April 15, 2008

Un-Busted Flush

Do you ever read a book, and find yourself getting peeved that what could have been a great story is wrecked because the novelist was too lazy to do the research? This happens a lot to people that have some expertise in any area - and it must happen often to those who are really well versed in something. It's a cheat; I hate when writers do it, and I think it's a surefire way to make sure nobody bothers to read you again.

You often hear people say you should write what you know, but as my friend - and writer - Jerry Langton once told me, if that was the case he would only write about baseball and beer. And Jer writes about a great many more things than baseball and beer. You get off your duff and do the research.

Anyway, my point is a serendipitous moment that occurred recently. Brad Smith wrote Busted Flush in 2005. Based in Gettysburg, it's a real treat for Civil War buffs, filled with his signature humour and a bundle of characters that drive a tale where, as always, the good guys win, but not without scrapes, screw-ups, booze-ups and a good time. Put it on your Father's Day list - but the ladies will love it too.

In the novel, Smith spent considerable time and detail on a unique 'what if' scenario - what if the technology had somehow existed to record Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address? There is probably no subject more near and dear to Americans study of their history than the Civil War. And nothing more near and dear to collector's wallets, either. Smith had to tread carefully.

Check this out: turns out the lad was listening to the right voices in his head that day. A recent discovery is validating his supposition - just such a device has been dated to the right time to make his premise very possible.

How cool is that? Or, to put it into baseball terms for Langton and Smith both, that's a homerun.


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