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Thursday, November 11, 2004

 
Mind Candy Question Marks
I have been indulging in several days of the equivalent of a spa treatment for my brain. By that, you may infer that I have read two fun books in two days, and read nothing for work or school. At times, it helps to be reminded that I can still start and finish a book in a day.

Tonight, about 5 minutes ago, I finished Stone Cold by Robert B. Parker. Mr. Parker is a very experienced and prolific author of long standing. Most of the time, for a mind-candy mystery writer, I think he does a decent job. But I have a question.

What, just what, does Robert Parker, or his copy editor, have against the innocent question mark? It is a very helpful punctuation mark. It is, in fact, one of the more basic ones. And yet, for more than half of the questions taking place in conversations amongst the characters in Stone Cold, the question mark is quite astonishingly and disturbingly absent. It has the effect of making all of said characters seem like androids who never quite got the hang of intonation, or perhaps just bad ESL students.

Needless to say, I was annoyed. I do not like it when annoying little personal writing tics interfere with my reading. Ideally, in fiction, the writing should be so smooth I never even notice it's there. Alas, this time, it was not so, Mr. Parker, it was not so. Remember, punctuation is our friend.

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