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September 12, 2011

Fecal necessities
Posted by Avram Grumer at 10:19 PM *

Via a comment in Seanan McGuire’s LJ, I see that romance author Susan Andersen has discovered a typo in the digital version of one of her books:

He stiffened for a moment but then she felt his muscles loosen as he shitted on the ground.

Shifted — he SHIFTED! God, I am so appalled, not to mention horrified that anyone would think that’s what I wrote.

When Chris read this to me, I had to wonder:

Me: Do you think she’s horrified that people would think she wrote that her character took a dump, or that they’d think she wrote shitted instead of shat?
Chris: She’s a romance novelist. They generally don’t work blue.

We were both reminded of a (possibly apocryphal) story from decades back (which I think I first encountered on GEnie’s SFRT), in which a romance author not only named her hunky male sex object Drek, but opened her book with “Drek was hard and brown from long hours in the sun.”

Comments on Fecal necessities:
#1 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2011, 10:35 PM:

That's ... a different sort of romance...

#2 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2011, 10:37 PM:

Another Game of Throne?

#3 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2011, 11:24 PM:

"They started out as enemas... then things changed!"

#4 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2011, 11:26 PM:

The anecdote about "Drek" was from Florence King. If you need attribution.

#5 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2011, 11:36 PM:

Winnie-The-Poo?

#6 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2011, 11:38 PM:

WWAAAAAIGH

#7 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2011, 11:54 PM:

And then there's the sex scene from A Feast for Crows that contains the line, "For a moment she let herself imagine that her fingers were a bore's tusks, ripping the Myrish woman apart from groin to throat." I dunno if the typo was fixed in later print editions, but it's still the same in the Kindle version.

IIRC there's also a line somewhere in the first four books about pillaging the countryside by "burning their houses and raping their windows".

#8 ::: Michael Carmody ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 02:58 AM:

I believe that is technically a typoo

#9 ::: Jurie ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 03:51 AM:

#7 Julie L., please help me. Where's the typo in that line? I just don't see it.

#10 ::: Dave Luckett sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 04:34 AM:

Boar, the wild pig that has tusks, is spelled that way. Bore, the person whose conversation is like a drill, is the other one.

(English is a crazy language: "drills are boring"!)

#11 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 05:43 AM:

I Wittered on about some issues with pirated e-books and the shortcomings of their proofreading here.

TL,DR: Throughout this copy of the Amber books, every rendition of the word "Trump" has a 50% chance of being rendered as "Tramp". Which, in a book where people stare at trumps, draw trumps at random, throw trumps to people falling off cliffs...

#12 ::: spam sees Dave Luckett at #10 ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 06:27 AM:

Ahem.

3:O)>

#13 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 06:36 AM:

HLN: Local man forgets he is holding a mug of coffee and laughs hard enough to spill said coffee on his lap.

#14 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 08:05 AM:

I am reminded of the minor writer of the 1930s, whose name I forget, who wrote such lines as 'my fairy muff is made of pussy-willow'. In complete innocence, but much to the amusement of W.H. Auden.

#15 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 08:37 AM:

"Rectum? Darned near killed 'um!"

#16 ::: DawnOfMinstrel ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 10:58 AM:

Fragano (if that is your REAL name)@14: Rose Fylemann. Her "Fairly Flute" (which sounds dirtier than it really is) is available at the Archive.

#17 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 11:34 AM:

Not as blue as that, but I recently had to put down an e-book of the Arabian Nights, because some joker with a spell checker changed "genie" to "genius" throughout.

#18 ::: Lars ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 11:36 AM:

My late mother was in an amateur dramatic performance in Glasgow in the late forties. The leading man turned up drunk, and had to be led through the entire performance by the rest of the cast. At the climax, a shot was heard off; the lead then appeared at the door to the set, announced loudly and with great gravity (to a working class Glasgow audience) "He's shit himself!", and thereby closed the production down for the night.

