I'm reading Anathem by Neil Stephenson for probably the hojillionth time. I've lost track. I am just fascinated by this book.
Now that I've read it so many times, I'm starting to track in on some very interesting, possibly accidental, ways that the author built the book.
For instance, where the main character is imagining the sorts of people he would be associating with in a escape group, he goes through three different sets of people. Turns out, members of all three groups and up in his escape group.
Or early in the book where he theorizes that a sentence of chapter 9 would amount to many years in prison, then later turns out that one of his associates had actually been assigned chapter 9 has a sort of punishment.
But the most interesting item that I am keying in on now is more sort of meta-information.
Consider this excerpt from late in the book:
“Good crap would be a beautifully typeset, well-written document that contained a hundred correct, verifiable sentences and one that was subtly false. It’s a lot harder to generate good crap. At first they had to hire humans to churn it out. They mostly did it by taking legitimate documents and inserting errors—swapping one name for another, say.”
Note the last part where he talks about swapping one name for another. Somewhat earlier in the book this comment is made:
"What do you mean?" Yul asked.
Yul is a character in the novel. He is a legitimate member of the protagonist's team at one point. But at the point in the novel where this statement is made, the character of Yul has long since been left by the wayside and is no longer present.
The character who should logically be making this statement is named Jules. So it may simply be a typesetter's error. However, the same error shows up in the e-book version that I also have. It would seem to me that such an error would have had a correction made, particularly in the electronic version of the book.
It's not the only time the error occurs though, as later on the same name is transplanted with another statement:
"Get where?" Yul demanded.
Again, it should've been Jules. I won't go into details of the book, it just strikes me as interesting given some of the themes and particularly the statement about swapping a name later in the book that this error should exist.
The novel is, of course, a work of fiction. Exquisitely written fiction with many internally consistent facts. Therefore, this may be a knowing nod to the fact that the whole book is itself crap. And, naturally, I could be reading way too much into what is just a simple typesetting error.
Then again, perhaps not. And this is just a discovery that the author was waiting for somebody to make. And presumably somebody else has already made it since the book is been out for some time. But I haven't found anything about it. So maybe I am avoiding reinventing the wheel here.