The Cranky Old Reader

I'm a Goodreads refugee, looking for a new home. Old books for children, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and humor are my main areas of interest. I've little interest in books that were written after 1975 or so, and prefer books that are older still. There are, however, a few still-living authors that I respect.

Uninspiring, with a pitiful flaw

The Umbrella Conspiracy - S.D. Perry

It would be ridiculous to expect much from a novelization of a video game. A competently-told but pedestrian adventure story is about the most one could hope for. For the most part, The Umbrella Conspiracy does just that. But it's like eating a burger at a McDonald's: uninspiring. It's certainly not worth reviewing, except for one thing which demonstrates how low standards have gotten in publishing these days.


"...and faced a much smaller room, as bland and industrial as the first. ... So far, the basement levels had offered nothing more dangerous than a lack of decorum..."

Through the novel, the author stresses how luxurious the main mansion is. The basement is, in contrast, extremely plain. But the ignorance betrayed in using the phrase "lack of decorum" to indicate that plainness is rather telling. Decorum has nothing to do with decor (or decoration), as the author seems to believe - and as some editor presumably failed to realize. Well, technically both words share the same Latin root, but the meanings are entirely different:

    noun: decorum
    behavior in keeping with good taste and propriety.
    "you exhibit remarkable modesty and decorum"
    synonyms: propriety, seemliness, decency, good taste, correctness;

    noun: decor; plural noun: decors; noun: décor; plural noun: décors
    the furnishing and decoration of a room.
    synonyms: decoration, furnishing, ornamentation; color scheme
    Definitions from Google

Decorum pertains to behavior, specifically human or (at least) sapient behavior - not interior decorating. It just sounds as if it does. But for a supposedly professional writer to include such an error, and for an editor and publishing house to print such an error, is really pitiful.

Currently reading

Basic Roleplaying: The Chaosium d100 system (Basic Roleplaying)
Sam Johnson, Charlie Krank
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Rebecca Solnit