ISFDB:Help desk/archives/archive 03

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This is an archive page for the Help Desk. Please do not edit the contents. To start a new discussion, please click here.
This archive includes discussions from August - November 2007.

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Expanded archive listing

Arthurian Romances

Any guidelines on this? One of the unknown author publications is a genuinely unknown author late medieval Arthurian romance. My first reaction is to leave it alone, but on checking most early Arthurian material is absent from the database even when the authors are quite well known - Malory, Chretien, von Eschenback, Marie de France, Edmund Spenser - not here at all. Personally I think this is a mistake, particularly since more modern material that is not all that different is included - Tennyson, Steinbeck, Bradley.--MA Lloyd 00:31, 23 Aug 2007 (CDT)

As per ISFDB:Policy, we include:
    • proto-science fiction, including but not limited to:
      • lost world tales
      • fantastic voyages
      • scientific romances
      • pre-historic romances
      • future war stories
      • the older the book, the more likely we are to include it even if it is borderline eligible. This is caused by the fact that there were relatively few Works published prior to 1800 and by the difficulties with distinguishing between speculative and non-speculative fiction (or even fiction and non-fiction) when you are dealing with pre-1800 Works
    • the supernatural (with an inclusionist bias), including but not limited to:
      • supernatural horror
      • ghost stories
      • gothic novels with supernatural elements
      • occult fiction
I think Arthurian romances are clearly included under this definition, we just haven't had a chance to catalog them. Which reminds me that there a decent list Arthurian fiction on the Web, we just need to find it... Ahasuerus 09:59, 23 Aug 2007 (CDT)
Definitely include. Even if some don't include fantastic material (and I think very many of them do) they serve as source material for works that do.--swfritter 11:28, 23 Aug 2007 (CDT)
Include. (Unless "Arthurian Romance" is a Mills and Boon sub-series or suchlike.) If it's more like this pub though, I'll fill in the remaining contents. BLongley 14:27, 23 Aug 2007 (CDT)

Erroneous Entry or Pseudonym?

The ISFDB lists Shepard Mead as a canonical name, with 8 titles under this spelling. Tuck spells his name as (Edward) "Shepherd" Mead, as does the Grolier SF Encyclopedia, and a Conklin review of one of his books. I don't think I want to mess with this, so if anyone else wants it?--Rkihara 12:48, 29 Aug 2007 (CDT)

Tuck is right, along with WorldCat and several more sources. I'll take a whack at cleaning it up. Mhhutchins 13:16, 29 Aug 2007 (CDT)
It was actually quite simple. After determing that all of the records should have been "Shepherd", I just did an author update which changed all of the records to the correct name. Mhhutchins 13:20, 29 Aug 2007 (CDT)

Blank pages when switching from ISFDB pages to the Wiki pages

For the past day or so, when I want to pose a question or comment to an editor from the Moderator submission page, the link from the editor's name leads me to a blank page. I have to go the Wiki window (which I always keep open) to access the editor's talk page. Also, whenever I edit a talk page, it returns a blank page. The only way to know that the talk page was changed is to use the browser's back page button. I use Firefox as a browser. Is anyone else having the same issues? Thanks. Mhhutchins 15:41, 30 Aug 2007 (CDT)

I've been having this problem for a couple of days. See comments on the Community Portal [1]. It looks like its screwed up at TAMU's end.Kraang 17:12, 30 Aug 2007 (CDT)

Cloning Nongenre Collections

I'm in the process of cleaning out the NONGENRE books by Harlan Ellison, and came upon an unexpected cul-de-sac. When a collection's type is NONGENRE it loses its parent title, making it unclonable. For instance, I want to clone the contents of The Juvies for the 2004 reprint as Children of the Streets (which is incorrectly listed as a 1961 title), but because I had changed The Juvies type to NONGENRE, I'm not allowed to clone it. Are there any plans to fix this, or should I give up and move Ellison's nongenre collections by the the spec-fic listing? After all, nongenre titles can be novels, anthologies and collections. Mhhutchins 17:46, 31 Aug 2007 (CDT)

Same problem with NONGENRE series. They don't list as a series. I classified Evelyn E. Smith's Mrs. Melville books as NOVEL in the Miss Melville Mystery series which clearly defines it as non-sf and displays the books as a series. For a single book I suppose you could temporarily change the clone source to COLLECTION, clone it, and change them both to NONGENRE. This question has Rules and Standards implications.--swfritter 07:44, 1 Sep 2007 (CDT)
The cloning restrictions are generally too restrictive, I feel. I have (a few, admittedly) British magazine reprints of US editions that would be easy to create if I could clone the US editions - but you can't clone a magazine. I'm not too worried about those - I like the FIRST edition of any work anywhere to have an entry for such, but the reprints aren't so important to me. I'm not sure if not being able to clone British magazines to US entries is important to anyone else? BLongley 20:52, 1 Sep 2007 (CDT)
But back to the original situation - I have several Nongenre Ellison's too, I just don't like Ellison much. And if we can exclude "Glass Teat" stuff on policy grounds, for instance, then I can happily ignore similar "Clive James" stuff that WOULD be included. BLongley 20:52, 1 Sep 2007 (CDT)
I think Ellison meets the "certain threshhold" standard mentioned on the Policy page.--swfritter 21:18, 1 Sep 2007 (CDT)

Trouble adding a Note to a title

I tried three times to add the following note to this title
"The second half of the serial "The Hand of Zei", originally published in Astounding in 1950/1951. The first half was published as The Search for Zei (Avalon, 1962). Later recombined by Owlswick (1982) and subsequent publications."
Each time I approved the submission but it still hasn't appeared on the title page. What gives? Mhhutchins 11:37, 9 Sep 2007 (CDT)

I waited a couple of hours and tried again. Still not working. This has me baffled. Anyone care to give it a try? Mhhutchins 16:14, 9 Sep 2007 (CDT)
I tried a few times. It's nothing to do with the text you submitted, I'm sure - we CAN break submissions with some characters that break the XML formatting, but that wasn't the case here. The only oddity I notice is that we have a Novel and a Collection in the same series with the same name. This might be something to test, I just don't like testing with real data: and someone that actually knows how to read the code should be able to answer more definitively. (I have not, yet, looked at the ISFDB code.) BLongley 16:30, 9 Sep 2007 (CDT)
It definitely looks like something is wrong with this Title record. I will take a look at the underlying MySQL data (in the latest backup) tomorrow. Ahasuerus 00:23, 10 Sep 2007 (CDT)
This Title record as stored in the August 11 backup file points to the following "Note" record:
Expansion of magazine serial "The Hand of Zei". Book version of "The Hand of Zei" is the first half, "The Search for Zei" is the second half. One has to wonder why Ace thought it should be published as a 'Double'.
When I pull up the record in Python using MySQLdb, I get the following version of the text:
>>> import MySQLdb
>>> db = MySQLdb.connect('localhost', user, password, 'ISFDB')
>>> query = "select * from notes where note_id=9055;"
>>> db.query(query)
>>> result = db.store_result()
>>> note = result.fetch_row()
>>> print note
((9055L, 'Expansion of magazine serial "The Hand of Zei". Book version of "The Hand of Zei" is the first half, "The Search for Zei" is the second half. One has to wonder why Ace thought it should be published as a \'Double\'.'),)
The text looks reasonably innocuous and it's not clear why it's not getting displayed by the application. Perhaps there is something wrong with the way the two single quotes are escaped? I'll leave Al a note in a moment; with luck he should be getting back on line in the next week or so. Ahasuerus 23:47, 10 Sep 2007 (CDT)
This is a bug that crops up from time to time. The title record has title_synopsis and note_id fields. These default to NULL. When you edit a title and add either a note and/or synopsis the ISFDB code sees that the field is NULL and adds a new record to a second table called "notes" that contains the actual text of the note and it points title_synopsis and/or note_id at the notes table records. If later you edit the title record's notes ISFDB will see that there's already a pointer to the notes table and update the record. From time to time either the title_synopsis and/or note_id fields fields will get set to 0 (zero). That's not a NULL value but there is also no record zero in the notes table. The net result is some of the code thinks there's a note and others think there's an empty notes. I have a bug report along with a simple patch/fix for this at Open_Editing_Bugs EditBug:10103 Title notes-id set to 0.
Fortunately, there is a simple fix in that you create a title record (unmerge one publication for example), add notes to it, and merge that back with your original title record. During the merge pick the notes from the new title record and it will change the note_id pointer in the original record to point at the new note. Then you can edit or clear the note and it'll work as expected. I've already fixed The Hand of Zei. I don't have the latest db backup loaded but see there are 20 titles in the system that are broken like this for the notes field. 1736 25322 26353 29080 37301 38875 58063 62988 62989 66010 68474 71660 81708 158259 158260. Marc Kupper (talk) 02:14, 11 Sep 2007 (CDT)
Out of curiosity I put the original note text back from Ahasuerus' post above. The embedded quotes were escaped correctly to add the new note. I then edited the note and it correctly just updates the record in the notes table. If it was something in the text that triggered this problem in the first place it's something I could not replicate. I also checked my db and the note-text matches what Ahasuerus has in his backup. I believe I'm using a db backup from April-2007. Marc Kupper (talk) 02:30, 11 Sep 2007 (CDT)
I thought of a cleaner way to fix these than remove title.
  1. check that the title is not already involved in a variant title relationship. If not then proceed to step 2.
  2. Click "Add a Variant Title or Pseudonymous Work to This Title" not the normal make-this-title-a variant.
  3. Set the Note field to "Note" (or anything, I just copy/pasted the word Note) and submit/approve.
  4. Advanced Search for the title by name (and author if needed)
  5. Select the original and new title records and click [Merge Selected Records]
  6. Leave everything at the defaults except the Note field where you want the original note to override. This will also wipe out the temporary variant title pointer and record you created.
  7. Click [Complete Merge], Moderator, and approve the merge.
  8. Edit the original title and remove the note.
I've fixed 102412 158261 211971 487241 552029 and one title that had title_synopsis set to 0 171287. Marc Kupper (talk) 03:07, 11 Sep 2007 (CDT)

Strange result after unmerge.

