Daimones, by Massimo Marino (3:32)

IOD-DaimonesToday we see that if an author doesn’t speak English fluently, he should probably hire an editor who does.

What I gleaned about the story: 2011 was a frightening year, with numerous unexplained mass-animal deaths occurring all over the world. Presumably the story has something to do with that.

Find this book on Amazon.

Note: Starts with a prologue

WTF #1: Grammar in the first paragraph

Analysis: “Large numbers of animals have mysteriously died recently, from the thousands of birds found dead in two southern U.S. states to 100,000 dead fish in Arkansas. TIME takes a look at other mass animal deaths, the mystery of many of which is still unsolved.” Two adverbs in one sentence, and a questionable verb number in the other make for a very rocky start to the first paragraph of the story.

There’s nothing grammatically incorrect about using two “ly”-words in a single sentence, but it sure feels awkward on the tongue. As for the second sentence, I suppose one could argue that “mystery” is single and therefore should take the singular “is,” but “mystery of many [things]” feels to me like a plural – there are multiple mysteries being cited, and so in that case, they “are” unsolved. But even if some grammarian tells me that “mystery of many [things] is unsolved” is the proper construction, I’d still say that it’s awkward as hell and should have been rewritten to avoid the confusion in the first place.

I also quirked an eyebrow at the geography here.  By using the “from this to that” construction, this sentence seems to be suggesting that “two southern U.S. states” and “Arkansas” span some kind of vast gulf – either conceptually or physically. The problem is, Arkansas is a southern U.S. state, so the sense of contrast collapses. It gives me the feeling that either the author was not aware of this geographic fact, or else he was unaware of the contrast implied by that sentence construction.

And speaking of Arkansas, 100,000 dead fish? In a land-locked state? I’m sure there are probably some commercial fishing operations along the Mississippi River, and perhaps even in some of the larger lakes, so I’m not saying it’s impossible, but when I think “Where would it be appropriate to find scads of fish?” I do not think “Arkansas.”

WTF #2: More grammar issues

Analysis: …thousands of the rare Andean flamingo abandoned their nests in the north of Chile… Hmm. Can “flamingo” be used as both singular and plural, like “deer?” Not in any of the dictionaries I checked. So again, a simple grammar error earns a flag because it’s on the first page.

WTF #3: We hit the trifecta on grammar

Analysis: Mozambique Tilapia is considered as one of the most resilient species of fish. Nope. It can be known as a resilient species, but there is no “as” with “considered” in this context. (When “considered” is being used in the sense of something being contemplated a particular way, it is “considered as.” But if it is being used in the sense of “believed to be,” as it is here, then is either “considered to be,” or simply “considered.”)

I’m sure grammarians will tell me that despite the “proper” usages I’ve cited, many people can and do use it the way the author did. So if this citation had been in dialogue, I would almost certainly have let it go. But when it’s in a passage purporting to be excerpted from a major news outlet, the grammar has to match what an organization of that stature would have used. And in the world I live in, major media outlets tend to get that one right.

Note: And that makes three different grammar flags, all on the first page. Of possible interest, I note that this book also has Spanish and Italian versions available on Amazon, so I’m guessing that A) English is not the author’s native language, and that B) it is not the native language of any of his editors either.

Infinity Squad, by Shuvom Ghose (5:05)
Sanyare: The Last Descendant, by Megan Haskell (15:04)

About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.