Monday, 24 May 2010

Subterranean City new Edition

The new edition of Subterranean City finally went to the printers (in China) at the end of last week. It will probably be out before the end of July.

Much time has been spent in recent weeks proof-reading and making last minute corrections, such as checking the opening date for the core section of the newly extended East London line and going for a quick trial journey one night after work. I know that, despite really intensive efforts this time to eliminate typos, the first page of the author's copy that I open will have some glaring error staring up at me. There has been an interesting correspondence recently in the TLS about typos and other errors in published books with the majority of opinion agreeing that it is the responsibility of the author to check everything up to the last minute. While I agree with this I'm sure I cannot be alone in having experienced a number of frustrating incidents where text has been 'corrected' which didn't in fact need to be changed and has ended up inaccurate; it is not always possible to keep up with material that you assume is already fine as you concentrate on the stuff that seems problematical. I have to say that Historical Publications have been very good in allowing me to check corrections at every step this time so I hope that the text will be readable and free of annoying typos. One of my favourites, not from my own work, referred to someone who worked in the 'rage trade'.

Some books (I could name names, maybe in the future) are so littered with typos that you wonder whether the author had any opportunity to make final checks or whether they couldn't be bothered. An entertaining, if typo-ridden, autobiography of a minor Soho figure informed me that he lived in a squalid flat where the shared 'laboratory' was on a lower floor. If anyone does find some typos or plain wrong information in this new book please don't adopt too much of a gloating tone in your correspondence, like the person who wrote a particularly unpleasant letter about my folklore book - a work that additionally suffered from the appearance of a book on the same subject published by a major publisher in the same month (the author even managed to get on the news, such is the reach of these media conglomerates).

The new edition of Subterranean City is much expanded and substantially rewritten with a large number of new pictures. I''ve already organised a few 'promotional' events (more information to follow) and am thinking of collaborating with some horror writers for a reading/discussion about the fertile subject of the underground (especially the tube) in their work.

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