Making the Perfect Record: From Inscription to Impression in Early Magnetic Recording

The Dangers of Scientific Realism

Writing style aside, Reeve’s scientific realism received both scrutiny and praise. In a July 1913 issue of the Independent, he published “In Defense of the Detective Story,” wherein he responds to allegations that criminals are inspired by and learn from the “cheap” genre. Halfway through the piece, he recalls the following: “The very first scientific detective story which I wrote was returned to me by one editor of a popular magazine with what I considered the most complimentary letter he ever wrote me, that he ‘couldn’t publish a story like that—some darn fool would go out and try to do it’” (Reeve 1913, 93). Such accusations were apparently familiar to Reeve, who counters by resituating the argument, stressing the connections between his realism, social progress, innovation, and the moral good.45

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