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16 August 2009 @ 08:48 pm
Adding Rex Stout  
to the list of authors who Make Shit Up. Still, he writes a good story (yes, Archie Goodwin is racist, and Nero Wolfe probably is, too, but more subtly. I take the era in which the books were written into account), so I will continue reading him.

In Some Buried Caesar, he has both a bull and a human die from being injected with anthrax cultured from another bull. Which would be fine, except that they die within minutes of being injected.
Xiphias Gladiusxiphias on August 17th, 2009 02:19 am (UTC)
Mystery writers are supposed to stick within how poisons, diseases, weapons, injuries, and so forth actually work, though. It's one of the conventions of the genre. But it's not universally followed -- and, indeed, there are subgenres within mystery in which things that are either not true or are misleading are treated as true, as part of the convention.

The classic example of this is "cyanide smells like bitter almonds."

Well, that's true. But why can everybody detect it, then? Do YOU know what bitter almonds smell like? I sure don't. I know what sweet almonds taste like, but bitter almonds aren't available around here -- because they have cyanide in them, so you can't get them.
Cymru Llewescymrullewes on August 17th, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
Isn't it supposed to be like peach pits?
Kats: Billy the Kidwildrider on August 17th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
Authors take license when writing fiction for a variety of reasons, whether it's simple lack of knowledge through incomplete research or a desire to heighten dramatic effect. And yeah, I get irritated at authors who DON'T do their research (especially something simple), but on the whole, if a writer of thrillers finds it more thrilling to have anthrax kill instantly (even knowing his audience will not suspend disbelief in that case), that's his call. Maybe he'll come to regret it, or maybe he'll just have a rapid sect of readers/followers who believe what he writes instead of the actual facts.

I'm getting to the point where I find I can't say anything -- they're published, after all, and I cannot reach that state myself, even though my fantastic fantasy is researched to a correct fare-thee-well. Maybe they know something I don't.