Editing in SF--Bad!

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Editing in SF--Bad! Aviva Rothschild 12/9/97 12:00 AM

As a professional editor and writer, I'm dismayed by what I perceive to
be the almost total retreat from editing in SF/F. I'm not talking about
just typos and minor grammatical mistakes, which are becoming more and
more prevalent in the books I read; I'm also concerned about the
massive bloat of books. Too many titles I've read recently could easily
have been cut down to a third or less of their length without affecting
the story in the slightest. Moreover, there seems to have been a ban on
active voice; passive voice has taken over.

I understand that some of these books have been padded in order to make
a single story into a series, but that doesn't mean I approve of the
practice, or want to read these novels just because there are a lot of
them and I have some interest in the story.

I open the floor to discussion (as if posting didn't automatically do
that) from readers and authors: Have you perceived these editorial
flaws as well? Or am I over-sensitive? Authors, have you been satisfied
with the editing (or lack thereof) by your publishers? Readers, do you
truly enjoy these bulky books, or would you like to see them pared
down? How much of the literary "fat" are you skimming over, to mix
metaphors?

(This posting was inspired by Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "The Fey"
series, which is reasonably interesting but also annoying me with its
extensive use of passive voice, the endless arguments between
characters, and the constant repetition of explanations and details.)

Aviva
Picky, picky, picky!

Editing in SF--Bad! Jo Walton 12/9/97 12:00 AM

In article <msg709.thr-...@maroon.cudenver.edu>
           av...@maroon.cudenver.edu "Aviva Rothschild" writes:

> (This posting was inspired by Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "The Fey"
> series, which is reasonably interesting but also annoying me with its
> extensive use of passive voice, the endless arguments between
> characters, and the constant repetition of explanations and details.)

The awful thing about these is not that they're bloated (though they
are) but the terrible howlers in them. I don't think they had a
first read, never mind an edit or a copy edit.

The second book - :The Fey: Changeling: - contains a really awful
line that anyone should have spotted.

Sort of unspecific spoilers - but the books are not IMO worth
the trouble of letting your eyes run over the print - go and
read everything else Rusch has written instead.

The Rusch book I really like and which sparked a really
interesting "borders of SF/fantasy/horror" discussion at
Eurocon/Octocon is :Alien Influences:.

Anyway - awful example of How Not to Do It.

There's a race called The Fey. They can be dissolved with holy
water. Some gets on the hair of one of them, and people are
working to save her life. There is description of her hair and the
top of her head melting. It's gory. It's a life-or-death situation.
Will she make it or not? Then "Her eyes rolled back in her head".
I had absolutely no way of knowing, until a good paragraph later
when she says "Her face was still untouched" whether this was
meant literally - her face was melting, her eyes rolled back...
or as one would generally mean it figuratively for someone fainting.
Yuck. There are _lots_ of little things like this. If I hadn't been
reading it on the train I'd have given up on it a lot sooner,
because I was saying the Eight Deadly Words.

The first volume presents a quite interesting society, two societies,
and conflict - it's too long and the characters and plot aren't that
interesting, but I put up with that... yes, you're right, it _really_
needed editing.

How general this is, I'm not sure. I tend not to read trash and to be
very unforgiving of bad fantasy. I think there are authors out there
who have really benefitted from good editing at certain stages of their
careers. I've also heard horror stories about certain excellent British
writers who have had novels rejected because the editor in question
didn't have the time to do the work the manuscript needed (established
writer, and no I'm not naming names so don't ask, but I'm also talking
British publishers, this doesn't apply to the wider market.) But I would
say that I have read far fewer books where I've cried "This needed
editing!" than ones where I have.

You need to be _more_ picky. Also to remember that we are not the
market - the market is the people who buy all those Piers Anthony
and Jordan, we're lucky there are enough of us to keep the authors
we want to read in print, and make sure to support them by buying
them so that there _are_ enough of us.

--
Jo     - -  I kissed a kif at Kefk  - -   J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.bluejo.demon.co.uk - Blood of Kings Poetry; rasfw FAQ;
Reviews; Interstichia; Momentum - a paying market for real poetry.


Editing in SF--Bad! Hypnos 164 12/9/97 12:00 AM

On Tue, 9 Dec 1997 12:54:52 -0700, av...@maroon.cudenver.edu (Aviva
Rothschild) wrote:

>As a professional editor and writer, I'm dismayed by what I perceive to
>be the almost total retreat from editing in SF/F. I'm not talking about
>just typos and minor grammatical mistakes, which are becoming more and
>more prevalent in the books I read; I'm also concerned about the
>massive bloat of books. Too many titles I've read recently could easily
>have been cut down to a third or less of their length without affecting
>the story in the slightest. Moreover, there seems to have been a ban on
>active voice; passive voice has taken over.
>
>I understand that some of these books have been padded in order to make
>a single story into a series, but that doesn't mean I approve of the
>practice, or want to read these novels just because there are a lot of
>them and I have some interest in the story.
>
[snip]
>
>Aviva
>Picky, picky, picky!

Hmm,

I had generally assumed the following to be the case:

A new authors early works get edited pretty well, but as an author
grows in readership he can demand more 'creative control' on the
threat of taking the books elsewhere.  Thus escaping the sometimes
painful truth that half of his/her output is pointless padding.

I liked this theory as it explains the fact that an authors books
always seem to get longer the later in the career they come

(Go on, arrange a few authors books in chronologial order and see if
you see what i mean)

Of course it could be that more sci-fi now concentrates on (wordy)
characters rather than plot/concepts

Matt.

Editing in SF--Bad! Alter S. Reiss 12/9/97 12:00 AM

On Tue, 9 Dec 1997, Aviva Rothschild wrote:

> As a professional editor and writer, I'm dismayed by what I perceive to
> be the almost total retreat from editing in SF/F. I'm not talking about
> just typos and minor grammatical mistakes, which are becoming more and
> more prevalent in the books I read; I'm also concerned about the
> massive bloat of books. Too many titles I've read recently could easily
> have been cut down to a third or less of their length without affecting
> the story in the slightest. Moreover, there seems to have been a ban on
> active voice; passive voice has taken over.
>
> I understand that some of these books have been padded in order to make
> a single story into a series, but that doesn't mean I approve of the
> practice, or want to read these novels just because there are a lot of
> them and I have some interest in the story.
>
> I open the floor to discussion (as if posting didn't automatically do
> that) from readers and authors: Have you perceived these editorial
> flaws as well? Or am I over-sensitive? Authors, have you been satisfied
> with the editing (or lack thereof) by your publishers? Readers, do you
> truly enjoy these bulky books, or would you like to see them pared
> down? How much of the literary "fat" are you skimming over, to mix
> metaphors?

        _Exile's Children_ by Angus Wells.  It, well, it has made me
extremely leery of picking up anything else written by that author,
despite recommendations that I've gotten.  It was a five hundred page (or
so) book that a good editor could have turned into the first twenty pages
of a real book.  Shockingly enough, it was the first part of a trilogy,
which may have explained why only exposition happened throughout.  Ugh.
I am perfectly willing to put up with thousand page books, so long as
stuff happens throughout, or even if the prose is sufficiently elegant to
keep me from noticing that nothing is happening, but in this case, neither
was present.
        I would call something like this the Jordan effect.  People have
noticed that massive series sell, particularly when the individual books
of the series are thick, and want to publish books of that type.  Why
those books sell better than tightly written works may have something to
do with people's perceptions that they are geting six dollars worth of
book when it's a fat book, or some such similar factor.  It's not
something I like.

-- Alter S. Reiss - www.geocities.com/Area51/2129 - asr...@ymail.yu.edu

        "Nonsense, they couldn't hit an elephant at this dist"

Editing in SF--Bad! Chris Camfield 12/10/97 12:00 AM

Hypnos 164 (Hypn...@fire-ball.demon.co.uk) writes:
> On Tue, 9 Dec 1997 12:54:52 -0700, av...@maroon.cudenver.edu (Aviva
> Rothschild) wrote:
>
>>As a professional editor and writer, I'm dismayed by what I perceive to
>>be the almost total retreat from editing in SF/F.
[chop]

> A new authors early works get edited pretty well, but as an author
> grows in readership he can demand more 'creative control' on the
> threat of taking the books elsewhere.  Thus escaping the sometimes
> painful truth that half of his/her output is pointless padding.

Same here.

Contributing factors:
- Some authors simply run lower on ideas (unless it's a lack of editing
that makes them get lazy...)
- Editors or publishers are greedy for sequels to bestsellers, even if
they're formulaic.

        Chris


Editing in SF--Bad! Jason Stokes 12/10/97 12:00 AM

In article <msg709.thr-...@maroon.cudenver.edu>,
av...@maroon.cudenver.edu (Aviva Rothschild) wrote:

> As a professional editor and writer, I'm dismayed by what I perceive to
> be the almost total retreat from editing in SF/F. I'm not talking about
> just typos and minor grammatical mistakes, which are becoming more and
> more prevalent in the books I read; I'm also concerned about the
> massive bloat of books. Too many titles I've read recently could easily
> have been cut down to a third or less of their length without affecting
> the story in the slightest.

For fantasy, this is intentional.  I recently called Sara Douglass's work
"bloated" on a mailing list -- her answer was, basically, huge tomes are
what the readers _want_, and she'll keep counting her royalty checks.
What's worse is she is _right._

In article <348ec446...@news.demon.co.uk>,
Hypn...@fire-ball.demon.co.uk (Hypnos 164) wrote:

> A new authors early works get edited pretty well, but as an author
> grows in readership he can demand more 'creative control' on the
> threat of taking the books elsewhere.  Thus escaping the sometimes
> painful truth that half of his/her output is pointless padding.

I think this is _generally_ the case, but I've read some pretty (IMHO)
bloated first novels.  "Catch 22" springs to mind, as well as "Zen and the
Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."  And I've read novels so badly structured
I probably  would have demanded a total rewrite had I been editing the
book.

The effect of editing on writing quality seems to be quite negligable.

--
Jason Stokes: j.stokes (at) bohm.anu.edu.au

I use a spam block.  Replacd (at) with @ to discover my email address.

Editing in SF--Bad! Nancy Lebovitz 12/10/97 12:00 AM

In article <19971210054...@ladder02.news.aol.com>,

JonAubrey <jona...@aol.com> wrote:
>>A new authors early works get edited pretty well, but as an author
>>grows in readership he can demand more 'creative control' on the
>>threat of taking the books elsewhere.  Thus escaping the sometimes
>>painful truth that half of his/her output is pointless padding.
>>
>Nah.  It's just that editors don't edit anymore--they don't have time.  They
>spend most of their days running about dealing with corporate concerns like
>marketing and sales and  P and L statements.
>
And, I gather, not getting enough money to hire someone else to do
the actual editting.

--
Nancy Lebovitz  (nan...@universe.digex.net)

November '97 calligraphic button catalogue available by email!


Editing in SF--Bad! Rob Hafernik 12/10/97 12:00 AM

I've noticed a real trend lately of SPELLING mistakes in new books.  In
one case, the book was a new edition of an old book (but without
changes).  I found a copy of the earlier edition and the typo WASN'T
there.\

Don't these people have spelling checkers?

Editing in SF--Bad! Bill McHale 12/10/97 12:00 AM

Hypnos 164 (Hypn...@fire-ball.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: I had generally assumed the following to be the case:

: A new authors early works get edited pretty well, but as an author
: grows in readership he can demand more 'creative control' on the
: threat of taking the books elsewhere.  Thus escaping the sometimes
: painful truth that half of his/her output is pointless padding.

: I liked this theory as it explains the fact that an authors books
: always seem to get longer the later in the career they come

: (Go on, arrange a few authors books in chronologial order and see if
: you see what i mean)

: Of course it could be that more sci-fi now concentrates on (wordy)
: characters rather than plot/concepts

Well as a rule the field is more tolerant of long books now than it was
even 20 years ago,  When Dune came out it was considered a very big book
for its time (about 500 pgs).  Now it would be considered only about
average.

--
Bill

***************************************************************************
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---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Home page - http://www.gl.umbc.edu/~wmchal1
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Editing in SF--Bad! Brendon Towle 12/10/97 12:00 AM

In article <881700...@bluejo.demon.co.uk>, J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk wrote:

> because I was saying the Eight Deadly Words.

_Eight_ deadly words?  I had always thought that the _six_ deadly words
were "I don't care about these people."

B.
--
Brendon Towle    <to...@ils.nwu.edu>    
"Could God have prevented the serpent from tempting Adam and Eve? If yes,
 why didn't he? If no, discuss the possibility that the serpent was as
 powerful as God."  --Harlan Ellison, "The Deathbird"

Editing in SF--Bad! Larry Caldwell 12/10/97 12:00 AM

In article <msg709.thr-...@maroon.cudenver.edu>,
av...@maroon.cudenver.edu (Aviva Rothschild) wrote:

> I open the floor to discussion (as if posting didn't automatically do
> that) from readers and authors: Have you perceived these editorial
> flaws as well? Or am I over-sensitive? Authors, have you been satisfied
> with the editing (or lack thereof) by your publishers? Readers, do you
> truly enjoy these bulky books, or would you like to see them pared
> down? How much of the literary "fat" are you skimming over, to mix
> metaphors?

Hmmm.  Do you come here often?  :)

Yes, I've moaned long and loud about the absence of editing.
The invention of the word processor has almost ruined modern SF.
If an author had to retype those piles of crap for submission,
you betcha whole sections would meet the redline in a hurry!

I truly enjoy bulky books, but not at the expense of the story.  Art
is life without the clutter of detail.  I don't want to read every
stinking detail of a character's life in the name of character
development.  Far too many authors have no sense of what is important
and what is clutter.

From the books being published, it's obvious most editors have the
same problem.

-- Larry


Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 12/10/97 12:00 AM

In article <towle-ya02408000R1012970953080001@news.acns.nwu.edu>,

Brendon Towle <to...@ils.nwu.edu> wrote:
>
>> because I was saying the Eight Deadly Words.
>
>_Eight_ deadly words?  I had always thought that the _six_ deadly words
>were "I don't care about these people."

The *Eight* Deadly Words version, formulated on this group a
couple of years ago by (ahem) me, reads,

"I don't CARE *WHAT* happens to these people!"

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 12/10/97 12:00 AM

In article <shokwave-101...@as2-dialup-09.wc-aus.io.com>,

Rob Hafernik <shok...@well.com> wrote:
>Don't these people have spelling checkers?

Yes, they do, but as we all know (or should), there's a limit to
what spelling checkers will do.

I got my page proofs back a couple months ago and I diligently
went over them.  I found at least one, not typo necessarily, but
thing-needing-correction, on two-thirds of the pages.  And yet
the thing had clearly been gone over with a spelling checker.
Anywhere a typo had resulted in a non-word, it was corrected.
Anywhere a typo had resulted in an entirely different word, the
different word was let be.  E.g., "pig-troops" [they looked like
pigs] became "pit-troops." (They fought in pits, maybe?)  Or
my favorite: a reference to the Big- and Little-Endians (Swift,
y'know) came out "Big- and Little-Indians."  That's an example of
an overly conscientious spell-checker and an insufficiently
erudite typesetter.

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Editing in SF--Bad! Brenda and Larry Clough 12/10/97 12:00 AM


I was depressed in reading ST.LEIBOWITZ & THE WILD HORSE WOMAN to find a
perfectly simple and obvious typo.  (Spelling "the" correctly is not
rocket science.)  For a lead title by a classic author from a
prestigious publisher, this is not good.

--
Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
<clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

Editing in SF--Bad! Evelyn C. Leeper 12/10/97 12:00 AM

In article <shokwave-101...@as2-dialup-09.wc-aus.io.com>,
Rob Hafernik <shok...@well.com> wrote:

Aye halve a spelling checker.
It came with my PC.
It plainly Marx four my revue
miss steaks eye Cannes knot sea.
I've run this poem threw it,
I'm sure your pleased too no.
Its letter perfect in it's whey:
my checker tolled me sew!

[author unknown]
--
Evelyn C. Leeper    |  ele...@lucent.com
+1 732 957 2070     |  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4824
"Those who do not learn from the future are destined to make mistakes in it."
--Warren Miller (New Yorker)

Editing in SF--Bad! Jo Walton 12/10/97 12:00 AM

In article <j.stokes-101...@g32mac02.anu.edu.au>
           j.st...@bogus-address.anu.edu.au "Jason Stokes" writes:

> I think this is _generally_ the case, but I've read some pretty (IMHO)
> bloated first novels.  "Catch 22" springs to mind, as well as "Zen and the
> Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."  And I've read novels so badly structured
> I probably  would have demanded a total rewrite had I been editing the
> book.

:Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: is neither bloated nor
a novel.


 
--
Jo     - -  I kissed a kif at Kefk  - -   J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.bluejo.demon.co.uk - Blood of Kings Poetry; rasfw FAQ;
Reviews; Interstichia; Momentum - a paying market for real poetry.


Editing in SF--Bad! Jo Walton 12/10/97 12:00 AM

In article <towle-ya02408000R1012970953080001@news.acns.nwu.edu>
           to...@ils.nwu.edu "Brendon Towle" writes:

> In article <881700...@bluejo.demon.co.uk>, J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk wrote:
>
> > because I was saying the Eight Deadly Words.
>
> _Eight_ deadly words?  I had always thought that the _six_ deadly words
> were "I don't care about these people."

"I don't care what happens to these people".

--
Jo     - -  I kissed a kif at Kefk  - -   J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.bluejo.demon.co.uk - Blood of Kings Poetry; rasfw FAQ;
Reviews; Interstichia; Momentum - a paying market for real poetry.


Editing in SF--Bad! David Klecha 12/10/97 12:00 AM

Aviva Rothschild <av...@maroon.cudenver.edu> wrote:
: As a professional editor and writer, I'm dismayed by what I perceive to

: be the almost total retreat from editing in SF/F. I'm not talking about
: just typos and minor grammatical mistakes, which are becoming more and
: more prevalent in the books I read; I'm also concerned about the
: massive bloat of books. Too many titles I've read recently could easily
: have been cut down to a third or less of their length without affecting
: the story in the slightest. Moreover, there seems to have been a ban on
: active voice; passive voice has taken over.

I wouldn't exactly say that this is a new problem, though perhaps one
Science Fiction and Fantasy have been spared in their relatively young
existence as a literary genre.  For example, there are Dostoevsky's
massive tomes, such as "Crime and Punishment" or "The Brothers Karamazov"
(interestingly enough, the beginning of an unfinished trilogy).  Both
were written for nineteenth century Russian literary magazines that paid
by the word, which is almost certainly why the books were that huge.

However, we have come from a time where there were relatively few Science
Fiction authors, and a relatively small market for it.  The market almost
demanded super-high-quality (literarily speaking) work in a tight format.
Editors were ruthless with their precious press time or magazine space.

But now, I think, SF/F has entered the "bloated mass market" stages of
life.  With such tremendous "popular" interest in SF/F (fueled mainly by
Hollywood), the demand for new, fresh SF/F (especially since Hollywood
seems to be relying on novelists for new story ideas) is almost
insatiable.

So what happens?

Joe-Shmo Fantasy Writer has 4,000 pages of some incomprehensible fantasy
epic that he wants published.  The editor looks at the synopsis (which in
itself probably takes a week to read), gets dollar-signs in his eyes
whilst chanting "Robert Jordan" in his head, and signs Shmo to a contract.
Thus another shelf in Barnes & Noble bends under the weight of
yet-another-damn-fantasy-epic-series.  And lots of people buy it.  Some
don't like it, but Mr. Shmo has already cashed his royalty checks and B&N
doesn't want the book back, thankyouverymuch.

Meanwhile, across town, Joe-Shmuck is still writing tightly-plotted,
grammatically correct, well-spelled and -typed, active voice, exciting
narratives with little to no excess fat.  Fortunately for Joe-Shmuck,
there is still an active, thriving audience looking for his sort of work,
and he routinely gets published.  However, to us of the thriving audience,
we are having trouble discerning between Joe-Shmuck and Joe-Shmo.  The
publisher, alas and alack, has not been thoughtful enough to label either
book as what it is.  They just seem to be lumped in this general category
of "Science Fiction/Fantasy."

Fortunately, there are forums such as these for people to share their
views with a large audience on which books are good and which are bad and
for what reasons.  Unfortunately, some of these reviews merely come out as
"I likeded it, uh-huh-huh."  But, eventually, we tend to learn who has a
discerning reader's eye and who is merely a pawn of the mass market glut.
And so those of us who prefer the sort of thing that Ms. Rothschild
prefers find out what is worth reading.

In the meantime, though, us unlucky souls discover that our beloved SF/F
editors have discovered one of the evil truths of publishing: "Just about
anything sells, as long as it has a genre attachment and is in something
resembling English."  This is probably rather cynical and even slightly
untrue, but nobody seems to have let SF/F publishers in on it yet.  And
so, perhaps, one day the Great Collapse will come and the bottom of the
SF/F market will fall out, and publishers will suddenly realize that the
only stuff being bought and read is the really good, really well-editted
stuff, and a State of Happiness shall resume.  But I don't know if I'd
count on it.

And then again, I could be wrong. :)

dk
--
 David Klecha---------------------------->kle...@bugsy.csis.gvsu.edu
|        "Hey look! It's not my fault! It's some guy named           |
|             'General Protection.'" -Ratbert, 12/18/96              |
 Russian Studies/History/CS------------>http://www2.gvsu.edu/~klechad

Editing in SF--Bad! Del Cotter 12/10/97 12:00 AM

On Wed, 10 Dec 1997, in rec.arts.sf.written
Brendon Towle <to...@ils.nwu.edu> wrote

>> because I was saying the Eight Deadly Words.
>
>_Eight_ deadly words?  I had always thought that the _six_ deadly words
>were "I don't care about these people."

"I Don't Care What Happens To..."

--
Del Cotter                 d...@branta.demon.co.uk

Editing in SF--Bad! David Kennedy 12/10/97 12:00 AM

In article <towle-ya02408000R1012970953080001@news.acns.nwu.edu>,

        to...@ils.nwu.edu (Brendon Towle) writes:
> In article <881700...@bluejo.demon.co.uk>, J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk wrote:
>
>> because I was saying the Eight Deadly Words.
>
> _Eight_ deadly words?  I had always thought that the _six_ deadly words
> were "I don't care about these people."

(1) Most people's version:

"I don't care what happens to these people."

(2) My alternate version:

"I'm bored, and want to read something else."

--
David Kennedy, Dept. of Pure & Applied Physics, Queen's University of Belfast
Email: D.Ke...@Queens-Belfast.ac.uk | URL: http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/~dcjk/
               My .sig was so clever that it actually escaped!

Editing in SF--Bad! Graydon 12/10/97 12:00 AM

In article <towle-ya02408000R1012970953080001@news.acns.nwu.edu>,
Brendon Towle <to...@ils.nwu.edu> wrote:
>In article <881700...@bluejo.demon.co.uk>, J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk wrote:
>> because I was saying the Eight Deadly Words.
>
>_Eight_ deadly words?  I had always thought that the _six_ deadly words
>were "I don't care about these people."

These people are all too stupid to live?

That's more usually my problem with books than with a priori not caring
about them, although that reaction _leads_ to the not caring reaction
quite quickly, so Dorothy's basic description remains more general.
--
goo...@interlog.com | "However many ways there may be of being alive, it
--> mail to Graydon  | is certain that there are vastly more ways of being
                       dead." - Richard Dawkins, :The Blind Watchmaker:

Editing in SF--Bad! JonAubrey 12/10/97 12:00 AM

>A new authors early works get edited pretty well, but as an author
>grows in readership he can demand more 'creative control' on the
>threat of taking the books elsewhere.  Thus escaping the sometimes
>painful truth that half of his/her output is pointless padding.
>
>

Nah.  It's just that editors don't edit anymore--they don't have time.  They


spend most of their days running about dealing with corporate concerns like
marketing and sales and  P and L statements.

Jon

Editing in SF--Bad! John Boston 12/11/97 12:00 AM

In article <shokwave-101...@as2-dialup-09.wc-aus.io.com>,
shok...@well.com says...


        Then there are things like the following, from MISSISSIPPI
BLUES by Kathleen Ann Goonan (Tor, just published), page 86:

        "'You can't take them there horses,' came a sharp voice from
the shadows.
        "They turned.  A man walked toward them slowly, holding a
shotgun across his chest.  His hair was long and grizzled, his clothes
unkempt.
        "'Why not?' asked Blaze.  'Who do they belong to?  You?'
        "The old man looked puzzled and his grip on the rifle relaxed."

        There's more.  A few lines before the quoted passage, one of
the characters says she can't ride bareback, and Blaze proposes getting
some bridles and saddles out of the tack room.  Just before the guy
with the rifle or shotgun shows up, they have selected two halters--no
mention of bridles and saddles.  He starts shooting at them and they
get on the horses and flee--obviously, riding bareback.