If you look at People of the Wind is has 3 copies of the novel in it. This seemed to caused by me unmerging it from The People of the Wind to create a variant title. Look at my talk page for some history on this. I assume I can just delete the dups but though it may be something to look at before I get rid of it. Dana Carson 21:16, 11 Sep 2007 (CDT)

I guess we now know what happens when a moderator (me) approves an unmerge when the pub has already been unmerged! I cleaned up the page by using the "Remove Titles From This Pub" function. Thanks for pointing this out. Mhhutchins 22:01, 11 Sep 2007 (CDT)

Entering a small "i" with a diaeresis

I've been trying to enter an author's name which is spelled with a small "i" with a diaeresis (ï). I can put that character in both the comment and data fields, but it keeps disappearing from the data field after approval. I've previously been able to input é, and ç, but "ï" doesn't go. Is this a character that the Wiki does not allow?--Rkihara 01:06, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)

It seems to work for author and everywhere else except for cover artist. Where did it not work for you? Marc Kupper (talk) 02:17, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)
In the author field of the August 1956 issue, I entered the author Garen Drussaï twice, and after it was accepted, it became Garen Drussai. I checked your test pub and I don't know what to say. Maybe I'll try it again with another browser or operating system. I'm using a Mac, and Firefox, with OS 10.4.10. I also have a PC running XP which I may try.--Rkihara 11:17, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)
The problem is that we already have a "Garen Drussai" Author record on file. The ISFDB application will default to the existing record if the only difference is a stray diacritic or two. However, you can change an existing Author record directly. If some titles have appeared as by "Garen Drussai" and others as by "Garen Drussaï", then you have to set up two separate Author records for the two forms of the name. You can do it by creating a bogus Author record (e.g. "XYZXYZ") and then changing it to the diacritical version. This is a really messy area at the moment; hopefully Al has plans to improve it when he comes back. Ahasuerus 13:18, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)
And improve the deletion logic when I try and clean up after my testing :-( (which reached a similar conclusion.) BLongley 13:28, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)

Series Mix-up

I have royally screwed up the Battletech series. There are now two series name "Battletech" #1992 and #22625, both have identical set of titles associated with them and they're both in the Battletech Universe series. Can anyone tell me how to correct the mess I made? Mhhutchins 13:14, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)

I don't think it's a major screw-up - "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has similar problems. Yes, the Series/Subseries display gets duplicates, but the individual titles and publications still look OK don't they? BLongley 13:44, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)
It doesn't look bad, but I'm the one who did it. I'd like to know how to fix it (if possible) so that if I do it again, I can repair it without anyone knowing. :) Mhhutchins 13:57, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)
Whenever two different series are given the same name, each series will be displayed as if it contained the titles belonging to both series. I have changed the name of the second series to "Battletech: The Legend of the Jade Phoenix" and now both series appear correctly. Substantively, once we are all on the same page, we will probably want to move the "Legend of the Jade Phoenix" titles to the main Battletech series. Ahasuerus 14:07, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)
This is what happened: When I saw that Thurston's trilogy had its own title, I created the subseries "The Legend of the Jade Phoenix". Unfortunately, it also removed the first three titles from the main Battletech sequence. It just didn't look right when the series was displayed. So when I tried to put it back the way it was...well you saw the results. Mhhutchins 14:53, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)
Our series support is currently on the, um, weak side, to say the least. Series deletion is only half way implemented -- see this series corpse for an example. You can't have the same title belong to more than one series, which makes it difficult to enter crossovers. Our software allows to you create duplicate Series names, but then it doesn't display them correctly, as you have discovered. We don't support non-trivial series numbers like "16.1" -- a real life example, believe it or not! Series display logic doesn't recognize variant Titles. And the list goes on and on - see Open Series Bugs. Ahasuerus 15:21, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)
And Sub-Series ordering within Series is a major requirement (a.k.a New Feature) before we attempt some things... which crosses over with titles belonging to multiple series - and unauthorised titles that are in a series but got excluded officially- actually, I think Al isn't unavailable, he's just cowering in fear at the number of changes we want! ;-) BLongley 16:17, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)

"Gimmicks Three" by Asimov Nonexistent?"

There's a real complicated situation in regards to this title. I just entered the data for the first appearance in a pub (F&SF Nov. 1956) for "Gimmicks Three," and it is not a title, but a heading for a group of thematically related stories by three different authors. Asimov's is titled "The Brazen Locked Room," not "Gimmicks Three." The confusion may have come from the fact that the editor's intro to all three stories, appeared at the top of Asimov's titled in large type. I thought of attempting a fix, but "Gimmicks Three" is listed in twenty-four publications, although most are multiple editions, so cloning error is a possiblilty. Maybe Asimov or the editors of these collections changed the title from "The Brazen Locked Room"? The original title is listed as a variant in the ISFDB. This situation is way over my head, especially since I can't reference the other pubs.--Rkihara 14:06, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)

Strange as it might sound, Asimov did use the "Gimmicks Three" title in his reprinted collection "Earth is Room Enough" and in the omnibus entitled "The Far Ends of Time and Earth" which included the collection. (I can testify to both of those personally.) Occasionally the story would be reprinted with the title "The Brazen Locked Room". So I think the database is pretty accurate as it stands. Don't try to fix it unless you can physically verify that any of the twenty-three reprints is wrong. Mhhutchins 14:45, 12 Sep 2007 (CDT)

pl.cgi: Bad publication TAG

"Between Worlds" edited by Silverberg is entered in the database as a novel when it is really an anthology. When I click on it to edit it, I get the error listed above and can go no further. Help! Thx, rbh 21:33, 20 Sep 2007 (CDT)

Looks like we have a case of database degradation on our hands. I will leave Al a message. Thanks for the heads up! :) Ahasuerus 21:54, 20 Sep 2007 (CDT)
You can still get to edit it by searching for the Pub via ISBN, then using the record link. It showed as not having any tag, so I added one ('BTWNWRLDS2004', after checking that wasn't already used) and it seems OK now. Why it was broken in the first place remains a mystery. BLongley 13:07, 21 Sep 2007 (CDT)

Award for a Collection

Any ideas on how to link this award to this series meaningfully, given the current state of our software? I know it'll be a fudge, but we are getting quite creative with those! BLongley 15:37, 25 Sep 2007 (CDT)

The series needs a look at from the US point of view anyway, or I'll just reverse all the variant titles as only the UK ones are verified, and they can't be trusted to get the US versions right. BLongley 15:37, 25 Sep 2007 (CDT)

Canonical Magazine Titles?

I have a question about entering magazine titles. I'm working Galaxy right now, and I've noticed that the title of the magazine as printed on the cover or index changes back and forth over time, e.g., Galaxy Science Fiction, Galaxy Magazine, and just Galaxy. Should I change the title to match the magazine cover, or should I use what I assume to be the canonical title, the title used as the heading for the table listing in the ISFDB (Galaxy Science Fiction)?--Rkihara 11:11, 29 Sep 2007 (CDT)

I have already posted an answer before I noticed this Help entry. The appropriate standards are in the Magazine entry in Help--swfritter 11:26, 29 Sep 2007 (CDT)

Job Title in Person's Name

For Lawrence E. Spivak, Publisher the job title is part of the name entry. Move that to notes on the Introduction he wrote or leave since I assume thats how he signed it? Dana Carson 02:11, 2 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Well, our help text currently says:
Ranks, suffixes, prefixes. If an author is given as "Captain Robert L. Stone" then that should be entered in the database. Abbreviated versions of the rank should be entered as given, rather than expanded. For example, during World War II, on at least one occasion Amazing Stories printed an issue of stories from active service members, giving their ranks as part of the author attribution. These ranks should be included in the author names, and made into variant names for the relevant authors . Suffixes such as "Jr" should follow a comma and space, and be followed by a period if they are abbreviations. This should be regularized if they are not presented this way in the publication. E.g. "Sam Merwin Jr" should be entered as "Sam Merwin, Jr."; similarly, it's "Edward Elmer Smith, Ph.D."; or "Frederick C. Durant, III". Other prefixes and suffixes should follow analogous rules.
I don't think "Publisher" is a rank or a legitimate suffix, so I would be inclined to move it to Notes. Ahasuerus 02:16, 2 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Similar for Publishers Forward (Have Trenchcoat -- Will Travel) , that one I entered and isn't signed, I should change it to uncredited. Several other similar ones if you search names for publish. Dana Carson 02:24, 2 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Is that really "Forward" or should it be "Foreword"? BLongley 15:03, 2 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Thumps head. Fixed. Dana Carson 23:41, 9 Oct 2007 (CDT)
I'm a bit suspicious about all the "Foreward" titles too, if you'd like to check . Some of those have your name against them, but by no means all. BLongley 13:11, 10 Oct 2007 (CDT)
How about The Conqueror as a job title? :-) BLongley 06:01, 2 Oct 2007 (CDT)

School & Library Binding

I've never deliberately bought such an item (we don't get them noted as such in the UK normally), but have just acquired one from a charity shop, it seems. Have a look at this Dragonseye pub. Are US "School & Library Binding" books typically the paperback wrapped in a harder cover? The differing ISBNs confused me - the hardcover being paperback size just disturbed me slightly. To me, "Library Editions" are big yellow hardback books from Gollancz that I had to plead with Adults to borrow back in the 1970s. BLongley 16:07, 3 Oct 2007 (CDT)

