Palindromic novels: A book editor’s nightmare
A palindrome is a word or a sentence that reads the same forward as it does backward. There is no upper limit to how long a palindrome can be. Believe it or not, some audacious writers have written entire novels in the palindromic form! Now that’s a nightmare for any book editor.
In 1986, Lawrence Levine wrote a palindromic novel of 31,957 words, Dr. Awkward and Olson in Oslo. In 1980, David Stephens wrote a 58,000 letter palindrome “Satire: Veritas”.
Can you imagine writing or editing a book like that? How do you keep track of the words? The sentences? The story? The plot? It all seems so convoluted! The writers were definitely crazy to attempt a feat like that. They either enjoyed the process or totally hated it, but persisted just so they could achieve that milestone.
Having to work on a book like that can give any editor a phobia of palindromes. If that weren’t enough, whoever coined the word for that phobia has got to be evil. Because Aibohphobia – the word for phobias of palindromes (yes, it’s a thing) is exactly that, a palindrome!
Let’s take a look at some shorter examples of this strangeness:
Such a profound confusion
– Was it a car or a cat I saw?
Capital punishment for food I don’t like
– Go Hang a Salami! I’m a Lasagna Hog!
Bad Mr. Owl! Bad!
– Mr. Owl Ate My Metal Worm
Lisa got no love for green veggies
– Lisa Bonet ate no basil.
No one gives a hoot
– Too bad I hid a boot
No, they still live under your bed
– Rats live on no evil star.
– Live not on evil.
You’re as selfless as Ma is.
– Ma is as selfless as I am.
Dammit not again!
– Dammit I’m mad
So, there you have it. The short form palindromes aren’t that tedious after all. Can you make one of your own? Try it!
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