Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Yanking my chain

I've just finished a Clive Cussler novel. In it, one of the characters is standing next to Lambeth Palace looking across the river at Buckingham Palace.

Is anybody else screaming, right now?

I've commented before that one of the benefits of writing science fiction is that I can make stuff up. It appears that, in normal fiction, you can do that as well.

I've stood outside Lambeth Palace. If you've never been, it's on the South Bank of the Thames and the view is dominated by The big square tower (Victoria Tower, if you're interested) and the clock tower that houses Big Ben. Both part of THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER.

You can not see Buckingham Palace from Lambeth. Don't know if Cussler's ghost writer is too lazy to spend five minutes on Google street view or is just ignorant. We have a view that people from other places (OK, America) misrepresent the UK as a place where everybody speaks like Dick Van Dyke and it's so small that you can walk from Dover to Nottingham, via Hadrian's Wall by nightfall to sup with your father.

But then, we also have a view that much of America is populated by gun-toting ignorant rednecks.

I would offer that our view of other peoples and places is shaped by what we see on the box and much of it is incorrect. In the same vein, as a pharmacist I hate the, infrequent, depictions of my profession and I suspect that policepersons and doctors shout "No!" at the telly even more often.

So, if the telly is blox, do we, as writers, have a duty to get stuff right?
Well, no, probably not. But I reserve the right to shout at lazy morons who don't do their homework.

That's why I write science fiction

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