I am not an expert, but in my experience a "library binding" book is a regular size hardcover in a sturdier binding targeted at libraries. They tend to have a slightly different ISBN and a slightly different price, but otherwise they are quite similar. What you are describing, i.e. a mass market paperback wrapped in a harder cover, is something that some US libraries do on their own when they buy a mass market paperback and expect it to be frequently abused..., er, I mean checked out. There are also various kinds of smaller size hardcover books that may look like rebound paperbacks at first glance, but I don't think that's what you are describing. Ahasuerus 17:46, 3 Oct 2007 (CDT)
"School and Library" bindings, and "library" bindings are typically different types of bindings. A commercial School and Library binding is a BLongley described, a glued spine with a hardcover put over it, it is made to be more durable than a trade edition. A library binding has sewn signatures, and is attached to the hardcover with a piece of linen gauze (a crash or mull), and possibly linen tapes.
Books that are rebound can be just recovered with something sturdier, but they are often "oversewn" if they will see a lot of use in libraries or schools. In the case of softcovers, this is done by drilling the margin for sewing before the book is covered, if the book has signatures, the folds are milled off before the margins are drilled. This is a pretty sturdy binding, but the books are stiff and will not open flat, and the oversewn threads can tear through the text block. You can also request that a book be rebound by resewing through the original stations (if it's composed of signatures), but that is substantially more expensive.--Rkihara 18:48, 3 Oct 2007 (CDT)
I have just discovered I have a "hardcover" which seems to be identical to this verified publication - Lord of Thunder other than the colour of the cover (which might be differential fading - mine is much, much bluer). The binding isn't sewn. The copy is rather battered (ex-lib!) but it looks like the whole cover - front, spine, back in one piece - has been glued to boards, then covered with something clear (stuck). The end papers are continuous, with the pages glued on, then glued to the covered boards. It looks very professional and more trouble than a small town library would go to, and possibly more trouble than an Australian library supplier would go to. Do I clone the pb record and annotate as here? --j_clark 20:42, 9 Oct 2007 (CDT)
I'd say so. For every nice predictable set of printings by consistent publishers, there'll be special editions, limited editions, anniversary editions, unidentifiable editions... even some Frankenstein book-binding that will amaze and confuse. (Or Frankenstein Magazines like my problem here.) BLongley 13:16, 10 Oct 2007 (CDT)
The Last Call by Tim Powers. Full green goatskin with inlaid casino chips and tarot card, with spine stamped in 23K gold foil. The endpapers are made from uncut sheets of U.S. one dollar bills and the signed cancellation page is made from an uncut sheet of U.S. two dollar bills.
Which reminds me that we need to update the Note field for this record... Ahasuerus 15:23, 10 Oct 2007 (CDT)
I see other books of ours there too: I wonder how stable their URLs are? BLongley 13:10, 11 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Condensed Novels? and Foreign Editions

I'm trying to figure out what to do with a "Condensed" novel. "The Proxy Intelligence" as published in If, October 1968, is the length of a novelette and is classified as a "Condensed Novel" in the index. The pub entry lists it as a serial, which I assume is a way to keep it from interacting with the other entries, along with an appended note (complete novel). A search of the ISFDB shows five listings as a novella, and one as a novel. I'd like to clean this up and I'm not quite sure what to do about it.--Rkihara 21:31, 11 Oct 2007 (CDT)

There are a couple of different issues here. First, descriptions like "condensed novel" are not a very good guide when determining a Title's length. As our Help text states:
Note that frequently a magazine will describe a story as a complete novel, even though it may be substantially below the 40,000 word mark. The description in the magazine should not be relied upon for this distinction.
So in this case I would call it a novelette if that's what the word count indicates. As a general rule, "(complete novel)" in conjunction with the Serial designation is used to describe novel length texts that were published in a single magazine issue. This is done to prevent confusion between book and magazine publications of the same text, something that "first edition" collectors are very concerned about.
Next, reviewing other Publication records that contain this title, it looks like this novelette was never expanded to novel length, although it may have been padded for book publication (it's a van Vogt story, after all!). The only Publication record that lists it as a Novel is Sphere's 1977 The Universe Maker omnibus, which claims that it's 52 pages long, hardly a novel. Finally, the Omnibus Publication record doesn't have an associated Omnibus Title record, so it doesn't appear in van Vogt's bibliography. Ahasuerus 11:25, 12 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Whoops, one of my verified pubs! I can't recall if it ended up like that when I thought Omnibuses consisted only of Novels, or when I realised the link to the serial didn't work if it wasn't "NOVEL" linking to (Complete Novel). I notice there's a bibliography in one of the other pubs I own, let me see what that says before I do any fixing. BLongley 13:17, 12 Oct 2007 (CDT)
OK, I found The Universe Maker and The Proxy Intelligence and Other Mind Benders but can't find The Best of A. E. van Vogt: time for stern words with my cleaner, I think. :-( Let me know if I can help with the two republications I DO have to hand though. They seem to be the same, based on opening and closing paragraphs at least. BLongley 15:00, 12 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Many of the entries for "If," starting around 1970 appear to be British(?) editions, as the prices are listed in fractional pounds sterling. If I make parallel US entries will these link back to the magazine table properly? Also I was wondering how to distinguish the two other than the price. It seems that a note is a little inadequate. Maybe I should post this in "rules and standards," but it seems that it would help to do something like "If [British], Sept./Oct. 1971"?--Rkihara 21:31, 11 Oct 2007 (CDT)

The magazine table in the Wiki is maintained manually, so we will need to change the link once the US edition has been entered. Eventually, we will want to have separate tables for the UK versions of many US magazines which were significantly altered for UK publication, but that's a whole different can of worms. Ahasuerus 11:25, 12 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Oh, a huge can! I entered pages for this copy of IF but held off verifying as it's not just the price that's different, the Editor's name is a pseudonym, the publishing companies are different, etc. I'm quite happy to leave ALL magazines up to one country's classification until we get cloning of magazines at least sorted. I don't own enough to be useful in verification, although I've created a few sections like Impulse to get people started, even though I only owned one issue, and fixed some missing Editors in titles. (John Carnell looks even more productive now, but he's still VERY under-represented here!) BLongley 13:17, 12 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Joan Aiken's Wolves of Willoughby Chase / James III series

I think there are 2 titles that have been put as being in this series, but I'm not sure they are; namely The Whispering Mountain and Midnight is a Place.

I've read the early ones of the series.

I haven't read the The Whispering Mountain but the blurb on the back & inside my Puffin edn doesn't seem to have any references to the Twites, James III or ring any other bells.

The bookmark is in page 22 of my Puffin ed'n of Midnight is a Place. Though it's set in 1842, there was no feel up to then that it's in a James III 1842. Nor do the blurbs or a quick flip give anything about the Twites and their friends.

Should I just remove the series info from these & renumber the subsequent ones? --j_clark 03:47, 12 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Go look at the Wikipedia entry for Joan Aiken and you'll see those titles classified under "More Hanoverian stories", so at least one other person agrees with you! I'd say your proposal is fine, but if you spot any verifiers of other pubs in the series feel free to ask them for advice too. (I think I only own the first, but it's a late edition so might reference the series as the Author and/or Publisher intended.) BLongley 14:11, 12 Oct 2007 (CDT)
OK, found it: it does list them, but not necessarily in order: the "Also by Joan Aiken" says "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase Sequence" is :
   * The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
   * Black Hearts in Battersea
   * Nightbirds on Nantucket
   * The Stolen Lake
   * Limbo Lodge
   * The Cuckoo Tree
   * Dido and Pa
   * Is 
   * Cold Shoulder Road
   * Midwinter Nightingale
   * The Witch of Clatteringshaws (in preparation)
"The Whispering Mountain" is listed separately as "(winner of the Guardian Award 1969)". "Midnight is a Place" doesn't appear at all.
Does that help? BLongley 15:12, 12 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Yes, that helps - makes me fell more confident about removing those 2 from the series. Thanks. (I think the order on your copy might be chronological.) Is the person who edited all the title records to put them as a series still an active editor; can they be asked? --j_clark 19:53, 15 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Unfortunately even we mods can't find whoever did those edits, and the audit trail isn't available even in the downloadable backup. But if they'd entered the notes on the Wiki page we would know. BLongley 13:38, 16 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Series numbering

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase series raises another question. This series has been numbered in ISFDB based on the 1st publication dates. I have no problem with this, but is there some "central" place to note the chronological order?

C.S. Lewis's Narnia series is another example (recent publications often have the chron. order numbering on the covers!). --j_clark 03:47, 12 Oct 2007 (CDT)

All ISFDB Series records have associated "Bibliographic Comments" pages in the Wiki. In the case of Wolves Chronicles, the associated Wiki page that is linked from the Series bibliography page is . Unfortunately, something in the software converts this URL to , a URL, which, like all other links, is not accessible at this time :( Ahasuerus 12:42, 12 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Strangely, Narnia works for me. There may be more than two series orders, but any beyond the first can be recorded in the Bibliographic notes (when you can get to them!) I can't think of an example with three different orders, but I've often dealt with two, e.g. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Star Trek Pocket Books that had Titan UK reprints. Why some Series Bibliographic Comments links work and some don't is a puzzle though. 13:34, 12 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Problem with Forever Shores

The title record for Forever Shoresseems to be missing/become unlinked. How do I get it back? --j_clark 19:45, 15 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Fixed. Thanks for catching it. Mhhutchins 20:04, 15 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Wow, that was quick! Thanks. --j_clark 20:06, 15 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Losing page numbers when correcting authorship

I've been working on Pseudonymns in Collections inconsistencies, and have come upon a strange phenomenon. Whenever I make changes in the authorship of pseudonymous stories, all page numbers disappear. I'm trying to reconstruct those that were lost before I noticed the problem, either from my own collection or other sources, or asking the original verifier. Some verifiers seem to have gafiated recently (whatever happened to Scott Latham? and CoachPaul has been quiet lately). Is there some way to avoid this problem other than recording the page numbers of affected records and restoring them later? (There's enough steps already in this increasingly tedious process.) Is this a known bug? Thanks. Mhhutchins 17:56, 16 Oct 2007 (CDT)

An online source for Locus/Contento Pre 1984. I also have the Locus/Contento magazine CD's and post 1984 collections/anthologies. If you post a list then we can all see what is in our collections and if anything else is left over I can get the data from Locus/Contento. Locus/Contento is not consistent with variant title/author data but they do have page numbers.--swfritter 18:06, 16 Oct 2007 (CDT)
If the page numbers were there on August 11, I can pull them out of the backups; just let me know the titles of the affected publications. Ahasuerus 18:13, 16 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Thanks for the offers of assistance. I'll make a list on the Talk Page when I get a chance. Mhhutchins 19:17, 16 Oct 2007 (CDT)
13 stories fixed, the rest didn't have page numbers in the August 11 backup. Expedition to Earth was verified by Scott Latham, but he hasn't been seen around here lately (hope he is OK!). I may have the Ballantine edition in my collection; I will check on November 1. I am 99% sure that I don't have the Avon edition of The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World since I own the hardcover edition. Ahasuerus 01:36, 17 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Thanks for fixing those records. I've got a page of notes here that I used to correct the page loss from other pubs. Is there a way to warn others of this effect of changing authorship, or has the bug already been reported so that Al can take measures to address the issue in any future updates? Thanks. Mhhutchins 15:24, 17 Oct 2007 (CDT)
I don't recall this bug being reported yet and I don't see anything applicable in Open Editing Bugs or on Sourceforge. Have you been able to recreate the problem consistently? If so, we can add it to the bug list at Sourceforge. Ahasuerus 20:06, 17 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Yes, it's consistent. This is how I've been correcting the false pseudonyms:

  1. I open the pub from the listings and click on the content title(s) that have a false pseudonym, which leads me to the title page containing all publications with that title and the corresponding pseudonym.
  2. I must decide which of the pubs are not correct in order to unmerge them from the wrong title/pseudonym attribution. Sometimes there are more than one pub with the wrong attribution. So when I've chosen the "Unmerge Titles" option, I'll check all pubs that apply.
  3. After approving the unmerge, I go to the pseudonymous author's page where the title(s) are now listed. If I had to unmerge more than one, I must first merge the duplicate titles into one title.
  4. After approving the merge, I go back to the single title record and edit it, correcting the author.
  5. After approving the title edit, I go to the correct author's summary page and merge the title with any duplicate title.

