Discussion Board

Topic: Another rant about the misuse of terms by authors

From: Kelly Marsh
Location: United States
Date: 11/15/2011

If I have posted this before, I apologize. However, even if so, I think it bears repeating. I KNOW I have posted regarding popular authors not researching their terms.

This time my subject is the visible components of the human eye. There is the pupil, the iris, and the sclera. The pupil is the black part in the center, the iris is the colored part around it, and the sclera is the white part around the iris. However, almost no one knows what sclera means, so "the white of the eye" or something similar is acceptable in literature.

Where I take exception is when an author says something like "His pupils were entirely black." This is just silly; EVERYONE'S pupils are black. It's a lot like saying "He handed me a glass of water, and its contents were entirely wet." They really mean "his irises..."

And then there are the people who say "His eyes were golden." (0r whatever color) Which part of his eyes? The whole eye? The pupil? The iris? The sclera? Each would make a different impression on the viewer. I recently read a book in which this occurred, and later found it only referred to the irises, rather than the whole eye.

You may think me overly-picky, but trust me, it matters.It really does.

Re: Another rant about the misuse of terms by authors

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/16/2012

I agree, Kelly--and I've made this mistake myself. But didn't we go over this already? somebody has previously tugged my beard on this one!

Re: Another rant about the misuse of terms by authors

From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Camano Island
Date: 01/24/2012

Well, Greg, as I said, I may have posted regarding this before. If I did, I again apologize. It is, however, a pet peeve, and I think quite important as well. However, I suppose if I did not, it would not be a pet peeve. :)

I did not, however, intend to tempt fate by bearding the lion in his own den twice. Thank you for allowing me to escape unscathed yet again. :)

Re: Another rant about the misuse of terms by authors

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/30/2012

Thirty pupils look at the blackboard in a classroom. How many students are in the classroom, and how many are named Iris?

Re: Another rant about the misuse of terms by authors

From: snakeoiltanker
Location: ohio
Date: 02/16/2012

The answer is 15 Greg LOL ;) however, unless i had a rollcall sheet, it is unknows how many are named Iris?

haha thanks for the comic releif towards an overly picky if not absurd observation.

I enjoy your work, and i admit that i would never know who you were if it was not for you writing the forerunner trilogy. but i plan to pick up hull zero. so look at it this way, by writeing a Halo book you have successfully reached out to an large crowd of people who would have otherwise not read your books, and actually a large crowd of people who usually dont read, such as me. i have read all the halo books, as well as the Doom books (dont waste your time there people), but the only book i have read that either is not about a video game, or assigned to me as a project in high school was "starship Troopers", just to have it ruined by a movie.

anyways, thanks for such a great read and sheding light on the mysteries of the forerunners, as well as turning me into a "reader". there is something i assume is satisfaction in reading, I can not stand to watch TV, so finally i have something else to spend my time doing other than playing videogames

Re: Another rant about the misuse of terms by authors

From: Greg Bear
Date: 02/18/2012

Good to hear from you, uh, snakoiltanker! Happy to supply your non-vidgame needs near-term. There are lots of really good space sf series out there--other than me, of course, with Eon, Forge of God and Anvil of Stars. You might try S.M. Stirling, Niven and Pournelle, Peter Hamilton, Vernor Vinge, Elizabeth Moon, David Brin, and Gregory Benford's Galactic Center series. Lots more as well! Happy reading.

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