29 April 2010

The accidental sex toy check

Jaine Fenn, whose Consorts of Heaven I reviewed for Interzone last year, admits that before she submits a manuscript for publication she Googles all the invented words in her story to check that they don’t have unexpected meanings. You can find out why she calls it the 'accidental sex toy check’ here.

This strikes me as an eminently sensible idea. For example, it might have saved Guy Gavriel Kay from naming one of the characters in his Fionavar Tapestry . . . Aileron! A more recent example: I really enjoyed reading Mark Newton’s Nights of Villjamur, but I did a double-take when I saw the name he had given an Imperial residence: Balmacara. For all I know, he may have chosen the name deliberately, but in my mind Balmacara is indelibly linked with the Kyle of Lochalsh, Plockton and a BBC TV series featuring a pot-smoking policeman and a West Highland terrier!

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