The page loss always occurs when I approve the first unmerge (step 3 above). Mhhutchins 21:07, 17 Oct 2007 (CDT)

I forgot to add that the title record also loses its length designation as well. Mhhutchins 21:08, 17 Oct 2007 (CDT)
I have added the bug description to the bug tracker over at Sourceforge. Ahasuerus 21:10, 25 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Creating a new Wiki page

I've begun entering the eleven issues (complete run) of Night Cry, a horror magazine from the mid-80s. How do I create a Wiki page for it so that I can link it back to the Magazines List? I'm familiar with basic HTML and Wiki editing, but can't find anything in the help pages for creating new Wiki pages. Mhhutchins 17:57, 18 Oct 2007 (CDT)

It is created automatically when you put in entry like the ones you find in edit mode on the magazine list. The name of the page will be the text after "Magazine:" and "|".

You will also want to use the text from the Magazine Template for the magazine page. --swfritter 18:40, 18 Oct 2007 (CDT)

That was simple enough. Thanks for the advice. Mhhutchins 20:22, 18 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Box Sets and ISBN #'s?

So far all my searchs of ISBN's for Box Sets have all come back with no results. The ISBN # is valid but there is no product to go with it. Any ideas out there about this?Kraang 21:53, 18 Oct 2007 (CDT)

What targets did you run your searches against? Boxed sets are usually handled by retail outlets while libraries rarely keep books bundled that way. Based on prior experience, I suspect that most of our "boxed sets" pubs come from and are not terribly reliable. Ahasuerus 00:55, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)
In all cases I used the ISBN# with Abebook's, Amazon, and Bookfinder. They all returned the same result "no matches found". What I'll look for is a resent box set and try that ISBN# and see what happens.Kraang 06:24, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)
The first ten or so I tried the other night came back with no results and today I try some more at random and I get some matches. What does come back is rather limited info., not much about the contents.Kraang 06:47, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Unfortunately,'s boxed sets tend to be poorly documented. We have discussed boxed sets in the past and decided to include only the ones that have ISBNs, but finding enough information about them (page counts, price, etc) has proved to be a pain. At this point I don't expect that we will ever get boxed sets to the same level of accuracy as regular books, but I suppose there is no harm in keeping them around. That way if somebody comes across a strange SF-related ISBN, he will be able to find at least some basic information about it in the database. Ahasuerus 11:05, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Error in isfdb2.tar.gz download?

I tried downloading the Python build for viewing the ISFDB locally, isfdb2.tar.gz. The link to download this file is found on the "ISFDB Downloads" page at The archive contains a bunch of folders with these three files in the root: LICENSE, Makefile, README. I'm a novice with Python and didn't have a clue as to how to build the Makefile, so I looked in the README file and found that it's incomplete. The header reads "Installation Intructions". Below that is the beginning of a list item, "1]" but that's the EOF. I tried the download again to see if maybe I had screwed that up somehow, but got the same result. The other folders appear to be intact so I'm guessing that this is an error. Whether or not it is, is there another place I can get instructions on how to run that Python build? Big Al Mintaka 04:34, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)

I think most of us just download the database backup and then use MySQL to run queries since it doesn't require messing with Python or other scary beasts. As far as configuring a full blown copy of the ISFDB software locally goes, the best person to ask would be Al von Ruff, our programmer, but he is largely unavailable until at least the end of the month. I know of two other moderators who have configured ISFDB to run on their home PCs, Marc Kupper and Wim Lewis. Marc isn't around at the moment, but Wim is and I will leave him a note. Oh, and welcome to the wonderful (albeit slightly loopy) world of ISFDB! Ahasuerus 11:20, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)
There's a LITTLE more information on the ISFDB Downloads talk page. But as Ahasuerus points out, most of us just play with the database rather than get the full system up and running locally. BLongley 13:22, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)
I did get isfdb running on my laptop, but that was six months ago and I've forgotten the details. I mean to start over from scratch and document it this time, but haven't gotten around to it. IIRC, the main thing you need to do is edit the variables defined at the beginning of the Makefile (they get substituted into some other files when you run make) and/or edit the file "" and the file "edit/" (they can be identical). Then configure your webserver to execute CGI scripts in that directory. It definitely doesn't just work out-of-the-box, but it's pretty close if you already know Python. --WimLewis 03:35, 20 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Also, FYI I tried to use the link at the top of this page to "Use this link to add a new section at the bottom] without having to edit the whole page..." but got one of those "500" error messages in IE 7. FireFox 2 just displays a blank page. So I took a stab at editing the whole thing. I hope I didn't do anything to mess up the protocol here. Big Al Mintaka 04:34, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)

No harm done -- you can always check "Recent pages" in the menu on the left to see if you have accidentally edited a wrong page. The ISFDB Wiki (which is hosted by a Texas University) has been experiencing problems lately and you get a blank page after submitting an edit, but the edit is still applied. Also, if you encounter any links, you will have to change them to manually, otherwise you will get the same blank page. Ahasuerus 11:20, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)

(Unindent and slight digression) One thing I was thinking of doing, once I have isfdb set up on my machine again, is allowing other mods/editors to log in via SSH and use my installation as a sandbox, making test edits, running SQL queries, and potentially experimenting with the source code. I'd delete and reload the database periodically and would need to work out how to run multiple instances side by side if people wanted to work on the code. Is this something that people would be interested in, if I ever get around to doing it? --WimLewis 16:28, 20 Oct 2007 (CDT)

I'd love it! Test edits I do here, the dangerous ones on titles I create myself (see all the "BL TEST" entries), and SQL I try on my own MySQL installation (which I have mostly working now, although I really should go and check about all the error messages I get when I refresh). I know I have Apache installed and working here, and Python too, but not Cygwin: I was thinking of rebuilding the other PC on my network to be a local Linux-based ISFDB server this weekend, so I can try it all from scratch again and provide notes (and I may still do so) but I got distracted with eleven parcels of books arriving this morning (a sign that the postal strike is over, I hope!) and put that off again. BLongley 16:55, 20 Oct 2007 (CDT)
I'm not all that interested in installing and configuring several applications when all I really want to do is test a one-line or two-line code-change: and so I haven't really looked at Python yet as there's not yet been a quick way of testing my understanding of the code I read. But we do need to get a few more techies on board, as we're rather more dependent on Al than I'd like us to be. If just two or three of us can take the public backups and get an ISFDB server running again, I'll be happier - but I'm also happy for YOU to post the instructions! ;-) BLongley 16:55, 20 Oct 2007 (CDT)
It sounds like it may become quite useful, but we probably want to coordinate this effort with the Sourceforge project. Al hopes to be more available by the end of October, but I don't know what Marc's plans are. Ahasuerus 23:10, 20 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Thanks to all for your input here. This has given me a new perspective on Python vs. just using queries in MySQL. Unfortunately, I'm profoundly dense when it comes to managing SQL servers. The actual coding of the queries I can handle more or less, but I was never able to keep the MySQL server running after the first time it was started as a service in WinXP SP2. I thought I had configured it to run as a service using the server config wizard. Next time I started the machine, the server wasn't running and I kept getting an error when I tried to start it either in Win XP or from the config wizard. Since all of this is the area where I'm opaque, I've decided to stand down from MySQL for a while and experiment with a learning package like MS SQL Server Compact Edition. BTW I was wondering about the SQL database that I downloaded in the backup.gz archive. When I decompressed it using the instructions on the ISFDB_Downloads page, it resolved as a structure containing 3 folders: MySQL, test, and isfdb. The test folder was empty; the other two contained what looked like a bunch of tables, forms, SQL scripts, etc. When I had the MySQL server running on the first pass, I tried to connect to the database but was completely at a loss trying to get it to work. I used the MySQL windows browser; maybe that was my problem. It prompted me for a hostname, username, password, and something else I can't remember. Anyway, I knew the password from doing the server installation, but I couldn't find hostname/username combinations that worked. I tried a blank username with the hostname set to the name of the Windows MySQL service in memory. That was the combo that I thought was obvious but it didn't work. As you can see, I need to learn a little more about SQL before proceeding. I've gotta say that this is a great page for people who have figured it out. There's a lot of helpful advice here for the SQL and Python coders. Again I thank you all for your inputs. I don't expect to be gone from here for very long, unless my stupidity turns out to be terminal. Health and peace, Big Al Mintaka 23:16, 20 Oct 2007 (CDT)

page-not-found page on submitting edits

Whenever I submit an edit to a talk page (mine or someone else's), I get a page-not-found page. It's not the problem. Is it just me, or does everyone suffer from this? If it's everyone, I can live with it as well as everyone, I'd say; but if it's just me how do I debug it? I should have saved the URL it was looking for, I guess ... --Dave davecat 21:25, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Aha! As I suspected/hoped, submitting the above got me a good sample. URL was (which is wordwrapping to another line). --Dave davecat 21:28, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Actually, it still is the problem. After you edit a page and get the page-not-found page (or, in my case, a blank page because I use Firefox), send your browser back two pages and reload/refresh. You'll discover that your edit was accepted. Mhhutchins 22:17, 19 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Help with Harlan

