Literary Crimes: Anachronisms

Are these cave men looking for the strike zone?

Let’s say you’re writing an epic novel of the events leading up to Noah’s Flood, thousands of years ago.

Can you envision any circumstances which would induce you to employ the phrase, “strike zone”?

Well, yeah, if you want to remind the reader that he’s not really visiting the ancient world, but just reading a stupid book about it.

My friend “Abner,” in his amazingly successful novelizations of Biblical events, resorts to every anachronism he can think of. Here are a few that light up the second book in his series.

“It depends on what ‘is’ is.”

“Hope and change”

“Fundamental transformation of society”

God accused of “colonialism, imperialism, sexism, speciesism” and also described as “macho”

“I feel your pain”

“You didn’t build that”

“The 99 percent”

“We”–the speaker is an archangel–“saved your rear ends”

All right, let’s be fair: he has stopped short of equipping Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, with cell phones. Well, who would they call? And a cell phone might be a nuisance if pockets haven’t been invented yet.

Strike zone? Macho?

Please, whoever is out there thinking about writing a novel–if you’re writing fantasy or historical fiction, please do not riddle it with stupid and inane anachronisms that won’t make a lick of sense to a reader ten years from now but which surely will, for the time being, remind the current reader that all he’s doing is reading a mutton-headed comic book without pictures.

I must point out that I am paid to read these books. Otherwise I could not endure it.

8 comments on “Literary Crimes: Anachronisms

  1. Thankfully, I don’t have to read such drivel, and I don’t know that I could do it even with pay. My heart goes out to you. It must be torturous.

  2. Where was Abner’s editor when this crime was taking place? Editing drunk, or just asleep on the job? Maybe he/she just doesn’t care anymore, but sheesh, have SOME pride in the work.

    1. You should see the praise that has been lavished on these books! It’s like The Emperor’s New Clothes–everybody’s crazy about ’em. Customers and critics simply don’t seem to notice the silly dialogue, the flood of anachronisms, and the sheer impropriety of banalizing and trivializing Biblical themes. You don’t rewrite the Bible as a comic book! Or a graphic novel (ugh). Or as “just like a blockbuster movie!” as one reviewer crowed.

      I seem to be the only one who has a problem with these books.

    2. From what you have described so far, they would have to pay me to read them too. So I don’t think it’s just you. No accounting for some people’s taste though…or lack thereof.

    1. I think I’m going to have to spill the beans pretty soon, but if you want to give me your email address, I’ll oblige you.

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