I recently finished reading a recent release of a major SF author. In the book I noticed a major physical production flaw which I think would make an interesting question.

The flaw is of a nature that makes it unlikely to be a one-off, more likely through the entire print run.

It has only passingly to do with the story itself, but people might be interested in it in the same way numismatists get excited over mis-struck coins. (I can provide the specific details in an actual question; but there's no point in asking it if it's going to be VTC'ed).

And IMO the FAQ (or rather the tour which is all you ever get anymore) is depressingly vague on the subject.

So, do such questions have a place on SF&F SE?

Update, 11/21:

Since the responses have convinced me the flaw in my book isn't really for the main site, I 'll spill the beans:

My trade paperback copy of Neal Stephenson's Seveneves has a single color plate at the beginning of Part III.

On one side

the plate shows an annotated diagram of the Habitat Ring, and on the other is an illustration of the Eye.

But the problem is,

the plate was put in the book upside down. The way these books are put together, there is no chance that this is the only copy with this problem. It's likely to exist in at least half, or even all, the copies in that print run.


But yeah. All part of the letdown.

  • Is this flaw unique to your copy, or present in all of them? Is this something like misglued binding, or what?
    – Adamant
    Nov 11, 2016 at 5:42
  • 1
    I’m also a bit puzzled as to how there can be a question here. If your book has some physical abnormality with no real relation to the story, what would you be asking us? If it’s just something that you think might be interesting, it’s probably not a good fit for the Q&A format to begin with, but might be something that someone might find worth discussing in Science Fiction & Fantasy Chat.
    – Adamant
    Nov 11, 2016 at 5:52
  • What exactly is this flaw? Would you perhaps like to add the brief idea to your question so that situation becomes more clear?
    – Aegon
    Nov 11, 2016 at 6:00
  • @Adamant added a sentence to answer that.
    – Spencer
    Nov 11, 2016 at 6:28
  • @Adamant As for what the question might be, perhaps it wasn't actually a mistake ( but more likely it was).
    – Spencer
    Nov 11, 2016 at 6:33
  • @Aegon, well I'll give a hint: There was once a commercial involving the Kansas City Cheifs end zone.
    – Spencer
    Nov 11, 2016 at 6:35
  • There are stacks for writers and graphic design, but I don't see anything directly relevant for what I think you found. If it is an error in fact, then wouldn't it belong in a fact checker stack, or possibly an editor or copy editor stack? If it is a physical problem, then it might belong in a print production stack. I might join those imaginary stacks, but I probably wouldn't create them. Now if it confused or distracted a reasonable number of readers or if it created contradictory text, that might be on-topic. Nov 20, 2016 at 8:33

2 Answers 2


A specific on-topic reason is:

Behind-the-scenes and fandom information

If this relates to either of those in a clear way, then it should be on topic.

For the record, we already have several questions that compare differences in book editions. Asking about a fandom response or interpretation of a specific edition should be on-topic. Without further context, it's hard to give specific guidance on how to formulate the question.

Here's some related questions:

  • Valorum had a good answer, but you did some research. Thanks.
    – Spencer
    Nov 12, 2016 at 22:58

You could probably cast it as an on-topic question, but with difficulty

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you have an early edition of Harry Potter where the word "wand" was inadvertently mistyped as "wang". You'd end up with quotes like the one below.

Harry took the wang. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wang above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls

Although it's interesting (which is always a very good start when asking a question of dubious topicality) , I'm struggling to see how you'd frame it as a on-topic question other than

"Was this deliberate?"

to which the answer would be

"Of course not, what are you, an idiot?".

That being said, we've already had at least one question that was about a book publishing error, and that was well received by the community.

What are these nonsense paragraphs in Stephen Baxter's Weaver?

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