#19 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 12:47 PM:

Possibly Rose Fylemann's most famous work is the one beginning "There are fairies at the bottom of my garden", which was later set to music. Noel Coward is reported to have said that he liked the song but never dared sing it in performance in case his subconscious betrayed him and it came out as "There are fairies in the garden of my bottom".

#20 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 12:58 PM:

giltay: Are you sure that is an error? 'Genius' can mean something like 'elemental spirit', and one would expect a spellchecker to recognise 'genie'.

#21 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 02:08 PM:

Dave@10,
"Bore, the person whose conversation is like a drill"

That does actually seem to be the origin of "bore" as in "boredom" rather than "drilling" (going by the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue", which even reports it as a fad in decline).

#22 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 02:55 PM:

Andrew M @20: an interesting theory, but probably only if it's an older translation. Discarding translations from latin or texts about Romans (which are likely influenced by the latin word from which the English word developed), the OED doesn't have a citation of 'genius' in the singular with this meaning since 1863. As most of the popular translations are more recent than this, I'd imagine they'd be included if they used the word.

#23 ::: giltay ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 03:32 PM:

Andrew M@20: That seems to be actually it. I blame a course conflict that kept me from taking Latin in high school.

Jules@22: I think I grabbed Andrew Lang's 1909 translation, which uses genius and genii copiously.

#24 ::: Michael Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 04:09 PM:

At: #14 ::: Fragano Ledgister -- The author in question was Rose Fyleman (1877 – 1957)

She is quoted/referenced in The Game of Words by William Espy.

#25 ::: AlyxL ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 04:51 PM:

This reminded me of the not exactly appetizing cookbook Cooking with Pooh.

#26 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 05:19 PM:

AlyxL @ #25

Is it full of crap recipes?

ITWSBT

#27 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 05:55 PM:

People who Cook with Pooh also bought My Big Sister Takes Drugs and I Wish Daddy Didn't Drink So Much.

Must be some kind of dysfunctional-family self-esteem thing.

#28 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 06:19 PM:

I once wrote a (very bad) poem in which the fairies at the bottom of the garden did Yeatsian things like holding up their pearl-pale hands and gazing at the grey sea.

#29 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 07:30 PM:

People who bought My Big Sister Takes Drugs also bought The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside.

Which I suppose is a reasonable thing, under the circumstances.

#30 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 10:26 PM:

'Mister Pooh' was Myrna Loy's nickname for her frequent co-star, William Powell.

#31 ::: heckblazer ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2011, 10:33 PM:

Huh, and I would've just assumed Ms. Anderson was writing for the German market...

#32 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2011, 04:22 AM:

This entry gives a whole new dimension to the phrase 'web log'.

#33 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2011, 07:51 AM:

Alex R @ #3

It was a bit of a washout according to some reviews.

#34 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2011, 01:30 PM:

DawnOfMinstrel #16/Michael Walsh #24: Thanks.

DawnOfMinstrel: "Fragano Ledgister", together with a couple of middle names, is the name on my birth certificate, my passport, my baptismal record, and a number of other identifying documents. I therefore have assumed for many years that it is my real name. Especially since it is the one that my father gave me.

#35 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2011, 02:36 PM:

Heckblzer @31: Huh, and I would've just assumed Ms. Anderson was writing for the German market...

"...Now that his bowels were empty, he must have been pretty hungry, and what better for that than a nourishing bowl of soup?"

#36 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2011, 06:56 PM:

Real problem reported by ESL students at my university (when I was in university): "I have no problem with consonants, but my bowels give me a lot of trouble."

#37 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2011, 09:21 PM:

Long years gone, I was employed in assisting a Latin American diplomat improve his English. He read from the textbook we were using the phrase 'a shit of paper'. Upon noticing my smile, he asked what he had said wrong. I explained that the word in question should be pronounced 'sheet' and demonstrated the pronunciation of the long e sound a few times. I further explained that the English word 'shit' meant the same as the Spanish word 'mierda'.

