Very serious novel includes Nintendo fantasy ingredients in dye recipe

Originally published at:


Dude sure likes those Oxford commas, but I’ve gotta give him credit for leaning into it with the ampersands.

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Christ, what an asshole.


I don’t understand how a mistake like this is made. He was ostensibly doing research, but then clearly didn’t actually read the results of his search, just blindly transcribed the results into his novel. (And then, even more damning, the editor didn’t catch it.) He couldn’t possibly have read it - these are obviously fake plants and animals, and that’s also very clearly not how dyes are made. I can only assume he was really drunk when he did this, even knowing he’s infamous for being really bad about factual inaccuracies in his novels.

It’s a reminder that although AI can’t “think” like human beings, human beings can absolutely enact dumb algorithms, mindlessly.

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That’s really nothing I would like anyone to read.


His fuckery goes further: on Irish Twitter lots of trans activists recently had the urge to tweet about how the arse “is not a transphobe and I don’t know how I ever believed that” around the same time…

Maybe because all his writing is based on glib surface skimming of source material? I’m just asking questions. Well I’ve never read anything he wrote to tell the truth, maybe a tweet or two and the quote in the Indo above but that’s it. There are lots of excellent Irish fiction writers at the moment, the majority of them are women. I’ve never heard anyone I know talk about one of his books let alone recommend one to me.

Take that thought, and then change the subject parameters to “The Holocaust”!



Obviously any novelist is going to google a thousand things. That’s fine. It doesn’t spoil my sense of narrative omniscience if the narrator has to look up what dye is made from. But what kind of shit author just uncritically heaves it in there?

Like, an octorok is not a real thing outside of Hyrule. I know that because… I speak English. If I thought maybe it were just a foreign word for octopus or some such thing, then I’d have to run that down, because if I didn’t recognize it, why should I expect my readers to?

As a humanities professor, I’ve seen this before. It’s a 50-page senior thesis that was started two nights before and completed in a mad rush of copy-pasting. I don’t mean this is plagiarized, I mean this is what you get from a student who is daring you to wade through all his bullshit and prove that it’s utterly meaningless nonsense that he pulled out of his ass, or else give him a D+ and let him get on with his life.

You might get away with it then, but not in a novel people are paying money for, boyo.


I…don’t think I’ve ever seen an article describe a Legend of Zelda game without using the words “legend” or “Zelda” before.

googles ‘how dyes are made’


Yeah, obviously traditional dyes are made from plants and animals. But not like this - not random bits of animals and plants (and gems) mixed together, leaving aside that they’re clearly imaginary. This list of ingredients is obviously based on the tradition of magic potions, not dyes - wings and eyeballs, random plants, and that’s magical logic - put together things with symbolic significance and they are transformed, magically, into something new. Dyes are made from organisms that produce strong pigments. That’s not going to be found in wings or tails and certainly not eyeballs. The nature of traditional dyes is they tended to be made very simply - i.e. with single ingredients, possibly altered with acids and bases. So everything about this list would be revealed to be pretty clearly wrong with the slightest bit of thought and/or actual research.

Missed the joke.

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So this was a novel, right? A work of fiction?


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