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Typo Hunt

It's that time of year again: the galley proofs for paperbacks are coming in, and I'm looking for typos.

This time round, it's "The Merchants' War" that's due out in paperback in a couple of months. If you spotted any annoying typos in the hardback, please mention them in the comment thread below. (Please try and cite the page number in the hardback, and copy-type a short phrase — three or four words will do — that I can search on. When publishers prepare a paperback they usually take the DTP file for the hardback and reflow it to fit the smaller page size, so a typo on page 201 of the hardcover may move several pages in the paperback.) NB: the book's due in production on the 23rd, so you've got until the 20th to yell at me.

Also: if you spotted any typos in the US paperback edition of "The Clan Corporate", please tell me (the UK paperback should be showing up in about five months and so it's time for me to notify the publisher of any remaining bugs that weren't squashed in the US paperback).



Are you looking for typos of the lift/elevator torch/flashlight variety? I remember seeing at least two in the US hardback. (Interestingly, I wouldn't have noticed if the were from the omniscient narrator POV, but were kind of odd to find in the FBI guy's inner monologue.


Don: not really -- I'm looking for mis-spellings and major errors (there's one place where a character's name changes for two paragraphs!). However, I'll listen to what you've got -- if it's easily fixed we can do something about it.


Here are some notes on the US paperback of "The Clan Corporate". I originally sent this list to you as an e-mail. However, in case you've lost track of it, I'm copying it here.

All references are to the first edition paperback by Tor. (t) indicates top third of page, (m) the middle third, and (b) the bottom third.


1) p. 46 (t) "A woman and two guys were waiting in it, beside the driver" => besides the driver

2) p. 136 (t) "Why, did you think I was a constable?" => Why did you think

3) p. 168 (t) "They don wear white coats here" => in my copy, the 't of don't is missing

4) p. 269 (m) "and Team X-ray meets you in, they hold" => missing word between "in" and the comma


1) On page 6 (b) Miriam talks about going on courier runs to an underground railway station. All other references later in the book (e.g. p 9 (t)) have her going to an underground parking garage

2) On page 15 (b) it says, of Lady Olga, "Her enthusiasms included playing the viola". However, on page 106 (t) of "The Family Trade", Olga says "I do hope they'll let me continue with the violin, though"

3) On page 75 (m) Mike says "We got a tip-off from Greensleeves five weeks ago". However, on the previous page (m), he says "A couple of weeks ago, Greensleeves, whoever he was, casually dropped the hammer...". As this continues it implies that this was the first time he contacted them. Should "five weeks ago" be "five days ago" on page 75?

4) On page 103 (m) it says "She saw that Brill had cut her black hair shorter than the last time they'd met and was using foundation powder to cover the row of smallpox craters on the underside of her jaw."

However, in both "The Family Trade" and "The Hidden Family", Brill is described as blonde: -- The Family Trade p. 182 (b) "The Misses Brilliana of Ost and Kara of Praha - one blonde, the other brunette" -- The Hidden Family p. 9 (m) "Brill, sitting up on the sofa, prim and attentive: nineteen or twenty, blond, and otherworldly"

Also, I believe this is the first time that smallpox scars are mentioned

5) On page 124 (m) Mike says "Good morning" to Smith and Dr James. However, on the previous page it states "He'd only just got back from his lunch and chat with Pete", and on page 119 (m) when he signs out to go to lunch it's 14:27, therefore it's afternoon, not morning when he meets Dr James on page 124

6) On page 150 (m) Matt says "The standard corvee duty owed to the Clan by adult world-walkers requires ten trips in five days, then two days off, and is repeated for a whole month, then a month off."

However, in "The Family Trade" p 135 (b) Roland tells Miriam "Two trips a day, five days on and five days off". This is repeated on the top of page 248 "five days on and five days off".