I've got a copy of Ellison's non-genre "No Doors, No Windows" that I'd like to paginate (after creating a clone of an earlier, unpaginated edition). The clone operation won't work since the type is set to "non-genre" instead of "collection". I could change the type in the title record, but that kinda defeats the purpose in the long run. So, what's the best way to go about this one?
--Dsorgen 00:23, 20 Oct 2007 (CDT)

A NONGENRE title with COLLECTION pubs with a NONGENRE entry in each pub seems to just about hang together, but it's not pretty. See also this title. A temporary change to COLLECTION allows the cloning but I'd recommend changing it back as soon as possible afterwards. Or making everything a COLLECTION consistently, and leaving Notes about the pub and contents being Non-Genre. BLongley 05:42, 20 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Testing a little more suggests that NONGENRE title, NOVEL pub with a NONGENRE content entry, makes cloning and the normal Title hyper-link work a bit better and reduces warnings about "Unable to locate title record". But I think we're doing something Al never intended us to do. BLongley 06:00, 20 Oct 2007 (CDT)
It would seem that changing this to a collection (which IS in fact the real "TYPE" for this book) in the title and pub records added to a bib note re: non-genre material would make the most sense. If that's the consensus, that's where I'll go. I'll let this one set another day or two to see if anyone else chimes in.
This is what happens when one DB field is used for two (or in this case 1.5) purposes. Used to pull my hair out over this stuff, don't have any hair left.
--Dsorgen 21:39, 20 Oct 2007 (CDT)
You are quite right, NONGENRE was an afterthought and, in retrospect, not very thoroughly implemented. There is currently no way to designate short fiction pieces as Nongenre (aside from using notes and tags) either and the whole thing is a bit of a mess. The other fields that are also on double duty are ISBN/Catalog# and Publisher, which may or may not include the city where the book was published. Oh well, one of these days when Al comes back...
Back on topic, I support changing this publication to Collection and explaining its non-genre nature in the Notes field. Ahasuerus 22:06, 20 Oct 2007 (CDT)
I agree, Collection and lots of notes - the pain is that we want them for each individual story, and it's still not going to be easy to spot how many nongenre entries there are in a mixed collection. BLongley 06:34, 21 Oct 2007 (CDT)
ISBN has another problem, as one physical book can have two ISBNs (e.g. one for the US and one for Canada) yet we can't get the ISBN advanced search to work for us unless we enter the same publication twice. And another problem with modern world-wide publishing where the same ISBN applies across US/Canada/UK and others, so it's a race to get the first national Price on, or we double/treble up the publications again so each country's price shows up. BLongley 06:34, 21 Oct 2007 (CDT)
Publisher has far more problems than merely including a city at times. Again we can end up not realising one pub is listed multiple times as one person enters, say "Granada", and another enters "Grafton" and another enters "Panther". I see Pan books nowadays list about EIGHT national subsidiaries, any of which could be listed as the publisher, although those are fairly clearly related - but "Heinemann" and "Random House" don't show up as easily. I keep meaning to start writing the help for such, but it keeps feeling like it will need an entire book. Possibly in multiple volumes. Published by... AAARGGH! BLongley 06:34, 21 Oct 2007 (CDT)

Omni Online

I stumbled across a title that was supposedly published in "Omni Online, May 1995" - a title that refuses to display normally. It seems there's a year's worth or so of these magazines, each with only partial contents, that you can only see if you EDIT the magazine. This is even more broken than usual searches for magazines are, so I think some fixing is needed. The question is what kind - zap them all and pretend Omni Online never existed, or fix the magazine entriess? I can do the former, I'm definitely unsure about the latter option. BLongley 16:48, 4 Nov 2007 (CST)

The Wayback Machine seems to be broken right now but you may find something there when it's back online.--swfritter 16:59, 4 Nov 2007 (CST)
I don't know what URL Omni Online was on to search for though? And I think the display issue might be down to 'unknown editor' problems here? (Which I've never understood anyway.) BLongley 17:16, 4 Nov 2007 (CST)
This title makes me think that there are some titles with "First publication" importance that will appeal to both Magazine (if the Electronic format doesn't dissuade them) and Short-Fiction Editors. I vote against "Zap" but don't know how to FIX. BLongley 17:22, 4 Nov 2007 (CST)
I managed to find an entry but there is no useful data there and I haven't been able to find any other bibliographical sources - Locus/Conento magazine cd's do not have the information.--swfritter 19:05, 4 Nov 2007 (CST)
The website version of Omni lasted about several years after the demise of the hard copy magazine (circa 1995-1996). It published significant works by some well-established authors: Robert Silverberg, Pat Cadigan, James Blaylock, Dan Simmons, Nancy Kress, and Michael Bishop, among others. The problem with the above entry was the lack of an editor AND an editor title. Once I corrected that (Ellen Datlow was the editor), the pub now displays the Silverberg title. I've started adding as much info as I can. Mhhutchins 19:39, 4 Nov 2007 (CST)
Found some more info. on Wikipedia [2]Kraang 19:44, 4 Nov 2007 (CST)

title in multiple series?

The title only has room for one series, but there are times when two series would apply. The case I'm now looking at is Schmitz, where there's a series for Telzey Amberdon, there's not (I think) a series for Trigger Argee but should be; and if there were a series for Trigger, some stories would clearly belong in both series. I'm quite sure there are better examples out there (better at least in that both series exist already). Is there a way to handle this? Thanks. -- Dave davecat 14:26, 5 Nov 2007 (CST)

Sorry. One of those enhancements we would all like to see. From Series data Help: "One thing that is not supported is having the same title belong to more than one series. This can be a problem in certain cases when a book clearly belongs to two or more series, but at this point there is no workaround." --swfritter 14:39, 5 Nov 2007 (CST)
There's all sorts of Series Problems: you can find many examples in Star Trek, Buffy, Star Wars, for instance. Even a nice, short, simple subseries where the publishers number everything for you doesn't work when you encounter foreign republications. When it's MOSTLY the same series, just a different order, we can deal with it in Bibliographic notes. When we've nicely separated Star Trek into TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, etc and some rotten sod arranges a series of books that cross-over ALL of them we look at things like this, paint a big pink S.E.P field over it, and go for a Pan-Galactic Gargle-Blaster or two until the headaches(s) subside. BLongley 15:50, 5 Nov 2007 (CST)

Trivial difference, but needs a fix

I was trying to load up a pub entry for [3] this little goody when I noticed that the title on the cover and title page used a plural possessive, not singular (Starmasters' vs Starmaster's). Any way to SIMPLY accomplish this change. Should be interesting; since, this is a variant title, not the root entry.
Regards... --Dsorgen 20:54, 6 Nov 2007 (CST)

Create a new pub showing title exactly as it appears on the title page. Once it's accepted, create a variant using the parent record, not the other variant. Both titles [Starmaster's and Starmasters'] will appear under the parent record [Le Gambit des Etoiles]. Mhhutchins 21:42, 6 Nov 2007 (CST)

A new magazine??

OK, I found that other issue of Amazing I knew I had somewhere. Only it's not, exactly, an issue of Amazing. It claims to be No. 1 of a magazine called Great Science Fiction from Amazing, dated (apparently - from the copyright statement at the bottom of the title page) 1965. It says it's published quarterly by Ultimate Publishing Co. It's a digest (or possibly a pulp - I need to look at the rules again). A quick google search found (among other hits) [tomfolio] and [amazon], plus hits implying the existence of at least #3 & #5. I don't find any reference to any such beast in ISFDB, though it's possible that I just didn't search right. (And on the cover (but not on the title page) it uses the Amazing logo with "Stories" in the loop of the "g".) I'm not sure what I should do with this, if there's not an existing magazine defined & given that I have only the one issue. Um. Help? Thanks. -- Dave davecat 09:49, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)

