19 March 2010

John Barnes - Finity

  • Author: John Barnes
  • Title: Finity
  • Publisher: Tor 1999
  • ISBN: 9780312861186
Before I write about this book, let me just say that I love John Barnes's writing.  He is genuinely excellent, particularly in short fiction.  But here's the thing.

This book is set in a world where the Nazi's won WWII, and starts out by telling the story of an American expat/escapee from the Nazi occupation living in New Zealand.  Which is fine.  But Barnes then goes on the shorten the name of the place to Enzy.  So now let me tell you why this annoyed me so much I couldn't keep reading.

It's En Zed.  Zed.  Zuh Eh Duh.  As in "Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead." 

That is how you pronounce it.  Not zee.  I know that all y'all like to change the spelling of things, so that colour and flavour and litre look wrong on the page, and I can deal with that.  Lazy spelling, but at least it sounds right.  But there is one letter in the alphabet that you don't pronounce correctly.  And it shits me. 

And before you jump up and give me a lecture on dialect and the divergence of language due to geographic boundries etc etc, please keep in mind that the language is called English, not American.  (American language would be Spanish or Portugese derived these days anyway, but lets not get into that.)  If you really must butcher the pronounciation of the INDIVIDUAL LETTERS, make your own fucking language.  You can call it United Statish.

It might seem like a minor thing to you, but honestly, it stopped me from being able to get into the story.  This may make me petty, irritable, overly fussy, any number of other psychologically or emotionally discriptive terms that result in the over all impression of my personality being that I am dangerous, or unpredictable, or weird, or any combination thereof.  I don't mind.  It is most likely accurate to apply these lables, although dangerous probably only applies in limited circumstances.

Maybe, if I get over it on day, I might try to read this again.  But probably not.