Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm Very Happy With This Result

Bartimaeus won his match in the Battle of the Books. Thus, I can be a really good sport and continue to follow the Battle of the Books.

I am going to say a few words about footnotes here, since a couple of the commenters at the Battle of the Books site mention them, and a a family member and I were just talking about them in the car this afternoon. Here is the thing about footnotes in fiction--The family member in my car who said that footnotes in fictional works take readers out of the narrative and destroy the illusion of being within the story is right. He went further and said they were a mark of laziness.

I will say that Terry Pratchett sometimes uses them, but I think Jonathan Stroud, who uses footnotes in the Bartimaeus books, does them better. His footnotes are more consistently entertaining.

Anyone using footnotes in fiction who is not one of those two authors is being derivative. The footnote ship has sailed. The rest of us have to accept it and move on.


Anonymous said...

D'oh. You haven't read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark, have you? Mr. Stroud's footnotes, like Ms. Clark's are not signs of laziness and they didn't throw this reader out of the story, just sucked me deeper in. Very labyrinthine in there.

Gail Gauthier said...

That's true. I haven't read Strange and Norrell. And I like Stroud's footnotes, though I think that with some writers they just come off as something they're doing because they saw another writer do it and thought it was cool.