Defender of Words. 🙂