I’ve recently been eating my way through every one of Terry Pratchett’s amazing Discworld novels – and by recently, I mean since last June; Discworld books are the sort of thing which you feel guilty for speed-reading. Unsurprisingly, I have not been disappointed with the brilliant wit, irony and sarcasm Pratchett uses – I’m absolutely loving every word.

As such, you can imagine that when I saw this, while sitting in a corridor reading Interesting Times, my first thought was not “printing error”… but “Holy crap, Terry Pratchett is fantastic!”

You see, on page 47, Pratchett is describing the exceedingly eccentric workings of an ant-powered computer, built by a group of exceedingly neurotic wizards. The ants are aided by a mouse, thus when, as is inevitable, the whole thing breaks, it throws up this error message:

Don't mention it. ++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start.

Don't mention it. ++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start.

It feels like a setup for what is to come. I did spend several minutes wondering whether it might be deliberate. It was certainly… not hilarious; but just perfect. In the same way that any person with a sense of humour will, upon first realising that the acronym for the British teachers’ trade union is “NUT”, sit in awed silence for a moment at the perfect aptitude of this beautiful coincidence; I was sitting there gaping, turning the pages, and thinking “But… it… what…” for quite some time.

You see, in what I consider to be a very good argument in favour of using robotics to do hard labour, it just so happened that the next section of the book was in fact the wrong section; but at the same time, so very much the right section.

image5

Yup, back to page 1. Redo from start.
I want Terry Pratchett’s babies anyway; but if this had been deliberate, I might have even wanted them not for BBQing!

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