Or maybe this is just postmodern--unreliable narrator, you know.

                John Boston


Editing in SF--Bad! Nancy Lebovitz 12/11/97 12:00 AM

In article <66mlsm$46d$1...@agate.berkeley.edu>,

Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>
>Yes, they do, but as we all know (or should), there's a limit to
>what spelling checkers will do.
>
>I got my page proofs back a couple months ago and I diligently
>went over them.  I found at least one, not typo necessarily, but
>thing-needing-correction, on two-thirds of the pages.  And yet
>the thing had clearly been gone over with a spelling checker.
>Anywhere a typo had resulted in a non-word, it was corrected.
>Anywhere a typo had resulted in an entirely different word, the
>different word was let be.  E.g., "pig-troops" [they looked like
>pigs] became "pit-troops." (They fought in pits, maybe?)  Or
>my favorite: a reference to the Big- and Little-Endians (Swift,
>y'know) came out "Big- and Little-Indians."  That's an example of
>an overly conscientious spell-checker and an insufficiently
>erudite typesetter.
>
One little, two little, three little Endians.....

And note that it wasn't a matter of making a typo into a different
typo--it was adding a typo where none had existed before.

Remember the good old days when people thought computers would
make everything debilitatingly rational?

--
Nancy Lebovitz  (nan...@universe.digex.net)

November '97 calligraphic button catalogue available by email!


Editing in SF--Bad! WooF 12/11/97 12:00 AM


On 11 Dec 1997, John Boston wrote:

>         "They turned.  A man walked toward them slowly, holding a
> shotgun across his chest.  His hair was long and grizzled, his clothes
> unkempt.
>         "'Why not?' asked Blaze.  'Who do they belong to?  You?'
>         "The old man looked puzzled and his grip on the rifle relaxed."

[snip] [citation of a writer who didn't know the difference between a
halter and a saddle]

A lot of this is simply elegant variation gone out of control -- the
compulsion never to use the same word twice on a page. Fowler (the Fowler
of _A Dctionary of Modern English Usage_ and Strunk & White of _The
Elements of Style_ have unkind words to say about the practice). Less
obvious, perhaps, but sometimes even more confusing to the reader, is the
writer who will refer to an important character in a story as "the
Doctor," then "Jane," then "O'Smith," then "the Pathologist," then "the
blonde," . . . and so on 'round the loop, instead of simply (and clearly)
identifying her as "Dr. Jane O'Smith, the blonde Pathologist" the first
time she steps on stage, and then as Jane* every time thereafter (or, if
she steps off stage for a bunch of pages, as something like "Jane, the
Pathologist," when she's finished doing whatever she was doing with those
pages).

*Note that what one uses as the short-hand name depends on who else are on
stage (will be on stage, have been on stage), and with what degree of
formality the point of view character views that character: "Jane" if on a
first-name basis, "Dr O'Smith," if on a formal basis . . . and so on. If
several more people named "Jane" are to show up in the second act, you'd
beter call the lady "O'Smith" instead.


 George Scithers of owls...@netaxs.com

Editing in SF--Bad! Jo Walton 12/11/97 12:00 AM

In article <66muj7$g80$1...@news.qub.ac.uk>
           D.Ke...@qub.ac.uk "David Kennedy" writes:

> (1) Most people's version:
>
> "I don't care what happens to these people."
>
> (2) My alternate version:
>
> "I'm bored, and want to read something else."

:Rise of Endymion:'s coming close to getting statement (2) there, is
it worth pressing on?

--
Jo     - -  I kissed a kif at Kefk  - -   J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.bluejo.demon.co.uk - Blood of Kings Poetry; rasfw FAQ;
Reviews; Interstichia; Momentum - a paying market for real poetry.


Editing in SF--Bad! Lawrence Watt-Evans 12/11/97 12:00 AM

On 11 Dec 1997 03:40:02 GMT, jbo...@mindspring.com (John Boston)
wrote:

>        Then there are things like the following, from MISSISSIPPI
>BLUES by Kathleen Ann Goonan (Tor, just published), page 86:
>
>        "'You can't take them there horses,' came a sharp voice from
>the shadows.
>        "They turned.  A man walked toward them slowly, holding a
>shotgun across his chest.  His hair was long and grizzled, his clothes
>unkempt.
>        "'Why not?' asked Blaze.  'Who do they belong to?  You?'
>        "The old man looked puzzled and his grip on the rifle relaxed."
>
>        There's more.  A few lines before the quoted passage, one of
>the characters says she can't ride bareback, and Blaze proposes getting
>some bridles and saddles out of the tack room.  Just before the guy
>with the rifle or shotgun shows up, they have selected two halters--no
>mention of bridles and saddles.  He starts shooting at them and they
>get on the horses and flee--obviously, riding bareback.

THIS is the sort of stuff they pay copy editors to catch.  That the
copy editor did not do so indicates that he or she is incompetent and
should not be hired again.

I once had a character finish the same cup of coffee twice.  Nobody
caught the error until after the book was published -- but the copy
editor had made literally hundreds of stupid little changes, 90% of
which I changed back in the proofs.  I can now recognize that copy
editor's style and will protest violently if I ever see it again on
anything I wrote.

I also once had a copy editor on a seafaring fantasy who clearly knew
nothing whatsoever about either square-rigged ships or Irish myth;
apparently she was excellent on other stuff, but totally out of her
depth on that story.  She didn't miss stuff, or change things she
shouldn't, but she queried and queried and queried on stuff she didn't
understand that was fine as it was.

Anyway, it's possible Goonan's CE doesn't know a rifle and a shotgun
are different, but I have trouble with the horse-tack error even then.


 --
    TOUCHED BY THE GODS:  Hardcover, Tor Books, now available! $24.95
    The Misenchanted Page: http://www.sff.net/people/LWE/ Last update 12/9/97
   

Editing in SF--Bad! Kate Nepveu 12/11/97 12:00 AM

Jo Walton (J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: In article <66muj7$g80$1...@news.qub.ac.uk>
:            D.Ke...@qub.ac.uk "David Kennedy" writes:

: > (2) My alternate version:


: > "I'm bored, and want to read something else."

: :Rise of Endymion:'s coming close to getting statement (2) there, is
: it worth pressing on?

Well, there's the ability to rant along with me about how you don't like
the complete re-architecting of the universe... but other than that, no.

--
Kate

"There's no such thing as magic."
"Shut up, Horatio."
"My philosophy's as good as yours!"
        --Pamela Dean, _The Secret Country_

Editing in SF--Bad! David Kennedy 12/11/97 12:00 AM

In article <881869...@bluejo.demon.co.uk>,

        J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk (Jo Walton) writes:
> In article <66muj7$g80$1...@news.qub.ac.uk>
>            D.Ke...@qub.ac.uk "David Kennedy" writes:
>
>> (1) Most people's version:
>> "I don't care what happens to these people."
>>
>> (2) My alternate version:
>> "I'm bored, and want to read something else."
>
>:Rise of Endymion:'s coming close to getting statement (2) there, is
> it worth pressing on?

Ask me again when it's out in paperback.

(I'm kicking myself for not cracking and buying the 9.99 US import
HB I saw last week. I didn't think Endymion was as good as Hyperion/Fall of..
but it was still good.)
--
David Kennedy, Dept. of Pure & Applied Physics, Queen's University of Belfast
Email: D.Ke...@Queens-Belfast.ac.uk | URL: http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/~dcjk/
               My .sig was so clever that it actually escaped!

Editing in SF--Bad! ORAC 12/11/97 12:00 AM

In article <msg709.thr-...@maroon.cudenver.edu>,
av...@maroon.cudenver.edu (Aviva Rothschild) wrote:

>As a professional editor and writer, I'm dismayed by what I perceive to
>be the almost total retreat from editing in SF/F. I'm not talking about
>just typos and minor grammatical mistakes, which are becoming more and
>more prevalent in the books I read; I'm also concerned about the
>massive bloat of books. Too many titles I've read recently could easily
>have been cut down to a third or less of their length without affecting
>the story in the slightest. Moreover, there seems to have been a ban on
>active voice; passive voice has taken over.
>
>I understand that some of these books have been padded in order to make
>a single story into a series, but that doesn't mean I approve of the
>practice, or want to read these novels just because there are a lot of
>them and I have some interest in the story.
>
>I open the floor to discussion (as if posting didn't automatically do
>that) from readers and authors: Have you perceived these editorial
>flaws as well? Or am I over-sensitive? Authors, have you been satisfied
>with the editing (or lack thereof) by your publishers? Readers, do you
>truly enjoy these bulky books, or would you like to see them pared
>down? How much of the literary "fat" are you skimming over, to mix
>metaphors?

As a longtime SF/F fan, I've seen a lot of fat and not much meat, at least
in the novels I've read in the last several years.

I agree that there is a trend towards "bloat" in SF/F. The bloat seems to
be much, much worse in fantasy, where, it seems, there is no longer such a
thing as a stand-alone novel. EVERY novel has to be part of a series, it
seems, and the basic unit of storytelling seems to be the trilogy. Think
about it. When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's. I first
noticed this trend in the late 1970's, but in the last twenty years it's
only gotten worse and worse. The stories suffer for it, IMHO, because
authors feel obligated to pad stories out to make at least a trilogy, if
not a longer series.

My favorite example of this bloat is a series I liked very much at first,
Robert Jordan's WHEEL OF TIME series. The first novel in the series,
although it was around 500-600 pages long, was tightly plotted and kept me
wanting to read more. So did the second and third novels. Over time,
however, I started to get the distinct feeling that the novels were being
padded. Chapters were taken to describe incidents that could have probably
been handled in a couple of pages. The last two novels meandered aimlessly
for 700 pages or so, with no signs of the overall story advancing much. I
could barely finish them. Jordan is now on--what is it?-- the eight book,
with no end to the saga in sight. I doubt that I'll continue to read the
series, but once I've invested this much into it I find it hard to stop,
even when I should.

I know I'm setting myself up for flames from Robert Jordan fans; so, to
spread it out, I'll mention a couple other offenders: Piers Anthony, who
seems to write ONLY series of novels, the Xanth novels being the most
obvious example; and the Terry Brooks Shannara books, which I stopped
reading after the second volume.

I can understand the desire to capitalize on a popular novel with a
series, but after a while it turns into sheer laziness and profit-seeking.
After all, it can easier to write a story about the same world and
characters than it is to come up with a new world and characters. There
has to be a balance that can be struck between capitalizing on popular
titles and characters with more books and new material. Likewise, I can't
believe that EVERY novel is worthy of being turned into a series. Some of
the best novels I ever read were one-shot stand-alone novels.

This is a large part of the reason that I seldom read much fantasy
anymore. I've switched back to reading hard SF, which was always my first
love anyway. But even there, I can't escape the sequel. For instance, Greg
Bear has his Thistledown books and his most recent book is a sequel to
QUEEN OF ANGELS.

I guess you just can't win these days. I know that series have been with
SF as long as there has been SF. (Think of Asimov's Daneel Olivaw robot
books, such CAVES OF STEEL and THE NAKED SUN, and his FOUNDATION series;
Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan and John Carter stories; Herbert's DUNE
series.) I also think that, the longer a series continues, the more
quality suffers. The latter stories in nearly all the aforementioned
series were considerably inferior to their earlier stories.

Further comments?

--
MY E-MAIL ADDRESS HAS BEEN SURGICALLY ALTERED TO HINDER SPAM TO ME.
TO GET AT MY REAL E-MAIL ADDRESS, DELETE THE HYPHEN!

ORAC                        |"A statement of fact cannot be
a.k.a.                      | insolent."   ORAC
David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D.|
University of Chicago       |

Editing in SF--Bad! Pat Powers 12/11/97 12:00 AM

In article <348EC4...@erols.com>, clo...@erols.com wrote:

I gotta tell ya -- as a fiction reader, if the story is engaging and the
characters are interesting, I don't give a flying furk about typos.
Nonficiton is different, of cours.


> Rob Hafernik wrote:
> >
> > I've noticed a real trend lately of SPELLING mistakes in new books.  In
> > one case, the book was a new edition of an old book (but without
> > changes).  I found a copy of the earlier edition and the typo WASN'T
> > there.\
> >
> > Don't these people have spelling checkers?
>
>
> I was depressed in reading ST.LEIBOWITZ & THE WILD HORSE WOMAN to find a
> perfectly simple and obvious typo.  (Spelling "the" correctly is not
> rocket science.)  For a lead title by a classic author from a
> prestigious publisher, this is not good.
>
> --
> Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
> <clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

--
Visit www.islandford.w1.com and know the beauty and terror of Karg, enjoy
the Fauxtoons and the Celebrity Clones, and generally have a good time --
mostly for free.

Editing in SF--Bad! Alter S. Reiss 12/11/97 12:00 AM

On 10 Dec 1997, Graydon wrote:

> Brendon Towle <to...@ils.nwu.edu> wrote:
> >In article <881700...@bluejo.demon.co.uk>, J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk wrote:
> >> because I was saying the Eight Deadly Words.
> >
> >_Eight_ deadly words?  I had always thought that the _six_ deadly words
> >were "I don't care about these people."
>
> These people are all too stupid to live?

        I wonder what's on TV?  That's always been my formulation for
dropping a book...

-- Alter S. Reiss - www.geocities.com/Area51/2129 - asr...@ymail.yu.edu

        "Nonsense, they couldn't hit an elephant at this dist"


Editing in SF--Bad! Brenda and Larry Clough 12/11/97 12:00 AM
> ORAC                        |"A statement of fact cannot be
> a.k.a.                      | insolent."   ORAC
> David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D.|
> University of Chicago       |


Well, mine is a 1997 publication!

--
Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
<clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

Editing in SF--Bad! David Kennedy 12/12/97 12:00 AM

In article <dgorski-1112...@maxreader.bsd.uchicago.edu>,

        dgo...@xsi-te.net (ORAC) writes:
>
> My favorite example of this bloat is a series I liked very much at first,
> Robert Jordan's WHEEL OF TIME series.
[snip]

> The last two novels meandered aimlessly
> for 700 pages or so, with no signs of the overall story advancing much.
[snip]

> I know I'm setting myself up for flames from Robert Jordan fans; so, to
> spread it out, I'll mention a couple other offenders: Piers Anthony, who
> seems to write ONLY series of novels, the Xanth novels being the most
> obvious example; and the Terry Brooks Shannara books, which I stopped
> reading after the second volume.

I don't think that comparing Jordan to Piers Anthony and Terry Brooks
was the best way to avoid flames! :-)

(I agree re: Jordan though, I _liked_ the first few books, I recall
enjoying The Shadow Rising very much indeed. In contrast I can
barely recall what happened in the last couple, never mind the
which volume was which, and I've little desire to read the next.)

--
David Kennedy, Dept. of Pure & Applied Physics, Queen's University of Belfast
Email: D.Ke...@Queens-Belfast.ac.uk | URL: http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/~dcjk/
               My .sig was so clever that it actually escaped!

Editing in SF--Bad! Ethan A Merritt 12/12/97 12:00 AM

In article <dgorski-1112...@maxreader.bsd.uchicago.edu>,

ORAC <dgo...@xsi-te.net> wrote:
>
>I agree that there is a trend towards "bloat" in SF/F. The bloat seems to
>be much, much worse in fantasy, where, it seems, there is no longer such a
>thing as a stand-alone novel. EVERY novel has to be part of a series, it
>seems, and the basic unit of storytelling seems to be the trilogy. Think
>about it. When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
>part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's.

You'd lose.
Some excellent examples:

        _The Innkeeper's Song_   Peter Beagle  
                                 not a single word of bloat in sight here

        _Winter Rose_                 Patricia McKillip
                                 or here

        _Tigana_, _A Song For Arbonne_, _Lions of Al-Rassan_   G G Kay
                                 not a trilogy (except in an old and perhaps forgotten
                                 thematic sense), not a series.  Individually they are
                                 fairly hefty books, so perhaps if your attention span
                                 is short you could complain of "bloat"


                                        Ethan A Merritt
                                        mer...@u.washington.edu

Editing in SF--Bad! Splints 12/12/97 12:00 AM

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ORAC wrote:

  I read somewhere that AC Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama was intended to be a
ONE-OFF novel, but he ended it with the words 'Raman's do everything in
Threes.' and so, the series was born.

Most of the novels I've read have left me with that WIZZ_BANG_WOWEE feeling,
and I've avidly looked forward to the next in the series, but more often than
not, when it came out, I felt let down.    This is usually because the
original plot has been extended out another hundred thousand words or so, and
it just can't take it.

But is this the author's fault, or the editor/publisher's.   It's all about
money today, not literary genius.

Were I an author who'd written a good, solid SF first novel, I wonder if  I'd
be able to resist writing a sequel when they dangled several thousand bucks
under my nose.   I doubt it.   And I'd probably extend the plot of my first
novel out until it became mundane and forced, and the story no longer
naturally flowed.

But then ... I'm human ... and I like money.

Tony Plank

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Editing in SF--Bad! Rich Horton 12/12/97 12:00 AM

On Thu, 11 Dec 97 19:40:57 GMT, J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk (Jo Walton)
wrote:

>:Rise of Endymion:'s coming close to getting statement (2) there, is
>it worth pressing on?

John Clute sure as heck thought so, and I usually trust him.  (Though
his novel, _The Disinheriting Party_, tried me sorely, and by the end
(fortunately it's short) I was just reading more or less disconnected
words.)  But on the other hand ... _Endymion_ didn't tempt me at all.

--
Rich Horton

Editing in SF--Bad! Dan Goodman 12/12/97 12:00 AM

I think it should be pointed out that SF editing wasn't always good in the
Good Old Days.  There used to sometimes be _too much_ cutting.

Example:  The book version of Keith Laumer's _Worlds of the Imperium_
lacks the absolute best part of the magazine-serial version.  Luckily,
it's reprinted in Damon Knight's collection _A Century of Science
Fiction_.

--
Dan Goodman
dsg...@visi.com
http://www.visi.com/~dsgood/index.html
Whatever you wish for me, may you have twice as much.

Editing in SF--Bad! john jordan III 12/12/97 12:00 AM

  I agree that editing has deteriorated in recent printed works of all
kinds. This a minor flaw thow I don't like it, and something should be
done about it. But my major peeve is that the publishers of sf have
reduced their new titles in publication. I used to buy five or six sf
alone each week out of a larger selection, now I can't even find five or
six new titles a week. The other catagories are almost as bad, you would
think they didn't want to sell any new books. So bad as some of the
editing and gramar is we have to hope the stories they decide to print
are are worth it, in spite of their defects.

                         Hear me bable
                          John Jordan III

Editing in SF--Bad! Sion Arrowsmith 12/12/97 12:00 AM

In article <Pine.A41.3.95.971211204009.65878C-100000@acis.mc.yu.edu>,

Alter S. Reiss <asr...@ymail.yu.edu> wrote:
>On 10 Dec 1997, Graydon wrote:
>> Brendon Towle <to...@ils.nwu.edu> wrote:
>> >_Eight_ deadly words?  I had always thought that the _six_ deadly words
>> >were "I don't care about these people."
>> These people are all too stupid to live?
>        I wonder what's on TV?  That's always been my formulation for
>dropping a book...

"I can write better than this" usually has me throwing a book
across the room. Well, not literally, I disapprove of physical
violence to books. And I'll usually pick it up again. My normal
reason for abandonning a book is "This prose is too turgid to
read" as I never really care about characters anyway, although
I've just put a book down on the basis of "This is offensively
racist" (and it wasn't by RAH).

--
\S -- si...@chiark.greenend.org.uk -- http://www.chaos.org.uk/~sion/
  ___  | Spot the sleevenotes #9:                         |  88% of clowns
  \X/  | "This album is dedicated to Glastonbury '97      |   never fall
  <*>  |  and all who sailed in her..."                   |    in love

Editing in SF--Bad! Sion Arrowsmith 12/12/97 12:00 AM

In article <66q4kh$avv$1...@nntp5.u.washington.edu>,

Ethan A Merritt <mer...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>        _Tigana_, _A Song For Arbonne_, _Lions of Al-Rassan_   G G Kay
>not a trilogy (except in an old and perhaps forgotten thematic sense)

Certainly a trilogy in the thematic sense, one about "the
relationship between storytelling and history and magic and the
world as we know it" (<1kd*Er...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk>,
thank you DejaNews). But in every other sense, they are fine
examples of modern, stand-alone fantasy novels. Curious how
they're orders of magnitude better than the same author's
earlier trilogy....

--
\S -- si...@chiark.greenend.org.uk -- http://www.chaos.org.uk/~sion/
  ___  | Spot the sleevenotes #9:                         |  88% of clowns
  \X/  | "This album is dedicated to Glastonbury '97      |   never fall
  <*>  |  and all who sailed in her..."                   |    in love

Editing in SF--Bad! Lawrence Watt-Evans 12/12/97 12:00 AM

On Thu, 11 Dec 1997 18:55:57 -0500, Brenda and Larry Clough
<clo...@erols.com> wrote:

>ORAC wrote:
>>
>> I agree that there is a trend towards "bloat" in SF/F. The bloat seems to
>> be much, much worse in fantasy, where, it seems, there is no longer such a
>> thing as a stand-alone novel. EVERY novel has to be part of a series, it
>> seems, and the basic unit of storytelling seems to be the trilogy. Think
>> about it. When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
>> part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's.
>>
>
>Well, mine is a 1997 publication!

So is mine.  (See .sig.)  A big fat fantasy novel that's not part of a
series.

Of course, if it sells in huge numbers it may BECOME a series, but it
isn't planned as one.


 --
    TOUCHED BY THE GODS:  Hardcover, Tor Books, now available! $24.95
    The Misenchanted Page: http://www.sff.net/people/LWE/ Last update 12/9/97
   

Editing in SF--Bad! Aviva Rothschild 12/12/97 12:00 AM

dgo...@xsi-te.net,News writes:
>I agree that there is a trend towards "bloat" in SF/F. The bloat seems
>to
>be much, much worse in fantasy, where, it seems, there is no longer
>such a
>thing as a stand-alone novel. EVERY novel has to be part of a series, it
>seems, and the basic unit of storytelling seems to be the trilogy. Think
>about it. When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
>part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's. I first
>noticed this trend in the late 1970's, but in the last twenty years it's
>only gotten worse and worse. The stories suffer for it, IMHO, because
>authors feel obligated to pad stories out to make at least a trilogy, if
>not a longer series.

I could probably live with it if the books could stand on their own,
but they never do any more. I HATE partial books! Among other things,
it's impossible to pick up a book in the middle of a series. There are
plenty of non-SF/F authors who write series where the books are each
individuals. IMHO, this silly padding in SF/F not only points up the
dearth of real ability in many of today's writers, it also makes the
genres look bad to outsiders.

Aviva

Editing in SF--Bad! Andrew Plotkin 12/12/97 12:00 AM

Ethan A Merritt (mer...@u.washington.edu) wrote:
> In article <dgorski-1112...@maxreader.bsd.uchicago.edu>,
> ORAC <dgo...@xsi-te.net> wrote:
> >
> >I agree that there is a trend towards "bloat" in SF/F. The bloat seems to
> >be much, much worse in fantasy, where, it seems, there is no longer such a
> >thing as a stand-alone novel. EVERY novel has to be part of a series, it
> >seems, and the basic unit of storytelling seems to be the trilogy. Think
> >about it. When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
> >part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's.

> You'd lose.
> Some excellent examples: [snipped]

Forget not _Freedom and Necessity_.

Furthermore, there are many more books which are parts of series, but
which (contrary to your plaint) *do* stand alone, and are a single unit
of storytelling.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Editing in SF--Bad! Aviva Rothschild 12/12/97 12:00 AM

nan...@universe.digex.net,News writes:
>And note that it wasn't a matter of making a typo into a different
>typo--it was adding a typo where none had existed before.

Oh, yes. When I worked on a publication called American Reference Books
Annual, we had a stylistic rule where words like "dialogue" and
"catalogue" were stripped of the "ue." So our proofreader changed
"synagogue." I still get a chuckle out of that one!

Aviva

Editing in SF--Bad! Martijn Faassen 12/12/97 12:00 AM

In article <dgorski-1112...@maxreader.bsd.uchicago.edu>,
ORAC <dgo...@xsi-te.net> wrote:

>As a longtime SF/F fan, I've seen a lot of fat and not much meat, at least
>in the novels I've read in the last several years.
>
>I agree that there is a trend towards "bloat" in SF/F. The bloat seems to
>be much, much worse in fantasy, where, it seems, there is no longer such a
>thing as a stand-alone novel. EVERY novel has to be part of a series, it
>seems, and the basic unit of storytelling seems to be the trilogy. Think
>about it. When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
>part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's.

