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  #51  
Old Jun 1st 2011, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: Dan Brown

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Originally Posted by drgoodtrips View Post
I'm so entertained by this thread...

I think I've read all of Dan Brown's books as they were popular when I was traveling a lot for work and thus in the airport and coincided nicely with the length of a flight in terms of time to read. My perception of it was that the plots tended to be formulaic and trite, but that the historical angle had potential to be interesting, ala some of Ken Follet's stuff. However, as I read them, it seemed more like I was reading misinformation than liberties with fiction.

This is a subtle distinction, but I see it, personally. It's one thing to invent a fictional character or characters and have them navigate their way through real, established, historical events. It's another thing to invent facts to fill in holes in historical knowledge and package it into the literary equivalent of a Big Mac for public consumption. For a contingent of the population, Dan Brown will probably be the limit of their exposure to history.

To explain what I mean, imagine a novel with an Indiana Jones knock-off as the protagonist, his plucky female romance interest and cohort in tow, having a series of adventures in 1930's Europe where they uncovered a conspiracy to invent something called "The Holocaust". They have a series of page-turning adventures, near misses, and flirtatious banter until in the end, they defeat someone and get married.

The novel may be entertaining in a bathroom read kind of way, but the fact that it's a breezy adventure/romance creates an expectation of that being the fiction and the background simply facts. After all, any novel that takes place in a realistic setting (for the most part) is going to be part fiction and part fact. You don't read Tom Clancy or Stephen King novels that take place in the US where US citizens drive on the left side of the road and there's no such state as Virginia. There is generally some assumed fact base and the interesting part for most people (the characters, events, etc) are the fiction. In Dan Brown's books, the characters and their romances are the fiction, and the underlying facts... are also fiction.
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  #52  
Old Jun 1st 2011, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: Dan Brown

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Glad you liked. That was actually the first time I'd really thought through what always bothered me about those books.
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  #53  
Old Jun 1st 2011, 12:42 PM
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Default Re: Dan Brown

drgoodtrips, surely you remember one or two examples of a made-up background claim that you came across in his books.

I learnt about the number phi, I learnt about the Illuminati and I learnt about CERN, thanks to Dan Brown. I would never have known anything about these phenomena without Dan Brown and I am sure that millions of people around the world did the same.

25 years ago those exact same people would have been nonsense like Dynasty. Maybe the authorities are spreading rumours that Dan Brown merely writes nonsense, because they are scared the people are becoming curious.
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  #54  
Old Jun 1st 2011, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: Dan Brown

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drgoodtrips, surely you remember one or two examples of a made-up background claim that you came across in his books.
Not really. I read these books 4 or 5 years ago during layovers and flights. I was looking for something to alleviate the crushing boredom of business travel more than I was taking notes for vetting their historical accuracy. What I'm describing is the impression that I came away with -- I recall reading things that conflicted with my prior knowledge of the subject from other sources that weren't fictional romance/adventure novels.

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I learnt about the number phi, I learnt about the Illuminati and I learnt about CERN, thanks to Dan Brown. I would never have known anything about these phenomena without Dan Brown and I am sure that millions of people around the world did the same.
Okay... I can't really say that I'm in the same boat or was in the same boat. I already knew what all of the things you listed were prior to reading the novels. If Dan Brown inspired millions of people to go and read more about particle physics, irrational numbers or historical societies, I suppose that's a nominal public service, though it would be counteracted by the people that simply took these things at face value from his work of fiction without actually going to learn more about them out of curiosity.

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25 years ago those exact same people would have been nonsense like Dynasty. Maybe the authorities are spreading rumours that Dan Brown merely writes nonsense, because they are scared the people are becoming curious.
What authorities and what rumors? I don't think Dan Brown is viewed, even by Dan Brown, as some kind of whistle-blowing conspiracy revealer. I suspect that if you asked him what public service he provides, he would respond that he entertains people with fictional stories and gets paid handsomely for doing so. I doubt that he views himself as some kind of educator.
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  #55  
Old Jun 1st 2011, 02:40 PM
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Default Re: Dan Brown

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Originally Posted by NickKIELCEPoland View Post
drgoodtrips, surely you remember one or two examples of a made-up background claim that you came across in his books.

I learnt about the number phi, I learnt about the Illuminati and I learnt about CERN, thanks to Dan Brown. I would never have known anything about these phenomena without Dan Brown and I am sure that millions of people around the world did the same.

25 years ago those exact same people would have been nonsense like Dynasty. Maybe the authorities are spreading rumours that Dan Brown merely writes nonsense, because they are scared the people are becoming curious.
Do you think what you learned about, say, the Illuminati was accurate?
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  #56  
Old Jun 1st 2011, 02:49 PM
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Default Re: Dan Brown

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Originally Posted by drgoodtrips View Post
If Dan Brown inspired millions of people to go and read more about particle physics, irrational numbers or historical societies, I suppose that's a nominal public service,.
Thank you.
Donkey, I didn't check, but I did check about phi and CERN. Did you read anything specific that was inaccurate?

Last edited by NickKIELCEPoland; Jun 1st 2011 at 02:53 PM.
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  #57  
Old Jun 1st 2011, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: Dan Brown

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Thank you.
Donkey, I didn't check, but I did check about phi and CERN. Did you read anything specific that was inaccurate?
Dunno. The books sucked too much for me to care.

But basically you're admitting to reading fiction as fact. So that's your problem.
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  #58  
Old Jun 1st 2011, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: Dan Brown

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Thank you.
I'm not sure what it is you're thanking me for, but cheers.
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  #59  
Old Jun 1st 2011, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: Dan Brown

I'm thanking you for acknolwledging that Dan Brown has done a public service. I certainly think he has. I remember the 80s and 90s and young people were not talking about Leonardo Da Vinci, the Illuminati, CERN or phi - they were talking about Wham. Samantha Fox, hairsprays and Dynasty.
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  #60  
Old Jun 1st 2011, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Dan Brown

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Originally Posted by NickKIELCEPoland View Post
I'm thanking you for acknolwledging that Dan Brown has done a public service. I certainly think he has. I remember the 80s and 90s and young people were not talking about Leonardo Da Vinci, the Illuminati, CERN or phi - they were talking about Wham. Samantha Fox, hairsprays and Dynasty.
I still don't hear kids talking about da Vinci, CERN, or phi.
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