SFX’s colum­nists talk er­rors, Doc­tor Strange and grue­some­ness.

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“The Bal­ti­more city pa­per clearly had a storm of geek


Re­port­ing the lamented death of David Bowie, chameleon of pop and Man Who Fell To Earth, a flus­tered Heart FM Ra­dio pre­sen­ter blurted “David Cameron has died” be­fore her hasty re­vi­sion “David Bowie, I mean David Bowie.” It would be very wrong to think SF fans’ hearts lifted a lit­tle be­fore they sank with the cor­rec­tion. News­pa­per corrections some­times have genre rel­e­vance. Guardian ex­am­ples in­clude Tin­tagel’s “tav­ern tra­di­tion­ally known as Mer­lin’s Cave”, sadly cor­rected to “cav­ern”, and ad­vice to em­pha­sise text in email by sur­round­ing it with As­ter­ixes. Cor­rec­tion: “As­terix is a car­toon char­ac­ter cre­ated by René Goscinny and Al­bert Uderzo. The de­vice re­ferred to is an as­ter­isk…”

At the end of 2015, a Pasadena Star- News round- up col­lected some SF/ fan­tasy gems: The New York Times on the au­thor of Char­lotte’s Web and Stu­art Lit­tle: “Cor­rec­tion: An ear­lier ver­sion of this ar­ti­cle misiden­ti­fied the num­ber of years EB White wrote for The New Yorker. It was five decades, not cen­turies.”

The Brighton Ar­gus on fu­tur­ol­ogy: “The Ar­gus would like to apol­o­gise for sug­gest­ing that the di­rec­tor of the Brighton Sci­ence Fes­ti­val be­lieves the ‘ 21st cen­tury will be re­mem­bered for a ter­ri­ble war be­tween mankind and goats.’”

Alas, the best Star- News dis­cov­ery came from a satire site and brought a grumpy com­plaint from its claimed source The Prague Post. “Last week’s col­umn mis­tak­enly misiden­ti­fied a source. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent is Ro­mano Prodi, not Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Def­i­nitely too good to check.

The on­line Bal­ti­more City Pa­per, re­port­ing on a comics- themed cafe called Bamf af­ter an X- Men sound ef­fect, clearly had a storm of geek com­plaints... “Cor­rec­tion: An ear­lier ver­sion of this post stated that Nightcrawler says ‘ Bamf ’ when he tele­ports. It is the sound that hap­pens when he tele­ports.”

Wall Street Jour­nal: “The Mino­taur is a mon­ster in Greek mythol­ogy that is part bull, part hu­man. A travel ar­ti­cle in Satur­day’s Off Duty sec­tion mis­tak­enly called it a one- eyed mon­ster.” That would be a Cy­clop­so­taur.

Slate: “In a March 2 ‘ Fu­ture Tense’ blog post, Torie Bosch mis­spelled the sci­ence fic­tion award won by writer Bruce Ster­ling. It is of course the Hugo Award, not the Huge Award.”

The In­de­pen­dent’s Mini- Me pa­per i is flaky at as­tron­omy: “In yes­ter­day’s re­port ‘ Coper­ni­cus and Galileo: now stars in their own right’, we said Coper­ni­cus had demon­strated that the Sun goes round the Earth. It has been pointed out to us that this is wrong and, in fact, the Earth goes round the Sun. We are sorry for the mis­take.” No­body ex­pects the Span­ish In­qui­si­tion!

The Sun: “In an ar­ti­cle on Satur­day head­lined ‘ Fly­ing saucers over Bri­tish Scien­tol­ogy HQ’, we stated ‘ two flat sil­ver discs’ were seen ‘ above the Church of Scien­tol­ogy HQ’. Fol­low­ing a let­ter from lawyers for the Church, we apol­o­gise to any alien life­forms for link­ing them to Scien­tol­o­gists.”

And a mil­lion ne­ti­zens who shared Si­mon Pegg’s al­leged tweet – “If you’re sad to­day, just re­mem­ber the world is over 4 bil­lion years old and you some­how man­aged to ex­ist at the same time as David Bowie” – need to know it’s not by Pegg and wasn’t orig­i­nally about Bowie. Good line, though.

David Lang­ford re­grets that in his col­umn on Shapeshifters, this word ap­peared with the F miss­ing through­out.

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