When Sol Cohen purchased the Ziff-Davis magazines in 1965, he also acquired the reprint rights of all stories in their inventories. The first issues of Amazing and Fantastic published by Cohen (Ultimate Publishing) contained quite a number of reprints, causing a tempest among the SF writers who weren't being paid for these reprints. After a deal was made with SFWA, he agreed to phase out the number of reprints in these magazines, but proceeded to publish a whole slew of digest titles that were all-reprints. (I don't know if the writers were ever paid for these.) The longest running titles were Great Science Fiction (changing its name to Science Fiction Greats with the 13th issue, and folding after #21 in 1971) and Most Thrilling Science Fiction Ever Told (42 issues from 1966-1975, becoming Thrilling Science Fiction with issue #19). I don't think there's been any push on the ISFDB to add these reprint magazines, with the emphasis being placed on the mags publishing original material. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be listed. Please feel free. If you decide to enter any of these that you may have (I've got about ten of them myself), be sure to merge the stories with their previously published title records. Mhhutchins 11:30, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)
Yup, I commented on our poor coverage of these reprint digests just last week. I have almost all of them (flimsy little things that they are) in my collection, so it's just a question of data entry. I'll create new Wiki tables for them tonight since I have access to a magazine checklist when I am on the road. Ahasuerus 12:34, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)
(Waiting with bated breath. Well, not exactly, but when you get a chance I'll enter this one issue I have. I saw that there's a basically empty wiki page for the magazine now.) -- davecat 09:45, 8 Nov 2007 (CST)
I am afraid I spent last evening creating our new backup file, which was a higher priority since we hadn't had it updated since early August. I did review the checklist and discovered (or rather rediscovered since I ran into this problem when I was buying the mags) that at first the title alternated between Great Science Fiction from Amazing and Great Science Fiction from Fantastic. We'll have to think of the "canonical" title for this magazine, but that shouldn't prevent me from creating a new Wiki page tonight and populating it with all 21 issues. We can always rename the page later. Ahasuerus 10:17, 8 Nov 2007 (CST)
Magazine:Great Science Fiction has been created. Edit away! :) Ahasuerus 22:28, 8 Nov 2007 (CST)
I think I probably messed up creating the pub. For one thing, for the title I merely used the mag title - I'm sure I should have added something to distinguish this issue. When I found the page (need to do something about "Magazine:Great_Science_Fiction_From_Amazing" page?), I see that you've identified this as Fall, 1965. Nothing on the magazine indicates Fall (but it seems reasonable) - should I have called it Great Science Fiction Magazine, Fall 1965? I think I see how to edit the wiki page to put in the link when the pub is actually created (if it's accepted, or if it's rejected & I reenter). But I'll have to find the pub's URL (in either case); do I do this with a name search? (If I try that with an Analog issue, it just finds an entry for the cover.) Obviously I've got a lot to learn here. I'm again reduced to saying "HELP!!!!" <sigh> -- Dave davecat 09:22, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)
Just by chance I have this issue and we will probably have to start over again. Luckily nobody has approved the[submission] yet. Perhaps somebody else could explain why the system is trying to automerge the magazine with "Playboy and the Slime God" which is the first story in the magazine. Is it because no tag was defined and the system is looking for a match? I cannot imagine that accepting this submission would have a positive result and likely not through any error of Davecat's. There is already a problem with that story anyway. The original appearance in Amazing has been changed to the canonical title "What is This Thing Called Love?", an exasperating error which has been perpetrated many times. Who knows what other adventures we have in store with this mag. Let me do a more thorough analysis and I will be back to you on your talk page.--swfritter 10:42, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)
I think I can explain the connection to the Asimov story. Mea maxima culpa. I found the story, which is indeed the first in the magazine, & thought that the tool named "Add Publication to This Title" would create a pub with this title as a content; obviously I misunderstood - but I don't know what I should have done instead. (That may be the only thing left out of the detailed instructions you've now put on my talk page, for which I thank you.) Have to run now - will get back to this & see if I can do it right when I get a chance. Thank you for catching & holding the submission! -- davecat 13:43, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)
My source of publication months (or rather seasons) was Ray Wysocki's Science Fiction, Fantasy, Weird Hero Magazine Checklist. Let me go back and add this information to the magazine's Wiki page... Ahasuerus 12:25, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)
Ashley in Transformations lists the first seven issues as issue numbers and the issues after that as seasons beginning with Fall 1967. I own #13 and #16 and they have seasonal dates. Only a guess but I wouldn't be surprised if the distributors were annoyed because they couldn't figure out when to take the magazines off sale.--swfritter 12:32, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)
Ah, I see! I can double check my collection on December 1, but for now let me update the magazine page with Ashley's data. Ahasuerus 13:20, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)
Locus/Contento CD version of sf mags concurs.--swfritter 13:42, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)
I have at least eight of them. The publishing history is erratic to say the least. For example, Science Fiction Adventure Classics became Strange Fantasy with issue 8. I think this was done primarily so that the Ultimate could change the content of the magazines (in this case from sf to fantasy) without having to apply for the new mailing permit that a new magazine requires. The stories are generally published with the original artwork. When I did the Fantastic run I gave the artwork the original date of the appearance of the story in either Amazing or Fantastic. And I was very tempted to merge the artwork until I came across a case where the original story had three pieces of artwork and the reprint only reproduced two of them. I was basically trying to stop myself from instituting a standard for merging artwork without totally thinking through the issue.--swfritter 13:19, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)
Um. So when I enter this magazine, I need to check the original pub for each story & use that date for story & artwork? (I probably would have thought of this - having entered that Amazing issue, which contained reprints, & for which the stories themselves had already been entered. And in that one I didn't know what to do about the interiorart items' dates, & am not sure what I did. Probably used the reprint pub's date. Um. Yes, I did. At least in the case of the Sheckley story I just checked, the original pub's entry did not list interiorart.) -- Dave davecat 09:45, 8 Nov 2007 (CST)
When I did the Fantastic series I had the luxury of owning some of the issues where the stories originally appeared so I was able to spot check to make sure they were using the original artwork. If I had done only a single random issue I would not have quite the same confidence level in assigning dates to the artwork. At some point in time someone will probably be making a complete methodical pass through the series and such issues will be resolved.--swfritter 10:42, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)

(unindent)I got kind of carried away when making suggestions to Davecat and think it might be a good idea to get some input on my response to him.--swfritter 12:02, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)

Sure, I'll take a look at it later today. Ahasuerus 13:20, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)
Found a new magazine not in the database, it's called "Apex"(digest size) and it started in 2005. There appear to be 10 issues so far. Don't own any just saw it on a magazine rack with the other sf/fantasy/horror.Kraang 19:05, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)
And they do have an online presence. They only list the contents of the current issue and not the back issues.--swfritter 19:30, 9 Nov 2007 (CST)

two authors, same name?

I'm editing content in Analog, December 1971, and there is a note in the pub notes field: Note to verifier: If "Chris G. Butler" is shown as "Chris Butler" please note that we already have a DIFFERENT Chris Butler in the database already.. Well, it is listed in the magazine as Chris Butler. Is there an approved way for handling two authors with the same name? Bound to be confusing no matter what we do. For the moment, I'm leaving it as Chris G. Butler (on the basis of the note's say-so) & leaving the note as well. I can't help wondering what the evidence is that this is a different Chris Butler, but I'm assuming there is some. Anyway, thanks for guidance. -- Dave davecat 10:55, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)

The "current" or "latest" Chris Butler turned up in person here and explained the difference, which is when I sorted out his pubs from the others, and left that note. Thanks for following it! BLongley 13:25, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)
There is no hard and fast rule, I'm afraid, but we need to separate them somehow: e.g. see the two "Steve Jackson"s. Some sort of suffix is usual - in Steve Jackson's case we added the country, in some other cases we added the birth-year. To make things as simple as possible, keep the active one unchanged so new works auto-merge: if both are active though then it's probably best to adjust BOTH authors so that occasionally we can do a sweep of the unadjusted name's works into one bibliography or the other. Is there any information about the Analog Dec 1971 author that will help tell them apart? The other publication Chris G. is supposed to have contributed to is verified, but by a very incommunicative editor. :-/ BLongley 13:25, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)
I have no info on the Analog-Dec-1971 one other than the note in the pub. (And yes, thanks for putting it in, or I'd have just "corrected" the entry! Easy to miss it up there, but I can't see a better way to put in such a note.) -- Dave davecat 14:25, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)
You may want to take a look at the way we currently handle our 3 "David Alexander"s. It's not perfect, but it will give you a general idea of the kinds of issues that we face and the workarounds that we use. Ahasuerus 13:54, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)
Thank you. Looking (briefly) at the Alexanders makes me suspect that this essay shouldn't be by "David Alexander" but by "David Alexander (1907-1973)", just from the dates on the rest of "David Alexander"'s stuff & from "David Alexander (1907-1973)"'s being the editor of the anthology to which this is the forward. (Should I change it?) (And, BTW, why is what appears to be an anthology of detective fiction here anyway?)
Sorry to always follow up the answer to a question with more questions. -- Dave davecat 14:25, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)
Well, the Rules of Acquisition (which are constantly varying, so should probably move up that page and have a proper discussion topic of its own) say (possibly, see rule 7) we can enter Non-Genre works by somebody that has got SOME SF-relevant work. Possibly only so we can provide a warning as to which books are SF and which are NOT. Sometimes it's clear where the boundary is, e.g. I only entered HALF of this massive book as the other half is ONLY detective fiction. And most interested people can spot the difference between "Iain M. Banks" and "Iain Banks", although we could make it clearer by classifying the NONGENRE stuff. And although I go fix a few more Nora Roberts entries occasionally, I've never read a single one of her books so can't really justify her presence here from my bibliographical work alone. (Just me trying to fix the "search overload" problems we can encounter at times when a non-genre title/author/artist overlaps with GOOD, REAL, SPECULATIVE FICTION stuff!.)
It's a real pain to delete stuff - delete all the pubs(s) one by one, and then the title - so there is a lot of data here that SHOULDN'T BE, by the rules. I do make the effort at times, if it will take an inappropriate artist or translator off our author list, for instance: I can often do that entirely online without having any paper in my hands! But as usual, some issues are not really fully resolved, and although I've deleted Manga that was clearly about Basketball and nothing SF related, I've actively organised some SF manga and graphic novels rather than delete them. Better to "Round 'em up, put 'em in a field, and BOMB THE BASTARDS!" quote courtesy of the late Kenny Everett if we need to: but I personally don't have anything against graphic novels or manga if it's SF. I would like to see a lot of books for children get zapped, but in the meantime I just go hunt them down and classify them. BLongley 16:05, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)
Here is how so many Nongenre books ended up here. Suppose a well known writer like Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a speculative fiction novel like The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at some point in his career. Once the Title was added to the ISFDB, our faithful (but not very bright) webbot, Dissembler, assumed that Stevenson was an SF writer, went out and grabbed every edition that it could find on and such. Very quickly, Stevenson's bibliography became a total mess, with dozens upon dozens of titles that completely obscured what little SF he had actually written.
Dissembler is smarter these days and we supervise it better, so we haven't seen a lot of these bogus entries in a while, but the old ones are still there, patiently waiting to be cleaned up. Ahasuerus 17:18, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)
Back on topic, yes, the essay should be entered as by "David Alexander (1907-1973)". As far as the question of anthology eligibility goes, there were quite a few cross-genre anthologies in the mid-20th century. In this case, I see stories by such SF regulars as Anthony Boucher (also an important mystery writer), Miriam Allen deFord, Raymond E. Banks and, of course, Jorge Luís Borges. Unfortunately, we don't really support Nongenre short fiction since the software assumes that "NONGENRE" means a Nongenre novel. By the way, we also have David M. Alexander, whose stories (but not novels) were published as by "David Alexander". Ahasuerus 18:00, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)

Department of Diverse Data (Analog)

I've been entering these as I come to them. They're not in the tables of contents, & I've been adding pub notes saying that (mostly). I've been treating them as (uncredited) essay plus illustration (D. Pattee); "essay" seemed like overkill, but nothing else seemed appropriate. I guess I'm slow here; what they are is almost certainly cartoons.
But (in my defense) they're a little strange, as cartoons go. The pub-editor help says:

Credited cartoons are always included. . . . . The title should be "Cartoon: " followed by the caption, in the original case, between quotation marks. If there is no caption the words "no caption" should be used without quotation marks.

