The admirable laziness of Jules Verne

17You know how sometimes an editor or peer-reviewer points out a shortcoming in something you’ve written but you really can’t be bothered to fix it because it would actually involve quite a lot of work and even if you could be bothered you can’t remember the last time you had any time?

And so instead you make the problem part of the framing of the piece? You turn the flaw into a feature by writing something like ‘in order to focus on I must reluctantly neglect the nonetheless important question of y’?

Jules Verne has you beat hands down.

Just over halfway through The Sphinx of the Ice Realm (SUNY Press 2012), his sequel to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, just after the startling revelation – to no one’s surprise ever – that the secretive crewman Hunt is in fact Pym’s old companion Dirk Peters travelling incognito, Verne, never a master of labyrinthine plotting, writes:

I’ve included enough clues in my yarn for readers to have spotted Hunt as Peters many pages back, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they’d expected this plot twist, in fact I would be amazed if they hadn’t. (148)

Lost in admiration.Lc2kzE8Bpw-2

And for words.

Except, of course, Tekeli-li!

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