Monday, January 14, 2008

In The Future, No One Will Laugh

Dear Keith R. A. DeCandido,

I was reading a Star Trek novel a few months back. I didn't remember the title or author, but there are a couple of things I did remember about it. First, the concept was "The West Wing meets Star Trek." Rather than focus on Picard and crew out in space, the novel primarily followed the political side of the Star Trek universe - the President of the Federation, the head of Starfleet, and so on, as they dealt with some political/diplomatic crisis the details of which elude me. It isn't a bad premise, although the fact that not many of the details stuck with me makes me think not much was done with it.

The second thing I remember about the novel is the chuckling.

I don't normally notice things like this while I'm reading, but in this book the word chuckled kept reappearing. A lot. A whole lot. Someone would say something, and another person would respond - with a chuckle. It's a kind of strange word. Chuckle. Say it a few times. Chuckle.


At any rate, everyone in this book chuckled. Repeatedly. It got to where I would see the word ahead on the page and dread the time when I would reach it. It was following me around.


I finally gave up when two characters chuckled at each other on the same page. I just couldn't take it anymore.

Fast forward to this past week. I picked up another Star Trek book from the library - Q & A by Keith R. A. DeCandido. And as I began to read, here it came again. Over and over.


So I did a quick Google search to see if I could find the name and author of that previous book. And I found it.

Articles of the Federation by.....Keith R. A. DeCandido.

A search for "chuckle and DeCandido" also reveals this excerpt:
"Doesn't it?" Zeus asked with a chuckle.

"If we let Ogun get away with this, it'll be a signal that we're vulnerable! This could be the beginning of a strike against us."

Again Zeus chuckled. "Must everything be a game of tactics with you, Ares?" Before Ares could reply, Zeus said, "It doesn't matter. No Olympian shall have contact with outside gods. My word is final. If you do interfere, Ares, you will be punished."
That's twice in three paragraphs. Google searches pick up at least ten other excerpts with DeCandido's characters chuckling.

I swear, I don't normally get focused on things like this, but Keith - for the love of God - please pick up a thesaurus or something. Find some other word.

Don't let your characters chuckle any more.

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