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Typo hunt: The Apocalypse Codex

Normally I'd collect typos from the hardcover release of a novel about six months after publication, for the mass market paperback edition. But with the arrival of the ebook era, things are changing and we can roll out a corrected and revised version a lot faster.

So — if you stubbed your toes on any typos, errors, or other problems that can be fixed with a single word change in "The Apocalypse Codex", please tell me about them in the comments on this entry!



I'd have to re-read the book to be sure, but I'm pretty sure Saturday happens twice.


Penultimate paragraphe of the book: the closing dialogue quote after 'about.' is missing. (yeah, it's a ridiculous one, but it kinda confused me, which is how I spotted it)


Not a typo exactly, just a query about Emma MacDougal, the HR manager who sends Bob on the training course near the start of the book.

Didn’t she get eaten by the sluggy ghost of a late Laundry employee in Pimpf? Both books gone back to the library now so I can’t check; I may have mixed her up with a different character. Or was her demise just ‘in-game’?)


On page 4 of the paperback version, 4th paragraph, "... a follower of N'Yar lath-Hotep,..." In The Fuller Memorandum, there's a reference to "N'yar lath-Hotep" on page 262 (UK paperback edition, context: "... you're not saying it's N'yar lath-Hotep itself?"). The capitalisation is inconsistent.


I actually did my first read of the book with this in mind, knowing you'd be asking for typos later. I didn't come up with a one - congratulations to both you and your proofreaders...


Argh! Too soon, I'm I'm in the middle. Anyhow, here's one I spotted the other day:

US hardcover, page 131, 2nd line from bottom:

...the only person who has been inside is a Columbian maid...

I assume that should be Colombian


On pg 56 in the UK paperback Bob refers to himself as being well into his third decade, this should be fourth decade, as on pg 35 he refers to himself as being in his early thirties. Your first decade is from birth to ten, your second from ten to twenty &c. for much the same reason that this is the twenty first century.


"...a device which is exploding" was spoken by French ambassador to New Zealand Jacques "Master Whitewasher" LeBlanc, not President Blacque Jacques "Mad Bomber Of The Pacific" Chirac.


Are Bob's middle names Oliver Francis or Oscar Foxtrot? When Bob is being processed while coming into the US he's given the Oscar Foxtrot middle names, but again, in the Jennifer Morgue, he says his middle names are Oliver Francis.

And yes, I'm really curious about Emma MacDougal as well. How did she survive being eaten by a slug? I would think that trying to get the head of HR killed by sticking a demon into her son would be bad for her career prospects.


Hah! Now I wish I'd taken notes. One that jumped out during my first read has already been mentioned ("third decade" means 20s, not 30s); here's another:

"That sort of thing is supposedly impossible (our oath of office supposedly binds us[...]"

"Supposedly" is used twice within the same sentence on p1 of 326/loc 60 of 5264 of the U.S. Kindle edition.


I haven't read the book but I think the Oscar Foxtrot thing is just the phonetic alphabet for O and F, his middle initials.


Arg! I didn't take notes, because I took it for granted that you'd be asking about 6 months from now....


I think I emailed this one to you, but who knows if it made it through.

Here's the search string: Chapter 9: "Ray is clearly anguished, Persephone realizes; he believes this stuff with all his soul and all his guts. He believes in the viral metaphor of a bronze-age rabble-rouser from the Levant."

Presumably you're talking about Jesus here? I'd suggest replacing bronze-age with iron-age.

According to Wikipedia the Levantine Bronze Age ended approximately 1200 BC, while iron was first smelted in the area around 1600 BC.


This is more of a localization gripe than a typo: Chapter 11 "too many For Sale / To Let signs..." "To Let" isn't American English, those signs would say "For Rent".


I finally had a highlighter to hand when I read this and it remained unused. Good job proofreaders


Charlie, On page 222 of the Ace hardback edition, third paragraph: why the mixture of nationalities (Russian T-34 tanks and American B-29 bombers)? Are the Americans also involved in this war/battle? I was under the impression it was the Germans and the Russians, and their occult allies.



Just verified AB's comment that Emma MacDougal was both killed in Pimpf and listed as the "HR dragon" (page 19 of the Ace HC) who sent Bob to management training. It's not an uncommon name in my part of the US, but I've no clue as to whether it's common enough to be a non-issue elsewhere.


