Something doesn’t ring true in the stories “Any Marine,” by Stephen Elliott [August 2003], and “The Designated Marksman,” by Otis Haschemeyer [October 2003]. Was Stephen Elliott a combat marine? Was Otis Haschemeyer a navy SEAL? It doesn’t show up in their bios. I hope these writers are combat veterans, because there is something distasteful about made-up war stories. It is overreaching, no matter how skillfully done.
Stephen Elliott responds:
I share Don Hope’s concern. When I read Michael Chabon’s novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, I wrote the author a similar note. I was concerned that he was writing about homosexual characters but didn’t say he was gay in his bio. Then I found out he was married and had a child. It seemed dishonest somehow.