I’m well behind with reading the regular SF-news newsletters from Dave Langford of Ansible (and if you have no idea what an ansible is, you ain’t an SF fan and wouldn’t be interested in the newsletter!).
Anyway, this little list of writing howlers from SF novels, collected by Dave and his indefatigable assistants caught my eye:
Breathing Exercises Dept: `Faraday, eighteen-year-old daughter of Earl Isend of Skarabost, sat soaking up the atmosphere with her intelligent green eyes.’ (Sarah Douglass, _The Wayfarer Redemption_, 1997)
Dept of Facial Contortion: `Pym returned him a fixed smile over eyes blazing with fury.’ (Lois McMaster Bujold, _A Civil Campaign_, 1999)
Light of Other Days Dept: `She saw through its “eyes”, which were packets of specialized nerves designed to collect information from a spectrum far exceeding human comprehension, from light waves now unseen but which were common when the planet was young and newly cooled.’ (William R. Trotter, _Warrener’s Beastie_, 2006)
Dept of Teleporting Sweat, Crossed Eyes and X-Ray Vision: `Sweat rolled down the woman’s face as she spoke, and beaded on the narrow face of the other man present.’ `His eyes popped open, and for a moment they stared at each other almost nose to nose.’ `Perhaps it was the hangdog way they sat, shoulders slumped, eyes on the ground under their boots.’ (all Robert Jordan, _The Fires of Heaven_, 1993)
Serious Mainstream Dept, or My Vegetable Love Should Grow …: `He felt his cashew become a banana, and then a rippled yam, bursting with weight.’ (John Updike, _Brazil_, 1994)