While I agree with the sentiment that fantasy tends to be impossibly bloated,
some stand alone fantasy novels are still being written:

_The Element of Fire_, and _City of Bones_, both by Martha Wells, are not part
of trilogies and don't even share the same universe. They're nice, and part of
what makes them nice is that they stand on their own.

Martijn
--
Martijn Faassen                                   email:...@phil.ruu.nl
Pessimist's Definition of Optimism : Failing to learn from life.
Optimist's Definition of Pessimism : Failing to learn to live.

Editing in SF--Bad! ORAC 12/12/97 12:00 AM

In article <34907D...@erols.com>, clo...@erols.com wrote:

>ORAC wrote:

>> As a longtime SF/F fan, I've seen a lot of fat and not much meat, at least
>> in the novels I've read in the last several years.
>>
>> I agree that there is a trend towards "bloat" in SF/F. The bloat seems to
>> be much, much worse in fantasy, where, it seems, there is no longer such a
>> thing as a stand-alone novel. EVERY novel has to be part of a series, it
>> seems, and the basic unit of storytelling seems to be the trilogy. Think
>> about it. When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
>> part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's.

>Well, mine is a 1997 publication!

Ah, but if it sells well, I bet you'll find it hard to resist the
temptation to make it into a series. :-)

--
MY E-MAIL ADDRESS HAS BEEN SURGICALLY ALTERED TO HINDER SPAM TO ME.
TO GET AT MY REAL E-MAIL ADDRESS, DELETE THE HYPHEN!

ORAC                        |"A statement of fact cannot be


a.k.a.                      | insolent."   ORAC
David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D.|
University of Chicago       |

Editing in SF--Bad! Evelyn C. Leeper 12/12/97 12:00 AM

In article <dgorski-1112...@maxreader.bsd.uchicago.edu>,
ORAC <dgo...@xsi-te.net> wrote:
> When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
> part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's.

While I don't read as much fantasy as science fiction, I find these titles
among the non-series fantasy I reviewed in the 1990's:
        James Morrow's "Only Begotten Daughter"
        Terry Bisson's "Talking Man"
        Sheri Tepper's "Beauty"
        Jane Yolen's "Briar Rose"
        John Barthelme's "The King"
        Martin Amis's "Time's Arrow"
        Thomas Monteleone's "Blood of the Lamb"
        Ian McDonald's "Broken Land"
        Dan Simmons's "Children of the Night"
        Gore Videl's "Live from Golgotha"
        Roger Zelazny's "Night in the Lonesome October"
        Nina Kiriki Hoffman's "Thread That Binds the Bones"
        Harry Turtledove's "Case of the Toxic Spell Dump"
        Edward B. Hanna's "Whitechapel Horrors"
        Steven Brust's "Agyar"
        Sam Siciliano's "Angel of the Opera"
        Holly Lisle's "Minerva Wakes"
        Robert Charles Wilson's "Mysterium"
        L. E. Modesitt, Jr.'s "Of Tangible Ghosts"
        Charles de Lint's "Wild Wood"
        Katherine Kurtz's "Two Crowns for America"
        Ellen Galford's "Dyke & the Dybbuk"
        Dan Jacobson's "The God-Fearer"
        Brain Stableford's "Hunger and Ecstasy of Vampires"
        Lisa Goldstein's "Summer King, Winter Fool"
        Lisa Goldstein's "Tourists"
        Esther Friesner's "Child of the Eagle "
        John Barnes's "One for the Morning Glory "
        Lisa Goldstein's "Walking the Labyrinth"
        Christopher Priests's "The Prestige"
        Jerry Jay Carroll's "Top Dog"

--
Evelyn C. Leeper    |  ele...@lucent.com
+1 732 957 2070     |  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4824
"Those who do not learn from the future are destined to make mistakes in it."
--Warren Miller (New Yorker)

Editing in SF--Bad! Brenda and Larry Clough 12/12/97 12:00 AM


If editors want to rub zillions of dollars up and down my body, I will
find it difficult to refuse, 'tis true.


--
Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
<clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

Editing in SF--Bad! Ninni M Pettersson 12/12/97 12:00 AM

Ethan A Merritt <mer...@u.washington.edu> wrote:

> ORAC <dgo...@xsi-te.net> wrote:
> >
> >I agree that there is a trend towards "bloat" in SF/F. The bloat seems to
> >be much, much worse in fantasy, where, it seems, there is no longer such a
> >thing as a stand-alone novel. EVERY novel has to be part of a series, it
> >seems, and the basic unit of storytelling seems to be the trilogy. Think
> >about it. When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
> >part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's.
>
> You'd lose.
> Some excellent examples:
>
>       _The Innkeeper's Song_   Peter Beagle  
>                                not a single word of bloat in sight here
>
>       _Winter Rose_            Patricia McKillip
>                                or here
>
>       _Tigana_, _A Song For Arbonne_, _Lions of Al-Rassan_   G G Kay
>                                not a trilogy (except in an old and perhaps forgotten
>                                thematic sense), not a series.  Individually they are
>                                fairly hefty books, so perhaps if your attention span
>                                is short you could complain of "bloat"

Other *very* good examples of a stand-alone fantasy novels published in
the 90s are _Deerskin_ by Robin McKinley (1993) and her newest _Rose
Daughter_ (though this is not as good as Deerskin IMHO). Both of them
mercyfully free from needless verbiage.

And Pamela Dean's _Tam Lin_ was published in 1990 so it qualifies too.
Though it's a rather long book, it can certainly not be called
"bloated", at least not IMHO.

/Ninni Pettersson

--
Mail-adress "anti-spammed" - remove INTE
http://www.algonet.se/~arador/md_home.html

Editing in SF--Bad! ORAC 12/12/97 12:00 AM

In article <66rtpk$5...@laurel.stud.phil.ruu.nl>, faa...@phil.ruu.nl
(Martijn Faassen) wrote:

>In article <dgorski-1112...@maxreader.bsd.uchicago.edu>,
>ORAC <dgo...@xsi-te.net> wrote:
>
>>As a longtime SF/F fan, I've seen a lot of fat and not much meat, at least
>>in the novels I've read in the last several years.
>>
>>I agree that there is a trend towards "bloat" in SF/F. The bloat seems to
>>be much, much worse in fantasy, where, it seems, there is no longer such a
>>thing as a stand-alone novel. EVERY novel has to be part of a series, it
>>seems, and the basic unit of storytelling seems to be the trilogy. Think
>>about it. When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
>>part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's.
>
>While I agree with the sentiment that fantasy tends to be impossibly bloated,
>some stand alone fantasy novels are still being written:
>
>_The Element of Fire_, and _City of Bones_, both by Martha Wells, are not part
>of trilogies and don't even share the same universe. They're nice, and part of
>what makes them nice is that they stand on their own.

Part of the problem is that I've been so disgusted with the fantasy I've
seen out there that I pretty much stopped buying and reading fantasy
novels a few years ago. Every now and then, I check out the shelves at
various bookstores, but I seldom find anything that looks interesting. If
those novels that you mention are as good as you say, I might just check
them out--after I get through my backlog of about 8 or 9 novels that are
sitting around my apartment unread...

--
MY E-MAIL ADDRESS HAS BEEN SURGICALLY ALTERED TO HINDER SPAM TO ME.
TO GET AT MY REAL E-MAIL ADDRESS, DELETE THE HYPHEN!

ORAC                        |"A statement of fact cannot be
a.k.a.                      | insolent."   ORAC
David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D.|
University of Chicago       |

Editing in SF--Bad! ORAC 12/12/97 12:00 AM

In article <34916C...@erols.com>, clo...@erols.com wrote:

>ORAC wrote:
>>
>> In article <34907D...@erols.com>, clo...@erols.com wrote:
>>
>> >ORAC wrote:
>>
>> >> As a longtime SF/F fan, I've seen a lot of fat and not much meat, at least
>> >> in the novels I've read in the last several years.
>> >>
>> >> I agree that there is a trend towards "bloat" in SF/F. The bloat seems to
>> >> be much, much worse in fantasy, where, it seems, there is no longer such a
>> >> thing as a stand-alone novel. EVERY novel has to be part of a series, it
>> >> seems, and the basic unit of storytelling seems to be the trilogy. Think
>> >> about it. When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
>> >> part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's.
>>
>> >Well, mine is a 1997 publication!
>>
>> Ah, but if it sells well, I bet you'll find it hard to resist the
>> temptation to make it into a series. :-)
>
>If editors want to rub zillions of dollars up and down my body, I will
>find it difficult to refuse, 'tis true.

Now *that* sounds like an interesting experience that I shall never have. :-)

--
MY E-MAIL ADDRESS HAS BEEN SURGICALLY ALTERED TO HINDER SPAM TO ME.
TO GET AT MY REAL E-MAIL ADDRESS, DELETE THE HYPHEN!

ORAC                        |"A statement of fact cannot be
a.k.a.                      | insolent."   ORAC
David H. Gorski, M.D., Ph.D.|
University of Chicago       |

Editing in SF--Bad! John & Linda VanSickle 12/12/97 12:00 AM

Lawrence Watt-Evans wrote:
>
> On Thu, 11 Dec 1997 18:55:57 -0500, Brenda and Larry Clough
> <clo...@erols.com> wrote:
>
> >ORAC wrote:
> >>
> >> I agree that there is a trend towards "bloat" in SF/F. The bloat seems to
> >> be much, much worse in fantasy, where, it seems, there is no longer such a
> >> thing as a stand-alone novel. EVERY novel has to be part of a series, it
> >> seems, and the basic unit of storytelling seems to be the trilogy. Think
> >> about it. When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
> >> part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's.
> >>
> >
> >Well, mine is a 1997 publication!
>
> So is mine.  (See .sig.)  A big fat fantasy novel that's not part of a
> series.
>
> Of course, if it sells in huge numbers it may BECOME a series, but it
> isn't planned as one.

If you weren't already an established and well-selling author, would you
have been able to get a one-shot novel published as easily?

--
"However, I was not making fun of you personally; I was heaping scorn
on an inexcusably silly idea--a practice I shall always follow."
http://www.erols.com/vansickl

Editing in SF--Bad! jbford 12/12/97 12:00 AM


Evelyn C. Leeper <e...@hobcs1.mt.lucent.com> wrote in article
<66s140$4...@nntpb.cb.lucent.com>...


> In article <dgorski-1112...@maxreader.bsd.uchicago.edu>,
> ORAC <dgo...@xsi-te.net> wrote:
> > When was the last time you saw a fantasy novel that *wasn't*
> > part of a trilogy or series? I'd bet it wasn't in the 1990's.
>
> While I don't read as much fantasy as science fiction, I find these
titles
> among the non-series fantasy I reviewed in the 1990's:

Great list snipped

Add GG Kay - Arbonne (90), Tigana, Lions
Storm Constantine, AA Attanasio, Cherryh and Hambly have written
standalones in the 90s so there are books there - although personally I
like to return to settings and characters - it allows for development and
if a books engaging you want to hear more about these people. What drives
me most mad is not being able to find earlier volumes of a series - I see
books that have been recommended or look good but I refuse to start at
number 2 or 3 in  a series.

--
Jenny
e-mail:jbford @ bournemouth-net.co.uk

Editing in SF--Bad! Andrew Plotkin 12/12/97 12:00 AM

Ah, and? Is not "synagogue" a word like "dialogue" and "catalogue" (and
"demagogue", etc?) They're all from Greek, from words with similar verb
roots, pulled through French spelling.

The on-line Merriam-Webster even lists "synagog" as a known variant, just
as "dialog" and "catalog".

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 12/12/97 12:00 AM

In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:

>Forget not _Freedom and Necessity_.

IS _Freedom and Necessity_ a fantasy novel?  Most reviews I've
read boil down to "Ok, this is a slightly peculiar mainstream
novel by a couple of people who previously wrote fantasy."

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Editing in SF--Bad! Evelyn C. Leeper 12/13/97 12:00 AM

In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
> Aviva Rothschild (av...@maroon.cudenver.edu) wrote:
> > nan...@universe.digex.net,News writes:
> > >And note that it wasn't a matter of making a typo into a different
> > >typo--it was adding a typo where none had existed before.
>
> > Oh, yes. When I worked on a publication called American Reference Books
> > Annual, we had a stylistic rule where words like "dialogue" and
> > "catalogue" were stripped of the "ue." So our proofreader changed
> > "synagogue." I still get a chuckle out of that one!
>
> Ah, and? Is not "synagogue" a word like "dialogue" and "catalogue" (and
> "demagogue", etc?) They're all from Greek, from words with similar verb
> roots, pulled through French spelling.
>
> The on-line Merriam-Webster even lists "synagog" as a known variant, just
> as "dialog" and "catalog".

Only for the Extremely Reform.


--
Evelyn C. Leeper    |  ele...@lucent.com
+1 732 957 2070     |  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4824
"Those who do not learn from the future are destined to make mistakes in it."
--Warren Miller (New Yorker)

Editing in SF--Bad! Lawrence Watt-Evans 12/13/97 12:00 AM

On Fri, 12 Dec 1997 17:30:42 -0800, John & Linda VanSickle
<vans...@erols.com> wrote:

>Lawrence Watt-Evans wrote:
>>
>> So is mine.  (See .sig.)  A big fat fantasy novel that's not part of a
>> series.
>>
>> Of course, if it sells in huge numbers it may BECOME a series, but it
>> isn't planned as one.
>
>If you weren't already an established and well-selling author, would you
>have been able to get a one-shot novel published as easily?

I have no idea.


 --
    TOUCHED BY THE GODS:  Hardcover, Tor Books, now available! $24.95
    The Misenchanted Page: http://www.sff.net/people/LWE/ Last update 12/9/97
   

Editing in SF--Bad! Jo Walton 12/13/97 12:00 AM

In article <66pmep$uov$4...@isn.dac.neu.edu>
           kne...@lynx.dac.neu.edu "Kate Nepveu" writes:

> Jo Walton (J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> : In article <66muj7$g80$1...@news.qub.ac.uk>
> :            D.Ke...@qub.ac.uk "David Kennedy" writes:
>
> : > (2) My alternate version:
> : > "I'm bored, and want to read something else."
>
> : :Rise of Endymion:'s coming close to getting statement (2) there, is
> : it worth pressing on?
>
> Well, there's the ability to rant along with me about how you don't like
> the complete re-architecting of the universe... but other than that, no.

How much of it is from the POV of that ghastly Raul? I've put it down
for the moment but I may pick it up again.

--
Jo     - -  I kissed a kif at Kefk  - -   J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.bluejo.demon.co.uk - Blood of Kings Poetry; rasfw FAQ;
Reviews; Interstichia; Momentum - a paying market for real poetry.


Editing in SF--Bad! Alter S. Reiss 12/14/97 12:00 AM

On 13 Dec 1997, Evelyn C. Leeper wrote:
> In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,
> Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
> > Aviva Rothschild (av...@maroon.cudenver.edu) wrote:
> >
> > > Oh, yes. When I worked on a publication called American Reference Books
> > > Annual, we had a stylistic rule where words like "dialogue" and
> > > "catalogue" were stripped of the "ue." So our proofreader changed
> > > "synagogue." I still get a chuckle out of that one!
> >
> > Ah, and? Is not "synagogue" a word like "dialogue" and "catalogue" (and
> > "demagogue", etc?) They're all from Greek, from words with similar verb
> > roots, pulled through French spelling.
> >
> > The on-line Merriam-Webster even lists "synagog" as a known variant, just
> > as "dialog" and "catalog".
>
> Only for the Extremely Reform.

        Eh.  If it's a shul, it's a shul.  English spelling is completely
irrelivant...  I've been known to use the "gog" varient at times, as a
result of general illiteracy, and nobody's complained much.

-- Alter S. Reiss - www.geocities.com/Area51/2129 - asr...@ymail.yu.edu

        "Nonsense, they couldn't hit an elephant at this dist"


Editing in SF--Bad! Andrew Plotkin 12/14/97 12:00 AM

Dorothy J Heydt (djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu) wrote:
> In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,
> Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:

> >Forget not _Freedom and Necessity_.

> IS _Freedom and Necessity_ a fantasy novel?

Yes.

(Opinions: two cents. Knowing where to thump: two hundred dollars.)

>  Most reviews I've
> read boil down to "Ok, this is a slightly peculiar mainstream
> novel by a couple of people who previously wrote fantasy."

I can see why they think so. Nonetheless...

I'm re-reading _The Grey Mane of Morning_ (for the first time in years,
as a result of it being mentioned in this newsgroup.) So far, it's as
carefully non-committal on the mainstream/fantasy line as _F&N_. (Well,
except that it takes place in an alternate world -- I forget what we
decided to call that genre, unless it was "Stuff like _Swordspoint_.")

(And yes, I've gotten to the scene where the God appears.)

_F&N_, like _Grey Mane_, is about magic. Even if there *isn't* any by our
standards.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Editing in SF--Bad! Stephen Taylor 12/14/97 12:00 AM

Andrew Plotkin wrote:
 
> _F&N_, like _Grey Mane_, is about magic. Even if there *isn't* any by our
> standards.

Does that attitude make Gene Wolfe's _Devil in a Forest_ a fantasy
novel?

(Not a rhetorical question by the way - I'm willing to listen to "yes"
or "no")
 
> --Z


                                   Steve

------------------------------------------------------------------
Steve Taylor                          st...@afs.net.au
Applied Financial Services
Phone: +61 3 9670 0233
Fax:   +61 3 9670 5018

Editing in SF--Bad! Kate Nepveu 12/14/97 12:00 AM

Jo Walton (J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: In article <66pmep$uov$4...@isn.dac.neu.edu>

:            kne...@lynx.dac.neu.edu "Kate Nepveu" writes:
: > Jo Walton (J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk) wrote:
: > : :Rise of Endymion:'s coming close to getting statement (2) there, is
: > : it worth pressing on?

: > Well, there's the ability to rant along with me about how you don't like
: > the complete re-architecting of the universe... but other than that, no.

: How much of it is from the POV of that ghastly Raul? I've put it down
: for the moment but I may pick it up again.

Some pretty high percentage, I think--I don't have the book here with me,
and I didn't re-read it after finishing it the first time.

--
Kate

"There's no such thing as magic."
"Shut up, Horatio."
"My philosophy's as good as yours!"
        --Pamela Dean, _The Secret Country_

Editing in SF--Bad! Kate Nepveu 12/14/97 12:00 AM

Dorothy J Heydt (djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu) wrote:
: IS _Freedom and Necessity_ a fantasy novel?  Most reviews I've

: read boil down to "Ok, this is a slightly peculiar mainstream
: novel by a couple of people who previously wrote fantasy."

I like what Brust said about it (on 1997/03/26 according to Dejanews):  

"As to the question about category, well, I assure you Kitty  would
know that fantastical things happened, and Richard is fairly certain
of it.  I suspect James and Susan would disagree, but I can't speak
for them.
[....]
But where would *I* put it?  I sort of like the suggestion made to me
by a friend whose initials are PNH: It is science fiction; the science
being Hegeilian dialectics."

Personally I say it's an excellent book and leave it at that.

--
Kate

"There's no such thing as magic."
"Shut up, Horatio."
"My philosophy's as good as yours!"
        --Pamela Dean, _The Secret Country_

Editing in SF--Bad! M. Wesley Osam 12/14/97 12:00 AM

In article <msg709.thr-...@maroon.cudenver.edu>,
av...@maroon.cudenver.edu (Aviva Rothschild) wrote:

> As a professional editor and writer, I'm dismayed by what I perceive to
> be the almost total retreat from editing in SF/F. I'm not talking about
> just typos and minor grammatical mistakes, which are becoming more and
> more prevalent in the books I read;

   I've noticed this, too. Some mistakes look like they were caused by
spellcheckers. One book I read recently (_Ghost Devices_ by Simon
Bucher-Jones, from a British publisher called Virgin Books) used the word
"assent" for "ascent" twice on the same page. It also demonstrated another
pet peeve, odd punctuation; either I've got some serious delusions about
commas, or writers and editors are getting worse at using them.

> I'm also concerned about the
> massive bloat of books. Too many titles I've read recently could easily
> have been cut down to a third or less of their length without affecting
> the story in the slightest.

   I think the bloat factor of a book is frequently directly proportional
to its percieved marketing value. The bigger a book is, the more its
publisher can make off of it.

--
"Why do you look so skeptical?"        M. Wesley Osam
"Because I've seen too much."          wo...@iastate.edu
"Then why do you keep looking?
"Too much is never enough." -- Bill Griffith, "Zippy the Pinhead"

Editing in SF--Bad! Steve Cross 12/14/97 12:00 AM

djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt) wrote:


>my favorite: a reference to the Big- and Little-Endians (Swift,
>y'know) came out "Big- and Little-Indians."  That's an example of
>an overly conscientious spell-checker and an insufficiently
>erudite typesetter.

>Dorothy J. Heydt

Ya gotta watch out for spell checkers. I've seen in my own MS such
obvious (to a human being) errors as "piece" for "peace" and "their"
for "there."

Steve


Editing in SF--Bad! Evelyn C. Leeper 12/14/97 12:00 AM

In article <34934e0d...@news.clark.net>,
Lawrence Watt-Evans <lawr...@clark.net> wrote:
> On 11 Dec 1997 03:40:02 GMT, jbo...@mindspring.com (John Boston)
> wrote:
>
> > [misuse of "rifle" for "shotgun" deleted]
> >        There's more.  A few lines before the quoted passage, one of
> >the characters says she can't ride bareback, and Blaze proposes getting
> >some bridles and saddles out of the tack room.  Just before the guy
> >with the rifle or shotgun shows up, they have selected two halters--no
> >mention of bridles and saddles.  He starts shooting at them and they
> >get on the horses and flee--obviously, riding bareback.
>
> THIS is the sort of stuff they pay copy editors to catch.  That the
> copy editor did not do so indicates that he or she is incompetent and
> should not be hired again.

How about:

"In a moment four dreidels, some of wood, others baked from clay, were
spinning on the floor ..."

[author deleted, but it's from a 1992 anthology]

--
Evelyn C. Leeper    |  ele...@lucent.com
+1 732 957 2070     |  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4824
"Those who do not learn from the future are destined to make mistakes in it."
--Warren Miller (New Yorker)

Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 12/14/97 12:00 AM

In article <670j2t$hbu$5...@isn.dac.neu.edu>,
Kate Nepveu <kne...@lynx.dac.neu.edu> wrote:

>[I quote PNH]: [_Freedom and Necessity-] is science fiction; the science
>being Hegelian dialectics."

Cripes!! Really?? Thank you for warning me before I attempted to
read it.

(Ordinarily I would read anything Bull wrote, but I think I'll
make an exception.  I gave up on Brust some time ago so he's no
problem.)

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Editing in SF--Bad! Robert Pearlman 12/14/97 12:00 AM

dsg...@visi.com (Dan Goodman) wrote:

>I think it should be pointed out that SF editing wasn't always good in the
>Good Old Days.  There used to sometimes be _too much_ cutting.
>
>Example:  The book version of Keith Laumer's _Worlds of the Imperium_
>lacks the absolute best part of the magazine-serial version.  Luckily,
>it's reprinted in Damon Knight's collection _A Century of Science
>Fiction_.

What part was that?
Pearlman


Editing in SF--Bad! Robert Pearlman 12/14/97 12:00 AM

>djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt) wrote:
>
>
>>my favorite: a reference to the Big- and Little-Endians (Swift,
>>y'know) came out "Big- and Little-Indians."  That's an example of
>>an overly conscientious spell-checker and an insufficiently
>>erudite typesetter.
>
>>Dorothy J. Heydt

Back in the days of typed mss. one could write "sic" or "as is" in the
margin, warning the compositor.  Is this impossible with current word
processors?  

Pearlman

Editing in SF--Bad! Graydon 12/14/97 12:00 AM

In article <6718hp$t51$1...@agate.berkeley.edu>,

Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>In article <670j2t$hbu$5...@isn.dac.neu.edu>,
>Kate Nepveu <kne...@lynx.dac.neu.edu> wrote:
>
>>[I quote PNH]: [_Freedom and Necessity-] is science fiction; the science
>>being Hegelian dialectics."
>
>Cripes!! Really?? Thank you for warning me before I attempted to
>read it.
>
>(Ordinarily I would read anything Bull wrote, but I think I'll
>make an exception.  I gave up on Brust some time ago so he's no
>problem.)

I'd read it anyway; the dialectics aren't the head bashing over sort.

It's a good thing to not be expecting it to be a fantasy novel in the
median sense, though.
--
goo...@interlog.com | "However many ways there may be of being alive, it
--> mail to Graydon  | is certain that there are vastly more ways of being
                       dead." - Richard Dawkins, :The Blind Watchmaker:

Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 12/14/97 12:00 AM

In article <67162p$a...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com>,

Evelyn C. Leeper <ele...@lucent.com> wrote:
>
>How about:
>
>"In a moment four dreidels, some of wood, others baked from clay, were
>spinning on the floor ..."

