Biggles Goes to War

Discuss a Biggles book!

Re: Biggles Goes to War

Postby Fairblue » 24 Mar 2018, 13:10

Kismet wrote:
Frecks wrote:It would be interesting to know if other authors of the same era got all their facts right. Did WEJ think as he was writing for children the actual factual details were not important or did a lot of authors just alter things for the sake of their plots? For example did Dorothy L. Sayers actually check all those train times, tides, distances etc. which were crucial to her plots? Were Agatha Christie's poisons real?


I think that I've read somewhere, that when Dorothy Sayers wrote Five Red Herrings she spent a lot of time checking all her facts and making sure her timetables were correct and that afterwards she thought that it had been detrimental to the story.
Certainly Agatha Christie had the character of the novelist Ariadne Oliver getting cross with people correcting her facts when inaccuracies were spotted in her stories as she felt that the inaccuracies were unimportant and too much checking got in the way of the story.

As I said, never let facts get in the way of a good story. :booky: :writing:
The Decision to Survive - A good pilot is both born and made. The best would look upon his work as a combination of adventure and a serious mission. – Major General Sir Frederick Sykes
User avatar
Fairblue
Air marshal
Air marshal
 
Posts: 29243
Images: 119
Joined: 21 Apr 2013, 11:05
Location: Arbroath, Scotland
Reading now: War in a Stringbag - Charles Lamb
Reading next: Depends on my mood
My top chap: Bertie - who else?
Starsign: Leo
Aircraft: Spitfire

Re: Biggles Goes to War

Postby Tracer » 24 Mar 2018, 15:46

Agatha Christie worked in pharmacy for a while, so one would expect her poisons to be accurate.

Inaccuracies irritate the hell out of me, especially in detective novels, and while train timetables of a century ago don't really bother me, simple easily-checked facts that aren't checked rub the pedant in me up the wrong way. I've never been all that bothered by what is west of where because compass directions are a mystery to me (I'm dyspraxic), and I am perfectly happy with made-up countries. I've never felt the need to check with a map. But I can see for those to whom the complete picture is important, it is every bit as irritating as some of the tripe I read from other authors which concerns matters that I do know about.

I don't see that accuracy delays the story, frankly. I do see that what each individual reader tolerates is subjective. And despite my earlier comments about suspending disbelief, I see that in terms of monsters, aliens, strange substances and so on, rather than something perfectly checkable and well-known to gazilllions of readers. That's just sloppy authorship, and perilously close to insulting readers.
pilots who had done a long tour and had that thousand-yard stare W. E. Johns
Tracer
Squadron leader
Squadron leader
 
Posts: 2275
Joined: 12 Dec 2013, 19:59

Re: Biggles Goes to War

Postby Frecks » 24 Mar 2018, 17:08

I do not mind made up countries in the Biggles books because it would have been very hard just before WW2 to write about actual events. Air Commodore, Goes To War and Secret Agent were written in the run up to WW2 when similar things were actually happening in real countries but it would not have been prudent to use the names of actual countries in the books. Spain was rather different as it was about a real conflict. In the same way some of the Cold War stories would have been rather sensitive issues at the time of writing.
Frecks
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4233
Images: 65
Joined: 26 Jun 2014, 19:14
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
My top chap: Ginger
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Goes to War

Postby Fairblue » 24 Mar 2018, 18:30

As Tracer said, it’s very subjective. Inaccuracies in Train timetables 100 yrs ago wouldn’t bother me, but if it appeared that someone got from Inverness to London in six hours on a train it would annoy me. So on the whole, I would favour probable and possible as opposed to 100% accuracy which might add lead to an otherwise good tale.
The Decision to Survive - A good pilot is both born and made. The best would look upon his work as a combination of adventure and a serious mission. – Major General Sir Frederick Sykes
User avatar
Fairblue
Air marshal
Air marshal
 
Posts: 29243
Images: 119
Joined: 21 Apr 2013, 11:05
Location: Arbroath, Scotland
Reading now: War in a Stringbag - Charles Lamb
Reading next: Depends on my mood
My top chap: Bertie - who else?
Starsign: Leo
Aircraft: Spitfire

Re: Biggles Goes to War

Postby Kismet » 24 Mar 2018, 19:37

I would be pretty naffed off with a book which named the capital city of Wales as Edinburgh: some mistakes are careless and unforgivable.