In our timeline the B-29 never flew in combat over Europe. The USAAF used B-17 Flying Fortresses as well as other smaller bombers over Germany but the B-29 Superfortress was exclusively a Pacific War theatre bomber. If the European war had dragged on then I expect it would have been used against Germany.


Frankly my girn, I don't give a gram.


A note about the short stories and novellas, I believe Charlie has stated that they aren't necessarily in chronological order within the novel's timeline. So "Pimpf" may take place after "The Apcolypse Codex".


Don't think that works in this case - Peter-Fred Young is introduced in Pimpf and is mentioned in The Fuller Memorandum - that would mean that book four occurs before book three and given the ending of The Apocalypse Codex, why would Bob be doing that particular duty in Pimpf? (Hopefully avoided any spoilers there).

No chance that Emma MacDougall may now be a residual human resources manager now?


Presumably you're talking about Jesus here? I'd suggest replacing bronze-age with iron-age.

Jebus wasn't the first, or by any means the last, social engineer in that location; I took Charles' dating to infer a less considered school of thought… "Old Testament" as they say at the most recent or there's even all that Babylonian (et al.) ideology to get your teeth around if you like, – There's nothing like the smell of mass human sacrifice in the morning. *–

ps I like that the chain store below the New Annex has now closed down.

Thanks for all the hard work Charlie

*pls forgive my butchering of thousands of yrs of human history here, its late.


Well, it's been a couple years since I read it, and don't have my copy handy. It was a thought.


What's your timeframe? I haven't read AC yet.


Bob checks into his hotel in Denver (UK paperback, bottom of page 140):

I've got a decent king-sized room rather than the usual broom closet.

I'm reading this in the UK edition - thought that British English would be broom cupboard. When I read it I felt a little bit jarred - I wasn't sure if the sentence had been normalised for American readers, or if Bob was alluding to the hotel being in America (but given what he'd just said about hotelspace, that seemed almost contradictory).


Orbit paperback (ISBN: 978-0-356-50098-0) page 289: 'bought' should be 'brought' (The clock was his old man's; the only thing of his that he's bought to the new world.)

Also, don't remember where it was, but there's a bit where Bob's narration uses the word 'Simples'. Is this a pop-culture reference to compare-the-market ads, or is the extra 's' a mistake?


p. 13, US hardcover: “thirteen-centimeter-hole saw” should be “thirteen-centimeter hole saw”.


No criticism intended - just my take on it.


Not strictly a typo but on page 159 it says "he experiments, taking an exit fast and a right turn on a red light, and the lights follow".

In most of the US a right on a red is not only allowed but encouraged so this bit struck me as strange.


Just checked and I'm afraid Satruday does happen twice.


None taken. Though now I'm wondering where exactly the stories fit within the timeline, seeing as "The Apocalypse Codex" is apparently after the current Olympics, and ten years after "The Atrocity Archive". I think Charlie once gave an order to them, but don't recall, and I think it was before "The Fuller Memorandum" came out.

And now's as good a time as any to ask whether the title to the first book was a nod to Ballard?


The gentle, unvoiced point there is that, if one believes Biblical scholars (the academics, I mean), all of the Old Testament was written in the Levantine Iron Age, and much of that history took place during the Iron Age as well. Needless to say, all of the New Testament took place during the Iron Age.

Yes, that particular quote can be taken as a sign of abysmal ignorance on the part of the character thinking it, but since it was talking about another character's belief in Christianity, it's rather silly.

Since that particular character wasn't particularly ignorant, nor was that character educated by the American school system, I'd say that it's worth making the change. Iron is only two letters shorter than bronze, after all.


I accept that I failed to take in the wider context of your point, I suppose it just shows how poor a Xian I would make, as well as an indifferent archaeologist. As it was, it was the archaeological context that stuck with me in your comment post and I happily elided the late stone age, the copper age and the bronze age and went looking for cultural markers in accordance. I suppose in addition, in my play book, Baby Jebus wasn't the only out spoken speaker of his time either, just one with good PR.

Which still misses the point in relation to Charlie's story. So after consideration I agree with you about the change.


Thanks Maggie.

To be fair, the only reason I've been paying much attention to Bronze Age is that I obtained a gorgeous replica bronze sword from, and I've been working on a proper scabbard. The original didn't leave behind any scabbard remnants, buckles, chapes, or other evidence, so I've been digging to find out what they might have made.

