I was planning to spend the evening reading one of the new books on the subject of the historical biography I plan to write. I was a little worried, because there's always a possibility that I will sit down and read the exact book I want to write. And then I will have no choice but to throw up the project altogether--which is what happened to the very first novel I wrote after I read Of Human Bondage.
This book didn't look very threatening--in fact, it looked self-published (but it wasn't, which is just sad). But you never know: Look in any academic library, and you'll find many really crappy-looking but perfectly respectable print-on-demand books that happen to be on obscure topics. So, I sat down, opened it up, and--
it's a novelization!
WTF? Nowhere on the cover does it say that this is fiction. "Inspired by a true story?" No. "Based on real events?" No. Obviously geared to children? No.
You open it up, and it's nonexistent dialog, handy tertiary characters, imagined drama...sold as nonfiction.
This, this, this crap, this inexcusable! unethical! crap! is why I want to write a book on this subject. We're not talking about George Washington here. There aren't a thousand well-researched, yet entertaining and accessible, books about this person to balance out this fictionalized piece o' shite. There are 1. obscure academic works, and 2. cheap hack jobs like this one. And believe me, this historical person is the most interesting person ever! His life deals with momentous social change! I have yet to explain who he is to someone and have the person respond with anything other than, "Wow! That sounds like a great book! I want to read that!" The editors who rejected it want to read it! And THIS is what's out there--fucking fake fictionalized fairy tales. God help me.