#38 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2011, 09:50 PM:

I just remembered the time when I was working at the Chinese company and one of my coworkers was talking about a missile the Chinese military was working on. He said that the name of the missile was translated into English as "Yellow Fish," but the name in Chinese was actually "Yellow Rain," and he didn't understand why they mistranslated it that way...

#39 ::: Dan S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2011, 11:04 PM:

And then of course we have C.S. Lewis' novel Till We Have Faeces...

#40 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2011, 11:34 PM:

Is a fecadillo when your faux pas almost stepped in it?

#41 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 12:35 AM:

Brenda Kait: We have long assumed that there is a particular sound associated with the Great Vowel Shift. It is done by starting with the initial sound of the vowels and drawing it out into the new sounds for each vowel.

Done correctly, it sounds an awful lot like you'd expect it would.

#42 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 02:08 PM:

The only funny bit of Jonathan Coe's "What A Carve Up" is the narrator's distress when he writes a book review accusing the book's author of having taken on a more ambitious goal than his natural writing talent and verve will allow him to achieve, and the concluding words are misprinted as "...but he lacks the necessary biro".

#43 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:51 PM:

The Jamaican newspaper I used to work for, The Daily Gleaner could produce the telling typo or badly thought-out headline. The classic, repeated to me several times, was a header produced during the war, it read "Russians' push bottles up 10,000 Germans". Personally supervised by Stalin, I presume.

During my time there, I came in one morning opened up the paper and discovered that the Minister of Local Government had announced that garbage collection in Kingston would henceforth be "on a two-shit system". Presumably one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

#44 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 03:52 PM:

Ajay #42: A pencil is just not stylish enough?

#45 ::: Merav ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 04:15 PM:

I remember back in 1998 or so when I was working at Tor and we got a letter regarding Robert Sheckley's Godshome, which had recently come out in hardback. In the text of the letter, the author asked something along the lines of "Are you trying to imply that all the gods are fat?"

Mystified, Teresa and I picked up a copy of Godshome and discovered that somehow not one, but every iteration of the word deity had been rendered as 'diety' probably because someone had used the 'add to dictionary' function at some point, or had honestly not noticed the swap of the two vowels.

At least with eBooks corrections and addenda don't have to wait for paperback.

My sympathies to the author. That's up there with the unfortunate Robert Jordan 'Rand secreted himself into the bushes' issue which made me say, upon reading it "Oh, well, that's why they never take time off to go to the bathroom in quest novels."

#46 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2011, 06:09 PM:

B. Durbin #41: ??? Are you talking about the one in the 18th century or so? Aside from being out of left field, I didn't know we actually knew what the old sounds were!

#47 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:14 AM:

At one point in our previous mayor's curtailed term, a local weekly had the front page headline "Mayor, Council Butt Heads". Well, yes.

#48 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 03:45 AM:

Anne Sheller @47:
That's not a typo, though, just an ambiguous statement. And if your local paper is like the ones I'm familiar with, the ambiguity was probably deliberate.

#49 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 05:13 AM:

Pete Darby @ 11:

"no-one has seen fit to check the text to re-move the hyphens for line breaks which no long-er occur at the end of the line"

Indeed. That's a gorgeous post there. Pirated ebooks sure tend toward peculiar renderings of words, probably due to OCR mishaps. I've seen proper nouns end up particularly ill-affected, even moreso made-up proper nouns. I's get l'd, h's get n'd, and rn gets m'd a lot, or vice versa, and sometimes entire words are turned into entire other words, much akin to Damn You Autocorrect. It's pretty amusing and can make me giggle pretty hard if I'm sleep-depped. I've even seen page numbers run into words which then were turned into other words by the interpretation program.

(And yes, fellow writers, I do buy books properly, and wouldn't dream of not. I sometimes accept illicit copies of stuff I already own and don't wish to lug around on my aching back.)

#50 ::: ellid ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2011, 11:44 PM:

And there there was the immortal Pedro Carolino....

#51 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2011, 01:22 AM:

geekosaur @48 - Yep. I don't know whether the headline writer snuck it past the editor or they were both in on it. Still was hilarious, even though not a typo.

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