But what is the caption in these? Is it just "Department of Diverse Data"? That's not very helpful, even if we add "(Analog, December 1971)" for example. (Though I guess it would have to be "DEPARTMENT OF DIVERSE DATA".) Or do we put (again using this example) "STILTICA MORONICA PUDENS / FR. COLLOQ: "HAUT DERRIÈRE" / E. T. from Mira III / Harmless, but apt to be a nuisance. Has a tendency to cuddle up to Terrestrials."?? or "DEPARTMENT OF DIVERSE DATA" and all that??
Again, help, please. I'm out of my depth here. I can fix the ones I've entered; I just need to know what to change them to. Thanks. -- Dave davecat 11:52, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)

I took a look at couple of these when I approved them. They look more like nearly 1/2 page entries from some kind of weird illustrated encyclopedia. I would have a hard time classifying them as cartoons. Probably essay is the best compromise. There are certainly filler "essays" that take up even less space than this but are credited in the table of contents of other magazines. My assumption would be that D. Pattee is probably responsible for both text and art.--swfritter 13:40, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)
I think that's likely, but the credits are clearly artwork credits in the way they're set. Especially the first one that I entered, which is actually lettered as part of the artwork. (I did wonder whether Campbell wrote them & asked this D. Pattee (David Pattee?) to illustrate - but they do seem more like visual gags with text for completion.)
If you think they're not cartoons, then I will continue as I've been doing. Thank you. -- Dave davecat 14:33, 7 Nov 2007 (CST)

Analog "Personality Profile" columns

I've just run into something that I had forgotten (& still don't remember, for that matter - the issues I really knew well at one point are all quite a bit earlier). In the September 1972 issue of Analog, the editorial is replaced by a "Personality Profile" column by Norman Spinrad, on Buckminster Fuller. An introductory "Editor's note" says this is the start of a new feature, & that this month's editorial is omitted rather than cut stories or science-fact articles. Looking ahead a bit, I believe that the next one (also by Spinrad) is June 1973; it also seems (at a glance) to replace the editorial.
What I'm going to do is to just enter it as an essay, with the title "Buckminster Fuller: The Synergetic Man". If it seems OK to others (this is why I'm posting this), I'll sometime later (in a couple of days) create yet another series for it, called "Personality Profile (Analog)". I don't know how long this feature continued, so I don't really know whether this is worth it. (My own collection only goes through March 1976, so if they don't pop up more than every 9 months I wouldn't see many even if I checked.) I guess that if these were the only two of them, I'd be tempted to just go with a note in the pub instead of a series. (Does anyone know, off hand, without going through a lot of issues?)
If I need to change this, well, I won't get to the next one for a little while, & I can do one over pretty easily.
Thanks for any input anyone cares to give. -- Dave davecat 15:48, 10 Nov 2007 (CST)

official form for title

The pub editor's help discusses what to do when the form of a title from the table of contents (of a magazine) differs from the form at the head of the story or article. (Generally, prefer the latter unless there seems to be good reason, in which case put a note in the pub.) There's a slightly different issue here. This is an editorial in Analog (March 1973). At the top of the item the title is given as "Law & Order", with the ampersand much larger & in a font that's in effect a graphic outline. At the foot of the (odd-numbered) pages, the title is "Law and Order". I've run into differences between these a few times before & made a judgment call; the one that comes to mind involved quotation marks around the title, & it seemed fairly evident to me that they were intended (& I did document). In this case I'm unsure. I'm going to enter it as "Law and Order" & add a note, but that can be changed if anyone wants to tell me I should definitely prefer the heading in a case like this. Thanks for any input. -- Dave davecat 08:41, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)

Contento/Locus lists it with the ampersand.--swfritter 13:04, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)
Good enough. I've submitted the change to "&". The pub note needs no change. -- davecat 14:18, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)
I might note that Contento/Locus is not necessarily a good exemplar for many standards. They are a good research tool but they do a number of things differently - including less comprehensively documented variant names and canonical names. But in this case their entry agreed with my own inclinations.--swfritter 15:08, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)


Out of curiosity & a bit more: Is there some good reason not to treat "Summers" as an alternate name for Leo Summers ?
For what it's worth, his LRS signature is visible in the illustration on p. 15 of that Great Science Fiction from Amazing I entered today here, where "SUMMERS" is the credited artist for the story.
Thanks -- Dave davecat 13:54, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)

At this point in time we are collecting artist data. Summers was credited in at least five different ways. We really cannot determine a canonical name for artists until we know which name they used most often or makes more sense for some other reason. I generally used the most fully expanded credit associated with a story or listed elsewhere in the magazine where the artwork appears. Unfortunately Frank Kelly Freas and Ed Emshwiller have already been categorized as canonical names when it might have been more appropriate to have used Kelly Freas and Emsh respectively.--swfritter 14:53, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)
It's not TOO bad if we create the variant authors as we find them, but it's a MAJOR pain once dozens of variant titles have been set up "the wrong way round". I think we can be patient on a lot of these new credits. As you can see with examples like "Chris Butler" and "David Alexander" above, it's not worth the long-term pain if we get it wrong early. And worst of all is if someone merges incorrectly. :-/ BLongley 15:11, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)
OK, Thanks. I'll try to resist the temptation to go in & start cleaning things up (& to remember not to). davecat 15:58, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)

I admit that I'm grumbling over Analog's own inability to decide whether Vincent di Fate is "di Fate" or "diFate". At least once even in a single issue. (And I think I bungled that one but I haven't located it again yet & may never do so. I think that was the first time I saw it with a blank in it, so I assumed it was just a typo; then they began switching randomly in different issues.) Since I observed that "Di Fate" seems to be the official form, I've been making "diFate" (which automagically becomes (DiFate") a variant. davecat 22:09, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)

Stanislaw Lem - The Star Diaries & Memoirs of a Space Traveller : Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy

ISFDB has these as variants of the original Polish title, howver I have Mandarin editions of both titles & the contents are different - more like part 1 & part 2. In fact my Memoirs (1991) has a Publisher's Note: "The pieces in this book - the two Voyages of Ijon Tichy, his reminiscences, his open letter - all appeared in the 1971 Polish edition of Dzienniki gwiazdowe (The Star Diaries) but were not included in the British and American editions titled The Star Diaries and published in 1976. The present book, in effect, constitutes the second volume of Lem's work of that name."

Would making a nested series capture this? Something like:

 Dzienniki gwiazdowe
   - Dzienniki gwiazdowe
   Dzienniki gwiazdowe (in 2 volumes)
     - Star Diaries
     - Memoirs of a Space Traveller : Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy

Or is there another ISFDB solution for books split into multiple volumes in later printings? (SF Hall of Fame vol 2A is another: I have it in 3 paperback books "The Novellas"). --j_clark 20:46, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)

Later: The Futurological Congress is also Ijon Tichy (novel) so the top level series would be Ijon Tichy rather than Dzienniki gwiazdowe. --j_clark 20:57, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)

I have put the three Tichy novels and Dzienniki gwiazdowe in a new series, so that's out of the way. As far as the reprint situation is concerned, unfortunately, the ISFDB software doesn't support subsequent multi-volume publications very well at this point. Our Help pages say:
If a book is packaged as a single volume work, and then republished as a multi-volume work, all the publications are novels; there is no need to classify the single volume work as an omnibus.
I have added notes to the Polish and English Titles explaining the situation, but there is more work to be done, e.g., IIRC, Lem reshuffled the stories in this collection a few times. His bibliography is generally in poor shape; I'll see if I can clean it up the way I cleaned up René Barjavel's books the other day. Ahasuerus 19:03, 14 Nov 2007 (CST)

Nebula Award Stories Seven (or 7) title?

In Analog, July 1973 there's a review of this book, giving the title as Nebula Award Stories Seven. It seems to be in the database as Nebula Award Stories 7. A google search turned up listings with the word spelled out, including a cover image with the word spelled out. For the moment, I've entered the review that way. Advice? Thanks. -- Dave davecat 21:40, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)

From Help: Title - The title of the work being reviewed. If the review uses a non-canonical title which is already recorded in the ISFDB as a variant of the canonical title for this work, simply enter the title used in the review. If the review uses a title which differs from any of the known titles for this book, but which still serves to unambiguously identify the book (e.g. if the review has a misprint, or abbreviates the name of the book), then enter a corrected title, but make a note in the notes field for the publication that the review title was spelled incorrectly, and give the form of the title actually used in the review.
So as help stands, you adjust the review to match the book, and make notes in the magazine. I did ask if that's what people actually DO , but have no answer yet...
Normally, that's what I've been doing. At least once, when I knew the book was just entered wrong, I've changed the book's entry. This one looks to me like the book's entry is wrong (& hence likely to undergo change at some later point); but it may merely be a variant. I don't know how the linking you mention (below) works; if I go change it (either book or review) now, will the automatic linking happen? I hesitate to change the book, both because I don't have a copy in hand & because there are others in the series numbered with numerals. (Conceivably someone entered them that way so a sorted list (alphanumeric) would get them in order?) I guess I'll go change the review, when the submission gets approved; can always change it back if that's called for. Thanks. -- davecat 13:54, 14 Nov 2007 (CST)
Linking is either very poor, or very good, depending on your viewpoint. This Magazine links to this title nicely (see the link back), but suggests "1984" was by Samuel R. Delany. (I always thought 1984 was by George Orwell, but maybe that's Doublethink gone wrong.) The Serpent's Shadow SHOULD match something on Mercedes Lackey's page, and this one seems to be appropriate, but apostrophes do mess things up it seems. It really has to be an EXACT match of title and author to link, but then that can match with SERIALs and such. It's not perfect, and needs software changes to fix. BLongley 15:23, 14 Nov 2007 (CST)