7) On page 174 (m) it states that Burgeson "spent seven years in one of his majesty's logging camps out in the northwestern wilderness". However, in "The Family Trade" p 222 (t), the police officer states that he was in Nova Scotia (on the east coast)

8) On page 179 (b) Miriam and Burgeson are talking about Morgan and Burgeson says "I thought you said he was stupid and lazy?" There is no point in the previous conversation where Miriam says this.

9) On page 295 (m) Mikes clothes are described as "He was wearing hiking gear and what looked like an army-surplus camo jacket under a merchant's robe, obviously picked up on his way here". However, on page 266 (b) Mike is kitted out in local costume "rough woolen fabric, leggings, and an overtunic and leather boots." There is no indication in the text that he changes out of this local costume later.

I hope this proves useful.


Neil: many thanks!


Is that for the American edition of "The Merchants War"? I have no problem re-reading it for the 5th or 6th time ;) - however, because "the eye sees what the mind expects it to see", I find it much more difficult to spot typos on subsequent readings than I do on an initial reading (hint, hint!!). But, on the whole (for your works, any), I would pretty much consider this as "work that isn't"...



MikeM, yes: it's for the US paperback edition. I'm a crap proofreader and I go word-blind on my books really fast, hence the appeal for input.


Not really a typo, but:

Page 112 (top): "This thing, the thing these JAUNT BLUE guys have, they've repurposed mitochondria. Someone's edited the mitochondrial DNA, added about two hundred enzymes we've never seen before."

This makes it sound like worldwalking is passed through mitochondrial DNA, which means it should be inherited strictly along the female line. Everything else you've written relies on it being recessive. Is this discrepancy intentional?


Micah: yes, that bit's intentional. (It's not just a genetic trait; it's quite complex. The full mechanism probably won't be exposed in books 1-6, but suffice to say there's a McGuffin, and the bit you point to is where it begins to sneak out from under the dust-sheet.)


this is one I told you via email but I'll repeat it here so you have them all in one place.

I found a missed edit in "The Merchant's War". Tor hardcover. pg 111 in my copy. Chapter 5. After the "transcript" of Angbard's conversation with Sir. Huw.

In the section where Eric is being given the "dog&pony show" by Dr.Hu, Just after Dr.james has reappeared, you twice refer to Eric as Mike.


ravHowie: thanks!


Typo: The book is unbelievably tedious; reading somewhat like if you had made the choice of splitting Glasshouse into six books, and dumping the worst parts into the third installment. Try cutting out the "imprisonment" and "DEA" storylines. This should reduce the book to about twenty pages, consisting solely of the excellent "importing technology" storyline; hopefully making the book too short to publish on its own, and thus preventing it from being inflicted on the UK.


Neil, it would be rude to mention smallpox scars! (Okay, okay.)


Merchants' War; page numbers are from Amazon "Search Inside the Book", which I believe is a scan of the U.S. hardback.

p. 200: "But you saw the DVD Player. Every second, that machine has to project twenty-five images on the screen, to maintain the illusion of motion." Unless Miriam is for some reason playing European imported DVDs, the machine is projecting thirty images per second.

Similarly, p. 266: "The results were reassuring, a menacing crackle that rarely reached the level of a fifty-cycle hum..." An American wouldn't hear a fifty-cycle hum very often to use it as an analogy; they'd hear a sixty-cycle hum instead (idiomatically, more often called a sixty Hertz hum).


Charlie Stross , 2:

Er, as soon as I dig up my copy again? I'll do my best.


Would you be willing to share a geeky colophon with us?


p12 para2 line3: ...passed a huddle of life guards -> Life Guards

p191 line8: Tactical or strategic? -> "Tactical (missing quote mark)

p191 line9: Whichever you deem most important -> "Whichever (ditto)


Dave @11: sorry, your suggestion is too late. (UK publication is already rolling at six month intervals.)


Not really a typo and I can't remember where in the book this appeared and I don't have my copy handy (helpful, aren't I?) but this stuck with me as a major gaff...