OK, now enlighten us.  What's wrong with it?  I know (approximately)
what a dreidel is, and they are used in a game that involves
spinning them, are they not?  What's the part that's wrong?
Is it having four of them spinning at once?

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 12/14/97 12:00 AM

In article <34984f6a...@news.pipeline.com>,

Robert Pearlman <rpea...@pipeline.com> wrote:
>>
>>>my favorite: a reference to the Big- and Little-Endians (Swift,
>>>y'know) came out "Big- and Little-Indians."  ...

>Back in the days of typed mss. one could write "sic" or "as is" in the
>margin, warning the compositor.  Is this impossible with current word
>processors?  

Well, I don't suppose the word processor is going to do it for
you--and in any case the folk at DAW didn't give a flying what
kind of word processor I used; they typeset it from my printed
MS., without even *asking* for a diskette (which I could've given
them).  I could have written "sic" alongside the Big- and
Little-Endians on the MS, but it didn't occur to me that any
English-speaking, reasonably literate adult would not have taken
one look at what the spellchecker was suggesting, burst into
gales of laughter, and fixed it.  Guess I was wrong.

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Editing in SF--Bad! Aviva Rothschild 12/14/97 12:00 AM

rpea...@pipeline.com,News writes:
>Back in the days of typed mss. one could write "sic" or "as is" in the
>margin, warning the compositor.  Is this impossible with current word
>processors?  

Well, I edit using the Revisions feature of MS Word, and if I want to
bring something to the attention of the author, project editor,
proofreader, or typesetter, I do this:

        <<<AU: Is "Kieth" spelled correctly?>>ED>
        <<<PROOF: "Kieth" is spelled correctly; do not change.>>ED>
        
Well set off from the rest of the text, and in "revision blue" for
increased noticeability.

So yeah, I guess it's possible. Clunky, but possible.

Aviva

Editing in SF--Bad! Kerry Allsup 12/15/97 12:00 AM

vidumavi@INTEswipnet.se (Ninni M Pettersson) wrote:


>
>And Pamela Dean's _Tam Lin_ was published in 1990 so it qualifies too.
>Though it's a rather long book, it can certainly not be called
>"bloated", at least not IMHO.
>

At the risk of invoking massive flames, this was one of the very first
books this topic brought to mind.  I thought _Tam Lin_ was bloated,
self-indulgent, and about 300 pages too long.  Please excuse me while
I don my asbestos underwear.

Editing in SF--Bad! Evelyn C. Leeper 12/15/97 12:00 AM

In article <671pj1$6i7$1...@agate.berkeley.edu>,

Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> In article <67162p$a...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com>,
> Evelyn C. Leeper <ele...@lucent.com> wrote:
> >
> >"In a moment four dreidels, some of wood, others baked from clay, were
> >spinning on the floor ..."
>
> OK, now enlighten us.  What's wrong with it?  I know (approximately)
> what a dreidel is, and they are used in a game that involves
> spinning them, are they not?  What's the part that's wrong?
> Is it having four of them spinning at once?

No, it's that "some" and "others" both mean (to me, anyway) an
indeterminate number more than one.  If "some" are made of wood, then
that is at least two; similarly, "others" is at least two.  But if
there are only four, that means there are exactly two wooden and two
clay.  So why not say that?


--
Evelyn C. Leeper    |  ele...@lucent.com
+1 732 957 2070     |  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4824
"Those who do not learn from the future are destined to make mistakes in it."
--Warren Miller (New Yorker)

Editing in SF--Bad! Stephen Taylor 12/15/97 12:00 AM

Evelyn C. Leeper wrote:
>> OK, now enlighten us.  What's wrong with it?  I know (approximately)
>> what a dreidel is, and they are used in a game that involves
>> spinning them, are they not?  What's the part that's wrong?
>> Is it having four of them spinning at once?
 
> No, it's that "some" and "others" both mean (to me, anyway) an
> indeterminate number more than one.  If "some" are made of wood, then
> that is at least two; similarly, "others" is at least two.  But if
> there are only four, that means there are exactly two wooden and two
> clay.  So why not say that?

Sorry - I can't see a problem there either. The fact that one can deduce
the numbers of dreidels doesn't bother to me at all. There's also
arguably some difference in tone between

"There were some jars on the shelf."

and

"There were six jars on the shelf"

A narrator who bothers to count things and tell you how many they've
seen is a little more formal than one who doesn't care. It would depend
on the story, of course... Was there any particular significance to the
fact that there were two of each?

> Evelyn C. Leeper  


                               Steve

------------------------------------------------------------------
Steve Taylor                          st...@afs.net.au
Applied Financial Services
Phone: +61 3 9670 0233
Fax:   +61 3 9670 5018

Editing in SF--Bad! William Davis 12/15/97 12:00 AM


>In article <msg709.thr-...@maroon.cudenver.edu>,

>
>   I've noticed this, too. Some mistakes look like they were caused by
>spellcheckers. One book I read recently (_Ghost Devices_ by Simon
>Bucher-Jones, from a British publisher called Virgin Books) used the word
>"assent" for "ascent" twice on the same page. It also demonstrated another
>pet peeve, odd punctuation; either I've got some serious delusions about
>commas, or writers and editors are getting worse at using them.
>
Hey don't blame them.  I went through twelve years of public high
school (where they were supposed to teach grammar) and three years of
college (in journalism courses) before I learned how to use a colon
and semi-colon.  

My first week of newswriting I was told not to use any punctuation
besides periods, quotation marks, question marks, and commas.  It
wasn't until I was required to read The Elements of Style by Strunk
and White that I learned to use what was on the key beside the letter
L.

On a side note, I helped a friend edit a paper for a freshman writing
class and used my newfound knowledge to clean up her usage in a comp
piece.  When she came to me in tears after the teacher (an adjunct and
not a tenured professor) handed back her paper, which he had ripped up
to the tune of a C-minus for incorrect use of colons and semi-colons,
specifically in how the latter is used to join indepent clauses in a
sentence.  I pulled out the S&T and we both went over it and found
that it backed her up on every marked "error."  She brought the book
to him with the paper and he said that it wasn't a standard textbook,
but he would look over her paper again.  He returned it with a B-plus
and a note saying that he would be forgiving this time since she had
received information in error, but to be more careful next time.

Editing in SF--Bad! Andrew Plotkin 12/15/97 12:00 AM

Just re-read _The Warrior's Apprentice_, and was thereby reminded how
the word "liege" -- a fairly important word in the plot -- is misspelled
"leige". Consistently. ("Seige", too.)

And wasn't it an edition of _Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep_ where
"empathic" (again, important word) was spelled "emphatic"?

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Editing in SF--Bad! Stephen Taylor 12/15/97 12:00 AM

Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Just re-read _The Warrior's Apprentice_, and was thereby reminded how
> the word "liege" -- a fairly important word in the plot -- is misspelled
> "leige". Consistently. ("Seige", too.)

Thinking of bad editing and Bujold, someone keeps letting her get away
with using the word "pearlescent". Now I know it's a real word and all
(well, Websters thinks it is...), but it's so goddamn *ugly*. It smacks
of someone trying to use five dollar words when they've only got three
dollars fifty in their pocket. What's wrong with either the upmarket
"nacreous" or the robust proletarian "pearly"?

Maybe it's just me...

                                   Steve

------------------------------------------------------------------
Steve Taylor                          st...@afs.net.au
Applied Financial Services
Phone: +61 3 9670 0233
Fax:   +61 3 9670 5018

Editing in SF--Bad! Theresa Wojtasiewicz 12/15/97 12:00 AM

wis...@mindspring.com,Internet writes:
On a side note, I helped a friend edit a paper for a freshman writing
class and used my newfound knowledge to clean up her usage in a comp
piece.  When she came to me in tears after the teacher (an adjunct and
not a tenured professor) handed back her paper, which he had ripped up
to the tune of a C-minus for incorrect use of colons and semi-colons,
specifically in how the latter is used to join indepent clauses in a
sentence.  I pulled out the S&T and we both went over it and found
that it backed her up on every marked "error."  She brought the book
to him with the paper and he said that it wasn't a standard textbook,
but he would look over her paper again.  He returned it with a B-plus
and a note saying that he would be forgiving this time since she had
received information in error, but to be more careful next time.
It seems likely that the adjunct had never seen S&T before... it's terrifying
to think that someone is marking papers who can't tell a semi-colon from a
buttonhook. S&T should be required reading for anyone in the writing
business, whether they write or edit.
--------------
Theresa

Editing in SF--Bad! Mitch Hagmaier 12/15/97 12:00 AM

Stephen Taylor wrote:
>
> Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>
> > Just re-read _The Warrior's Apprentice_, and was thereby reminded
> > how the word "liege" -- a fairly important word in the plot -- is
> > misspelled "leige". Consistently. ("Seige", too.)
>
> Thinking of bad editing and Bujold, someone keeps letting her get away
> with using the word "pearlescent". Now I know it's a real word and all
> (well, Websters thinks it is...), but it's so goddamn *ugly*. It
> smacks of someone trying to use five dollar words when they've only
> got three dollars fifty in their pocket. What's wrong with either the
> upmarket "nacreous" or the robust proletarian "pearly"?

Well, "nacreous" looks and sounds like a variant on "necrotic", and
brings rather lovecraftian images to my mind (vacant as it might be).
Definitely an uglier word than pearlescent.

> Maybe it's just me...

Possibly.  OTOH I just forced my determinedly-semiliterate roommate
to read _Shards of Honor_, and he bitched and moaned that Bujold
used too many five-dollar words.  

Mitch Hagmaier
Quest Labs

Editing in SF--Bad! Emma Pease 12/15/97 12:00 AM

In <erkyrathE...@netcom.com> erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) writes:

>Just re-read _The Warrior's Apprentice_, and was thereby reminded how
>the word "liege" -- a fairly important word in the plot -- is misspelled
>"leige". Consistently. ("Seige", too.)

Maybe Barrayarans don't know how to spell :-)

My own gotcha is people spelling rein as in "reins of power" as reign
though I can't think of a case offhand.

Of course if the misspelling happens often enough it does sometimes
become the proper spelling (honor vs. honour, an adder vs. a nadder,
gaol vs jail[1]).

Emma


[1] Though the OED indicates that there are different origins for gaol
and jail as well as different spellings.

--
\----                                                      
|\* | Emma Pease                 Net Spinster              
|_\/  em...@csli.stanford.edu     Die Luft der Freiheit weht

Editing in SF--Bad! Evelyn C. Leeper 12/15/97 12:00 AM

In article <emma.88...@kanpai.stanford.edu>,

Emma Pease <em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU> wrote:
>
> My own gotcha is people spelling rein as in "reins of power" as reign
> though I can't think of a case offhand.

Something I once read said "reins of blood" when it meant either
"reigns of blood" or "rains of blood"--and I couldn't tell which.  I
only knew that the one they had chosen was definitely wrong.


--
Evelyn C. Leeper    |  ele...@lucent.com
+1 732 957 2070     |  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4824
"Those who do not learn from the future are destined to make mistakes in it."
--Warren Miller (New Yorker)

Editing in SF--Bad! Stephen Taylor 12/16/97 12:00 AM

Mitch Hagmaier wrote:

> Well, "nacreous" looks and sounds like a variant on "necrotic", and
> brings rather lovecraftian images to my mind (vacant as it might be).
> Definitely an uglier word than pearlescent.

Hmm... never thought of the "necrotic" connection before. I'll continue
to favour nacreous myself. though.

> Possibly.  OTOH I just forced my determinedly-semiliterate roommate
> to read _Shards of Honor_, and he bitched and moaned that Bujold
> used too many five-dollar words.

Wowzers! I certainly wouldn't say that. With the exception of her
unhealthy addiction to the p-word, I think Bujold writes very pleasant
straightforward prose. Your roommate should try Gene Wolfe, who uses
$7.50 words, or R.A. Lafferty who uses shopsoiled ones from the discount
bin out the front of the shop.
 
> Mitch Hagmaier


                              Steve

------------------------------------------------------------------
Steve Taylor                          st...@afs.net.au
Applied Financial Services
Phone: +61 3 9670 0233
Fax:   +61 3 9670 5018

Editing in SF--Bad! Geoff C. Marshall 12/16/97 12:00 AM

Evelyn C. Leeper wrote:
>
> In article <emma.88...@kanpai.stanford.edu>,
> Emma Pease <em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU> wrote:
> >
> > My own gotcha is people spelling rein as in "reins of power" as reign
> > though I can't think of a case offhand.
>
> Something I once read said "reins of blood" when it meant either
> "reigns of blood" or "rains of blood"--and I couldn't tell which.  I
> only knew that the one they had chosen was definitely wrong.

Unless they were talking about the power a matriarch or
patriarch has.  That would make sense....

<evil grin>

Geoff.....

Editing in SF--Bad! John Boston 12/16/97 12:00 AM

Here's another prize from Goonan's MISSISSIPPI BLUES, page 177:  the
characters are on the Ohio River somewhere between Cincinnati, Ohio and
Cairo, Illinois:  "Tennessee across the river was gathering herself
into greening cliffs and rolling hills suggestive of mountains."

Hint: Even a New York editor could look at a map.  

                John Boston


Editing in SF--Bad! Steve Cross 12/16/97 12:00 AM

em...@Kanpai.Stanford.EDU (Emma Pease) wrote:


>Of course if the misspelling happens often enough it does sometimes
>become the proper spelling (honor vs. honour, an adder vs. a nadder,
>gaol vs jail[1]).

>Emma

HONOR instead of HONOUR is American spelling usage as opposed to
French-influenced British spelling. It's a result of Noah Webster's
spelling reform. He thought the "u" was unnecessary. Same with LABOR
for LABOUR and CATALOG for CATALOGUE.

Steve


Editing in SF--Bad! Lawrence Watt-Evans 12/16/97 12:00 AM

On 16 Dec 1997 04:00:55 GMT, jbo...@mindspring.com (John Boston)
wrote:

>Here's another prize from Goonan's MISSISSIPPI BLUES, page 177:  the

And there aren't any cliffs along that stretch, anyway, quite aside
from it being Kentucky rather than Tennessee.  There are some honking
big hills, yeah -- there's one just south of Cincinnati where
southbound cars regularly break down trying to get up it -- but none
of the long, long grades even come CLOSE to attaining cliffhood.

So I think we've established that Goonan needed a copy editor and
didn't get one.


 --
    TOUCHED BY THE GODS:  Hardcover, Tor Books, now available! $24.95
    The Misenchanted Page: http://www.sff.net/people/LWE/ Last update 12/9/97
   

Fantasy series Julie Stampnitzky 12/16/97 12:00 AM

On 12 Dec 1997, jbford wrote:
>What drives
> me most mad is not being able to find earlier volumes of a series - I
see
> books that have been recommended or look good but I refuse to start at
> number 2 or 3 in  a series.

Half the time, I'll start in the middle of a series because I don't
realize that there were earlier books...Books I've randomly picked up in
the library include _The White Dragon_, _The Forbidden Tower_ (though it's
10 times better than _Spell Sword_), _Sharra's Exile_, _Vale of the Vole_,
_Phaze Doubt_, _The Guardians of the West_, etc. And the spoilers stick in
my memory...

***Julie Stampnitzky      
Keeper, http://neskaya.darkover.org


Editing in SF--Bad! Coyu 12/16/97 12:00 AM

From the Tor paperback edition of The Phoenix Guards, by Steven Brust, pg. 84.
From a passage describing a swordfight:

"I think," said Khaavren, "that it is not [Note this word - coyu] time to
withdraw."

"Bah," said Tazendra. "The game is only beginning to grow warm."

c: Yikes. For a spell-checking program to pick that up, it would have be Strong
AI indeed.

c: 'now' for 'not', of course.

c: Also, has any else noted how poorly many mass-market paperbacks are bound
and cut? Have a copy of Ellroy's White Jazz that has text at a 15-degree angle,
with words sliding into the fold. Also haven't bought the new Brin yet, because
I can't read the words closest to the fold without damaging the book beyond my
standards (minor wrinkles in the binding, but then I read gently). Have found
*NO* copies without this defect.

c: Dammit, even a mass-market paperback should have a twenty-year life
expectancy. Not a two-week one. My $.02.

Editing in SF--Bad! Pagadan 12/16/97 12:00 AM

<<Thinking of bad editing and Bujold, someone keeps letting her get away
with using the word "pearlescent". Now I know it's a real word and all
(well, Websters thinks it is...), but it's so goddamn *ugly*. It smacks
of someone trying to use five dollar words when they've only got three
dollars fifty in their pocket. What's wrong with either the upmarket
"nacreous" or the robust proletarian "pearly"?

Maybe it's just me...>>

It's you.  Pearlescent is one of my favorite words.  Nacreous is ugly, IMNHO;
and pearly is way too proletarian.

Editing in SF--Bad! Kevin J. Maroney 12/16/97 12:00 AM

co...@aol.com (Coyu) wrote:

>From the Tor paperback edition of The Phoenix Guards, by Steven Brust, pg. 84.
>From a passage describing a swordfight:

There were at least four spelling-checker errors in the edition of
_The Phoenix Guards_ which I read (four that I caught), and at least
three of them lead to confusing ambiguities or problems.

But mistaeks are inevitable.

Kevin Maroney | kmar...@crossover.com
Kitchen Staff Supervisor
The New York Review of Science Fiction
http://ebbs.english.vt.edu/olp/nyrsf/nyrsf.html

Editing in SF--Bad! Peter H. Granzeau 12/16/97 12:00 AM

On 16 Dec 1997 20:07:01 GMT, co...@aol.com (Coyu) wrote:

>c: Dammit, even a mass-market paperback should have a twenty-year life
>expectancy. Not a two-week one. My $.02.

Lousy production and lousy editing are the responsibility of two
different places, of course.  Production is done (as I understand it)
by one of two different independent contractors.

Stupid little misteaks (sic) like "not" for "now" are not usually
fatal, and one of the truisms of book production is that there must at
least three errors in every published book.

Editing in SF--Bad! Peter H. Granzeau 12/16/97 12:00 AM

On Tue, 16 Dec 1997 11:58:06 GMT, stev...@mindspring.com (Steve
Cross) wrote:

>HONOR instead of HONOUR is American spelling usage as opposed to
>French-influenced British spelling. It's a result of Noah Webster's
>spelling reform. He thought the "u" was unnecessary. Same with LABOR
>for LABOUR and CATALOG for CATALOGUE.

I thought that last was one of Colonel Robert McCormick's Chicago
Tribune foibles (along with  "sherif") that disappeared with the old
curmudgeon's death?

Editing in SF--Bad! Geoff C. Marshall 12/17/97 12:00 AM

So it was a *deliberate* error on Websters part that was
then "copied"
in error, by the remaining population ?

And that is how all those "incorrect" spellings came about
?  Sheesh,
the last place you would expect to fall for that would be
the "home
of the free".  I had though them changed by "evolution"....

That's good.  I can in good concience retain the correct
spelling
without feeling I am slighting anyone but Noel Webster
anymore.

Thanks !

Geoff...

Editing in SF--Bad! Robert Pearlman 12/17/97 12:00 AM

"If you can't find them, put them in!"
Pearlman


Editing in SF--Bad! Robert Pearlman 12/17/97 12:00 AM

Noah Webster had every bit as much right to propose spelling changes
as anyone else.  Is it honorable to leave the "u" out of "honour" if
you wear bib overalls, but dishonorouble if you wear breeches and
frock coat?

Pearlman


Editing in SF--Bad! Julie Stampnitzky 12/17/97 12:00 AM

On Thu, 18 Dec 1997, Geoff C. Marshall wrote:

> I was under the impression that the differences in
> transatlantic usage of the English language, was due
> to time and sistance (language evolving).  If it was
> (substantially) a matter of choice, then that's a bit
> different.
>
> It is of ludicrous arrogance to presume to redefine a
> language on your own personal opinion.  The guy was a
> jerk.
>
> It violates "copyright" somewhat to take a product,
> "steal" most of it, make a "few" changes and market
> it as the same product ("English").  The guy had no
> moral gumption.
>
> This 'snake' put one over on generations, didn't he?
>
> Geoff...

Up until the 17th century, there was no such thing as correct English
spelling. Even Shakespeare might spell the same word different ways in
different places. It was troublemakers like Webster who invented "correct"
spelling, which often had nothing to do with the current pronunciation.

***Julie Stampnitzky      
Keeper, http://neskaya.darkover.org


Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Cathy Purchis-Jefferies 12/17/97 12:00 AM

I've got a question about the semantics on this thread, and I just want
to see if I'm on the same wavelength as everybody else.

To me, a trilogy implies one story told over the course of 3 books.
There's one BIG conflict that is introduced in the first book, and it
takes until the third one to resolve it. To take one I've read recently,
Robin Hobb's Farseer/Assassin books. The central problem was how to stop
the Red Ship Raiders, although there were a bunch of sub-plots going on
as well. I would define series is a bunch of books set in the same
world, perhaps using the same characters, but each book has a separate
plot. For example, the Sherlock Holmes books all use the same
characters, but each book is an independent story, so I would call that
a series.

The reason I think this makes a difference is because I don't
necessarily have a problem revisiting the same world, or reading several
stories about the same characters. And as long as the author doesn't
fall into the pattern of writing the same story over and over, I'll be
happy to keep going back. Where I see the sin of padding more likely to
occur is in a trilogy. I really have trouble believing that there are a
lot of stories that take 1500 pages to tell, or at least it seems like
most of the stories being sold as trilogies could be told in less space,
but they're being stretched and padded to sell more books. I liked the
Assassin trilogy, but there were several places where things started to
seem repetitive and I got bored and skimmed for a while until the action
picked up again.

Am I out in left field?
--
Cathy "George" Purchis                cat...@value.net
visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
NEW Fire Information Cache now on-line
http://www.nps.gov/seki/fire

Editing in SF--Bad! jbford 12/17/97 12:00 AM


Julie Stampnitzky <jsta...@ymail.yu.edu> wrote in article > > > >Steve


Cross wrote:
> Up until the 17th century, there was no such thing as correct English
> spelling. Even Shakespeare might spell the same word different ways in
> different places. It was troublemakers like Webster who invented
"correct"
> spelling, which often had nothing to do with the current pronunciation.


This whole area -Webster, Americanisation. globalisation etc is well and
very entertainingly covered in Bill Bryson's book  "Mother Tongue" - an
American of course, but he writes so well he could almost be British (just
joking, honest).
--
Jenny
e-mail:jbford @ bournemouth-net.co.uk

Editing in SF--Bad! Bob Goudreau 12/17/97 12:00 AM

Geoff C. Marshall (co...@ozemail.com.au) wrote:
: Steve Cross wrote:
: >
: > HONOR instead of HONOUR is American spelling usage as opposed to

: > French-influenced British spelling. It's a result of Noah Webster's
: > spelling reform. He thought the "u" was unnecessary. Same with LABOR
: > for LABOUR and CATALOG for CATALOGUE.

: So it was a *deliberate* error on Websters part that was
: then "copied" in error, by the remaining population ?

No, it was a deliberate result of trying to standardize (in one country)
the spelling of a language that at the time didn't really have a One
True Standard spelling on *either* side of the Atlantic.  (Check out
some of the texts from a couple of hundred years ago, both in England
and in North America, and you'll see what I mean.)  Thankfully, the
English language has never been burdened with the equivalent of
L'Academie Francaise or even the German Duden, so it really wasn't a
matter of right vs. wrong, just common vs. uncommon.

: That's good.  I can in good concience retain the correct spelling


: without feeling I am slighting anyone but Noel Webster anymore.

Again, "correct" is a relative term.  Bear in mind that there are
far more native speakers of English using American spellings than
there are using British spellings.  And, just of out curiosity, how
does your conscience feel about the fact that one of your own country's
major political parties persists in identifying itself as the "Labor"
party, not as the "Labour" party?

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bob Goudreau                        Data General Corporation
goud...@dg-rtp.dg.com                62 Alexander Drive        
+1 919 248 6231                        Research Triangle Park, NC  27709, USA

Editing in SF--Bad! Geoff C. Marshall 12/18/97 12:00 AM

I was under the impression that the differences in

transatlantic usage of the English language, was due
to time and sistance (language evolving).  If it was
(substantially) a matter of choice, then that's a bit
different.

It is of ludicrous arrogance to presume to redefine a
language on your own personal opinion.  The guy was a
jerk.

It violates "copyright" somewhat to take a product,
"steal" most of it, make a "few" changes and market
it as the same product ("English").  The guy had no
moral gumption.

This 'snake' put one over on generations, didn't he?

Geoff...