Otherwise, I probably would have gone cruising right past that issue without noticing.


Kindle: p 18/406, loc 285/5672:

Moon King -> Mad King


Not sure whether this is relevant, but Orbit paperback (possibly an Australian edition, I'm not certain) there's a stray hyphen on page 234 - "more of a subvocalized whimper of desire than a verbal decla-ration"

The hyphenated word is the second word on the line, which implies there was a minor mix up with line length somewhere along the road.

(I'm on my second read-through of the book, having purchased it Friday).


All are from US Kindle edition

Obviously not all of these are typos or even need correction. Some are questions or just notes on things that took me out of the narrative flow.

1) "nylon wire"; wire is metal by definition. Better would be "nylon thread" or "strand of nylon". Context: "Stretching between the trees, about one and a half meters up, is a nearly invisible nylon wire, smeared with mud and vegetable sap."

2) "denver" should be "Denver". Context: first sentence of chapter "Omega Course"

3) "Columbian" should be "Colombian". Context: not needed; global search-and-replace on incorrect term. This was noted in comment (6) on the site but I was not sure what edition/format that referenced.

4) Question: when Johnny initially runs into Patrick, why does he ask to see his tongue? At that point how does he know about the parasites and mode of invasion apply to this matter? The aside on an "old and unwelcome memory" notwithstanding this seems out of sequence with the plot. Perhaps not given Johnny's background and "that time in Barcelona" but it took me out of the story flow. A minor, and probably personal, issue rather than something needing correction (although dropping the request to Patrick would not seem to alter the story or outcomes).

5) When Bob tries to fly out of Denver there's mention of "Wave platinum card" but earlier the Coutts card was described as a gold card. Assuming the cards mentioned are meant to be the same this seems to be either  a discrepancy or questionable hyperbole when describing the scenario at the airport.

6) already noted issue on "bought" versus "brought". Noted in comment 26 on site.

7) "milky way" should be "Milky Way", assuming the reference is to our galaxy (if not our galaxy the name probably should not apply as a generic for the ecliptic -- this is alluded to in the passage). Context: "It's daytime and the milky way (or what passes for the ecliptic of the local galaxy)..."

8) When Bob picks up the modified camera from Pinky the description of SCORPION STARE says "10% of the carbon nuclei...". When Bob and Persephone are on the steps of the temple of the Sleeper the description of the basilisk gun says "a tenth of one percent of all the carbon nuclei...". Assuming SCORPION STARE and the camera basilisk gun work the same in term of scale of transmutation, the percentages don't agree. As a note, the figure on SCORPION STARE mentioned in "The Concrete Jungle" is 1% transmutation. The differences could be explained as changes in the software/firmware but that seems like a rationalization with little justification -- if 1% transmutation (or lower) achieves the necessary goals why change the design? The pocket camera version, being a beta and likely with lower power availability, might make sense to operate on a lower scale of transmutation but how would Bob know this? He didn't even know the power up time on the camera until minutes before the events on the Sleeper's plateau.

9) "Basilisk gun" should be "basilisk gun" (or vice versa) for consistency with other references. Context: "(It's a Basilisk gun. When you point and shoot one,..." after Persephone fires the weapon.

10) re: comment 35 on site, both "aliases" are correct for Ludwig so I'm guessing this is intentional not a typo.


Hi Charlie;

Emailed this but not sure if it got through (and you'd probably prefer it here anyway...).

UK paperback p.219; Johnny refers to it being a weekday evening, but we've just come from Persephone at the hospital, and it's definitely Saturday.

Thoroughly enjoyed the book :D


Not a typo as such, but the role of the undead watchers around the pyramid is given early on (during Bob's description of his dream?) as being to collapse the sleeping god's wave function, and later on during the climax as being a more physical guard to deal with intruders. No reason it can't be both, but the two explanations need to be reconciled somehow.


Page 178, Persephone is driving, heading to Ft Carson. When she turns onto US 85, that would really be called I-25. Where she is exactly is a little unclear, but coming from Palmer Lake the Air Force Academy should be on her right, not left. Unless you meant that she somehow found a fire road or something around the back of the Academy to it's south side- oddly enough that area was caught in the large wildfire in Colorado Springs this summer. Perhaps the Laundry was covering up some tracks?



