No novel or franchise is without sin — that’s the thesis statement behind popular channels such as CinemaSins and Red Letter Media, who have made careers out of lovingly and painstakingly point out the contradictions and gaffs in their favorite forms of media… so why should the Engen Universe be any different? 🙂
Over the years we’ve gotten tons of comments from fans, reviewers, and professionals of varying fields who have read our books and cared enough — been invested enough — to point out some of the senses-shattering plot holes that Engen Universe titles have to offer. What with all the positive spin we’ve been pumping out preparing for Fantasy from the Rock and the Black Womb 10th Anniversary Edition, we thought it would be good to show the flip-side of promotion an unveil our Top 5 Suspension-of-Disbelief-Shattering Moments from the Engen Universe! 🙂
(mild spoilers ahead)
5. Smoke Anyone?: In Black Womb, the first Engen Universe novel to ever be released, a large portion of the plot revolves around a murder mystery, with key elements of the case being supplied by two amiable morticians. At one point they open the chest cavity of a young victim and discover all his organs have been removed, save for his lungs. They cut into the lungs and discover them to be blackened from years of cigarette smoke, and infer that the killer may have only been looking for pristine organs.
The Problem?: According the Dr. Heidi Paulin, who graciously wrote in to inform us of this gaff: “The victim may be a heavy smoker but given his young age, his lungs would only be darkened. This applies to the lung exterior and interior so they’d know of his vice before slicing into the organ.”
Our Reaction: Ooops. This was tweaked in the international release and for the 10th Anniversary edition, but it remains a black mark. (pun intended).
4. What happens in Utah…: One of the major settings from Infinity is a strip club in Salt Lake City Utah which operates an underground gambling ring in its basement, run by a particularly nasty manager.
The Problem?: More than one, apparently. Many were quick to point out that strip clubs in the United States that show full nudity do not serve alcohol, a fact that the Canadian authors of Infinity never considered. This problem compounded itself when Professor Donna Walsh of Memorial University read the novel while working with Matthew LeDrew on his thesis. Walsh, a native to America, was quick to point out that Utah wouldn’t have had a strip club of that nature to begin with, let alone one that had an underground gambling operation, being a religiously fundamental state.
Our Reaction: Great heaping joy that the majority of our readers were Canadian and wouldn’t notice (until now).
3. It happens in how long?: The ten book Black Womb series has a frenetic and action-packed pace that keeps the reader engaged through each of the books, clamoring to pick up the next in the series to see what events will befall the heroes next and how they’ll get out of them.
The Problem?: When those same readers take a step back — or look up the official Engen timeline — and realize all those myriad events take place within just four months, comprising roughly a semester of Xander Drew’s school year.
Our Reaction: We absolutely planned it that way, and while it’s a sticking point for some it’s a revelation for others that hint at the intricacies of the Engen Universe. No regrets on this one! 🙂
2. Portable Psyche-Ward: The mental institution Black Springs plays a prominent role in the third Infinity novel Exodus of Angels after serving as the setting for the short story The Theogony by Matthew LeDrew (despite the location having been originally created by Ellen Curtis, LeDrew’s story just happened to be published first). Both stories lean heavily on Theo, the telepathic member of Victor’s team who was forced to stay in the institute as a child because he could hear voices.
The Problem?: Black Springs changes drastically between appearances, going from one of many buildings on a crowded Los Angeles street in Exodus of Angels to a lone structure surrounded by a desert in Theogony.
Our Reaction: Theogony author Matthew LeDrew assures readers, it’s not a mistake. “Theogony was written from Theo’s point-of-view when he was at his very worst in Black Springs. In that story he is the definition of an unreliable narrator, so his view of Black Springs is filtered to us through that lens.”
There are several lines in Exodus of Angels which seem to reference this fact, so we’re inclined to believe that it was intentional.
1. Arrested Development: Through the 10 book Black Womb series, Xander and co. manage to get in no end of trouble right under the noses of local law enforcement without it ever becoming an issue.
The Problem?: With that much happening over the course of only four months, some of it directly involving police and federal agents, the fact that Xander never once ended up in handcuffs becomes statistically impossible.
Our Reaction?: It’s less an error than you might think! As proven by the fact Xander ends up in police custody not once but twice in the span of just two books in his sequel series, The Xander Drew series.
Did we miss any? Comment below and perhaps they’ll get addressed! 🙂