Editing in SF--Bad! Geoff C. Marshall 12/18/97 12:00 AM

Fine.  I might be sympathetic to that point of view
except for two things.  a)  There seems to be two
camps.  Two forms Englis and American English.  From
what I have read recently, it seems American English
(classic oxymoron) is really "Webster English".

So we have the majority of the "English speaking
world" using English and another very large
minority using Webster English.

I take it you are a proponent of Microsoft ?

Geoff....

Editing in SF--Bad! Theresa Wojtasiewicz 12/18/97 12:00 AM

Geoff C. Marshall,co...@ozemail.com.au,Internet writes:
I was under the impression that the differences in
transatlantic usage of the English language, was due
to time and sistance (language evolving).  If it was
(substantially) a matter of choice, then that's a bit
different.

It is of ludicrous arrogance to presume to redefine a
language on your own personal opinion.  The guy was a
jerk.
Hmmm.... why does _1984_ spring to mind?


It violates "copyright" somewhat to take a product,
"steal" most of it, make a "few" changes and market
it as the same product ("English").  The guy had no
moral gumption.

This 'snake' put one over on generations, didn't he?
How about the US president (Taft? Harding? The Teapot Dome incident springs
to mind as a memory ref - I did a school project on Manifest Destiny in my
last year of high school and that's when I discovered the linguistic horror
I'm about to reveal) that foisted "normalcy" on an unsuspecting public, when
the word is "normality"; he just didn't know the right word so he made one
up; thanks to this idiotic US prez an error has now become common usage. I
cringe every time I hear it. Other errors being made into common usage: the
possessive "its" being spelled "it's" just about everywhere - on billboards
for all to see, as well as in sf novels (I've found a few).

At least Noah Webster didn't invent words to cover up the fact that he didn't
know the right word; small mercies, I guess.
--------------
Theresa

Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <252982067...@tvo.org>,

Theresa Wojtasiewicz <tw...@tvo.org> wrote:
>How about the US president (Taft? Harding?

Harding.  Warren Gamaliel Harding, the Ronald Reagan of his day.
Handsome, charming, a great speech-maker, and blissfully free of
the ravages of intellect, he said and did whatever the consortium
that had put him in the White House told him to.

The Teapot Dome incident springs
>to mind as a memory ref ....

Uh, yeah, I think that happened on his watch.  ObSF: Teapot Dome
was about Secretary of the Interior Fall selling oil drilling
rights on Government lands to two oilmen named Doheny and
Sinclair.  They were all tried for various kinds of peculations.
Fall was convicted.  Sinclair was convicted.  Doheny was
acquitted on insufficient evidence.  He was the grandfather of
Larry Niven, who thus was able to spend as much time as he needed
learning to write SF, without having to worry about making a
living.

>.... [Harding[ foisted "normalcy" on an unsuspecting public, when


>the word is "normality"; he just didn't know the right word so he made one
>up; thanks to this idiotic US prez an error has now become common usage.

And quickly, too.  There's a poem from the 1930s using the word, by
Dorothy Parker, who ought to have known better and probably did.

>.....Other errors being made into common usage: the


>possessive "its" being spelled "it's" just about everywhere - on billboards
>for all to see, as well as in sf novels (I've found a few).

To say nothing of apostrophes being inserted into plurals.  At
the supermarket you see signs advertising "EGG'S", and in
scientific journals you see references to "alpha's", "EEG's",
"bacteriophage T4's" ....


Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Editing in SF--Bad! Geoff C. Marshall 12/18/97 12:00 AM

Bob Goudreau wrote:
>
> Geoff C. Marshall (co...@ozemail.com.au) wrote:
> : Steve Cross wrote:
> : >
> : > HONOR instead of HONOUR is American spelling usage as opposed to
> : > French-influenced British spelling. It's a result of Noah Webster's
> : > spelling reform. He thought the "u" was unnecessary. Same with LABOR
> : > for LABOUR and CATALOG for CATALOGUE.
>
> : So it was a *deliberate* error on Websters part that was
> : then "copied" in error, by the remaining population ?
>
> No, it was a deliberate result of trying to standardize (in one country)
> the spelling of a language that at the time didn't really have a One
> True Standard spelling on *either* side of the Atlantic.  (Check out
> some of the texts from a couple of hundred years ago, both in England
> and in North America, and you'll see what I mean.)  Thankfully, the
> English language has never been burdened with the equivalent of
> L'Academie Francaise or even the German Duden, so it really wasn't a
> matter of right vs. wrong, just common vs. uncommon.
>
I guess I was "stringing" a little.  I get very fed up
when my spelling is "corrected", particularly as a
good Aussie dictionary allows both spellings.

> : That's good.  I can in good concience retain the correct spelling
> : without feeling I am slighting anyone but Noel Webster anymore.
>
> Again, "correct" is a relative term.  Bear in mind that there are
> far more native speakers of English using American spellings than
> there are using British spellings.  And, just of out curiosity, how

That is probably true even in England.

> does your conscience feel about the fact that one of your own country's
> major political parties persists in identifying itself as the "Labor"
> party, not as the "Labour" party?

Truthfully, I think both spellings should be
allowed.  Most Aussie dictionaries allow both.
But English is often "corrected" to American.
Which is (triflingly) annoying.  As to the
Labor Party......

Well, if you want a laugh, several years ago I was
living in the country and visited London.  I took
my (at the time) six year old daughter to visit
Madame Tussaud's was museum.

While looking around I looked up, and there was,
large as life, a transient monument to one Paul
Keating ("World's Greatest Treasurer") who was
our Prime Minister at the time.  Being suddenly
confronted with this, I said to my daughter
"Do you know who that is, Julianna ?", and when
she replied in the negative, I said "Its the
clown who thinks he rules us".  One member of
a busload of Japanese, asked the translator
something (presumably he wanted to know what I
had said).  The translator grinned and said
something in Japanese.  Upon which, the entire
busload just about fell on the ground laughing,
retaining just enough control to thoroughly
blind me and my daughter with their camera
flashes.

Mind you, I would have said the same thing
irrespective of his party.  I don't think
we have a functioning politician in the country
at the moment (or too many depending on how
you define the term).

Geoff...

Editing in SF--Bad! P Nielsen Hayden 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In <19971216200...@ladder02.news.aol.com> co...@aol.com (Coyu) writes:

>From the Tor paperback edition of The Phoenix Guards, by Steven Brust, pg. 84.
>From a passage describing a swordfight:
>
>"I think," said Khaavren, "that it is not [Note this word - coyu] time to
>withdraw."
>
>"Bah," said Tazendra. "The game is only beginning to grow warm."

I seem to recall that one getting fixed in a subsequent printing, but thanks
anyway; I'll copy your post to our managing editor.

In general, all books have typos, and I'm always interesting in hearing
about ours so they can be fixed.

>c: Dammit, even a mass-market paperback should have a twenty-year life
>expectancy. Not a two-week one. My $.02.

Twenty years is a bit much to expect for something printed on pulp paper,
unless you're taking extreme care with its handling.  But I recently re-read
five of the paperback editions of five books I'd edited some years ago, the
Doyle and Macdonald "Mageworlds" series, and of those five books, two had
their covers fall off while I was reading them.  Our production people heard
about this, you may be assured.  They're as frustrated as I am; we seem to
have endless problems with binding.  (The problem is that the demand for
paperback binding far outstrips the number of actual printing and binding
facilities; this doesn't do a lot for competetiveness.)

-----
Patrick Nielsen Hayden : p...@panix.com : http://www.panix.com/~pnh
Tor Books : http://www.tor.com

Editing in SF--Bad! P Nielsen Hayden 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In <349c0471...@news.exis.net> pgr...@exis.net (Peter H. Granzeau) writes:

>On 16 Dec 1997 20:07:01 GMT, co...@aol.com (Coyu) wrote:
>
>>c: Dammit, even a mass-market paperback should have a twenty-year life
>>expectancy. Not a two-week one. My $.02.
>
>Lousy production and lousy editing are the responsibility of two
>different places, of course.  Production is done (as I understand it)
>by one of two different independent contractors.

"Production", in book publishing, generally means the department that
oversees copyediting, proofreading, the generation of mechanicals, and so
forth.

This department also liaises with printers and binders, but to call printing
and binding "production" is misleading.

-----
Patrick Nielsen Hayden : p...@panix.com : http://www.panix.com/~pnh

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) P Nielsen Hayden 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In <349872...@value.net> Cathy Purchis-Jefferies <cat...@value.net> writes:

>To me, a trilogy implies one story told over the course of 3 books.

That's what it's often come to mean in the SF and fantasy genre.  In
mainstream fiction, it's just as likely to mean three related books that
don't necessarily add up to a single continuous narrative.

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy is a trilogy in the genre sense.  His
California trilogy is a trilogy in the mainstream sense.

-----
Patrick Nielsen Hayden : p...@panix.com : http://www.panix.com/~pnh

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Evelyn C. Leeper 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <67b942$q...@panix2.panix.com>,

P Nielsen Hayden <p...@panix.com> wrote:
> In <349872...@value.net> Cathy Purchis-Jefferies <cat...@value.net> writes:
>
> >To me, a trilogy implies one story told over the course of 3 books.
>
> That's what it's often come to mean in the SF and fantasy genre.  In
> mainstream fiction, it's just as likely to mean three related books that
> don't necessarily add up to a single continuous narrative.
>
> Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy is a trilogy in the genre sense.  His
> California trilogy is a trilogy in the mainstream sense.

James Morrow recently complained in a radio interview that he didn't
have anything to call his "Godhead Trilogy" other than a trilogy, and I
suggested to him that wonderful word, triptych.  It seems particularly
apt when applied to works of a religious nature, such as Morrow's, or
Blish's "After Such Knowledge" books.)

Patrick will now explain why the word "triptych" is totally
unmarketable. :-)
--
Evelyn C. Leeper    |  ele...@lucent.com
+1 732 957 2070     |  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4824
"Those who do not learn from the future are destined to make mistakes in it."
--Warren Miller (New Yorker)

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) P Nielsen Hayden 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In <67bane$g...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com> e...@hobcs1.mt.lucent.com (Evelyn C. Leeper) writes:

>Patrick will now explain why the word "triptych" is totally
>unmarketable. :-)

Nah.  Works for me.

We've even used "quartet."

-----
Patrick Nielsen Hayden : p...@panix.com : http://www.panix.com/~pnh

Editing in SF--Bad! Kendra Chilcoat 12/18/97 12:00 AM


Geoff C. Marshall <co...@ozemail.com.au> wrote in article

> I was under the impression that the differences in
> transatlantic usage of the English language, was due
> to time and sistance (language evolving).  If it was
> (substantially) a matter of choice, then that's a bit
> different.
>
> It is of ludicrous arrogance to presume to redefine a
> language on your own personal opinion.  The guy was a
> jerk.
>
> It violates "copyright" somewhat to take a product,
> "steal" most of it, make a "few" changes and market
> it as the same product ("English").  The guy had no
> moral gumption.
>
> This 'snake' put one over on generations, didn't he?
>
> Geoff...
>
Hmmm....there was a time when both "they" and "he" were "correct" gender
neutral singulars. Then, one fine day, Parliament ruled that "they" was
silly and "he" was the only correct version. Although "they" has obviously
continued in common usage, the grammar police jump down the throat of an
individual if they :) commit the sin of using it this way.

The distinction between that and which was wholly invented by prescriptive
grammarians in the (I think) 19th century, when grammar books were quite a
fad. The distinction had nothing to do with usage at the time, the grammar
books created one. Grammarians invented all sorts of silly distinctions,
and for whatever reason, this one stuck around.

Guess those snakes put more than one over on the generations, didn't they?

Languages are full of such arbitrary silliness. That's one of the things
that makes them fun.

No email, please. Thanks.

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Stevens 12/18/97 12:00 AM

P Nielsen Hayden wrote:
> In <67bane$g...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com> e...@hobcs1.mt.lucent.com (Evelyn C. Leeper) writes:
 
> >Patrick will now explain why the word "triptych" is totally
> >unmarketable. :-)
 
> Nah.  Works for me.

> We've even used "quartet."

I believe both sf (e.g., works of Frank Herbert) and mainstream
(e.g., works of William Kennedy) also use the word "cycle."

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Brenda and Larry Clough 12/18/97 12:00 AM

I've written two diptyches (is that plural corect, I wonder?) and a
singleton to stand between them.  Somehow quintet doesn't sound right.

Brenda

--
Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
<clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Evelyn C. Leeper 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <349936...@erols.com>,

Brenda and Larry Clough  <clo...@erols.com> wrote:
> I've written two diptyches (is that plural corect, I wonder?) and a
> singleton to stand between them.  Somehow quintet doesn't sound right.

Well, you could say it's a triptych composed of two diptyches and a
singleton.

But if by "diptych" we mean "two works related in theme", then I'm not
sure why you break these five works up this way.  If, on the other
hand, you wrote two related stories, each of which was split into two
books, and a third related book, then you have a triptych of two
two-volume stories and one one-volume story.

--
Evelyn C. Leeper    |  ele...@lucent.com
+1 732 957 2070     |  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4824
"Those who do not learn from the future are destined to make mistakes in it."
--Warren Miller (New Yorker)

Editing in SF--Bad! Nancy Lebovitz 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <67b8ot$q...@panix2.panix.com>,

P Nielsen Hayden <p...@panix.com> wrote:
>
>Twenty years is a bit much to expect for something printed on pulp paper,
>unless you're taking extreme care with its handling.  But I recently re-read
>five of the paperback editions of five books I'd edited some years ago, the
>Doyle and Macdonald "Mageworlds" series, and of those five books, two had
>their covers fall off while I was reading them.  Our production people heard
>about this, you may be assured.  They're as frustrated as I am; we seem to
>have endless problems with binding.  (The problem is that the demand for
>paperback binding far outstrips the number of actual printing and binding
>facilities; this doesn't do a lot for competetiveness.)
>
I've got plenty of 20+ year old paperbacks that are still in decent
condition, and I've never done anything special to protect them.
I've lived in Delaware and Philadelphia (somewhat humid climates,
though not tropical), mostly without air-conditioning.

In general, the binding dies before the paper, but I've only had
a few books where the binding gave up--and that's not a huge problem--
since I'm an accumulator rather than a collector, I put the book
back together with Elmer's glue.

There's only one company I've seen with consistently deteriorating
glue--an old publisher called Permabooks. :-)

--
Nancy Lebovitz  (nan...@universe.digex.net)

November '97 calligraphic button catalogue available by email!


Editing in SF--Bad! Julie Stampnitzky 12/18/97 12:00 AM

On 18 Dec 1997, Dorothy J Heydt wrote:

> To say nothing of apostrophes being inserted into plurals.  At
> the supermarket you see signs advertising "EGG'S", and in
> scientific journals you see references to "alpha's", "EEG's",
> "bacteriophage T4's" ....

Let's not go overboard here. I learned that it is correct to use the
apostrophe with abbreviations and letters/numbers.
You can always count on your supermarket to provide many illiterate signs,
such as "All bags "must" [sic] be checked."

***Julie Stampnitzky                   Keeper, http://neskaya.darkover.org


Editing in SF--Bad! Evelyn C. Leeper 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <67bhjn$2...@universe.digex.net>,

Nancy Lebovitz <nan...@universe.digex.net> wrote:
> There's only one company I've seen with consistently deteriorating
> glue--an old publisher called Permabooks. :-)

The one publisher I remember as being the worst in this regard was
Lancer.  Many of our early Robert E. Howard's were held together with
rubber bands.


--
Evelyn C. Leeper    |  ele...@lucent.com
+1 732 957 2070     |  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4824
"Those who do not learn from the future are destined to make mistakes in it."
--Warren Miller (New Yorker)

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Dennis L. McKiernan 12/18/97 12:00 AM

Cathy Purchis-Jefferies wrote:
 
> To me, a trilogy implies one story told over the course of 3 books.
> There's one BIG conflict that is introduced in the first book, and it
> takes until the third one to resolve it.

Yep.  I agree.

>I would define series is a bunch of books set in the same
> world, perhaps using the same characters, but each book has a separate
> plot.

I do not wholly agree with this.  To me, a series can consist of several
complete stories ... some of which may be told in trilogies (or
duologies, quartologies, ..., octologies, whatever) [remembering that
the complete story isn't told until the trilogy is finished], and some
of which are completely told in stand-alone books.
  So, trilogies (etc) can be part of a greater series consisting of more
than just the trilogy (etc).
  On the other hand, there are some series consisting of several
complete stories (in stand-alone, trilogy, etc., works) which tell a
great sweeping story which is not finished until the series comes to an
end.
  Zelazny's Amber tales springs to mind, where (what?) several (three?)
trilogies made up the series.
  Then there is the Mithgar series, consisting of one trilogy, a couple
of duologies, a collection of short stories and novelettes, a graphic
novel, and four stand-alone books, all of which combine to tell one
grand tale (which isn't quite finished, but I'm working on it).
  Katherine Kerr (of the Deverry series) calls this the "Roman Fleuve"
(I think I spelled this correctly), to simply mean many streams coming
together to form one great river.
  The series is the river.  The various stand-alones and duologies and
trilogies (etc) are the streams flowing in.
  ---Dennis

--
Dennis L. McKiernan

Just released:  Into the Forge
Forthcoming ('98):  Into the Fire
Recent Books:  The Dragonstone;  Caverns of Socrates

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Andrew Plotkin 12/18/97 12:00 AM

P Nielsen Hayden (p...@panix.com) wrote:
> In <67bane$g...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com> e...@hobcs1.mt.lucent.com (Evelyn C. Leeper) writes:

> >Patrick will now explain why the word "triptych" is totally
> >unmarketable. :-)

> Nah.  Works for me.
>
> We've even used "quartet."

I flinch to mention it, but back when Eddings first published the
Belgariad, "The Belgariad" was a very nice and evocative way to describe
what he was doing.

Mind you, when Terry Pratchett then wrote "The Bromeliad", it was
infinitely more clever an idea. :)

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Editing in SF--Bad! Andrew Plotkin 12/18/97 12:00 AM

Julie Stampnitzky (jsta...@ymail.yu.edu) wrote:
> You can always count on your supermarket to provide many illiterate signs,
> such as "All bags "must" [sic] be checked."

I was in a bank last week -- NationsBank, one of the N largest US banks
for small N. There I saw a large sign, advertising some loan program I
think, and it read:

"A great deal now and, a great deal later!"

I'm a coward. I deposited my money and slunk out.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Brenda and Larry Clough 12/18/97 12:00 AM

Evelyn C. Leeper wrote:
>
> But if by "diptych" we mean "two works related in theme", then I'm not
> sure why you break these five works up this way.  If, on the other
> hand, you wrote two related stories, each of which was split into two
> books, and a third related book, then you have a triptych of two
> two-volume stories and one one-volume story.
>
> --
> Evelyn C. Leeper    |  ele...@lucent.com
> +1 732 957 2070     |  http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4824


Oh God, now I'm confused... There are five of them; put them on the
shelf any way you want...

--
Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
<clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

Editing in SF--Bad! Brenda and Larry Clough 12/18/97 12:00 AM

Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>
>
> I was in a bank last week -- NationsBank, one of the N largest US banks
> for small N. There I saw a large sign, advertising some loan program I
> think, and it read:
>
> "A great deal now and, a great deal later!"
>
> I'm a coward. I deposited my money and slunk out.
>
> --Z
>

You could have corrected the error with a pencil, I suppose.  I used to
correct menus -- it's not surprising that many ethnic restaurants have
problems with punctuating their menus.  But after a while I gave up on
it, reflecting that they were not paying me for this...


 
--
Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
<clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Dorothy J Heydt 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
>
>Mind you, when Terry Pratchett then wrote "The Bromeliad", it was
>infinitely more clever an idea. :)

Really?  Is it an epiphyte that clings to tropical trees?

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <67bhjn$2...@universe.digex.net>,
Nancy Lebovitz <nan...@universe.digex.net> wrote:
>>
>I've got plenty of 20+ year old paperbacks that are still in decent
>condition, and I've never done anything special to protect them.

I begin to have a sneaky feeling that the survival of paperback
books depends on how *little* they are read.  My family have worn
out three copies of _The Uplift War._  On the hand, I've got a
copy of the Gormenghast Trilogy, published by Ballantine in 1968,
so we're coming up on *30* years and it's in fine shape, a little
frayed on the corners of the covers, spines intact, not a page
loose.  And it's because I read it *once* and never again and
nobody else in the family read it even once.

Which is depressing, isn't it, to think that the books you really
love are going to disintegrate and the ones you don't give a damn
for are going to hang around into the third millenium.

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

OT: paperback binding (was: Editing in SF--Bad!) piranha 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <67b8ot$q...@panix2.panix.com>,
P Nielsen Hayden <p...@panix.com> wrote:
>
>Twenty years is a bit much to expect for something printed on pulp paper,
>unless you're taking extreme care with its handling.  

        with my oldest paperbacks, the paper isn't the problem, it's
        the glue in the bindings that gets brittle and cracks.  but
        i don't take any particular care with those books either --
        _is_ there anything one could do to keep the glue flexible
        that's reasonably possibly?

>[production people]  They're as frustrated as I am; we seem to


>have endless problems with binding.  (The problem is that the demand for
>paperback binding far outstrips the number of actual printing and binding
>facilities; this doesn't do a lot for competetiveness.)

        interesting, i didn't know that.

        while i have you here, and tho this isn't your area of ex-
        pertise, i imagine -- i really love o'reilly's flat paper-
        back bindings, because i no longer have to break the spine
        on a book yet still can open it all the way.  is that very
        expensive to do, or are there other reasons why this isn't
        sweeping paperback production?  i would, in fact, pay a bit
        more if i could get that binding on all my paperbacks.

        -piranha

------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Editing in SF--Bad! piranha 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <3494CE...@afs.net.au>,
Stephen Taylor  <st...@afs.net.au> wrote:
>
>Thinking of bad editing and Bujold, someone keeps letting her get away
>with using the word "pearlescent". Now I know it's a real word and all
>(well, Websters thinks it is...), but it's so goddamn *ugly*.

        beauty ... beholder.  *grin*.

>It smacks
>of someone trying to use five dollar words when they've only got three
>dollars fifty in their pocket. What's wrong with either the upmarket
>"nacreous" or the robust proletarian "pearly"?

        'nacreous' is butt-ugly to me.  it's a harsh word, it
        sounds like it belongs to the 'necro-' family, *ugh*,
        and i wouldn't ever use it in place of 'pearlescent'.

        'pearly' is a mediocre word, for people who can't spell
        'pearlescent'. :-)  seriously, 'pearly' to me is more
        a shape term than a colour term..

        -piranha

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Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <Pine.A41.3.95.971218110138.22530A-100000@acis.mc.yu.edu>,
Julie Stampnitzky  <jsta...@ymail.yu.edu> wrote:

>Let's not go overboard here. I learned that it is correct to use the
>apostrophe with abbreviations and letters/numbers.

From whom did you learn it?  I disagree violently.  

>You can always count on your supermarket to provide many illiterate signs,
>such as "All bags "must" [sic] be checked."

Oh, yes, the concept that quotation marks provide emphasis.
That's old, that probably predates supermarkets themselves.  I
remember an anecdote of some cub reporter who misused quotation
marks in this way, and the editor explaining to him, "Look,
Peterson, imagine what you would think if you saw this in the
paper.  'Mr. Peterson attended the event, accompanied by his
"wife."  ' "

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Editing in SF--Bad! Jo Walton 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>
           erky...@netcom.com "Andrew Plotkin" writes:

> Julie Stampnitzky (jsta...@ymail.yu.edu) wrote:
> > You can always count on your supermarket to provide many illiterate signs,
> > such as "All bags "must" [sic] be checked."
>
> I was in a bank last week -- NationsBank, one of the N largest US banks
> for small N. There I saw a large sign, advertising some loan program I
> think, and it read:
>
> "A great deal now and, a great deal later!"
>
> I'm a coward. I deposited my money and slunk out.

You trust them with your money?

I always get a warm glow in Marks & Spencer when using the checkout
marked "Five items or fewer". All such in lesser shops are marked
"X items or less".

There's a place near where I used to live called "Tractor's Turning".
At least I assume that's the case from the handwritten sign in the
hedge.

ObSF Mount Lookitthat. The Jambles. Thisrock.

--
Jo     - -  I kissed a kif at Kefk  - -   J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.bluejo.demon.co.uk - Blood of Kings Poetry; rasfw FAQ;
Reviews; Interstichia; Momentum - a paying market for real poetry.


Editing in SF--Bad! Del Cotter 12/18/97 12:00 AM

On Thu, 18 Dec 1997, in rec.arts.sf.written
Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu> wrote

>Which is depressing, isn't it, to think that the books you really
>love are going to disintegrate and the ones you don't give a damn
>for are going to hang around into the third millenium.

