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Zer Netmouse
July 22nd, 2004
11:06 am

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a small disappointment
You know how, when you watch movies, you can get distracted sometimes by the special effects? Especially if there's a mistake? I have started to get distracted by the editing in books, usually to my disappointment.

On the whole, having got into it a bit slowly, I have been enjoying Blind Lake. I'm getting near the end. The end is always less effectively edited than the rest of a book. I had just passed a missing article a few pages back, and then I stumbled on this inconsistency:

p 354

"[...]her first real long-term relationship, a university affair with a man named Mike Okuda who had also been obsessed with O/BEC images and who once admitted fantasizing, as they made love, that he was under invisible surveillance from other worlds"


"wait," I thought, and flipped backward...


p 205

"Ray had been not only her first husband but her first lover."


So I checked in the front of the book.



"Edited by Teresa Nielsen Hayden"


And I sighed.

I'll finish the book. I might even vote for it for the Hugo. But I'm disappointed, especially since I'm convinced that, given time and the chance to give something her full attention, Teresa is one of the best editors out there.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:kgkofmel
Date:July 22nd, 2004 08:14 am (UTC)
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But was it copy-edited by TNH?
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From:netmouse
Date:July 22nd, 2004 06:36 pm (UTC)
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well, that's a point. I'm sure they have some staff copy-editor who copyedited it. But when I see "edited by" I tend to think that at least means "The final version was read by" --is that not generally true?

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From:kgkofmel
Date:July 22nd, 2004 09:59 pm (UTC)
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Can't say what is generally true. My impression would be that whether the BNE reads the final version depends on the confidence reposed in the copyeditor by the BNE.

But given the general proliferation of even proof-level errors ("ho there" becoming "hot here" and the like) in the last few years, I'm not sure who is reading what before they commit some books to press.
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From:shsilver
Date:July 22nd, 2004 08:22 am (UTC)
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If it is the paperback edition, you'll note that Marguerite's name on the back cover is completely mis-spelt (as Nerissa Iverson). I really wonder where that came from.
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From:netmouse
Date:July 22nd, 2004 09:44 am (UTC)
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wow. No, this is the hardcover. But that is really something.
From:nicegeek
Date:July 22nd, 2004 08:51 am (UTC)

Possible...

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Hmm...there is a sequence that makes this possible:

  • She has a short-lived affair with Ray, her first lover.

  • She then falls in love with Mike, and has a long term relationship with him.

  • She leaves Mike and goes back to Ray, eventually marrying him.


That's probably not what the author meant, though. :-)
[User Picture]
From:netmouse
Date:July 22nd, 2004 09:44 am (UTC)

Re: Possible...

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no, a few sentences later on p 355 it refers to the first time she met Ray. It was later.

Nice try though. :)
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From:matt_arnold
Date:July 22nd, 2004 10:46 am (UTC)
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You just can't get good editing these days. In Amazing Stories #610, Superman is shown brushing his teeth with a blue toothbrush, when Amazing #398 and Superman #146 clearly state that the Amaz-O device depicted in the Fortress of Solitude, which produces the only things that can survive Superman's Super Bodily Functions, can only produce red objects!
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From:matt_arnold
Date:July 23rd, 2004 09:43 am (UTC)
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When you find a mistake, you could just pretend that the author is using the technique of the unreliable narrator. I love it when a story is told by a character who is lying and trying to screw with the reader. It forces me to think critically and look for clues that reveal what's probaby really going on.
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From:bjorng
Date:July 23rd, 2004 01:00 pm (UTC)
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I have the same reaction to poor copy-editing. Plot inconsistencies can get me as well, but mostly it's typos and similar basic errors that throw me out of the story. That was my biggest gripe with Cryptonomicon -- my hardcover has at least a dozen typos in it.

I know that copyediting is an arduous task. I've done it myself, and my g/f does it professionally. But my feeling is, if you're going to do it, do it right!

As an aside, I think that MS-word is the greatest bane to good editing that has ever been created. If an author uses it, the source material can be severely damaged by bad assumptions that its autocorrection system makes. If a copy-editor uses it, the classic M*ft "we know what's best, so shut up and take it" effect its features have cause more harm than good. On the upside, I think its autocorrect function has drastically increased the use of the word "impute", at least in emails that I regularly see that should be asking for "input". :)
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