Recently a friend began noticing that some authors--including highly successful ones--buck current writing advice and include information dumps in their stories. In other words, one moment the hero and his buddy are racing a dilapidated old Jeep down a rutted camel path in Afghanistan while taking pot shots at the bad guys on their tail. Suddenly the leading man recalls he has one last fragmentation grenade in his pack and bends down to retrieve it. And at that point the author inserts some information that the character is not thinking or experiencing. It could be facts about the history of grenades. It might be details about the Jeep, the dusty roadway, military training methods, or even an old experience in the character's past.
The common name given to information that a writer inserts into a story is "author intrusion." For many writing instructors, author intrusion is anathema--an evil that should never occur. In fact, many writing coaches will insist students write only in Deep POV, which is a method of relating the story from deep inside the hero's skull, where nothing is allowed that the character does not personally experience or consciously think about.
So is author intrusion truly bad writing style? At one time, I would have jumped to say yes. But the more widely I read, the more novels I find that include author intrusion. In fact, some genres--such as military thrillers--purposely include information dumps to provide details on armaments, military tactics, information on behind-the-scenes life at the CIA, etc., in order infuse a heightened sense of realism into the story. For many readers, the strategy evidently works, because they proceed to buy the next thriller released by those authors. (I suspect the average reader has never heard of author intrusion and simply thinks in terms of "I liked the story" or not.)
So I turn the matter over to you, the vast pool of thinking friends out there. Is author intrusion good, bad, or neither? Is Deep POV an inherently superior style of writing? I will eagerly await your thoughts!