And paradoxical, too, to think that _The Practice Effect_ is going to
last a lot longer than _The Uplift War_ :-)

--
                  Del Cotter    d...@branta.demon.co.uk
Internet Explorer 4: Now it's official - they can't even *give* it away

Editing in SF--Bad! Michael Kozlowski 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In article <67brkh$iv4$1...@agate.berkeley.edu>,

Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>In article <Pine.A41.3.95.971218110138.22530A-100000@acis.mc.yu.edu>,
>Julie Stampnitzky  <jsta...@ymail.yu.edu> wrote:
>
>>Let's not go overboard here. I learned that it is correct to use the
>>apostrophe with abbreviations and letters/numbers.
>
>From whom did you learn it?  I disagree violently.  

My English teachers back in high school endorsed that usage; I have no
opinion on its correctness.

(And is anyone else thinking of Dave Barry's "Mr. Language Person" columns
right now?)

--
Michael Kozlowski                                       m...@cs.wisc.edu
Recommended SF (updated 12/5): http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~mlk/sfbooks.html
"Ghost of Carl Sagan Warns Against Dangers of Superstition" --The Onion

Editing in SF--Bad! jbford 12/18/97 12:00 AM


Julie Stampnitzky <jsta...@ymail.yu.edu> wrote in article
<Pine.A41.3.95.971218110138.22530A-100000@acis.mc.yu.edu>...


> You can always count on your supermarket to provide many illiterate
signs,
> such as "All bags "must" [sic] be checked."

A year or two ago, public outcry ( well, whinging in newspapers really) in
the UK led several supermarkets to change the signs over their quick
service tills from "five items or less" to "five items or fewer".
--
Jenny
e-mail:jbford @ bournemouth-net.co.uk

Editing in SF--Bad! Julie Stampnitzky 12/18/97 12:00 AM

In my college, it's a game among some people to pencil in
corrections on the flyers on the walls

***Julie Stampnitzky                   Keeper, http://neskaya.darkover.org


Editing in SF--Bad! Andrew Plotkin 12/18/97 12:00 AM

Jo Walton (J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk) wrote:
> > I was in a bank last week -- NationsBank, one of the N largest US banks
> > for small N. There I saw a large sign, advertising some loan program I
> > think, and it read:
> >
> > "A great deal now and, a great deal later!"
> >
> > I'm a coward. I deposited my money and slunk out.

> You trust them with your money?

Sigh. That's a separate story entirely.

> There's a place near where I used to live called "Tractor's Turning".
> At least I assume that's the case from the handwritten sign in the
> hedge.

The junior high school I went to (that's the 13 to 15 age range, for
those of you not playing at home) was called "Earle B. Wood Junior High
School."

Long after leaving, I went past and saw they'd put up a new sign nearby,
which said "Earle B. Woods..."

I always meant to buy some white paint and put in an apostrophe. It would
have been *nearly* correct (unlike so many apostrophes these days.) Not
the possessive of ownership, but the possessive of relation.

> ObSF Mount Lookitthat. The Jambles. Thisrock.

And, of course, Niven's "Grammar Lesson." ("My arm, my husband, my
mother.")

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Andrew Plotkin 12/18/97 12:00 AM

Dorothy J Heydt (djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu) wrote:
> In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,
> Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
> >
> >Mind you, when Terry Pratchett then wrote "The Bromeliad", it was
> >infinitely more clever an idea. :)

> Really?  Is it an epiphyte that clings to tropical trees?

It's a trilogy which is, in fact, about those epiphytes.

Well, not directly, but they're a major leitmotif, or something.
Symbolism. You know.

(This is "Truckers", "Diggers", "Wings" I'm talking about.)

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Editing in SF--Bad! Jake Kesinger 12/18/97 12:00 AM

jbford (jbf...@bbournemouth-nnet.co.uk) wrote:


: This whole area -Webster, Americanisation. globalisation etc is well and
: very entertainingly covered in Bill Bryson's book  "Mother Tongue" - an
: American of course, but he writes so well he could almost be British (just
: joking, honest).

I'd be negligent if I didn't mention Baugh's ``History of the English
Language,''  probably out of print but certainly findable.
IIRC, he mentions the standardization of orthohgraphy as being in the
Eighteenth Century.  

--
  --Jake     _    Jake Kesinger (kesi...@math.ttu.edu), Outrageous Liar
  PERTH -> _|*~-  http://www.math.ttu.edu/~kesinger/
           \,  _} ``Although we have no quarrel with you, we *are* Samurai and
             \(     *will* give you what for.'' Miaowara Shimura. (Mark Rogers)

Honor (was: Editing in SF--Bad!) Pierre Jelenc 12/18/97 12:00 AM

Geoff C. Marshall <co...@ozemail.com.au> writes:
>
> That's good.  I can in good concience retain the correct
> spelling without feeling I am slighting anyone but Noel Webster
> anymore.

From the OED:

        The oldest Fr. forms were onor, onur, later and AFr. onour
        [...] whence the early ME. anur, anour (see anour, anoure); but
        the influence of L. spelling brought back into Fr. at an early
        date the non-phonetic h, giving honor, honur, honour, which were
        also prevalent ME. spellings.  Honor and honour continued to be
        equally frequent down to the 17th c.  In the Shakspere Folio of
        1623 honor is about twice as frequent as honour.  

If it was twice as good for Shakespeare...

Pierre
--
            Bored and restless in this holiday season?
        Have a beer!                 |          Hear some music!
    New York City Beer Guide        |        Home Office Records
http://www.nycbeer.org/toc.html        |  http://www.web-ho.com/gigs.html

Honor (was: Editing in SF--Bad!) Catherine McFarland 12/18/97 12:00 AM

Sorry, I can't resist <G>.

--


>Geoff C. Marshall <co...@ozemail.com.au> writes:
>>
>> That's good.  I can in good concience retain the correct
>> spelling without feeling I am slighting anyone but Noel Webster
>> anymore.
>
>
Conscience

Catherine

Editing in SF--Bad! Julie Stampnitzky 12/18/97 12:00 AM

On Thu, 18 Dec 1997, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> > ObSF Mount Lookitthat. The Jambles. Thisrock.
>
> And, of course, Niven's "Grammar Lesson." ("My arm, my husband, my
> mother.")

A few years ago there was a series of poems in Asimov's magazine entitled
"A Child's Garden of Grammar," but I don't remember the author...

Julie Stampnitzky                   Keeper, http://neskaya.darkover.org


Editing in SF--Bad! Barbara La Scala 12/19/97 12:00 AM

> goud...@dg-rtp.dg.com (Bob Goudreau) writes:
>
> [snip]
>
> Again, "correct" is a relative term.  Bear in mind that there are
> far more native speakers of English using American spellings than
> there are using British spellings.  

I think this would depend greatly on how you define "native speaker of
English".  If you take it to mean someone for whom English is their first
language then you are correct.  On the other hand, if you consider someone
a native speaker of English if they speak (and write) English and it is an
official language of their country then you are definitely incorrect -
India uses British English.

Yours pedantically
Barbara


Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) John Boston 12/19/97 12:00 AM

In article <349936...@erols.com>, clo...@erols.com says...
>
>Stevens wrote:

>>
>> P Nielsen Hayden wrote:
>> > In <67bane$g...@nntpa.cb.lucent.com> e...@hobcs1.mt.lucent.com
(Evelyn C. Leep
>er) writes:
>>
>> > >Patrick will now explain why the word "triptych" is totally
>> > >unmarketable. :-)
>>
>> > Nah.  Works for me.
>>
>> > We've even used "quartet."
>>
>> I believe both sf (e.g., works of Frank Herbert) and mainstream
>> (e.g., works of William Kennedy) also use the word "cycle."
>
>
>
>I've written two diptyches (is that plural corect, I wonder?) and a
>singleton to stand between them.  Somehow quintet doesn't sound right.
>
>Brenda
>

        Try "quincunx."  It's worth it for the funny looks you'll get.

                John Boston


Editing in SF--Bad! Robert Pearlman 12/19/97 12:00 AM

djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt) wrote:

>In article <252982067...@tvo.org>,
>Theresa Wojtasiewicz <tw...@tvo.org> wrote:
[snip]

>To say nothing of apostrophes being inserted into plurals.  At
>the supermarket you see signs advertising "EGG'S", and in
>scientific journals you see references to "alpha's", "EEG's",
>"bacteriophage T4's" ....

Steady on the outrage valve.  I've sometimes committed these, in full
knowledge, but for good reason.  Suppose you have a word like "alpha"
(which, I assume, means in this context a computer chip or box made by
DEC) and want to talk about several of them.  Nothing really works
well:  alphas (the uninitiated will see it as a non-pluralized word),
alpha-s, alpha's (barbaric, but it works; the apostrophe is not a
possesive but a simple diacritic; used all the time in Hebrew to mark
foreign consonants, and I think also in Chinese).  I've recently
settled on :   alpha s   but technical writing almost never gets
feedback so I can't tell how I'm doing.

The ones that bug me are the signs that use quotation marks as
emphasis:  Beware of the "dog".  Arrrgh!

Pearlman

Editing in SF--Bad! Steve Cross 12/19/97 12:00 AM

Julie Stampnitzky <jsta...@ymail.yu.edu> wrote:

>Up until the 17th century, there was no such thing as correct English
>spelling. Even Shakespeare might spell the same word different ways in
>different places. It was troublemakers like Webster who invented "correct"
>spelling, which often had nothing to do with the current pronunciation.

>***Julie Stampnitzky      
>Keeper, http://neskaya.darkover.org

Webster was trying to create a standard American English, both in
spelling and usage.  It seems a bit extreme to me to call him a
troublemaker. How much trouble is it really that I write "center" and
a Canadian writes "centre?"

Steve


Editing in SF--Bad! Steve Cross 12/19/97 12:00 AM

tw...@tvo.org (Theresa Wojtasiewicz) wrote:


>How about the US president (Taft? Harding? The Teapot Dome incident springs
>to mind as a memory ref - I did a school project on Manifest Destiny in my
>last year of high school and that's when I discovered the linguistic horror
>I'm about to reveal) that foisted "normalcy" on an unsuspecting public, when
>the word is "normality"; he just didn't know the right word so he made one
>up; thanks to this idiotic US prez an error has now become common usage. I
>cringe every time I hear it. Other errors being made into common usage: the
>possessive "its" being spelled "it's" just about everywhere - on billboards
>for all to see, as well as in sf novels (I've found a few).

>At least Noah Webster didn't invent words to cover up the fact that he didn't
>know the right word; small mercies, I guess.
>--------------
>Theresa

Ah, yes, Warren Harding, coiner of the word "normalcy!" I see
"normalcy" occasionally, but "normality" more often.

Steve


Honor (was: Editing in SF--Bad!) Robert Pearlman 12/19/97 12:00 AM

rc...@panix.com (Pierre Jelenc) wrote:

>Geoff C. Marshall <co...@ozemail.com.au> writes:
>>
>> That's good.  I can in good concience retain the correct
>> spelling without feeling I am slighting anyone but Noel Webster
>> anymore.
>

Yeah, but Noah Coward is going to be real mad.

Pearlman

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Brenda and Larry Clough 12/19/97 12:00 AM

John Boston wrote:

  Somehow quintet doesn't sound right.
> >
> >Brenda
> >
>
>         Try "quincunx."  It's worth it for the funny looks you'll get.
>
>                 John Boston

That's one of those words that sounds as if it ought to be x-rated, but
isn't.

--
Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
<clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

Editing in SF--Bad! Pierre Jelenc 12/19/97 12:00 AM

Steve Cross <stevcrss@REMOVE_THIS_mindspring.com> writes:
>
> Ah, yes, Warren Harding, coiner of the word "normalcy!" I see
> "normalcy" occasionally, but "normality" more often.

As a (former) chemist, I am glad that "normality" and "normalcy" allow an
easy distinction between the two concepts.

Pierre
--
            Bored and restless in this holiday season?
        Have a beer!                 |          Hear some music!
    New York City Beer Guide        |        Home Office Records
http://www.nycbeer.org/toc.html        |  http://www.web-ho.com/gigs.html

Editing in SF--Bad! Linda Cox 12/19/97 12:00 AM

Robert Pearlman wrote:
>
> The ones that bug me are the signs that use quotation marks as
> emphasis:  Beware of the "dog".  Arrrgh!
>
> Pearlman

I don't know, I'm usually amused by those.  What do they have, anyway, a
cat in a dog suit?

For grammar mavens and those who love them, I highly recommend a series
of books by Karen Elizabeth Gordon.  I bought the most recent of these
and was laughing out loud and reading bits to my husband in the car on
the way home from the bookshop.  To whit:

Author:        Gordon, Karen Elizabeth.
Title:         Torn wings and faux pas : a flashbook of style, a
                  beastly guide through the writer's labyrinth / Karen
                  Elizabeth Gordon ; illustrations by Rikki Ducornet.
Published:     New York : Patheon Books, c1997.

She has _wonderful_ examples of correct and incorrect usage. :)

Linda Cox

Happy Holidays!

Editing in SF--Bad! Bob Goudreau 12/19/97 12:00 AM

Barbara La Scala (bf...@mirriwinni.cse.rmit.edu.au) wrote:

: > goud...@dg-rtp.dg.com (Bob Goudreau) writes:
: >
: > [snip]
: >
: > Again, "correct" is a relative term.  Bear in mind that there are
: > far more native speakers of English using American spellings than
: > there are using British spellings.  

: I think this would depend greatly on how you define "native speaker of
: English".  If you take it to mean someone for whom English is their first
: language then you are correct.

Yup, that's exactly what I meant.

: On the other hand, if you consider someone
: a native speaker of English if they speak (and write) English and it is an
: official language of their country then you are definitely incorrect -
: India uses British English.

I've never heard anyone define "native speaker" thusly.  If the Indian
government changes the list of "official" languages by legislative
fiat, does that mean that large numbers of "native speakers" of the
languages in question will instantly appear out of thin air or vanish
without a trace?  Presumably, the United States therefore has no native
speakers of *any* language, since we have no law establishing an
official national language (in spite of the efforts of organizations
such as "US English")!

Just plain "speaker" would be a far clearer term for the class of
people you describe above.  That's why I was careful to write "native
speaker of English", not "speaker of English".

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bob Goudreau                        Data General Corporation
goud...@dg-rtp.dg.com                62 Alexander Drive        
+1 919 248 6231                        Research Triangle Park, NC  27709, USA

Editing in SF--Bad! Graham Wills 12/19/97 12:00 AM

Nancy Lebovitz wrote:

> In general, the binding dies before the paper, but I've only had
> a few books where the binding gave up--and that's not a huge problem--
> since I'm an accumulator rather than a collector, I put the book
> back together with Elmer's glue.

The only book I've ever had fall apart on me in a surprising way was a
copy of _Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land_. I was reading it on honeymoon in
Egypt and it may have got a little warm sitting on the upper deck for a
few hours in the sun, when the shade temperature was 42 degree
Centigrade.

The book fell apart while I was about halfway through it. After
finishing the book I felt the physical nature of the book was commenting
on the contained story.

        -Graham

--
Graham Wills                       Data Visualization, Bell Labs
gwi...@research.bell-labs.com      +1 (630) 979 7338
http://www.bell-labs.com/~gwills   Silk for Calde!

Editing in SF--Bad! Nancy Lebovitz 12/19/97 12:00 AM

In article <349ff959...@news.pipeline.com>,

Robert Pearlman <rpea...@pipeline.com> wrote:
>
>Steady on the outrage valve.  I've sometimes committed these, in full
>knowledge, but for good reason.  Suppose you have a word like "alpha"
>(which, I assume, means in this context a computer chip or box made by
>DEC) and want to talk about several of them.  Nothing really works
>well:  alphas (the uninitiated will see it as a non-pluralized word),
>alpha-s, alpha's (barbaric, but it works; the apostrophe is not a
>possesive but a simple diacritic; used all the time in Hebrew to mark
>foreign consonants, and I think also in Chinese).  I've recently
>settled on :   alpha s   but technical writing almost never gets
>feedback so I can't tell how I'm doing.
>
I'd see "alpha s" as a typo at best, and as a mention of the alpha that
comes between alpha r and alpha t at worst. I vote for "alpha's".

>The ones that bug me are the signs that use quotation marks as
>emphasis:  Beware of the "dog".  Arrrgh!
>
That sign might worry me more than a simple "beware of the dog". What
is it really--an alien that looks like a dog?
--
Nancy Lebovitz  (nan...@universe.digex.net)

November '97 calligraphic button catalogue available by email!


Editing in SF--Bad! Kevin J. Maroney 12/19/97 12:00 AM

pgr...@exis.net (Peter H. Granzeau) wrote:
>Stupid little misteaks (sic) like "not" for "now" are not usually
>fatal, and one of the truisms of book production is that there must at
>least three errors in every published book.

In many books, the existence of the book itself counts as one.

Kevin Maroney | kmar...@crossover.com
Kitchen Staff Supervisor
The New York Review of Science Fiction
http://ebbs.english.vt.edu/olp/nyrsf/nyrsf.html

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Genevieve M Hoog 12/19/97 12:00 AM

.com> <67cte3$9...@camel19.mindspring.com>:
Organization: George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA
Distribution:

On 19 Dec 1997 04:33:07 GMT, John Boston, at jbo...@mindspring.com wrote:
: In article <349936...@erols.com>, clo...@erols.com says...
: >

(SNIPPAGE)
: >> > >Patrick will now explain why the word "triptych" is totally


: >> > >unmarketable. :-)
: >>
: >> > Nah.  Works for me.
: >>
: >> > We've even used "quartet."
: >>
: >> I believe both sf (e.g., works of Frank Herbert) and mainstream
: >> (e.g., works of William Kennedy) also use the word "cycle."
: >
: >I've written two diptyches (is that plural corect, I wonder?) and a
: >singleton to stand between them.  Somehow quintet doesn't sound right.

:         Try "quincunx."  It's worth it for the funny looks you'll get.

        Didn't Susan Cooper call her books on the Old Ones The Dark Is
Rising _Sequence_?  I remember thinking that this was very elegant.  And
GGK's Fionovar _Tapestry_ equally elegant.

Genevieve Hoog*        "I have seen things you humans would not believe.  Attack
Rat Grrl, WGMU*         ships burning off the shoulder of Orion.  I watched
HoochieMamma, *         c-beams glitter in the dark near Tannhauser Gate. All of
Co-keeper of  *         those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain.
the Bemo      *         Time to die." --BLADERUNNER                  
"'Where's the ether?' said my attorney. 'This mescaline isn't working.'"        

Editing in SF--Bad! Christian Weisgerber 12/19/97 12:00 AM

In article <67bvua$k...@ttacs7.ttu.edu>, Jake Kesinger
<kesi...@math.ttu.edu> wrote:

> I'd be negligent if I didn't mention Baugh's ``History of the English
> Language,''  probably out of print but certainly findable.

I think it's still in print. Or again. Anyway, I picked up a new copy
not long ago.

    Albert C. Baugh & Thomas Cable
    A History of the English Language
    Fourth Edition
    Prentice Hall
    ISBN 0-415-09379-1

Recommended.

--
Christian "naddy" Weisgerber                  na...@mips.rhein-neckar.de
  See another pointless homepage at <URL:http://home.pages.de/~naddy/>.

Editing in SF--Bad! Avram Grumer 12/19/97 12:00 AM

In article <349ff959...@news.pipeline.com>, rpea...@pipeline.com wrote:

> Suppose
> you have a word like "alpha" (which, I assume, means in
> this context a computer chip or box made by DEC) and want
> to talk about several of them.  Nothing really works well:  
> alphas (the uninitiated will see it as a non-pluralized word),

You use "Alphas" or "Alpha computers" or "Alpha chips."  The intelligent
people among the uninitiated will read "Alphas" as something that might be
a plural (like "chairs") or not (like "kudos"), and look for further clues
in the rest of the writing.  The unintelligent will come to bad
conclusions no matter what you do.

--
Avram Grumer       av...@interport.net  
http://www.users.interport.net/~avram/
Lies, damned lies, and web page hit counts.

Editing in SF--Bad! Lee Ann Rucker 12/19/97 12:00 AM

In article <Pine.A41.3.95.971218110138.22530A-100000@acis.mc.yu.edu>, Julie
Stampnitzky <jsta...@ymail.yu.edu> wrote:

>You can always count on your supermarket to provide many illiterate signs,
>such as "All bags "must" [sic] be checked."
>

A company meeting I didn't particularly care to attend said that "Badges are
required to attend"

I considered sending the badge & staying home ;->

Editing in SF--Bad! Bill Woods 12/19/97 12:00 AM

Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> Jo Walton (J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk) wrote:

....

> > There's a place near where I used to live called "Tractor's Turning".
> > At least I assume that's the case from the handwritten sign in the
> > hedge.
>
> The junior high school I went to (that's the 13 to 15 age range, for
> those of you not playing at home) was called "Earle B. Wood Junior High
> School."
>
> Long after leaving, I went past and saw they'd put up a new sign nearby,
> which said "Earle B. Woods..."
>
> I always meant to buy some white paint and put in an apostrophe. It would
> have been *nearly* correct (unlike so many apostrophes these days.) Not
> the possessive of ownership, but the possessive of relation.

Hey, maybe the *first* sign was wrong?    It's a common mistake.

--
  Bill Woods       (with an /ess/!)

        ... I'd like to just (say) what I believe history will record.
       That America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of
       tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave
       as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and
       hope for all mankind. "Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17."

         -- Eugene Cernan, the most recent man on the Moon, 12/14/72

Editing in SF--Bad! Don Erikson 12/20/97 12:00 AM

Kevin J. Maroney <kmar...@crossover.com> wrote:
: co...@aol.com (Coyu) wrote:

: >From the Tor paperback edition of The Phoenix Guards, by Steven Brust, pg. 84.
: >From a passage describing a swordfight:

: There were at least four spelling-checker errors in the edition of
: _The Phoenix Guards_ which I read (four that I caught), and at least
: three of them lead to confusing ambiguities or problems.

: But mistaeks are inevitable.

James Herbert's latest novel _'48_ has what seemed to be a typo on nearly
every page. A combination of spell-checking and optical character
recognition gives such us as "Iris" for "his" ( this one appeared twice).


: Kevin Maroney | kmar...@crossover.com


: Kitchen Staff Supervisor
: The New York Review of Science Fiction
: http://ebbs.english.vt.edu/olp/nyrsf/nyrsf.html

--
d o n x @ t e l e p o r t . c o m   -------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------                      
                               

                                                                     

Editing in SF--Bad! Geoff C. Marshall 12/20/97 12:00 AM

I dunno, it would be highly appropriate outside several
residences.  That of "George of the Jungle" for one.

Geoff....

Editing in SF--Bad! Vlatko Juric Kokic 12/20/97 12:00 AM

Dorothy J Heydt (djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu) wrote:
> To say nothing of apostrophes being inserted into plurals.  At
> the supermarket you see signs advertising "EGG'S", and in
> scientific journals you see references to "alpha's", "EEG's",
> "bacteriophage T4's" ....

"EEG", and, I think, "T4" are acronyms. So a plural with an apostrophe is
the correct one.

Concerning common usage: Remember all those "T-34's", "M-1's" etc.

--
vlatko
vlatko.ju...@mreza.tel.hr

Editing in SF--Bad! Karen Traviss 12/20/97 12:00 AM

Hate to say it, but the purist line is that apostrophes are for the
possessive case only, or where there's a letter missing. Dorothy's right
and I share her annoyance! That's English English, anyway: I don't think
that American usage is any different. And as for capital letters in the
wrong places....YEUURRGGHH!!!

Karen


Editing in SF--Bad! RobXXVIII 12/20/97 12:00 AM

In article <349C94...@dial.pipex.com>, Karen Traviss
<karen....@dial.pipex.com> writes:

English doesn't have a possesive case, it has a genitive.
The apostrophe indicates a missing letter from the old
Anglo-saxon inflection. Besides which letter is missing
from won't?

Robert

Editing in SF--Bad! John Moreno 12/20/97 12:00 AM

P Nielsen Hayden <p...@panix.com> wrote:

> co...@aol.com (Coyu) writes:
>
-snip-
>
> >c: Dammit, even a mass-market paperback should have a twenty-year life
> >expectancy. Not a two-week one. My $.02.
>
> Twenty years is a bit much to expect for something printed on pulp paper,
> unless you're taking extreme care with its handling.  But I recently
> re-read five of the paperback editions of five books I'd edited some years
> ago, the Doyle and Macdonald "Mageworlds" series, and of those five books,
> two had their covers fall off while I was reading them.  Our production
> people heard about this, you may be assured.  They're as frustrated as I
> am; we seem to have endless problems with binding.  (The problem is that
> the demand for paperback binding far outstrips the number of actual
> printing and binding facilities; this doesn't do a lot for
> competetiveness.)

