Yesterday I finished "Foundation & Empire", by Isaac Asimov (which is, incidentally, a very good book).
With one third of the book to go, I acidentally read one of the sentences on the back cover, advertising the book (my eyes caught a glampse of it and my brain parsed it too fast for me to do anything about it).
In the remaining lines of this entry, I shall ramble about the stupid idea that some publishers have of putting spoilers in the back of books. I will also explain how particullarly stupid this one was.
If you haven't read "Foundation & Empire" yet, please ignore the rest of this entry, proceed to your local bookstore and buy the books that comprise the series (I wouldn't call it the best series in the world, but it's really really good).
Yes, that means you. GO NOW.
And now for the spoiler.
The sentence I caught was "FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE is the story of first contact between the two Foundations of Hari Seldon."
First, the fact that I kept waiting for the contact through the rest of the book.
Secondly, the fact that it never happened.
That's right, the book ends without anyone (left alive) even knowing where the Second Foundation is located. Yep, no contact.
So aside from being a spoiler, it's a stupid one.
But wait, there is more.
After finishing the book, I read the whole text in the back of the book.
As it turns out, there are also some real spoilers there.
They speak of The Mule, "a mutant of uncanny power and unlimited ambition. The Mule's conquests are effortless and his subjects min-controlled slaves."
Was that supposed to convince people to buy the book and read the story, or was it just meant as a resume of what goes on in the middle third of the book so that people can jump through it?
And it goes on, explaining that The Mule attacks The Foundation, which is powerless against it. And it even says that "two men and a woman [...] flee [...] in an effort to discover where the mysterious Second Foundation was established. [...] But The Mule [...] is also looking for the Second Foundation."
Did you get it? "Two men and a woman"... and "The Mule [...] is also looking"...
If you've read the book, you know the quest for the Second Foundation was undertaken by *three* man and a woman!
Need I say more?
...and I'll try to keep away from their books, too.
(Boy, am I glad I didn't read the whole thing before reading the book...)