deird1: Vimes lighting a cigar using a swamp dragon, with text "Fabricati Diem Pvnc" (Vimes)
[personal profile] deird1
Typos in books really annoy me.


This is, to some extent, expected. After all, I'm an editor. My natural inclination upon seeing a typo is to whip out a red pen, correct it, and then reprint the page. And you can't just reprint a book every time you see a mistake.

But in this case, I'm not talking so much about the mundane typos, such as this one in Harry Potter:
"They've already heard. Fang!"

Which, if you think about it, clearly should have been:
"They've already heard Fang!"

Irritating, but perfectly easy to see what was meant.


It's more problematic in, for instance, Agatha Christie books. Where there are constantly lines of dialogue missing.

Seriously! It's hard to notice at first, but if you go through every two-person conversation in the book, assign one line to one person, and then alternate, you'll constantly find it changing person unexpectedly, so that someone has actually answered himself. There are all these lines of dialogue missing that were clearly supposed to be part of the conversation, but accidently left out - and no-one noticed!

And it's too late to ask the author what she'd intended to write - given that she's dead, and all.


Not having a Christie novel on hand, I can't give you an example of this conversational weirdness. I can, however, give an example of an equally irritating typo, from the book that prompted this post. It is as follows:
It had been tasted by three tasters, including Sergeant Detritus, who was unlikely to be poisoned by anything that worked on humans or even by most things that worked on trolls... but probably by most things that worked on trolls.


Given the way Pratchett's writing tends to work, I would assume that this phrasing was clearly leading up to a joke. But, instead of a joke, it's simply repeated the "worked on trolls" bit twice. Typo? I'd say so. And an irritating one - because there's a missing joke! And I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS.


*grumbles*
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