And one more request for advice (this time not technical but etiquette): I'm kind of feeling like I've kidnapped the help desk page for my own personal questions. Should I just be using my talk page for a lot more of these? Again, thanks. -- davecat 21:55, 13 Nov 2007 (CST)

... possibly because the question was asked on someone's talk page instead of here. :-/ Here's best, I think.
I can see a case for bringing the two into line for minor variations like this, IF there have been no verified (in any way) books. Long titles on books often do get shortened for Cover and Spine, so in this case it's not unreasonable to suspect the book is in error rather than the review: a later Book Verifier can always correct it. I think the linking is probably more important in the short term, so people can see how much can actually be affected by an edit: and there's no reason to mess up a magazine entry in the meantime. I've removed Series suffixes like "(Star Trek)" to get books to match reviews before, it's a question of where you draw the line though. I suspect many magazine editors currently AREN'T checking whether reviews actually link to books though - if YOU are, please continue! It helps a lot if they always link, sometimes the review has the only information about a book edition and the review alone won't record that. It's one of the few reasons I still do magazines at times. BLongley 13:13, 14 Nov 2007 (CST)
It's actually better to ask here as the answers have an educational value for others. Cross checking reviews is one of the six part Bibliographic Tasks. It's entirely possible that all of the book reviews from the 50's American magazines will cross-reference correctly by the end of next year.--swfritter 13:44, 14 Nov 2007 (CST)
Glad to hear it. If the missing books appear, that's fine: it will require some more refinement to the software to link reviews to the EDITIONS they actually reviewed (and some later reviews cover both hardcover and paperback editions anyway), but I can live with that for now. Identifying missing data is good. BLongley 15:23, 14 Nov 2007 (CST)
I'd noticed that the review entry doesn't ask for date or publisher or price (which Miller's reviews do give). I've been assuming that this meant there weren't data fields for this information, but it could be just the entry screen. (You probably know which.) davecat 16:21, 14 Nov 2007 (CST)
Reviews don't have those fields, but you can go create the publication as well if it isn't here already. That way we capture the data, otherwise (IMO) it's a lost opportunity. Note that if you DON'T enter the pub as we already have one, the review can link to a totally wrong edition and look OK to ISFDB, but make the reviewer look a bit late - decades in some cases! BLongley 14:14, 15 Nov 2007 (CST)
I'd be more likely to check that if (1) there were an easy way to check from the review (with the examples you gave, it appeared that one had to go to the pub (via title), guessing which one, & see whether a review was listed), & (2) there weren't a builtin lag waiting for submissions to be approved. I'm already drowning in notes of things to do after approval of submissions. -- davecat 16:14, 15 Nov 2007 (CST)

On Her Majesty's Occult Service / Odd character script in content?

Does this script in the contents section look wrong to anyone else [4] and if so any ideas?Kraang 09:02, 14 Nov 2007 (CST)

Fixed it by changing the HTML in the notes section. It appears improper HTML script affects things in the content section.Kraang 09:09, 14 Nov 2007 (CST)
Yes, I've noticed some incorrectly closed unordered lists that have moved the following "Bibliographic Notes" section across, it's easy to believe they can affect more than that: and if you get tags in the pub contents you can end up with a submission that only Al can zap. We have to be pretty careful with HTML. (And XML - I've messed up submissions with an incorrectly formatted escape sequence before.) BLongley 12:43, 14 Nov 2007 (CST)

Sunburst - Nicholas Fisk vs Phyllis Gotlieb

The details for Nicholas Fisk's Sunburst includes a 3-part serial called Sunburst; however the serial is by Phyllis Gotlieb.

How does one fix this? --j_clark 23:57, 16 Nov 2007 (CST)

Serials are linked automatically whenever the software finds a matching title. This logic works reasonably well on Summary Bibliography pages. However, there is a bug in the Title display logic, which ignores the Serial's author, which is what you ran into in the Fisk-vs.-Gotlieb case. The problem will disappear once the software has been fixed, so for now we just have to ignore it. Ahasuerus 00:35, 17 Nov 2007 (CST)

The Reference Library (Analog, May 1974)

As I started entering contents for this issue, I observed among the contents already present these two essays, which were not in the table of contents: "The Case of Roger Elwood" (essay by Barry N. Malzberg), and 'Response to "The Case of Roger Elwood"' (essay by Roger Elwood). When I got to the regular feature/department "The Reference Library", I found that (under that heading) these two essays replaced P. Schuyler Miller's regular book review column.
Except for a brief Editor's Note explaining this & saying Miller would return the next month, these two essays are all there is in this department. Finally, Malzberg's contribution is titled as noted above, if "titled" is the right word for a line in all caps at the beginning of the text (no whitespace intervening), but Elwood's contribution has no such "title" & merely begins "Dear Ben:".
What I propose to do is this:

  1. not include an essay entry titled "The Reference Library" (which I normally would with Miller's review column)
  2. leave in the two essays as given, but add them to the series "The Reference Library"
  3. put a note in the pub about this

I thought at first that #2 would cause these titles to be sorted far out of order. I don't know how the series is sorted, but this may not be a problem; sorting doesn't appear to be alphabetical by title as I had assumed.
Anyway, I think all of what I proposed above & am about to do can be undone pretty easily, so I'm going to go ahead; but I'm asking for feedback in case this is not the right way to do it. Thanks. -- Dave davecat 11:06, 19 Nov 2007 (CST)

Forgot to add: In the banner for The Reference Library, Malzberg is credited. davecat 11:13, 19 Nov 2007 (CST)

Ack!! I messed up data entry - confused the two essays in entering synopsis & notes. If someone approves it anyway, which I hope someone will, I will fix this up. Sorry. davecat 11:23, 19 Nov 2007 (CST)

Variant Author

Hi all, One day I'll get the hang of "variant title" and all its nuances! My current problem is with a variant version of an author: Kurt Vonnegut / Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., for the story Harrison Bergeron. What I was trying to achieve is to have the summary page for Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. to be like the Asimov page for the Lucky Starr as Paul French novels, e.g.:

#  4 Lucky Starr and the Big Sun of Mercury (1956)
    * Variant Title: Lucky Starr and the Big Sun of Mercury (1956) [as by Paul French ] 

Instead I got, on the KV, Jr. page:

Harrison Bergeron (1961) [as by Kurt Vonnegut ] 

but it is only one instance of the many that is as by KV, the rest being by KV,Jr., so I think it should be listed as:

Harrison Bergeron (1961)
    * Variant Title: Harrison Bergeron (1961) [as by Kurt Vonnegut ] 


From memory, what I did was:
- Entered the anthology contents with KV as the author of the story (Puffin Book of SF by Nicholas Fisk (after the vt))
- Went to the KV,Jr. page, opened the title Harrison Bergeron & captured the record ID from the URL
- Went to the KV page, and opened its Harrison Bergeron title
- clicked Make this title a Variant
- pasted the record ID of the KV, Jr. Harrison Bergeron title as being the parent
- clicked the top submit button.

The Brian Aldiss/Brian W. Aldiss Confluence story in the same anthology went the same way.

What should I have done? How do I fix the current situation? Thanks --j_clark 16:43, 19 Nov 2007 (CST)

Don't worry - your "Puffin Book of SF by Nicholas Fisk" looks fine. The author page listings are a bit of a mystery as to how they appear - there's an open question about whether variants should get dated as to the date of the variation or the original work, which MIGHT affect the display logic. When they're in a series as well, only one of the variations should be included in the series or the series display logic makes it look silly with double entries. Which way they should get listed isn't YOUR problem, it's a standards question and/or a bug report and/or feature request. You aren't doing anything wrong. BLongley 17:13, 19 Nov 2007 (CST)

review: For Want of a Nail

In Analog, September 1974, I find a review of a book called For Want of a Nail by one Robert Sobel. In the database I find this entry (ignoring things by other people):

 For Want of a Nail...; If Burgoyne Had Won at Saratoga : NOVEL : 1996 : Robert J. Sobel

[Wikipedia] says, in part:

Sobel was perhaps most famous for his only work of fiction, the 1973 book, For Want of a Nail. This book is an alternate history in which Burgoyne won the Battle of Saratoga during the American Revolutionary War. This unique work was just like a real history book, but detailing the history of an alternate timeline, complete with footnotes. Sobel had authored, or co-authored, several actual text books. For Want of a Nail was republished in 1988 and won several science fiction awards.

I'm assuming that these are basically the same book (untested assumption). But my real question is: is this a case where I should be changing the name of the reviewed book to match the title in the database (23 years later!), subtitle & all, "Robert J." & all? (Wikipedia's article is for Robert Sobel, not Robert J.) For the moment I'm not, but I'm quite open to persuasion. (Or anyone could do it.) The review does date the book as 1973, too. Thanks. -- davecat 19:29, 20 Nov 2007 (CST)

Well, the 1997 edition is available as "Search Inside" on Amazon, so I added that one and having found the ISBN could go verify its existence and length etc from Alibris and suchlike. I couldn't be bothered to add contents although I've left a link to them if someone feels inclined. It doesn't actually show the title page so the details come from the front matter - and unfortunately the punctuation differences mean it doesn't match the Award record. Alibris also shows several editions of the 1973 edition so I've added that too - that one seems to include the ellipsis rather than a colon though, so again the titles don't match. There's a 2006 paperback too, with a current list price on Amazon so I've added that for good measure. All evidence so far suggests the main text is the same for all three editions. BLongley 14:02, 21 Nov 2007 (CST)
We can't directly change the Award record to match the 1997 book: we could change the review record (via the magazine) to match the 1973 book, and help suggests we SHOULD do so and leave notes in the magazine. We don't have much Robert J. Sobel evidence to justify keeping that variation so we could do a an author-merge. And regularisation of the ellipsis has recently been agreed, so we could adjust the "..." titles and accidentally lose the ";", thus making a couple of titles justifiably mergeable. I think we can cut down to two title variations (with ellipsis and without) but I've no real preference which way merges go on this: I just added some more data to help people decide. OK, leaving 3 unverified pubs under 2 titles with another 2 titles as Award and Review may not help a decision, but it should give people some pointers! There's also at least one more US edition to add as the 1997 edition at least was published in two countries simultaneously. BLongley 14:02, 21 Nov 2007 (CST)