At one point reference is made to the city of Washington in the alternate America in which the US Revolution never happened. It's hard to believe that a) a city would be named after the first president of a country that never existed and b) that the Potomac swampland between Virginia and Maryland would be drained and razed to build a federal city there if not for intra-state and regional rivalry in the early USA.

It's a nit, but a pretty big one.


Nate Zelnick


Nate: hmm, I'd assumed that, like many other American cities, it was named after the other Washington (and, incidentally, the town from which George Washington's ancestors came). If it bugs you, though, I'll see if I can rename it "Georgetown" and explain its significance. (Proximity to the Potomac suggests a role for it, even if it wasn't destined to be the capital.)


"p12 para2 line3: ...passed a huddle of life guards -> Life Guards"

Context there. I would pass a huddle of life guards (or lifeguards) at a beach, but I might pass a huddle of Life Guards surrounding Napoleon.

The question there -- is that a unit title (Her Majesty's Life Guards" or a description? Capitalization follows -- as does a search on the phrase for consistency.

I'll throw "The Clan Corporate" into the travel bag and if I have time to reread in poorfreader mode.


Having once lived in DC, it's hard to imagine a reason for that company town to exist without there being a USA. It's on the Potomac, but not in a useful river port way. Nothing is made there or shipped through there. It's beastly hot and humid in the summer and just cold enough to be annoying in the winter. Oh...and it was built on a swamp.

Georgetown--which was annexed to DC in 1871--would make a lot more sense because a) it was a commercial center due to its place on the C&O canal; II) the name; and 3) it wasn't a pestilent swampland in the tidal flats of the Potomac subject to flooding and malaria that became a city mostly because of the horrible yellow fever epidemics that emptied Philadelphia every summer in the 18th century.

Love the books (all of them). Please write more and faster. I clearly have too much time on my hands...


Erik, If you read further on, the context becomes apparent: they are not Baywatch escapees. :)


I'd go for Georgetown.


I'd stop asking the author to change things.

OK, I put on my old copy editor hat from when I worked on the college paper back in the dark ages (we had to use wax to set up the pages). I figure its the least I could do after whining about the errors.

Here's what I've got so far.

p137 3rd ¶ 2nd sentence needs capitalization : "that's to : "That's p137 7th ¶ 4th sentence "--history to "--History

p162 Col. Smith tells Mike he can't tell him his phone is tapped or not, and then breaks operational security on p223 by telling him it is. Intentional error on part of the author? Or not?

p 162 last ¶, : "okay, needs to become : "Okay,

p212-213 Miriam can recharge her laptop. But on p 230, the lap top isn't working. Error? Or deliberate from the lack of privacy in the train car?

p206 last ¶, 1st sentence move the quote back one space to make it "Okay, so we're humor impaired."

p225 then p261 to p266. Col. Smith tells Mike to relay the information about JAUNT BLUE to the Clan contact. However, when Mike is contacted, it isn't even mentioned. Oversight? Deliberate intention? Dropped dialogue?

p253 1st ¶"there" capitalize it?

p272 Brill and Olga talking, with Dr. Ven Hjalmar mentioned as alive. p321 has Brill saying he's dead. Which is correct? or is Brill lying?

p281 3rd ¶ 6th sentence. Dropped word between they and me. Expects perhaps?

p321 6th ¶ after cracked needs capitalization

p330 2nd ¶ needs capitalization

p333 9th ¶ needs a quotation mark at the start to make sense.

More later as I dig through with my brain in editor mode.


More typos. p111 ¶ 13 & ¶ 15 refer to Eric as Mike. Oops. p111 ¶ 12 Need to capitalize after the quote, making it's It's.


Keep 'em coming -- that's good stuff. (I'll start collating them next Wednesday.)


... And the changes have been collated and sent to the editorial folks concerned. Thank you everybody!



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