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Typo Hunt: The Fuller Memorandum

Just as I was trying to take a long weekend off after checking the page proofs for "Rule 34", guess what happens? I get the page proofs for the paperback edition of "The Fuller Memorandum" to check!

On the other hand, TFM is out there in hardcover (and, in the UK, in paperback set from the same DTP files). So if you spotted a typo in "The Fuller Memorandum", please let me know by posting a comment below.

Note: only typos and misprints are wanted at this stage — it's too late to correct any factual errors in the book. If you can provide me with a page number, a description of the error, and a few words of text to search the PDF with, that will allow me to find it; "you misspelled one of the protagonists' names somewhere in the first half, but I forget where" isn't so useful.

Oh, and the deadline is March 24th.



To forestall everybody else, does the C&A reference count as a typo for these purposes? ;-)


' "you misspelled one of the protagonists' names somewhere in the first half, but I forget where" isn't so useful.'

Maybe you need a tool that supports regular expressions?


How do typos get introduced? I'd assumed that the last time a human finger touched a key was when you typed the word. Are these errors that made it through your proofing and the editor's proofing or were they introduced to the process down the line? I thought that only happened when they were still manually putting letterblocks on plates.


Your imagination is deficient, then.

Firstly there are errors that made it through copy editing and proofing.

Then there are errors introduced by the copy edit process and not caught in the page proofs.

Then there are errors introduced by the layout person as they turn a crappy Word file (publishing runs on Word documents) into an InDesign book file (see also: bugs introduced by import filters in InDesign; additional typos added by the layout person) and not spotted in the page proofs.

Then (worst!) there are errors introduced by the layout folks when they try to correct any errors reported during the proofing process.

Seriously, typos get introduced at every step in the process. Even with electronic workflow.


PRW: Care to propose a regex that'd do the job? I only ask because I've been working with them for nearly a decade and a half, and I can't imagine how I'd write one to do that job.


I was pretty sure I saw a few in the etext version, but I didn't know what to do with the information, so I just ignored them and kept reading. From now on I'll use the iBooks "highlight this text" feature to make a note of typos while I'm reading, so that when I'm done I can generate a simple list. I've done exactly that with some books from Baen; I'll remember to do it with your books as well in the future.


agrep(1) might be useful when checking names ... except I get these page proofs in the shape of PDF files and agrep likes to chow down on pure text. Also: agrep is a bit gnarly and non-deterministic. Also: mis-spelling a protagonist's name is not the only variety of typo that can crop up -- homophones are particularly pernicious and their ain't no regexp for that.


This seems to be one of those rare cases where only people who have RTFM can point out corrections. How novel!


Here's my short list. The first and third items might be considered factual and be ignored.

from the US hardcover;

pg. 44 line 18; There’s a black-on-yellow sticker on its case that says THIS MACHINE KILLS DEMONS. But Pg. 248 line 18 says; There’s a sticker on the back of the instrument. It read: THIS MACHINE KILLS DEMONS. --of course both could be right.

Pg. 252, line 14; “Why did you abduct me? --end quote missing.

This one’s a quibble, so can be ignored; Pg.258, line 7; bloody finger-marks on the fretboard --no frets on a violin, should be fingerboard?

Pg. 278, line 20; Is there any SCORPION SCARE coverage --should be STARE.

Pg. 309, line 7-8; wouldn’t have needed all those bulldozers at Brookfield, would they? --should be Brookwood.


Probably not relevant for the paperback, but I spotted two layout errors in the Kindle edition:

FROM BEYOND SPACETIME". Problem: There is an extraneous line break between HORRORS and FROM.

Location 1949. Text: "THERE COMES A TIME IN EVERY COUNTERESPIONAGE INVESTIgation when you have to grit your teeth, admit that you're at your wits' end, admit defeat, and bugger off home for a Chinese takeaway and a night in front of the telly." Problem: letters go from upper case to lower case in the middle of INVESTIgation.


Kindle layout and formatting errors don't count.

(They're Amazon's fault -- they take an epub file generated by the publisher and automatically convert it into azw without proofreading. This call only applies to the dead tree edition.)


UK version page 59, line 5.

The λ used in Скажи мне сейчас, иλи я буду убивать вас should be a л shouldn't it?

Sorry for bringing up such a minor thing.


That's exactly the sort of thing I need. Thanks!


Is the pdf you get one of the ones with embedded text, or one of the ones that need to be re-OCR'd? If it's the former, pdftotext (a utility packaged with poppler on my distro) might be piped into agrep for a shortlist (though it will generate some false positives and may generate some false negatives).


