Richard Wheeler; Gardner Fox
From Richard Wheeler:
I've been doing some reviewing recently and have concluded that the country is suffering an epidemic of shoddy publication. I have never seen editing, copyediting, and proofreading sink so low. This is even true of the University of New Mexico Press (a particularly gross offender), as well as the little presses that have sprung up.
I have started to say so in reviews. In my reviewing for Roundup Magazine, of Western Writers of America, I am pointing to shoddy editing and proofing and copyediting. Why bother? Because incorrect usage detracts from meaning and obscures what is being said. Simply failing to include a closing quotation mark at the end of dialogue forces the reader to stop and interpret and pick up the thread. Punctuation has reached anarchic levels. Editors can't tell the difference between its and it's. They permit such howlers as "the Clark's" even though "the Clarks" is obviously plural. Where are the editors? Semi-literate authors are bad enough, but I am going after semi-literate editors and copyeditors and proofreaders now. Badly produced books are a national scandal.
Story editing has disintegrated also. I just read two University of New Mexico short story anthologies that would have profited greatly if the editor had imposed some serious blue-pencil discipline on the meandering and sometimes confusing stories. That is a paradigm for most of the publishing industry just now.
I am reading a book right now that has a name misspelled on a cover blurb ("Deborah Moran" instead of Deborah Morgan). The text is loaded with howlers.
In forty years of association with book publishing, I have never seen such editorial mayhem, and I plan to say what needs saying in any reviews I do henceforth.
Ed here: I grew up reading comic books. Many of my favorite stories were written by Gardner Fox. Mark Evanier, a fine writer and a fine website editor (News From Me), headed up the group that decided which living and which deceased comics figure would received the Bill Finger awards this year. Fox won in the latter category. Here's Mark's description of Gardner Fox's astonishing career:
Gardner Fox received a law degree in 1935 but instead opted for comics, writing his first stories in 1938 for the pre-Batman Detective Comics. He was also the first writer after Bill Finger to contribute to Batman's adventures and was responsible for several components of the character's mythology. Perhaps more notably, he created or co-created a bevy of important characters in comics' so-called "Golden Age," including The Flash, Hawkman, The Sandman, Starman, and Doctor Fate, and he launched what some call the first-ever superhero team, The Justice Society of America. In the late fifties and sixties, he worked on the revivals of most of those features, including the Justice League of America, and also co-created new characters such as Adam Strange. In his amazing career, he wrote an estimated 4,000 comic book scripts and also found time to author more than 100 novels, many of them under other names. Fox passed away in 1986.