[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
I'm on page 196 of 572 of the Emshwiller book. Clearly I'm in this for the long haul. But as I don't fancy an uninterrupted diet of any author of such long duration, I'm moonlighting with Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black. Mantel's a very descriptive writer, but the description doesn't feel unnecessary or forced. So far, I'm enjoying the book. Although it could do with moving the plot along a bit. Or at all. So far it's all set up.

Yes, I know. No pleasing me.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
And the irritation continues. Typos, misplaced commas and apostrophes, and one very annoyed reader.

I do wonder if some of the stories were scanned in from print copies of the magazines in which they were originally published. Editing and proofreading scanned text is a horrible chore. The mistakes humans make are predictable. You can and do learn what to look for, what to expect. Scanners make some predictable mistakes--for example, rm and rn are very difficult for them--but a lot of the time they just produce random garbage. Making sense of it can be a nightmare. This is why we have proofreading. Also, alcohol.

The stories themselves are a bit slight at times, but it's fun to see Emshwiller's thoughts on how relationships might develop when people have access (at a price) to 'perfect' android wives and husbands. There's one striking story where a human socialised only by robots meets another...although to be honest I'm not quite sure what happens. I don't think it ended well.

What's fascinating however is to have access to an author's body of work, rather than the cherry-picked 'best of'. Really interesting.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
After some days of comfort reading, we're back to the serious stuff: The Collected Stories of Carol Emshwiller, Vol.1, put out by Nonstop Press and edited by...well, who? Because my money's on nobody.

As someone who's edited for Strange Horizons, NFG, GUD and The World SF blog, I know it's hard work and I know only too painfully well that mistakes are made, and you don't notice them until it's too late, and there is much rending and tearing of garments as a result. Also, you will be pilloried by the eagle-eyed portion of the readership, always much more eagle-eyed and vocal than you would wish.

But. Come on. If there's one thing you learn as an editor, it's you can't trust anyone's editing. Not your own, not the author's, and not that of anyone who edited something for publication before you.

In other words, it's not enough to copy&paste a story that's been previously published into your document and trust that whoever edited it did a perfect job. They won't have done. You won't, either, but you can damn well try.

Especially when you have an author who openly admits they can't spell.

Some people, having trained the editorial eye and the editorial brain, then install a convenient Off switch for those moments when they're not actually editing. Either mine never arrived from the factory or it doesn't work; in other words, even when reading for pleasure, the editorial eye and brain are functioning, noticing mistakes, infelicitious phrasings, and pretty much how the story has been written as well as what's been written in the story. If I let it. If there are mistakes to notice. If the story is not, perhaps, sufficiently gripping to lull the editorial aspect to sleep. This is one of those things they don't warn you about when you take up writing, editing, and tearing your hair out.

"Hallow" for "halo". That one's almost funny, except you have to go back and reread it to work out, yeah, must be "halo" that's meant. Then you've lost the thread of the story. Lots and lots of typos. At least one missing or misplaced line. Look, this book costs twenty-five pounds and it's only volume one. That's a lot of my money you're wanting for just a copy&paste job. The stories should have been edited, at the very LEAST they should have been proofread. It's insulting to the author and it's insulting to the reader not to bother.


The Little Dog Laughed

January 2019

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