Sunday, 7 December 2014

I know you guys haven't finished John A.'s Crusade, but can't put this off because I'm beginning to forget this forgettable book:

There's been a lot of speculation here as to whether Rohmer has ever so much as read a thriller. I put it to you that John A.'s Crusade is evidence that the man has at least some familiarity with the historical novel. What's more, I'm willing to argue that this is his most competent novel. I have strong doubts that it was dictated while driving the 400 South.


  1. I wonder if the subject was a better fit for his research staff. Might be as simple as that. Also wonder if people said "I feel like a skunk at a garden party" in the 1860s. They had skunks and garden parties, but I don't know. Related question: How does Alanis Morrissete's "Isn't it Ironic" not contain the words, "It's like a skunk at your garden party"?

    "It's like someone stupid, dating some arty... or a smelly old skunk at your nice garden party... and isn't it ironic?"

    1. Chris, I think you're right to wonder about skunks at parties. A search through the five million or so scanned books (no exaggeration) at the Internet Archive finds just one use; this dating back to a 1999 NASA tome titled The Space Shuttle Decision. Granted the archive is hampered by US copyright law, but everything before 1923 is fair game. So, it would look like the expression wasn't used in Macdonald's time… which is not to say that someone could've said it.

      Same goes for "bullshit". It could be that Robert Wilmot is not only a Father of Confederation, but a Father of a Vulgarity. And who's to say that Cartier didn't hear Wilmot and then decide to use the word himself.

      See what you can get away with in historical fiction? Much better than setting things in future. Unless you're Asimov or Bradbury you come off looking like a know-nothing (Starmageddon).

      Here's what I'm wondering: Given declining sales, was Rohmer still using researchers in the 'nineties. Economically, it doesn't seem to make much sense. But then I'm no businessman.

      (That said, I get why Rohmer's portable gas station can't work.)

  2. What's the flaw with the portable gas station? I've probably spent too much time since last January thinking about the giant natural gas tanker plane, but I think the portable gas station has the same problem: Rohmer is thinking about war fighting, when expense is no object and retail, where the whole point would seem to be not spending so much transporting something that no one can afford to buy it.

  3. I'm very close to the end of this book, and might even be able to post something tomorrow. Stan, how about you? My last day of work is Friday. Any chance we could do the last two novels before New Years 2015?