I did spot a few, as so much of my time is spent proofreading these days, they do tend To jump out at me. Unfortunately I can't remember a single one off the top of My head. However I do pledge to read the next book of yours with a highlighter...


Well, finally a way to give something back for all the fun I've had with your books!

All comments are based on the 1st printing of the US hardcover edition, 1st edition, and I concentrate on German words (I'm German, so I am probably not the best person to spell check English texts...):

p. 98, l. 11: In names of aristocratic people of German origin, in the books you generally spell "Von" with a capital "V". In German one would generally not do this and write, i.e., "von", "zu" etc., but one capitalizes all other parts of the name. So in the letter on this page one would write "Baron Oskar von Hoyningen-Huene". This happens in a few cases throughout the book (see below).

p. 104, l. 7: GANT: are you sure you don't want to say "Gantt"? (these diagrams are named after Henry Gantt, i.e., they're no acronym and have two "t"; that is, unless our friends of the laundry have GANT charts which are something very different from civilian Gantt charts...)

p. 127, l. 2: "Schule des Toten Sprachen" should be "Schule der toten Sprachen" (note des->der and that "toten" should not be capitalized in German, not even if it is part of the name of an institution)

p. 127, last line: Von -> von (I won't note this from now on, I trust you know your regexps...). Interestingly, Wernher von Braun is spelled correctly in the book, so if you decide that "Von" is correct, there's a typo on p. 170...).

p. 306, section heading: HNOW -> KNOW (although this could be a font issue, in this font the K and the H are very (too) similar )

I hope that this helps


Also, the grammatical structure of that sentence is a bit weird, but I suppose it might've been intended that way.

Depending on the intended meaning, one of the following might sound more natural:

Proper verb tense: Скажи мне сейчас, или я убю вас

Singular "you": Скажи мне сейчас, или я убю тебя

"Speak" instead of "tell": Говори, или я убю тебя


I distinctly remember notifying you of similar problems in your German phrases that Cygnus mentions, specifically the "Schule des/der toten Sprachen". Can't seem to find an email I sent so maybe it was in a comment thread?

Well anyway, yeah, what he said.


Not so much a typo as an observation - I'm pretty sure I've had The Fuller Memorandum in paperback format (well, larger size soft-cover/paperback, from Orbit) for months now - I don't think the hardcover version made it to Australia (or if it did, it didn't make it to the Rockingham branch of Angus & Robertson, which is where I picked up my copy). But then this may be one of the foibles of the publishing industry which is sent to vex both readers and authors.


Is the cover being redone from scratch? Because if not there's a rogue double space between "has" and "created" on the quote from DeathRay on the front cover of the UK paperback, which may escape most people but will bug the hell out of copyeditors. [more to follow, most likely]


Ha, I'd noted the missing close quote while reading the epub - I didn't think that it was a ebook conversion issue.


Your proposal is useless, because I'd then have to go and marry up the shortlist of possible typos with the page and line numbers again (to feed to the typesetting folks on the other side of the planet).

There's a reason why the workflow for this job only went electronic in the past year or so.

What I really need is a PDF reader with regexp search. (What I've got is OSX 10.6's, which is pretty damn good, indeed functionally pretty close to Acrobat Reader Pro on Windows -- it supports editing annotations and cropping and includes text search -- but doesn't extend to regexp search.)


Meg, Orbit went with a direct-to-paperback release (in a large B- or C-format, rather than regular small A-format). It's the same DTP file as the Ace hardcover, reflowed for a slightly different page size.


Thanks, I'll raise that with my (British) editor. They may be able to do something about it.


Note that, once you've identified a name typo, it's likely to be very easy to find with a straight text search in the PDF. ("Likely" rather than "definitely" because some typos of some names might actually match words used in the manuscript.)

You know your own workflow best; but in that kind of situation I actually HAVE used external tools to find possible name typos, and then gone back and found them again in the original text to fix.

While fiction publishing has been very slow to move to electronic workflow, non-fiction publishing has done a lot with all-electronic workflows going back at least a decade.


Why do I always reread your books only a few weeks before you trawl for typos? Do you want one for The Trade of Queens instead? I'm pretty sure that the phrase "the moon on a stick" is pretty tightly localised to the UK, and Miriam wouldn't be using it.


Too late -- that one went to the printer for the paperback (final) edition back in December!


Why can't you just summon up a useful shoggoth to do the job for everyone, permanently? After all, they are "servitors" .....


