“Conversely, I’ve read author’s notes which say “I know this could not have happened but…” which really annoy me, because it’s like they’re saying “I know I got this wrong, but hey, at least I’ve owned up, so now you can’t complain about it!”
Um. Yes I can.”
Ha ha! I’ve read those kinds of notes too. Although, thankfully, the one’s I’ve read haven’t been too outlandish. I remember one, for example, that explained the author’s decision to use the word “badminton” rather than “shuttledore” (or whatever it was called). But I thought at the time, “If you were worried about readers being confused, couldn’t you have put a note in the front saying, ‘In X year, badminton was called _____, which is the word used in the text’?” Then there are some notes declaring that the author fudged anachronistic stuff by a year or two. Again, I would prefer the author to express frustration at not being able to use X fashion or Y activity because it was a year off rather than saying, “Eh, close enough.” But at least when they fess up to something that was wrong, I know it was because the author made a conscious decision to run roughshod over history rather than making a blunder.
So yes, we can still complain. But now instead of complaining about ignorance, we can complain about the author throwing history to the wind in favor of playing pretend. :-)