A quick Wikipedia shows that the USSR had some Superforts in 1944, and the first Tu-4s flew 2 years later. I'd suggest it's not that much of a stretch.


The comment about both T-34's and B-29's was in an alternate universe where Nazi Germany's occult forces won. Obviously in that universe B-29's would have been used against Germany, because they'd have been needed, after Germany defeated the USSR.


Not necessarily, it's a little confusing.

US 85 is I-25 until it reaches the North Nevada Ave. exit, where it splits off, and runs along Nevada until it turns off onto another street and more or less runs parallel to 25 along other roads, passing through the town of Fountain, and rejoining 25, all to the east of Ft. Carson. Nevada Ave. becomes 115, and runs west of Carson--which is the way I take when I go there.

As for the USAF Academy being on the left, that seems to be a mistake. Looking at the map it looks like you could go around the west of the Academy, but it would be really out of the way, and take quite a while.

One other thing, there's no town of Pinecrest, but it's fiction, so not a big deal.


I don't know anyone who would refer to 85 though- it would be either I-25 or Nevada. Exit 141 is mentioned, so I would say I-25. Not sure where all the gates are to the AFA since I live on the East side of town, but I think getting around to the west of it would mean driving on hiking trails or fire breaks.

Of course the real question is why isn't everyone going ape when the comms to Cheyenne Mountain, Buckley, Schriever, and Peterson are disrupted by the magic no-talk zone, but I figured Schiller somehow accounted for that.


Am I the only one who thinks the closing senctence of the book is out of character?


U.S. hardback p. 114: "they'd long since worked out a protocol to improvised security" should have "improvise", i.e. "they'd long since worked out a protocol to improvise security".


True enough. I only think about 85 when I'm going down to Fountain, and avoid I-25 whenever possible. For the Academy, I only know of the two gates along 25, don't know if there are any others, if so they're probably not public. Looking at pg. 178, it does mention "back roads of Pike National Forest" which would be west of the Academy, and so to the left. But then she gets on 85, so that doesn't work.

Looking at the map again; exit 141 is W. Cimarron St./Rt.24 (I'm on E. Cimarron), you're right, that's not 85. Charlie would have to explain his choice of 85 rather than 25, of course he doesn't have to.

Now I'm starting to give myself a headache, and will leave it at that. I should add that I'm only at chapter 9--slow reading weekend.


I thought that line was odd too, but it does make sense, if you think of the 'to' as 'for'. Or something like that.


Johnny's opinion of godheads seems to suffer from copy-and-paste errors. Just after Control kills Patrick and reflects on the health insurance consequences thereof, at the beginning of the next section Johnny thinks "The trouble with godheads, in Johnny's experience, is that they can't quite understand how anyone could not believe their shit."

Then again just after Angleton completes the meeting with Control, at the beginning of the next section Johnny is riding with a missionary and thinks "Another problem with godheads, Johnny reflects, is that they can't quite understand how anyone could not believe their shit."


I forgot to mention: Johnny's repetitive thoughts about godheads was in the Kindle version.


Not a one word fix, but when did Bob start seeing auras? In the hire car heading to the compound.

52: 49 You are correct: it occurs twice. I thought Charlie was emphasising this. (and Johnny repeats himself -- it looks like he has had a few resurrections, and one wonders what that does to his brain). 25 I read the US edition, and broom closet generally refers to a small room if sarcasm is at 11/10, while a broom cupboard is where you put mops. But then, I am a New Zealander. The mile may be different in the colonies. 13. That would actually be likely to be correct, or close to correct, if it refers to a certain Moses. I assume Charlie is smart enough to know that the Levant was a fairly big area. The Isrealites left (The exodus) during the bronze age. They ended up fighting the Phonecians (Philistines) about 400 years later when the Phonecians had iron weapons... and the Isrealites did not.

Para 2 - I suspect that Bob's "snark level" (like Charlie's and my own) needs to be turned well down to get it to 11/10.


Airbags don't deflate slowly: they deflate quickly. Very quickly (tenth of a second after the collision). You've been watching too much Hollywood..


US Hardcover Edition, pg. 158, 2nd paragraph from bottom:

"Of an instant the oppressive sense of dread vanishes."