Well, I just bought Powers _expiration date_ which had a life span of
about 45 minutes before the cover started coming off.  This is for a new
book straight from B. Dalton's.

--
John Moreno

Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 12/21/97 12:00 AM

In article <19971220222...@ladder02.news.aol.com>,

RobXXVIII <robx...@aol.com> wrote:
>
>English doesn't have a possesive case, it has a genitive.
>The apostrophe indicates a missing letter from the old
>Anglo-saxon inflection.

In some declensions.  Some Anglo-Saxon genitives did not use an -s.
That ending has been generalized to all nouns, including those
that didn't originally use them.

Besides which letter is missing
>from won't?

O.  The original uncontracted form was "woll not," a variant on
"will not."  Take a look at Lewis Carroll, who still spells his
contractions "ca'n't" and "wo'n't."

Which reminds me of the old _New Yorker_ cartoon of the sailor
lying in his bunk, writing a latter, and calling up to the guy in
the bunk overhead, "Hey, Joe, how many apostrophes in 'fo'c's'le'?"

Which is properly spelled "forecastle."

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)
>
>Robert

Editing in SF--Bad! Bill Snyder 12/21/97 12:00 AM

An acquaintance of mine received one of those obnoxious notes that
have the pre-printed heading "From the desk of: _______";  his
response began "Dear Mr. Desk..."

--
Bill Snyder   [This space unintentionally left blank.]

Editing in SF--Bad! jbford 12/21/97 12:00 AM


Bill Snyder <bsn...@iadfw.net> wrote in article > >


>> An acquaintance of mine received one of those obnoxious notes that
> have the pre-printed heading "From the desk of: _______";  his
> response began "Dear Mr. Desk..."

Ah - pretending to be an automatic bulk mail machine ( just realised I
don't know what those horrors are called).  Like most people with letters
after my name I get loads of stuff addressed Dear Mr..(sic) Frcr.  etc.
Still at least it saves having to open the envelope.
--
Jenny
e-mail:jbford @ bournemouth-net.co.uk

Editing in SF--Bad! Brenda and Larry Clough 12/21/97 12:00 AM


Take it right back to Dalton's and complain.  I bought a pb there once
which was missing a signature -- hopped from page 45 to page 67 -- and
they replaced it immediately.


--
Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
<clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

Editing in SF--Bad! Julie Stampnitzky 12/21/97 12:00 AM

On 18 Dec 1997, Dorothy J Heydt wrote:

> In article <Pine.A41.3.95.971218110138.22530A-100000@acis.mc.yu.edu>,
> Julie Stampnitzky  <jsta...@ymail.yu.edu> wrote:
>
> >Let's not go overboard here. I learned that it is correct to use the
> >apostrophe with abbreviations and letters/numbers.
>
> From whom did you learn it?  I disagree violently.  

From my 8th grade English teacher.
My trusty _Prentice Hall Handbook for Writers_ ducks the question:
"In using apostrophes to form the plurals of letters, numbers, and words
used as words, follow the guidelines of writing in your field."
   
Julie Stampnitzky                   Keeper, http://neskaya.darkover.org


Editing in SF--Bad! Julie Stampnitzky 12/21/97 12:00 AM

On 21 Dec 1997, Dorothy J Heydt wrote:

> Besides which letter is missing
> >from won't?
>
> O.  The original uncontracted form was "woll not," a variant on
> "will not."  Take a look at Lewis Carroll, who still spells his
> contractions "ca'n't" and "wo'n't."

Yes, but that is a quirk invented by Carroll, who reasoned that it made
more sense that way. (I'll have to look up where he exlains this- possibly
the introduction of _Sylvie and Bruno_?)

Julie Stampnitzky                   Keeper, http://neskaya.darkover.org


Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) William Davis 12/21/97 12:00 AM

It has been said that the King James Bible, radio, and television have
all been heavily responsible for the standardization of the English
language, but I believe that spell checker and grammar checkers will
probably have more influence than both in creating a uniform English
language (not always a good thing).  As technology advances, students
will really more heavily on devices meant more as an aid to the
non-literary styles of the business world.  Try running most prose
through a grammar checker and see what turns up.  It seems the future
for writing will be a bland, but error free, one.

Editing in SF--Bad! John Michael Scalzi, II 12/21/97 12:00 AM

On Sat, 20 Dec 1997 21:29:08 -0500, phe...@interpath.com (John Moreno)
wrote:

Back to the B. Dalton's with it, then, and get another, hopefully less
degenerative copy.

As a note, I have paperbacks that are ten and fifteen years old. The
secret: crack not the spines. It can be done.
----------
John Scalzi
http://members.aol.com/jscalzi
"I'm looking for a fish who isn't afraid of my deep chocolate layer. Or my
cookie."

OT: paperback binding (was: Editing in SF--Bad!) Graydon 12/21/97 12:00 AM

In article <67bost$e...@excalibur.gooroos.com>,
piranha <pir...@pobox.com> wrote:
>In article <67b8ot$q...@panix2.panix.com>,

>P Nielsen Hayden <p...@panix.com> wrote:
>>Twenty years is a bit much to expect for something printed on pulp paper,
>>unless you're taking extreme care with its handling.  
>
>        with my oldest paperbacks, the paper isn't the problem, it's
>        the glue in the bindings that gets brittle and cracks.  but
>        i don't take any particular care with those books either --
>        _is_ there anything one could do to keep the glue flexible
>        that's reasonably possibly?

Yes, but we don't know what it is.

Glue - animal protein - dries hard, and dries slowly over its life to
equilibrium moisture content; that means that it powders in a dry
environment.  It doesn't flex well; the best actual glue in that regard is
cheese glue, which is strong, not too expensive, a bit flexible, and
unfortunately involves a _long_ hazmat sheet (it's very green cream cheese
and quicklime) and wouldn't work on paper.

Adhesives all lose elastomers over time; PVA resin emulsions ('white
glue') won't last more than about fifty years even under ideal conditions.

In the Book of Kells, there is a single gold leaf capital; if you flex the
parchment under it, the gold flexes too, an indication that the glue -
whatever the helya it is - is over a millenium old and still flexible.
Any available analysis methods are a bit too destructive to use, alas.
Give it five years and they may have it down to a pinprick being enough
sample, and we'll probably get to find out how that was done.

--
goo...@interlog.com | "However many ways there may be of being alive, it
--> mail to Graydon  | is certain that there are vastly more ways of being
                       dead." - Richard Dawkins, :The Blind Watchmaker:

Editing in SF--Bad! David Kennedy 12/21/97 12:00 AM

In article <19971216200...@ladder02.news.aol.com>,

        co...@aol.com (Coyu) writes:
> From the Tor paperback edition of The Phoenix Guards, by Steven Brust, pg. 84.

I actually read this weekend!
I found two others; "they" for "the", "you're" for "your".        

(It's an astonishing good book though)
--
David Kennedy, Dept. of Pure & Applied Physics, Queen's University of Belfast
Email: D.Ke...@Queens-Belfast.ac.uk | URL: http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/~dcjk/
               My .sig was so clever that it actually escaped!

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Brenda and Larry Clough 12/21/97 12:00 AM

William Davis wrote:
>  It seems the future
> for writing will be a bland, but error free, one.

Huh!  would that it were so!  The number of mistakes that a spellchecker
lets slip by is amazing.  I have a paperback horror novel, which on the
back cover in large letters says, "LAY DOWN ON THE ALTER OF DEATH!"  You
can bet that cover copy went through a spellcheck program, too.  Nothing
will ever replace a discerning eye and a sharp mind.

--
Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
<clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Lee Ann Rucker 12/21/97 12:00 AM

In article <349d5d64...@news.mindspring.com>, wis...@mindspring.com
(William Davis) wrote:

Er, are the correctly-spelled but out-of-place words and grammar errors
meant to be an ironic comment on the sort of mistakes such things let
through?  

Not to mention that the things check *spelling*, not *spells* - unless
you're a witch (ObSF: Harry Turtledove, _Case of the Toxic Spell Dump_,
alternate LA where magic works - they *did* use spell checkers)

Book of Kells Geoff C. Marshall 12/22/97 12:00 AM

Graydon wrote:
>
> In article <67bost$e...@excalibur.gooroos.com>,

> In the Book of Kells, there is a single gold leaf capital; if you flex the
> parchment under it, the gold flexes too, an indication that the glue -
> whatever the helya it is - is over a millenium old and still flexible.
> Any available analysis methods are a bit too destructive to use, alas.
> Give it five years and they may have it down to a pinprick being enough
> sample, and we'll probably get to find out how that was done.
>

From this and previous discussions, it would seem
that the Book of Kells shhould have been Von
Dankien's strongest piece of evidence.

Can we have a summary list of the things in that
book that out technology can't reproduce ?

Geoff...

Editing in SF--Bad! Richard A. Randall 12/22/97 12:00 AM

I see you have read "Lasher" by Anne Rice. ;)

Richard A. Randall


Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Dorothy J Heydt 12/22/97 12:00 AM

In article <349DC5...@erols.com>,

Brenda and Larry Clough  <clo...@erols.com> wrote:
|William Davis wrote:
|>  It seems the future
|> for writing will be a bland, but error free, one.
|
|Huh!  would that it were so!  The number of mistakes that a spellchecker
|lets slip by is amazing.  I have a paperback horror novel, which on the
|back cover in large letters says, "LAY DOWN ON THE ALTER OF DEATH!"  You
|can bet that cover copy went through a spellcheck program, too.  Nothing
|will ever replace a discerning eye and a sharp mind.

I have a new example for this discussion.  My bio in the latest
Sword & Sorceress (#15, if my memory hasn't deserted) claims that
I have three carts.  Well, what I have is three *cats*, or they
have me.  I am sure somebody spellchecked the thing.

(What would I do with three carts, anyway?  Well, one to haul the
laundry and/or groceries in.  That leaves nos. 2 and 3 cooling
their wheels....)

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) William Davis 12/22/97 12:00 AM

"Lee Ann Rucker" <lru...@aruba.apple.com> wrote:


>Not to mention that the things check *spelling*, not *spells* - unless
>you're a witch (ObSF: Harry Turtledove, _Case of the Toxic Spell Dump_,
>alternate LA where magic works - they *did* use spell checkers)

Just booted up my copy of Wordperfect to make sure I wasn't making an
ass of myself, but, nope, spell check is the term the software uses.
I'm not sure, but I think one of us just made the others point.  ;)

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) William Davis 12/22/97 12:00 AM

"Lee Ann Rucker" <lru...@aruba.apple.com> wrote:

>
>Er, are the correctly-spelled but out-of-place words and grammar errors
>meant to be an ironic comment on the sort of mistakes such things let
>through?  
>
Uh, yeah.  That's what I meant.  Rely.  ;)


Editing in SF--Bad! Bob Goudreau 12/22/97 12:00 AM

Vlatko Juric Kokic (vju...@alf.tel.hr) wrote:

: "EEG", and, I think, "T4" are acronyms.

To be pedantic, both terms are actually abbreviations, but not
acronyms (which constitute a specific subset of abbreviations: those
pronounced as words in their own right).  I suppose that "EEG" *could*
become an acronym (which whould rhyme with "league"), but I've always
heard it spoken as "ee-ee-gee".

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bob Goudreau                        Data General Corporation
goud...@dg-rtp.dg.com                62 Alexander Drive        
+1 919 248 6231                        Research Triangle Park, NC  27709, USA

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Jo Walton 12/22/97 12:00 AM

In article <67kk28$m4f$1...@agate.berkeley.edu>

           djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu "Dorothy J Heydt" writes:

> I have a new example for this discussion.  My bio in the latest
> Sword & Sorceress (#15, if my memory hasn't deserted) claims that
> I have three carts.  Well, what I have is three *cats*, or they
> have me.  I am sure somebody spellchecked the thing.
>
> (What would I do with three carts, anyway?  Well, one to haul the
> laundry and/or groceries in.  That leaves nos. 2 and 3 cooling
> their wheels....)

One for selling cockles and muscles alive alive-o, and you could
keep the last in case you needed a getaway cart.

In my SF storytelling card-game "Into the Domain of Capella"
(blatant plug I suppose :) there is a card that's supposed to
read "Vast Spacefleets". It got typed in and spellchecked by
an idiot (me) and came out as "Vest Spacefleets". When people
gleefully pointed this out, after the initial phase of being
horrified I started explaining (we'd printed something like 100)
that they were right, it was an error, it should read "Vest-pocket
spacefleets". Gosh I got some funny looks. :]

Now available in both versions.

--
Jo     - -  I kissed a kif at Kefk  - -   J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Brenda and Larry Clough 12/22/97 12:00 AM


Actually, I envision you as a high-end bag lady, with not one nor two
but three carts laden with possessions!


--
Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
<clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Joshua Jasper 12/22/97 12:00 AM

In article <349DC5...@erols.com>,
Brenda and Larry Clough  <clo...@erols.com> wrote:
>William Davis wrote:
>>  It seems the future
>> for writing will be a bland, but error free, one.
>
>
>
>Huh!  would that it were so!  The number of mistakes that a spellchecker
>lets slip by is amazing.  I have a paperback horror novel, which on the
>back cover in large letters says, "LAY DOWN ON THE ALTER OF DEATH!"  You
>can bet that cover copy went through a spellcheck program, too.  Nothing
>will ever replace a discerning eye and a sharp mind.
>
        Sure something will, and it'll lead to absurd mistakes like that
one.
                                                        Sinboy

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) David Fetter 12/22/97 12:00 AM

Brenda and Larry Clough <clo...@erols.com> wrote:
> William Davis wrote:
> >  It seems the future
> > for writing will be a bland, but error free, one.

> Huh!  would that it were so!  The number of mistakes that a spellchecker
> lets slip by is amazing.  I have a paperback horror novel, which on the
> back cover in large letters says, "LAY DOWN ON THE ALTER OF DEATH!"  You

It's not misspelled if it's about sex with somebody who has multiple
personalities, at least one of which is rather grim. ;)

--
            David Fetter         888 O'Farrell Street Apt E1205
   sha...@ren.glaci.com          San Francisco, CA 94109-7089 USA
  http://www.best.com/~dfetter     +1 415 567 2690 (voice)
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                                       Mark Weiser

Editing in SF--Bad! Steve Miller 12/22/97 12:00 AM

My wife, -- Sharon Lee -- once had a her own small advertising agency --
it was called Lee Rising Advertising. We used to get lots of sales calls
from people asking to speak to Lee, if he was in, or demanding to talk
to their good old friend Mr. Rising. Lots of mail sot sorted quickly at
the trashcan that way...

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) piranha 12/22/97 12:00 AM

In article <349d5d64...@news.mindspring.com>,
William Davis <wis...@mindspring.com> wrote:
>[...]  I believe that spell checker and grammar checkers will

>probably have more influence than both in creating a uniform English
>language (not always a good thing).

        certainly not a good thing when spell checkers are used
        without a discerning eye, something which we're seeing
        more of lately, and while the image of dorothy with her
        three carts (no horses?) is funny, it is pretty annoying
        to see one's originally error-free prose "enhanced" by
        a rogue spell checking run.

>As technology advances, students
>will really more heavily on devices meant more as an aid to the
>non-literary styles of the business world.  Try running most prose
>through a grammar checker and see what turns up.  It seems the future
>for writing will be a bland, but error free, one.

        this makes no sense.  are you really trying to say that
        only grammatically aberrant and misspelled writing is
        interesting?

        -piranha

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Editing in SF--Bad! piranha 12/22/97 12:00 AM

On 18 Dec 1997, Dorothy J Heydt wrote:
>
> In article <Pine.A41.3.95.971218110138.22530A-100000@acis.mc.yu.edu>,
> Julie Stampnitzky  <jsta...@ymail.yu.edu> wrote:
> >Let's not go overboard here. I learned that it is correct to use the
> >apostrophe with abbreviations and letters/numbers.
>
> From whom did you learn it?  I disagree violently.  

        in high school.  and it appears what grammatical sources i
        have here agree with it -- the _oxford companion to the eng-
        lish language_ does (under 'apostrophe'), and _the mcgraw-
        hill college handbook_ does as well (under 'plural forms with
        apostrophe').

        here's what the former has to say about it (i'm editing it
        down some, because i am too lazy to type so much in, and
        you may feel free to imagine the appropriate things itali-
        cized):

        "there was formerly a respectable tradition (17-19c) of using
        the apostrophe for noun plurals, [...].  although this prac-
        tice is rare in 20c standard usage, the apostrophe of plura-
        lity continues in at least five areas:  (1) with abbreviations
        such as V.I.P.'s or VIP's.  (2) with letters of the alphabet,
        as in _dot your i's and cross your t's_.  (3) in decade dates,
        such as 1980's.  (4) in family names, especially if they end
        in -s, as in:  keeping up with the jones's. [...]"

        and here's what the latter says:

        "use an apostrophe plus s to show plurals of letters, numbers,
        and words stressed as words rather than for the meaning they
        convey.

        committee has two m's, two i's, and two e's.
        there are twelve no's in the first paragraph.
        he makes his 2's look like his 5's.
        the 1980's brought renewed efforts at energy conservation."

        and while i was at it, i looked in _a manual of style_ by
        crown publishers (1986) where it says, among other things:
        
        "an apostrophe is used to indicate contractions, the omis-
        sion of figures or letters, and the coined plurals of let-
        ters, figures, and symbols.

        49'ers, MC'ing, ABC's, 2 by 4's, RIF'd, YMCA's."

        i edited out some examples there as well.

        -piranha

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Editing in SF--Bad! Mark Stephen 12/22/97 12:00 AM

In article <1d1kvrj.1qm...@roxboro-173.interpath.net>,

phe...@interpath.com (John Moreno) wrote:
>> Twenty years is a bit much to expect for something printed on pulp paper,
>> unless you're taking extreme care with its handling.  But I recently
>> re-read five of the paperback editions of five books I'd edited some years
>> ago, the Doyle and Macdonald "Mageworlds" series, and of those five books,
>> two had their covers fall off while I was reading them.  Our production
>> people heard about this, you may be assured.  They're as frustrated as I
>> am; we seem to have endless problems with binding.  (The problem is that
>> the demand for paperback binding far outstrips the number of actual
>> printing and binding facilities; this doesn't do a lot for
>> competetiveness.)
>
>Well, I just bought Powers _expiration date_ which had a life span of
>about 45 minutes before the cover started coming off.  This is for a new
>book straight from B. Dalton's.

I have a 1949 Penguin edition of _Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat_ which is
still in pretty good condition. The consensus used to be that you bought
American editions for the cover art and English editions for paper
quality and binding. Is there any truth to this?

best wishes, mark s.

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Geoff C. Marshall 12/23/97 12:00 AM

piranha wrote:
>

>         this makes no sense.  are you really trying to say that
>         only grammatically aberrant and misspelled writing is
>         interesting?

From someone who writes in the passive voice a lot, YES !

What is wrong with the passive voice anyway...
       mumble, mumble, grumble....

Geoff...

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Alter S. Reiss 12/23/97 12:00 AM

On Sun, 21 Dec 1997, Brenda and Larry Clough wrote:
> William Davis wrote:

> >  It seems the future
> > for writing will be a bland, but error free, one.

> Huh!  would that it were so!  The number of mistakes that a spellchecker
> lets slip by is amazing.  I have a paperback horror novel, which on the
> back cover in large letters says, "LAY DOWN ON THE ALTER OF DEATH!"  You
> can bet that cover copy went through a spellcheck program, too.  Nothing
> will ever replace a discerning eye and a sharp mind.

        You know, looking at that sentance, the obvious error is not what
jumps out at MY eye...

-- Alter S. Reiss - www.geocities.com/Area51/2129 - asr...@ymail.yu.edu

        "Nonsense, they couldn't hit an elephant at this dist"


Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) William George Ferguson 12/23/97 12:00 AM

djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu "Dorothy J Heydt" writes:
>> I have a new example for this discussion.  My bio in the latest
>> Sword & Sorceress (#15, if my memory hasn't deserted) claims that
>> I have three carts.  Well, what I have is three *cats*, or they
>> have me.  I am sure somebody spellchecked the thing.
>>
>> (What would I do with three carts, anyway?  Well, one to haul the
>> laundry and/or groceries in.  That leaves nos. 2 and 3 cooling
>> their wheels....)

J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk (Jo Walton) wrote:
>One for selling cockles and muscles alive alive-o, and you could
                             ^^^^^^^

This isn't a flame, I don't do spelling/grammar flames.  I just think
this is wonderfully karmic in a post by a writer on a thread about the
dangers of spell checkers.

You're welcome to use the Richard Seaton explanation of the
ephemeralness of the conversational form not requiring the rigor of
formal writing.

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Jay Shorten 12/24/97 12:00 AM

On 22 Dec 1997 02:42:16 GMT, djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J
Heydt) wrote:


>(What would I do with three carts, anyway?  Well, one to haul the
>laundry and/or groceries in.  That leaves nos. 2 and 3 cooling
>their wheels....)
>

You could be like Monty Python's Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson. Or #2
could be your spare cart, and #3 for your husband (if you have one).
Jay Shorten
jsho...@ix.netcom.com

Editing in SF--Bad! Robert Pearlman 12/24/97 12:00 AM

Steve Miller <kin...@mint.net> wrote:

A distant cousin of mine was pretty high up in E. J. Korvette, for
those who remember it.   All the stores got people claiming that Mr.
Korvette had sent them for a job. There was no Mr. Korvette, and never
had been.

rp


Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Jo Walton 12/24/97 12:00 AM

In article <34a05c95....@news.primenet.com>

Actually that was deliberate. Just a very minor joke. Sorry.

My usenet posts are not spell-checked at all, I'm as capable of spelling
mistakes as the next entity, but that didn't happen to be one.

ObSF: Thought Processors in :Hyperion:. "In the beginning was the Word.
Then came the word processor."

--
Jo     - -  I kissed a kif at Kefk  - -   J...@bluejo.demon.co.uk
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
http://www.bluejo.demon.co.uk - Blood of Kings Poetry; rasfw FAQ;
Reviews; Interstichia; Momentum - a paying market for real poetry.


Editing in SF--Bad! Jay Random 12/24/97 12:00 AM

P Nielsen Hayden wrote:
>
> Twenty years is a bit much to expect for something printed on pulp paper,
> unless you're taking extreme care with its handling.  But I recently re-read
> five of the paperback editions of five books I'd edited some years ago, the
> Doyle and Macdonald "Mageworlds" series, and of those five books, two had
> their covers fall off while I was reading them.  Our production people heard
> about this, you may be assured.  They're as frustrated as I am; we seem to
> have endless problems with binding.  (The problem is that the demand for
> paperback binding far outstrips the number of actual printing and binding
> facilities; this doesn't do a lot for competetiveness.)


I had the delightful experience, back in the 80's, of picking up a
paperback copy of _Tristram Shandy_ printed in 1967... the last book I
ever bought _new_ for 75 cents. (! ! !) Binding & paper were in perfect
condition; the cover was a bit shopworn, naturally enough. My father has
paperbacks that are still in good condition after _fifty_ years, without
special handling. On the other hand, I have had many paperbacks,
particularly from Ballantine/Fawcett/Del Rey, that disintegrated _on
first reading_.

One thing I have noticed: generally speaking, the thinner the paper
used, the better the binding holds up. Almost all the problems I have
had with cracked or non-adhesive paperback bindings have occurred in
books printed on thick stock (equivalent to 40-50# book paper). The very
thin paper commonly used before c. 1980, & still sometimes seen, seems
to work much better with perfect binding.

I suppose the question here is one of availability & cost. During WWII,
books & magazines were printed on very heavy, low-quality groundwood
stock with a very short life expectancy. Is high-quality pulp simply in
that short supply again?

--J. Random Curious Reader

Series, trilogies & padding (was Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Jay Random 12/24/97 12:00 AM

Dennis L. McKiernan wrote:
>
> I do not wholly agree with this.  To me, a series can consist of several
> complete stories ... some of which may be told in trilogies (or
> duologies, quartologies, ..., octologies, whatever) [remembering that
> the complete story isn't told until the trilogy is finished], and some
> of which are completely told in stand-alone books.
>   So, trilogies (etc) can be part of a greater series consisting of more
> than just the trilogy (etc).


Quite so. Perhaps the best-known modern example, though not one from
_printed_ fiction, is George Lucas' _Star Wars_ cycle: a trilogy of
trilogies, if he ever gets round to filming all nine movies.

I would define a `series', in this sense, as a group or sequence of
fictional works which can be read independently.

