I'm wondering if the article 'Plausibility' is entirely relevant in today's literary world cram-jammed with vampires, werewolves and other fantasies. It seems anything goes.


Because the exotic, fantastical and superbly imagined creations have no basis in reality many writers seem to think that any event, character or situation can be included without underlying logic. This is not so. Even if you have created a whole new world it must have its own sense and 'laws'. They may be as bizarre, weird, outlandish and creative as you like but they need to have foundations.

The Incredible Hulk didn't just happen he came from being exposed to a bomb blast of gamma radiation. Superman arrived in an escape capsule from Krypton, etc.


In the supposedly 'real' fictional world, situations need to hold together. We seem to have lost much of the rigour that is necessary to mould satisfactory tales. For example, having an ordinary British bobby pedalling along on his country beat and then whipping out a .45 Magnum and aerating a burglar should require an explanation that may not be necessary for a NY cop shooting.

I envisage more and more decent reviewers throwing their metaphorical pens in the air as I read their comments. Character A starts the book as a skeletal geek academic while it suits the plot but develops into a cold-eyed ex-Navy SEAL later in order to nail the baddie. Inconsistencies like this seem to happen more and more.

It appears for some, justification is no longer necessary. When you have a plot problem – pull something out of the hat. Ignore the fact that an event could never happen in the given set of circumstances, just ad lib.


This is sloppy, lazy writing.

A not-so-recently aired Inspector Barnaby had him uncovering art fraud that was so utterly ludicrous it ought to have had Christie's and Sotheby's and every fine art expert writing in protest at such implied stupidity of their professions. This kind of thing used to be a rare exception, now I see more and more poorly thought-out or badly researched plots.


Does it matter? you might ask. YES. Because if it grows, develops and spreads it undermines every writer's credibility. It gives a superficial quality to all fiction. If every incident is counterfeit all novel relationships, emotion and analysis of the human condition will be suspect. For most of us living constrained lives, we rely on serious fiction to add a width and depth we would never otherwise encounter: it helps us develop as human beings. We learn understanding and tolerance for our fellows by being shown characters we would never meet in real life.

Fiction is important; writers have a responsibility, that goes hand-in-hand with their rights, when they publish.