Should be "For an instant".


UK paperback edition, second paragraph of p. 276: "(Is Schiller really so naive he believes that abomination is Jesus Christ?)" the first letter of "is" at the beginning should be lower case.


David N@55: US Hardcover Edition, pg. 158, 2nd paragraph from bottom: "Of an instant the oppressive sense of dread vanishes." Should be "For an instant".

Nah, "For an instant" implies it's temporary, "Of an Instant" is more permanent, like 'In an instant" or "Suddenly". At least that's my reading, since it doesn't say the oppressive feeling returns.


I have just finished reading the US hardcover version from Ace.

The first couple of items may be outside of your area of responsibility:

On the cover the blurb says “… British superspy with a long-term girlfriend…” while on page 22 Bob says, “Like me, my wife works for the Laundry…”

The typeface used for chapter and sub-chapter lead-in drove me crazy. I could, with care, distinguish A from R, but I needed a magnifying glass to tell H from K. Thus, on page 32 I saw: “A BLOCH OF SIX GEORGIAN…”

As an American, there were a couple of items that I noted:

On page 123 Persephone rents a Ford Flex. On page 124 “… the huge V8 as the big mom-wagon accelerated.” I’d class the Flex as a small SUV, at least when compared with the Chevy Suburban.

In several places you mention a chair in an airplane or car. I am more accustomed to thinking of them as seats.

On page 258 in the bottom third of the page: “Without indicating, Persephone crosses lanes …” In the US, that would be .

All of this is just nitpicking. I enjoyed the story very much and look forward to further adventures of the Laundry.


Another I spotted last night; US hc, pg.184, 4 lines down:

...too many For Sale/To Let signs...

In the US that would be For Rent. I don't think I've seen To Let on a sign here.

Most of what I've spotted are more a matter of US/UK differences, and local knowledge that don't matter much since the characters are British and might not be too familiar with the US.


Better late than never. These from the HC version:

P31: I pick up the book and turn it over in my hands. Spy-Catcher, it says, by Peter Wright.-> Spycatcher

p152: ...eventually I get it in the can, and weight the lid down with one of the missionary's pistols -> weighed the lid down?

p160: An upturned bathroom waste bin sits on the floor nearby, its former steed's handgun holding it down -> continuity error: it was right side up with a lid on on p152

p311 Classified Appendix has "single color code from: RED, GREEN, BLUE, VIOLET, PURPLE, SILVER.)" but on p255: GOD GAME YELLOW is one of the code classifications & YELLOW is not one of the options on p311. Is this deliberate?


p139: "...a front for the Red Skull Cult or the Malaysian Presidential Guard..." Malaysia, being a constitutional elected monarchy, has neither a president nor a presidential guard. It has a prime minister and a Yang di-Pertuan Agong. However, as far as I know, there is no Yang di-Pertuan Agongial Guard.


Dunno if you're still checking this, but:

Kindle location 3254 - "Go now, and detain the British spy Howard and his employees against my immanent return." - did you mean imminent? As in, forthcoming? I'm (now) aware that immanent is also a correct word, but the definition doesn't fit what I thought the sentence was calling for.

Kindle location 3513 - "The soccer mom is trying to upgrade to premiere league WAG territory." I think Premiere League should be capitalized.

I also have a vague recollection of a place somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through where I think you were referring to Johnny, but I read (I think) "Mr. Travis", rather than the "Mr. McTavish" I was expecting. However, I can't find it again, I'm sorry.


In Johnny McTavish's confrontation with the two policemen, he refers to one of them as a cop, then later discovers that they're policemen.


"The soccer mom is trying to upgrade to premiere league WAG territory." I think Premiere League should be capitalized.

I suppose you could argue that it's a generic term - like "business class". But it should in any case be spelt correctly. It's the Premier League.


eventually I get it in the can, and weight the lid down with one of the missionary's pistols -> weighed the lid down?

Either. You can weight something down as well as weighing it down.


Or we could assume that Bob is about as interested in Wendyball as Charlie and I are, so doesn't care, in which case yuo can read "premiere league" as meaning "first league"


ajay - yes, you're right. I missed the extra "e". Good catch.


The Italian terrorist group "Red Brigades" is to be written "Brigate Rosse" and not "Brigado Rosso"



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on August 11, 2012 10:41 AM.

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