I think by now we all know that research is critical when presenting work to the public. They'll put a book down in a flash if inaccuracies get in the way. It happens in movies too and yesterday, we had lots of comment about that. Thing is, it's relatively easy these days to check your facts. Read a blog a few days ago about keeping a "bible". That's a very good idea and one I'd not heard of before. It would help not only the writer, but the editor, and yes, if you're writing a series it becomes even more important.
Yesterday, I was doing some research about bloopers in books and movies and found out something interesting. Making these kinds of mistakes in literature isn't just for newbies. The biggies screw up, too. One site pointed out that in the first Bridget Jones Diary, several children and their ages were mentioned but then, in the following story Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, the children had completely different ages that didn't jive with the first book. That's a bad mistake. Did the author just forget or believe, in the end, it wasn't important?
The list of acclaimed authors was huge and included J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and others. Here are a few examples:
The Lost World –Michael Crichton
Ian Malcolm dies in Jurassic Park. In the epilogue it says that the Costa Rican Government would not "permit the burial of John Hammond or Ian Malcolm", yet he's somehow back to life for this book, presumably because the character in the movie was popular.
Angels and Demons- Dan Brown
When Vittoria shows Kohler and Langdon the underground lab, she searches for the dial tone on her cellphone (and fails as they are underground), thrice. Cellphones don't have dial tones.
The book erroneously claims that St. Peter's Square is not located in Vatican City, but in Rome proper. Although located outside the perimeter wall of the original Vatican complex, it does lie within the boundaries of present-day Vatican City, established in 1929.
In one of his lectures Robert Langdon tells his students that the Christians got their tradition of communion, eating their god, from the Aztecs. The Aztec civilization dates to the 13th century while the tradition of communion is as old as Christianity itself. And even disregarding when the Aztecs lived, the Europeans had no contact with America until the late 15th century and could thus not have gotten any traditions that way.
At the end of the book the cardinal, Mortati, states that the pope did not sin when he had a child with Maria via artificial insemination. For the Catholic church, this is false. The church condemns unnatural sexual acts between two persons, one of the most unnatural being artificial insemination. The idea that the pope's "devil's advocate" would allow this behavior is absurd.
The book claims that St. Peter's is adorned by 140 statues. St. Peter's has only 13 statues - Christ and his apostles.
So, I guess, the point I'm making is that ALL of us need what be more careful when researching. If you make a mistake, take heart, even the most acclaimed authors make them. None of us are perfect and lack of careful research isn't just a newbie mistake. A bible (or list) of factual details in our stories could help avoid these problems. The fact that I so easily found these examples is proof that yes, people notice.