Thursday, March 6, 2014

Old 3rd-Limited

Prior to about 1990, 3rd-limited POV was in its infancy.  Many works implemented it, but few stuck to it 100%.  Back then, omniscient snapshots in the middle of a 3rd-limited story were acceptable.  Today they would be considered horrendous POV errors.

The first novel I noticed with such a POV was Ender's Game.  Perhaps five times during the book the POV shifts for a sentence or two in the middle of a scene.

I just found today that George Orwell's classic 1984 stands in the same boat.  At the end of Chapter IV in Part II the thoughts of two characters are seen in the same paragraph.

Prose is changing constantly, and this is just one small way that it has transformed recently.


  1. Now I'm going to be on the look-out for that very specifically when I get around to reading those books. It is interesting to see how standards have changed. As a bit of a perfectionist, I'm prefer reading a consistent point of view narration. Thanks for sharing and highlighting this transformation.

    1. Back then nobody cared. Have you read Frank Herbert's Dune? It's head-hopping omniscient, so while it's a consistent POV, it's constantly switching from person to person. Brandon Sanderson pointed this out on Writing Excuses several episodes ago, by the way. I didn't find it myself.