Unfortunately there's a well-known problem with that idea, as documented under reason 6, here: "It can give you a back massage, answer the phone, open a beer, have sex with multiple people, change the CD and take dictation all at the same time. (They also make good secretaries.) They do have a slight problem with Microsoft Word for Windows though, no-one is quite sure why."


In the Australian edition (which I believe is the Orbit edition, only far more expensive - ISBN 978-1-84149-770-9), I've found one: page 15:

"Sorry about Helen on the front desk," he murmurs. "She's a little slow, but she means well. Only see you, she's been helping out here since forever..."

Should be "you see", I think.

I'll post more if/as I find them.


That one's on pg.13 of the US ed. 7 lines from bottom.

Missed that one--may have thought it was odd, but not necessarily wrong?


Hm. Given the context, I can't see how it could be odd but right. Of course, I am not an English teacher, nor do I play one in any of my hobbies.

Oh, another thing: inconsistent use of "ass" versus "arse". Being based in an alternative universe Britain, I would have thought the latter would be more correct, but there is at least one point where "asshole" is used instead of "arsehole". If "asshole" is considered correct, there's at least one point where "arse" is used, so I get one either way. :)


Never visited Wales, have you? That's a localism, not a typo.

As for ass/arse, there's extensive cultural contamination in the UK; some Americanisms such as "ass" are common.


Now you have me wondering if Australia has regional dialects.

In the US we have quite a few. I've got relatives and friends from around the country who use 'non-standard' English. I guess that's where I get odd, but not wrong.


Here's one I prepared earlier:

p 11 para 3 last line: Also, thanks to Angleton, I'm supposed to take a look at something in Hangar Six -> Hangar 12B

p 39 para 2 line 3: A herd of buses rumble past, farting clouds of sulphurous biodiesel -> sulfurous

p 82 para 3 line 1: I putter around for a while -> potter(?) OED uses that for preference, as do we Kiwis.

p 137 second last line: Mrs. Angleton puttering around-> pottering(?)

p 143 para 1 line 4: with chapatti flour -> chapati (it's the more common spelling. I don't recall if chapatti is used more than once in the manuscript though).

p 236 para 1 line 4: the rail and tube stations, the local magistrate's court, fire stations -> firestation?


p 216 para 4 line 2: Oh, and my wrists are handcuffed in front of me -> later he's handcuffed at his back but there is no transitional description of un- and re-handcuffing.

p 234 2nd last para line 1: If they think a blood-soaked man with his arms handcuffed behind his back

p 241 para 6 line 1: I'm facing forward, arms handcuffed behind my back.

Right arm injury:

p 218 para 1 line 3: and lays my left sleeve open -> right sleeve (later it's his right arm that's had a chunk taken out of it. Presumably, the blood & tissue samples were taken from the same arm; there is no indication in subsequent text that it is otherwise and no laying open of his right sleeve.)

Subsequent text, instances of right arm damage: p 231 last para line 5: I have a bad feeling about my right arm.

p 235 2nd last line: it headfirst, so that I land on my right arm.



In my universe, element 16 is spelt "sulphur". "Sulfur" is a vile americanism.

The word "putter" is used with intent. It is not a synonym for "potter".

Ta ...


There are certainly Australian variations in vocab (e.g. vessels for beer), can't say that I've noticed any variation in grammar (occasional different expressions).


I sit corrected. And no, you're absolutely right, I've never been to Wales (nor any part of the UK.)


Also I have noticed some difference in pronunciation between those who are from country areas and those who are from large cities. For example, in rural Australia its more common for people to end their sentences with a higher inflection than city based people.


The Royal Society of Chemistry's fallen in line with IUPAC and uses 'sulfur' as standardised spelling. The journal 'Nature' (still) respectfully disagrees.

Historically, British English hasn't always spelt it 'sulphur' either. And don't get me started on aluminium/aluminum. Ultimately, it's your book.


In the US, this is generational. Teens up to late twenties now (will probably move with them as they get older) frequently end all their sentences with a higher pitch and an inappropriate question tone.


I had an English-born teacher in primary school (so late '70s) who tried to stop us Kiwis doing this.


I was disturbed by being confronted with an OU course a couple of years ago that consistently used the 'f' spelling for sulphur. I must have missed the memo. Of course, I went with my early training and wrote it the right way.

45: 37, 41 and 44 - It's "sulphur" etc, unless you're a d@mned colonial! The RSC are clearly wrong.

Janis: beat me to it (and I think "tell me", Скажи, sounds more natural than "speak") but drawing on my shaky memories of Russian, wouldn't the more natural word order be "Скажи мне сейчас, или я вас убю"?

