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Kim Newman – spit and fit

October 17, 2011

I’ve just finished reading Kim Newman’s Hound of the D’Urberville’s, a madcap, macabre series of yarns about Professor Moriarty and his homicidal henchman, Moran. (Review in the Indie on Sunday on 30 October.) It’s very entertaining, full of literary in-jokes, with references to Conan Doyle and Hardy, of course, and also HG Wells, Hornung, James Joyce, Maurice Leblanc and others;  and Moran’s narrative voice – a sort of blend of Flashman and Viz Comic’s Raffles the Gentleman Thug – sounds convincingly late Victorian. One strange thing, though: Moran consistently uses ‘fit’ as the past tense of ‘fit’  ( eg ‘I couldn’t immediately see how they fit together’). I thought this was an American form of the past tense, but Newman is English. (To Americans, the usual British form – ‘fitted’ – must sound very odd and childish, like saying ‘hitted’ as the past tense of ‘hit’.)  Newman also tends to use the American past tense ‘spit’, although on one occasion he also uses the British English ‘spat’. Odd.

I have other observations to make about American past tenses, but will save those for another day.

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