I like books that build a believable world, whether it is a police procedural or an urban fantasy, the most important thing to me is that I can believe in it, that I can accept the characters behaving in such a way for the given reasons. I really don't care if a few extra houses are built in a real life village for plot purposes or travel between two places is a bit faster than it should be, or the heroes drive a car that doesn't exist quite as described. I read the detective stories for non-plot bits at least as much as I read them for the puzzle. Probably more, now I come to think about it. I don't mind if the heroes stay in 'real time' or if they are perpetually sixty five as long as the author is consistent.

I do read stories which are pure puzzle sometimes, and I find them rather disappointing, to be honest. They lack the human interest which is the best part of the book for me. I'd far rather have Dorothy Sayer's Gaudy Night, in which the detective part very much takes a backseat to the love story, than Five Red Herrings which is all about timetables, and alibis and utter preciseness with the human interest shoved way into the background.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
User avatar
Kismet
Air vice marshal
Air vice marshal
 
Posts: 25637
Images: 112
Joined: 28 Aug 2013, 21:10
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
Reading last: fantasy on Kindle Unlimited
Reading now: Patricia Wentworth
My top chap: Biggles
Starsign: Capricorn

Re: Biggles Goes to War

Postby Frecks » 24 Mar 2018, 20:12

I totally agree with you there. My favourite Dorothy L. Sayers books is Busman's Honeymoon. I love the relationships between all the main characters in the books but I do find all the timetable business very boring.
Frecks
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 4233
Images: 65
Joined: 26 Jun 2014, 19:14
Location: Morecambe, Lancashire
My top chap: Ginger
Starsign: Leo

Re: Biggles Goes to War

Postby Fairblue » 24 Mar 2018, 20:22

Kismet wrote:I would be pretty naffed off with a book which named the capital city of Wales as Edinburgh: some mistakes are careless and unforgivable.


Absolutely. Some mistakes are unforgivable.
The Decision to Survive - A good pilot is both born and made. The best would look upon his work as a combination of adventure and a serious mission. – Major General Sir Frederick Sykes
User avatar
Fairblue
Air marshal
Air marshal
 
Posts: 29243
Images: 119
Joined: 21 Apr 2013, 11:05
Location: Arbroath, Scotland
Reading now: War in a Stringbag - Charles Lamb
Reading next: Depends on my mood
My top chap: Bertie - who else?
Starsign: Leo
Aircraft: Spitfire

Re: Biggles Goes to War

Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 25 Mar 2018, 04:47

Tracer wrote:Inaccuracies irritate the hell out of me, especially in detective novels, and while train timetables of a century ago don't really bother me, simple easily-checked facts that aren't checked rub the pedant in me up the wrong way. I've never been all that bothered by what is west of where because compass directions are a mystery to me (I'm dyspraxic), and I am perfectly happy with made-up countries. I've never felt the need to check with a map. But I can see for those to whom the complete picture is important, it is every bit as irritating as some of the tripe I read from other authors which concerns matters that I do know about.

I don't see that accuracy delays the story, frankly. I do see that what each individual reader tolerates is subjective. And despite my earlier comments about suspending disbelief, I see that in terms of monsters, aliens, strange substances and so on, rather than something perfectly checkable and well-known to gazilllions of readers. That's just sloppy authorship, and perilously close to insulting readers.


Must say I tend to agree with you, Tracer. Must be the pedant in me coming to the fore. I had the privilege of visiting Moldova in 2014 and 2015 and, ever since, have tended to equate this little country with the Maltavia of & Co. Of course, it is situated between the Ukraine and Romania and is just north east of the Black Sea, so the actual geographical accuracy annoyed me when I endeavoured to make it "fit." It's interesting that the more books I re-read, the more irritated I become when I realise there are geographical or historical errors - often things that could have been easily checked and, IMHO, don't weigh a story down but actually give it an element of authenticity. :roll:
RAAF Spitfire Girl
Wing commander
Wing commander
 
Posts: 3945
Images: 100
Joined: 19 Apr 2013, 21:49
Location: South East Queensland, Australia.
Reading last: The Corners of the Globe (Robert Goddard)
Reading now: Enemy Coast Ahead
Reading next: Still a Tough decision!!
My top chap: Biggles, Biggles, and Biggles
Aircraft: Spitfire
Random: Walking Hadrian's Wall May 2017

Previous

Return to WEJ Biggles books - individual books

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest