Lynx, Destroyer of Worlds (with Science!) (lynxreign) wrote,
Lynx, Destroyer of Worlds (with Science!)
lynxreign

DAW Publishing and bad editing

I'm used to seeing typos in books, it happens and not everyone can catch everything every time. Usually it is a similar word substituted for the proper one because someone is checking the spelling out of context. This happened even before spell-checkers, but seems more frequent in more recent books. Much of the time if you read a fragment of the sentence it looks like it might be ok, though it isn't once you read the full sentence. I do not expect truly egregious examples to find their way into print with major publishers, but that is what I've just discovered.

I just finished reading The Frost Haired Vixen by John Zakour. It is an SF/Mystery/Detective series that attempts to be SF tales in the style of old Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett novels. The first three books of the series The Plutonium Blonde, The Doomsday Brunette and The Radioactive Red Head were co-written by Larry Ganem and were amusing enough, if not quite in the style they were striving for. The fourth book mentioned above was only by John Zakour and he was just trying far too hard. It isn't as good as the first three and while still mildly entertaining, was disappointing. Had I known his resume included ghost writing for Mother Goose and Grimmy, Bound and Gagged, Dennis the Menace, and Marmaduke I don't know that I'd have tried the books in the first place, so I'm glad I didn't know.

However, this post is more about a failing of his publisher DAW. DAW has been around for almost 40 years as a science fiction publisher. It was founded by the editor Donald A. Wollheim, and brags on its website that it was the first publisher dedicated to SF and Fantasy. It has since been acquired by Penguin Books and they too are supposed to be known for high quality.

There was a typo early in the book like the ones I mentioned in the first paragraph. This isn't a big deal, it happens, though I do wish one of the various levels of editors would find these things and fix them instead of just doing a spell check. Unfortunately, there was a much worse typo later in the book. I don't know if the author did this or if an editor with a spell checker clicked on the wrong option, but it really annoyed me. It was during the final confrontation with the villain and as she attempts to make her escape, the book reads: "She ran threw the door." I had to go back and re-read it. There was quite a bit of destruction and mayhem at this point in the book, perhaps someone threw the door at someone else. Several characters have highly augmented strength, it wouldn't be out of place, but no, she "ran threw the door." I have trouble even typing it wrong in that way. It is "through" the door. While "threw" and "through" sound alike, the don't look alike at all! How could they make that error?

This is beneath the standards I have for publishing companies. In someone's blog? Maybe. In a newspaper article, perhaps, but it should still be caught. In a Right Wing book like something by Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh? They don't really have brains, so I'd expect it there, not that I'd ever read one of those vile things. In a Science Fiction novel, even a light, humorous one? It simply shouldn't happen. It may seem a trifling error, but it has lowered my opinion of DAW.

I'd also like to mention that their web site is pretty bad. The "Contact Us" link on the first page leads you to a page about one of their books, there's no actual generic contact information other than a 212 area code phone number, the layout is poor and their links do not all lead to the same destinations. Various "author web sites" links, for example, lead to different destinations, some of which have nothing to do with author web sites.
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  • 11 comments

  • Smell Test

    Whenever you're trying to determine mathamatically how delicious or disgusting something is, always remember to divide by how it smells. Scientists…

  • Outside is Strange

    I went outside a few minutes ago and walked across Copley Square for a snack. I then walked back to the Hancock Tower where I work. When I got back…

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