Thursday, February 14, 2008

Black-footed Ferrets and Steamy Romance Novels

What could be more appropriate for Valentine’s Day than a discussion of romance novels, especially when that discussion involves plagiarism by a romance novelist of text from an article in a natural history magazine?

Our juicy tale begins with nature writer Paul Tolme’s revelation that significant portions of his story about Black-footed Ferrets, published in Defenders Magazine in summer 2005, subsequently appeared (without attribution) in a romance novel by Cassie Edwards called Shadow Bear, in which the main characters engage in some remarkably unromantic post-coital discussions about the lives of ferrets. A 17-minute interview with Tolme on NPR’s Talk of the Nation can be downloaded here.

Ms. Edwards’s egregious transgressions were first brought to light in a 5-part series by Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books. PodBlack Cat later expanded upon this story to produce a fascinating essay about the psychology behind the massive romance novel genre. After briefly reviewing the incredible array of sexual behaviors found in the animal kingdom, she suggests that “we should encourage more animal-related stories in general as material fit for encouraging a love of reading and science… er, as well as learning about how love is really a fascinating topic and not something to be fearful of discussing in a rational, informed way.”

For those of you eager for still more, a blogsearch reveals a ton more of stuff about this tawdry affair. What fun!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh! Glad you enjoyed the read, thanks very much! :D

February 14, 2008 10:21 AM  
Blogger cyberthrush said...

in a slightly similar vein, readers can check out this recent story on gorillas:

February 14, 2008 11:53 AM  

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