On the other hand, I hold with the old-fashioned usage of `trilogy' to
refer to a series of three _separate_ stories. By `old-fashioned', I
mean that this is the original meaning of the word, dating back to
Thucydides or thereabouts. _The Lord of the Rings_, by this definition,
is not a trilogy but a novel in three volumes. Certainly Tolkien himself
was incensed when critics called his magnum opus a trilogy: `Splitting
it into three volumes was (and is) a publisher's decision.' _A la
recherche du temps perdu_, then, is a seven-volume novel, not a
heptalogy; mainstream lit'ry types certainly incline to this view.

I shall remind myself to describe multi-volume works as, for instance,
`a three-volume novel' or `a five-book series', to avoid the ambiguity
of `trilogy', `pentalogy', etc.

Always excepting David Eddings' _Belgariad_ & sequelae, which is `a
12-pack of emergency toilet paper'. ;-)

--J. Random Trilogist

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language (Re: Editing in SF--Bad!) Michael Stemper 12/24/97 12:00 AM

In article <lrucker-2112...@browpo.apple.com>, "Lee Ann Rucker" <lru...@aruba.apple.com> writes:
>In article <349d5d64...@news.mindspring.com>, wis...@mindspring.com
>(William Davis) wrote:
>
>>It has been said that the King James Bible, radio, and television have
>>all been heavily responsible for the standardization of the English
>>language, but I believe that spell checker and grammar checkers will
>>probably have more influence than both in creating a uniform English
>>language (not always a good thing).  As technology advances, students
>>will really more heavily on devices meant more as an aid to the
>>non-literary styles of the business world.  Try running most prose
>>through a grammar checker and see what turns up.  It seems the future
>>for writing will be a bland, but error free, one.
>
>Er, are the correctly-spelled but out-of-place words and grammar errors
>meant to be an ironic comment on the sort of mistakes such things let
>through?  

I have a spelling checker
It came with my PC;
It plainly marks four my revue
Mistakes I cannot sea.
I've run this poem threw it
I'm sure your pleased too no.
It's letter perfect in it's weigh.
My checker tolled me sew.

- author unknown

--
Michael F. Stemper
mstemper @ siemens - psc . com
(remove the blanks)
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Editing in SF--Bad! Brom O'Berin 12/24/97 12:00 AM

One of my pet peeves is to be reading a novel and come across a
character spouting off with a currently common phrase or saying,
without considering whether that particular phrase or saying would
apropriate or would even have had an origin in the author's space-time
environment.   This is especially bad in the fantasy field - when you
think about how many of our common phrases had an origin derived from
the many uses of gunpowder ...

Brom (jumping off my soapbox ...)


Editing in SF--Bad! Brenda and Larry Clough 12/24/97 12:00 AM


That's not bad editing.  It's bad -writing-.  Although a smart editor
should catch it and point it out to the writer.


--
Brenda W. Clough, author of HOW LIKE A GOD from Tor Books
<clo...@erols.com> http://www.sff.net/people/Brenda

Editing in SF--Bad! Nyrath the nearly wise 12/25/97 12:00 AM

Thus spoke Brom O'Berin <dse...@erols.com>:

> One of my pet peeves is to be reading a novel and come across a
> character spouting off with a currently common phrase or saying,
> without considering whether that particular phrase or saying would
> apropriate or would even have had an origin in the author's space-time
> environment.  

        Agreed, that is a most annoying occurance.
        However, there are some authors who address that.

        In H. Beam Piper's SPACE VIKINGS, they are always
        talking about blowing an enemy starship to "Em-Cee
        Squared", and dismissing something with the
        phrase "to Nifilheim with it" ("Nifilheim" being
        the name of a planet with a hellish enviroment)

        In David Drake's Hammer's Slammer novels, they
        curse with "Via" the way we'd use "God" (Via is
        "the Way", and refers to a future religion), and
        "Cop" is used the way we'd use "Shit" or the F-word.
        
        In the Sten novels (by two authors who names escape
        me at the moment), the words "Clot" and "Clotting"
        are used the same way.

        In one of John Brunner's novels (STAND ON ZANZIBAR?)
        we are treated to such expressions as "how in the Hole
        am I supposed to know?" and "what the Hole is that?"

        And don't forget Battlestar Galactica's "Frak!"

--
      * A B S I T * I N V I D I A * V E R B O ** I D E M * S O N A N S *      
+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| WINCHELL CHUNG                   http://www.clark.net/pub/nyrath/home.html |
| Nyrath the nearly wise                                    nyr...@clark.net |
+---_---+---------------------[ SURREAL SAGE SEZ: ]--------------------------+
|  /_\  | Stupidity is an equal-opportunity employer                         |
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| //|\\ |                                                                    |
+///|\\\+--------------------------------------------------------------------+


Editing in SF--Bad! Pinochet 12/25/97 12:00 AM

Nyrath the nearly wise wrote in message <67tj9g$q...@clarknet.clark.net>...


>Thus spoke Brom O'Berin <dse...@erols.com>:
>> One of my pet peeves is to be reading a novel and come across a
>> character spouting off with a currently common phrase or saying,
>> without considering whether that particular phrase or saying would
>> apropriate or would even have had an origin in the author's space-time
>> environment.
>
> Agreed, that is a most annoying occurance.
> However, there are some authors who address that.

> And don't forget Battlestar Galactica's "Frak!"


Wasn't there another one called Felgercarb or something
also used in BG?

By Crom, it's right on the tip of my tongue..

Oh yeah Robert E. Howard..  Not really SF, but Conan
is worthy of mention everywhere.

There's also Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, and what
about Pern, by Anne McCaffrey or Bujold's Vorkosigan
books, though I can't recall to many specifics from those
series I know there is some slang..

Editing in SF--Bad! Jay Shorten 12/27/97 12:00 AM

On Sun, 21 Dec 1997 02:12:30 GMT, bsn...@iadfw.net (Bill Snyder)
wrote:

>An acquaintance of mine received one of those obnoxious notes that
>have the pre-printed heading "From the desk of: _______";  his
>response began "Dear Mr. Desk..."

I would have responded "Your Deskness", taking "the desk of ..." as a
title. [Notice I put the comma outside the quotation marks, conforming
to British usage.]

Jay Shorten
jsho...@ix.netcom.com

Editing in SF--Bad! Jay Shorten 12/27/97 12:00 AM

On Fri, 19 Dec 1997 04:42:33 GMT, rpea...@pipeline.com (Robert
Pearlman) wrote:


>Steady on the outrage valve.  I've sometimes committed these, in full
>knowledge, but for good reason.  Suppose you have a word like "alpha"
>(which, I assume, means in this context a computer chip or box made by
>DEC) and want to talk about several of them.

I think the proper classical Greek plural would be "alphai", though
I'm sure if you put this in your writing heads would roll.
Jay Shorten
jsho...@ix.netcom.com

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language ... Nova Express 12/27/97 12:00 AM

The trouble is, you can slice this thing finer and finer. You'd have to
have a setting on the ideal spelling/grammar checker for degrees of
correctness. Would you really want the thing to beep every time you used
"which" when you should have written "that"? Does one in a hundred
people even know the difference?

As for the media standardizing English, unfortunately, it seems to be
standardizing an incorrect form as often as a correct one. Take, for
example, sentences along the lines of "There is apples on the table."
This has become almost de rigueur in recent months, and it is plainly
wrong.

Then there are the people who will change a word until they get
something that works, rather than find out if it might just be a word
that's not in the memory of the damned machine. Divining boards become
diving boards (this showed up in the title of a book in my employment
record) at the whim or fancy of some clerk-typist. Has everyone lost
their senses?

X

"Nothing is more expensive than to change the dies, the molds, and that
is why the Boards and Syndicates and their subsidiary politicians,
mafias, drug agents, police, churches, and news media don't want to know
about a better human product, any more than General Motors wants to know
about a turbine engine. It would mean scrapping all existing dies from
here to eternity." --WSB, "Ghost of Chance

Editing in SF--Bad! Beth and Richard Treitel 12/28/97 12:00 AM

To my surprise and delight, djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J
Heydt) wrote:

>The *Eight* Deadly Words version, formulated on this group a
>couple of years ago by (ahem) me, reads,
>
>"I don't CARE *WHAT* happens to these people!"


I'll jump in and offer a second set of eight dreaded words, which can
also be applied to a fantasy novel by changing one of them:

"I can't find any science in this fiction!"

-- Richard
------
A sufficiently incompetent ScF author is indistinguishable from magic.
What is (and isn't) ScF?   ==>  http://www.wco.com/~treitel/sf.html

Mail from hotmail.com is ignored due to spamming.
I use PGP 2.6.2.

Eight Deadly Words (was: Re: Editing in SF) Andrew Plotkin 12/28/97 12:00 AM

Beth and Richard Treitel (tre...@wco.com) wrote:

> I'll jump in and offer a second set of eight dreaded words, which can
> also be applied to a fantasy novel by changing one of them:
>
> "I can't find any science in this fiction!"

But I've enjoyed the occasional fantasy novel with no fantasy, and sci-fi
with no science. (By my own definition of science-in-SF, or the common
definition of science, whichever you like.)

That criterion is on about three different subjective precipices: What
role for science do you look for in sci-fi? Is there some science there
that you overlooked, but would recognize if it was pointed out? What do
you count as good science, or nonexistence science, or whatever? Not to
mention the unstated premise that it's *dreadful* for there to be no
science there.  (As opposed to irrelevant, or interesting, or good.)

It's not a conclusive condemnation, is what I mean. It leads to a
potentially unending thread of argument. Usually involving Star Trek.

Whereas "I don't care what happens to these people" is clear,
straightforward, and objective. I know whether I care, without question.
So can you (if I bother to post about it. :-) I guess you can question
whether I *should* throw a book across the room just because I don't give
a flying wahoo about any character. But I think I'm on pretty solid
ground when I do so.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Eight Deadly Words (was: Re: Editing in SF) WooF 12/28/97 12:00 AM


On Sun, 28 Dec 1997, Andrew Plotkin wrote:

[snip]


 
> Whereas "I don't care what happens to these people" is clear,
> straightforward, and objective. I know whether I care, without question.
> So can you (if I bother to post about it. :-) I guess you can question
> whether I *should* throw a book across the room just because I don't give
> a flying wahoo about any character. But I think I'm on pretty solid
> ground when I do so.

You are indeed on solid ground. Darrell Schweitzer and I reject lots and
lots of stories for just that reason, and we're not too enthusiastic about
taking on as a client (we are a Lit'ry Agency as well) someone whose
novel appears to have that same flaw.

(Details on the Lit'ry Agency available on request to the address below)

 George Scithers of owls...@netaxs.com

Editing in SF--Bad! messe...@hotmail.com 12/28/97 12:00 AM

In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,
  erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:
>
> Julie Stampnitzky (jsta...@ymail.yu.edu) wrote:
> > You can always count on your supermarket to provide many illiterate signs,
> > such as "All bags "must" [sic] be checked."
>
> I was in a bank last week -- NationsBank, one of the N largest US banks
> for small N. There I saw a large sign, advertising some loan program I
> think, and it read:
>
> "A great deal now and, a great deal later!"

I think that was a marketing ploy. They could have said, "A great deal
now and... a great deal later!", but phrasing it like that would not have
gotten your attention as long as it did.

The idea of marketing is to get your attention, and to get you thinking.
I presume the ad worked.

Compare the below:

A great deal now... and a great deal later!  (Too long) A great deal NOW.
And a great deal LATER!  (Too loud_and obnoxious.) A great deal now. And
a great deal later!  (Too sublime, and too perfect.) A great deal now,
and. A great deal later!  (Too many stops, breaks rhythm.) A great deal
now and. A great deal later!  (Visually unappealing.)

A great deal now and, a great deal later!  (phonetically correct, but
grammatically incorrect  and you linger thinking about it.)

I am sorry to say, for its *purpose* I like the original phraseology..

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Editing in SF--Bad! PZ Myers 12/28/97 12:00 AM

I think you are making lame excuses for an illiterate ad man. Are you
one, too?

And I am sorry, but it is an extremely poor catchphrase. My first thought
on reading it was, "How much am I going to have to pay back later? A great
deal!"

Not only is it illiterate, it is an incompetent ad.

--
PZ Myers

Editing in SF--Bad! Julie Stampnitzky 12/28/97 12:00 AM

Maybe it should be "Your Deskship"...?

Julie Stampnitzky                   Keeper, http://neskaya.darkover.org
"Imagine that an angel appears to you and describes to you the mechanism of
DNA synthesis. Which would be more miraculous: the mechanism of DNA synthesis
 or the appearance of the angel?" _Trends_in_Biochemical_Science_ 12/96


Editing in SF--Bad! Beth and Richard Treitel 12/28/97 12:00 AM

To my surprise and delight, Julie Stampnitzky <jsta...@ymail.yu.edu>
wrote:

>In my college, it's a game among some people to pencil in
>corrections on the flyers on the walls

But does anyone crack into the computers whereon said flyers are
composed and make corrections at the source?  Could be wonderful fun in
those cases where you permute the entire sentence, as in "Who am I
speaking with?" => "With whom am I speaking?"  Though of course it would
be wrong to crack anyone else's computer and no responsible student
would do anything like that, now would they.

-- Richard
------
A sufficiently incompetent ScF author is indistinguishable from magic.
What is (and isn't) ScF?   ==>  http://www.wco.com/~treitel/sf.html

Mail from hotmail.com is ignored due to spamming.
I use PGP 2.6.2.

Editing in SF--Bad! Andrew Plotkin 12/28/97 12:00 AM

messe...@hotmail.com wrote:
> > "A great deal now and, a great deal later!"
>
> I think that was a marketing ploy. They could have said, "A great deal
> now and... a great deal later!", but phrasing it like that would not have
> gotten your attention as long as it did.
>
> The idea of marketing is to get your attention, and to get you thinking.
> I presume the ad worked.

Even when I first posted about this, I had no memory of what they were
selling. Except that (since it was in a bank) it had something to do with
money. In my case, the ad did not work.

Anyhow, you're a lot more generous about commercial mentality than I am.
My first (and continuing) assumption is that they're idiots. If they
chose the approach you think they did, they chose my kind of response as
well.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Editing in SF--Bad! Del Cotter 12/28/97 12:00 AM

On Sun, 28 Dec 1997, in rec.arts.sf.written
messe...@hotmail.com wrote

>> "A great deal now and, a great deal later!"
>
>I think that was a marketing ploy. They could have said, "A great deal
>now and... a great deal later!", but phrasing it like that would not have
>gotten your attention as long as it did.
>
>The idea of marketing is to get your attention, and to get you thinking.
>I presume the ad worked.

It gets me thinking I, don't want to deal with this bank.  Advertising
is *not* solely, about getting attention.  The target also has to, want
to buy the product.

--
                  Del Cotter    d...@branta.demon.co.uk
Internet Explorer 4: Now it's official - they can't even *give* it away

Editing in SF--Bad! Lawrence Watt-Evans 12/28/97 12:00 AM

On Sun, 28 Dec 1997 12:46:36 -0500, Julie Stampnitzky
<jsta...@ymail.yu.edu> wrote:

>On Sat, 27 Dec 1997, Jay Shorten wrote:
>
>> On Sun, 21 Dec 1997 02:12:30 GMT, bsn...@iadfw.net (Bill Snyder)
>> wrote:
>>
>> >An acquaintance of mine received one of those obnoxious notes that
>> >have the pre-printed heading "From the desk of: _______";  his
>> >response began "Dear Mr. Desk..."
>>
>> I would have responded "Your Deskness", taking "the desk of ..." as a
>> title. [Notice I put the comma outside the quotation marks, conforming
>> to British usage.]
>>
>Maybe it should be "Your Deskship"...?

"Your Deskellency."


 --
    TOUCHED BY THE GODS:  Hardcover, Tor Books, now available! $24.95
    The Misenchanted Page: http://www.sff.net/people/LWE/ Last update 12/9/97
   

Editing in SF--Bad! messe...@hotmail.com 12/28/97 12:00 AM

In article <myers-ya02408000R2812970919110001@netnews.netaxs.com>,
  my...@netaxs.com (PZ Myers) wrote:

>
> I think you are making lame excuses for an illiterate ad man. Are you
> one, too?
>
> And I am sorry, but it is an extremely poor catchphrase. My first thought
> on reading it was, "How much am I going to have to pay back later? A great
> deal!"
>
> Not only is it illiterate, it is an incompetent ad.
>
> --
> PZ Myers

Ah.. a delightful reply. To answer, no. no. And you missed the boat.


----- Apologies to everyone I did not reply for a long time. Normally I
don't do replies at this address. Replies to are not a reflection of
calibre of the inquirer, or dis-calibre. I am just distracted, busy.

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Editing in SF--Bad! messe...@hotmail.com 12/28/97 12:00 AM

In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,
  erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:
>
> messe...@hotmail.com wrote:

>
> Anyhow, you're a lot more generous about commercial mentality than I am.

You're absolutely correct. But it's a nice contradiction to the notion
that language *is*, and is meant to be *static* over time, as expressed
by some here.

Our language today is a product of experimentation -- evolution. To deny
the process, by claiming some higher ground as to the "correctness" of a
certain structuring of words over time is rather dubious. Experimentation
occurs all the time. It is decided by useage, not by the shrill buzz of
spelling bees.

Besides, it's a bank. They are not in the business of "literature". And
as long as they attract more, than they detract, the trend will continue.

> "And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
> borogoves..."

What sort of gibberish is the above? How dare she invent nouns and verbs!
She should get herself a good dictionary! And where was the copy-editor
on this! And those damn... stupid, illiterate editors who let this
travesty pass..

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Editing in SF--Bad! Andrew Plotkin 12/29/97 12:00 AM

messe...@hotmail.com wrote:
> > Anyhow, you're a lot more generous about commercial mentality than I am.

> You're absolutely correct. But it's a nice contradiction to the notion
> that language *is*, and is meant to be *static* over time, as expressed
> by some here.

What? Speculation is wonderful, but when you're trying to communicate
with me *today* you'd better understand what standard English is.

I say "understand", not "follow". They may have been deliberately
nonstandard for some reason. But that reason was not communicated to me. I
didn't get it. I assumed (and still do) that they made a stupid mistake.
That's what they communicated to me.

> > "And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
> > borogoves..."

> What sort of gibberish is the above?

Deliberate gibberish. And the following line is sarcasm, yes, I got that.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 12/29/97 12:00 AM

In article <34a8a072...@news.wco.com>,

Beth and Richard Treitel <tre...@wco.com> wrote:
>
>"I can't find any science in this fiction!"

My husband the engineer says, Ah, he likes that one.

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Editing in SF--Bad! messe...@hotmail.com 12/30/97 12:00 AM

In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>,
  erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:
>
>
> What? Speculation is wonderful, but when you're trying to communicate
> with me *today* you'd better understand what standard English is.

I do understand where you are coming from. And I do agree.

But the deviant in me has to state the case:

Standard english depends on where you are standing on the globe, and your
age, and the medium of communication. (I don't want to even bring up
culture, and hybrids.)        Certain words in U.K. english are unacceptable as
"standard" everywhere in the globe except in the U.K. (ironic), and in
some areas, speaking them are  liable to get you beat up.

"I luv u" -- obviously mispelled are "standard" in some mediums, as are
the useage of images, empty spaces, and numbers in other mediums: Beepers
come to mind.

"Ain't" was a vilified word some time ago, but you can bet it's going to
be cannonized as "standard english", by the time the next generation
grows up.

A trend you may notice soon  is the use of deliberate mispellings  in
advertising to attract your attention.        I am just pointing out the
obvious. In this speedy world, they got 3 seconds to attract your eye,
and if        that works, they will use it.

With regards to your sign, I dunno.


>
> I say "understand", not "follow". They may have been deliberately
> nonstandard for some reason. But that reason was not communicated to me. I
> didn't get it. I assumed (and still do) that they made a stupid mistake.
> That's what they communicated to me.

Hm.. you are probably right. I can't argue with, what  I didn't see.


-----
Siya around.

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Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language ... Captain Button 12/30/97 12:00 AM

Nova Express <Nova...@webtv.net> wrote:

[ snip ]

> Then there are the people who will change a word until they get
> something that works, rather than find out if it might just be a word
> that's not in the memory of the damned machine. Divining boards become
> diving boards (this showed up in the title of a book in my employment
> record) at the whim or fancy of some clerk-typist. Has everyone lost
> their senses?

A recent Berserker novel by Fred Saberhagen (maybe Berserker: Blue Death,
the Moby Dick-like one anyway) suffered from this, I think.

Ships would use their superluminal drives to go FTL, and their
subluminal drive to go STL, but on occasion also used their
"subliminal" drives, despite not having AIs running them.

There's a good joke in there somewhere, but I haven't hit it yet...

--
"As the _Dying Swan _ spurted from the momship's belly, worldkiller
starbombs gestating beneath savage winglets, to featherfall upon the
somnolent globe, Li-Hon Auletek, the Living Buddha of the Universal
Pacifist Church, parted his lips in a wolverinesque sneer. "
My 1997 losing Bulwer-Lytton entry.   Captain Button - but...@io.com

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language ... Beth and Richard Treitel 12/31/97 12:00 AM

>> Then there are the people who will change a word until they get
>> something that works, rather than find out if it might just be a word
>> that's not in the memory of the damned machine.

This is perfectly rational behaviour for those who are unfortunate
enough to have been deprived of an education, and who don't realise that
the people who wrote the <deleted> spelling checker were likewise
deprived but managed to conceal the fact just long enough.

-- Richard
------
A sufficiently incompetent ScF author is indistinguishable from magic.
What is (and isn't) ScF?   ==>  http://www.wco.com/~treitel/sf.html

Mail from hotmail.com is ignored due to spamming.
I use PGP 2.6.2.

Editing in SF--Bad! Dorothy J Heydt 1/1/98 12:00 AM

In article <34a53a2f...@nntp.ix.netcom.com>,

Jay Shorten <jsho...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>
>I think the proper classical Greek plural would be "alphai", though
>I'm sure if you put this in your writing heads would roll.

Uh, no, in fact, I looked this up in Liddell and Scott and had my
suspicions confirmed.  The names of the letters are all
indeclinable, which means the plural of "alpha" is "alpha."

But since this is English, we could take as model e.g. these
lines of Edna St. Vincent Millay:

Remembered morning stars, more fiercely bright
Than all the Alphas of the actual night!

Dorothy J. Heydt
Albany, California
djh...@uclink.berkeley.edu
(My account might go away at any moment; if I disappear, I haven't died.)

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language ... Plain and Simple Cronan 1/2/98 12:00 AM

John F. Eldredge wrote:

> I have started wondering if advertising agencies have a policy of
> avoiding the word "other".  For example, you hear "This widget
> outsells all of the widgets in its class" much more often than "This
> widget outsells all of the other widgets in its class".  Logically
> speaking, the first statement means that this widget outsells itself.

Okay. You are confused. Logic and advertising are so completely opposite
that should one happen upon the other a bloody war will ensue killing
all of mankind.

P&SC
Trust me

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language ... John F. Eldredge 1/3/98 12:00 AM

Nova...@webtv.net (Nova Express) wrote:

>As for the media standardizing English, unfortunately, it seems to be
>standardizing an incorrect form as often as a correct one. Take, for
>example, sentences along the lines of "There is apples on the table."
>This has become almost de rigueur in recent months, and it is plainly
>wrong.

I have started wondering if advertising agencies have a policy of


avoiding the word "other".  For example, you hear "This widget
outsells all of the widgets in its class" much more often than "This
widget outsells all of the other widgets in its class".  Logically
speaking, the first statement means that this widget outsells itself.
--
John F. Eldredge -- eldr...@poboxes.com
PGP key available from http://www.netforward.com/poboxes/?eldredge/
--
"There must be, not a balance of power, but a community of power;
not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace." - Woodrow Wilson

Spell Checking and the standardization of the English language ... M D Malthouse 1/3/98 12:00 AM

In article <34ad9b58....@news.earthlink.net>, eldr...@poboxes.com
(John F. Eldredge) wrote:

}  Nova...@webtv.net (Nova Express) wrote:
}  
}  >As for the media standardizing English, unfortunately, it seems to be
}  >standardizing an incorrect form as often as a correct one. Take, for
}  >example, sentences along the lines of "There is apples on the table."
}  >This has become almost de rigueur in recent months, and it is plainly
}  >wrong.
}  
}  I have started wondering if advertising agencies have a policy of
}  avoiding the word "other".  For example, you hear "This widget
}  outsells all of the widgets in its class" much more often than "This
}  widget outsells all of the other widgets in its class".  Logically
}  speaking, the first statement means that this widget outsells itself.

Try BBC news reporters that don't know the difference between 'fewer' and
'less'.  <Gggrrr!>

Matthew
--
Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto.
mailto:matthew....@guardian.co.uk  [work]
http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/6630/
The opinions expressed are not those of the Guardian Media Group

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