And it should definitely be "СкажиTе", given that he addresses her as вас rather than Tебя. I have no idea whether a revenant inhabiting the corpse of a middle-aged male SVR operative would, when attempting to intimidate a younger foreign woman to whom he had not been formally introduced, address her as ti or vi, but he would at least use them consistently...


Thgere is a line somewhere referring to the "RAF Museum at Duxford in North London". The RAF museum is in Hendon in North London. Duxford is the Imperial War Museum annexe and is well outside the M25 (It does have a Concorde).

I'll look up page number and proper description this evening. Snag is that I have to retrieve it from my daughters bedroom (which I thing may be infested by the many angled ones given the mess).


Blame Noah Webster.


Since Noah Webster was "a d@mned colonial"... ;-)


A Colder War uses the name Manfred instead of Roger at one point. This is repeated in the audiobook available from Audible. I listen to this story whenever I am depressed. It's a wonderful antiodote!!

Fuller: Duxford is just outside Cambridge, Cambs.


Just finished re-reading TFM and believe I may have found a couple items not previously mentioned here.  Hope these are of use to you.

1. (nitpick) p.132, paragraph 4 - IMHO the marked words should be joined by a hyphen.

by fire and the sword, and, er, it gets complicated real fast, in ever diminishing epicycles of crazy.
  s/ever diminishing/ever-diminishing/

2. On p.230 it is clearly Jonquil who dresses (FSVO) Bob's arm wound:

“You, lie still,” Jonquil says, and shoves what feels like a cast-iron cannonball into the hole in my arm. I try not to scream as she roughly winds a gauze bandage around the wadded-up sock, then stands up to inspect her work.
    But on p.249 the patch-up is incorrectly attributed to Julian:
She tuts over the state of Julian’s first-aid—very rough and ready, a wadded-up rugby sock held in place by tubigrip, now black with clotted blood.
  s/state of Julian/state of Jonquil/

P.S. -   TFM is much, much grimmer on second and subsequent readings than the first time.
* downs aspirin, water, scotch *
* waits for headache to drown *


UK paperback P.40 - his chin is two sizes two small


What about single-word factual errors? Can those be fixed, as if they were a typo?

Specifically, on page 112 of the US hardcover, there's a reference to "a think-piece commissioned by the Atlantic Weekly in 1945". If you're aiming for congruity with our world in this sentence, "Weekly" should be "Monthly".


Yeah, I can probably fix that! Dunno if it'll show up in the UK edition, though.


On p32 Jo says gotten (Bob, what have you gotten yourself into?), which is unlikely unless she's a closet American.

Still, it's the only Americanism I can think of that I actually like.


OK, here's what I got. Some of these probably stray into factual errors and matters of copyediting preference/house style, but pedantry isn't that easy to turn off...

[these are all from the UK paperback edition]

Simple typos:

79: "'A - How?' That's new to me." double space between dash and "How" (I think (and while we're about it, "how" should probably be capped down))

133: "the Prodigal son's fossil collection?" should be "Son's", cap S

211: "the sense of immanent ridiculous demise" pretty sure that should be "imminent", unless I'm misunderstanding the point

237: "double-split interferometer" "double-slit", I think

262: "Your - husband. Has be been missing long?" should be "he"

270: "the local magistrate's court" should be "magistrates' court"

288: "'Why did you abduct me?" Single close-quote missing after "me?"

317: "Is there any SCORPION SCARE coverage" should be "STARE"

345: "Royal Surrey Country Hospital" should be "County"

Other stuff

3: "with fire detectors in every office - is permitted" should be "are permitted"

17: "on the books with 23 squadron and 11 squadron" should be "23 Squadron and 11 Squadron" for consistency

52: "the Options set up in OFCUT" should be "setup" or "set-up"

59: "a bright red-glowing zit" should be "red glowing"

60: "as unlife and animation departs" should be "depart"

68: "going macroscopic - has been, for decades" delete comma

186: "dozens of lines" well, 11. But in a world where CrossRail has already been built, all things are possible.

234: "curved in on themselves in closed loops" should be "itself", I think

243: "cowboys and indians" "Indians"

286: "my finely-tuned fashion sense" "finely tuned"

Glossary, 353: AIVD - the interwebs reckon it's "Inlichtingen- en" not "Inlichtingenen". No idea if this matters.

Glossary, 354: OBE is "Officer of the Order of the British Empire", not "Order of the British Empire"



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