Sunday, September 29, 2013


"An annular eclipse means that the Moon and Sun are in perfect alignment, but the Sun is not totally blotted out because the Moon is a little too close to the Earth..." --The Choice, by Mike Bara, p.214

        Mike Bara the pseudo-author recently wrote that that passage was a "typo."

        The expression typographical error is misused so often these days that there's probably no hope of ever retrieving its real meaning. A true typographical error belongs to a bygone age when typographers used linotype machines to set hot metal in forms for printing. In other words, some person other than the author or the editor had to repeat the keyboard work the author had already invested, in creating the manuscript. Obviously this process was not error-free, and so mistakes could creep into the press form that were truly not the responsibility of the author or the editor. For book printing, galleys were provided for the editor and author to check, but always under pressure of time. Journalists would not generally even see galleys, such was the pace (and still is) of the daily newspaper grind.

        These days there is no such process as re-keying of book or newspaper text. Once the author has composed his or her thoughts into a text file, it simply flows from one computer to another until it ends on the printed form. There is no possible way in which an author could write "far from" and the text could somehow come out as "close to."

        So when Bara the incompetent author says that passage on p. 214 was a "typo," he really means it was an "error." HIS error. At least he admitted it, in a cack-handed way.

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