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Editorial Practices: Checklists

Entry updated 8 December 2022. Tagged: Prelim.

Checklists of published works are a new feature, added in this third edition of the encyclopedia, released online in October 2011. These include bookshop affiliate links, automatically added to italicized book titles by the website software and coloured as links in the ordinary way. All such links go to the encyclopedia's generic shopping page, allowing search of various online bookstores. During the period of our sponsorship by Hachette/Orion/Gollancz such links would connect to the Gollancz SF Gateway ebook sales site if the title could be found there; this is no longer the case since the relevant SFE sponsorship ceased at the end of September 2021.

Entries for persons who have published relevant books – authors, artists, critics, editors – will normally include a Checklist following the main entry text. This presents all relevant titles as one or more bullet lists. Following the introduction of Checklists, we no longer necessarily list all titles in a relevant series within the body of the entry: the full listing can be relegated to the Checklist. The decision as to whether or not to include every title of a series in the entry body is weighted by the importance of the author, and/or the importance to that author's work of the series in question, and/or the length of the series. Checklists for authors whose sf works form only a small part of their output may be very selective, and are typically headed "works (selected)" or "works (highly selected)".

A Checklist begins with the creator's full real name. It continues with birth and death information on separate lines, not including the question marks which indicate unknown dates at the head of the entry: if the dates are (?   -1947), born is followed by a simple blank or by birthplace information alone. Next comes a list of published works which may be subdivided as appropriate into fiction (the default category, itself often divided to deal separately with major series), nonfiction, and works as editor, each division presented as a bullet list. An about the author (or about the artist, or in theme entries further reading) list of critical works may follow. Relevant external links are added as a final bullet list, concluding the Checklist. See the entries for Brian W Aldiss and Philip K Dick for long and involved Checklist examples.

Subheadings within Checklists are typically works, works (selected), works (highly selected), works as editor, about the author (if suitable biographical, bibliographical or critical cites are available), and links (always present even if no link is given). Significant series (if any) are grouped together under series titles preceded by series at the head of the Checklist. Subsequent non-series listings typically begin individual titles. Further subdivisions are possible, e.g. works as editor: nonfiction (as distinct from the default assumption of fiction) or works as editor: scholarship. We do not normally subdivide very short Checklists to this extent.

In each Checklist entry, after the standard "Title (Location: Publisher, Year)" information, we add a comment field in square brackets which gives or repeats ascription information, series affiliation, hb/ or pb/ for hardback or paperback, and cover artist where known. See, again, Brian W Aldiss and Philip K Dick for examples of the successively indented listings of vt (variant title) and rev (revision) variants: the vt which is a retitling of the original rather than of the revision is singly indented (like the listing of the revision) rather than doubly (like the listing of the vt of the revision). The principle is simple when seen on the page, though perhaps hard to describe: each work that is a changed version of an earlier work is always placed one indent in from that earlier work. A routine paperback reprint does not merit an additional listing unless the text is significantly revised (rev), expanded (exp) or cut.

The hb/ and pb/ indicators always include / and are immediately followed by the closing square bracket of the comment field if the cover artist or design is unknown: [... hb/] or [... pb/]. The cover artist slot may also contain "nonpictorial" for purely typographic designs, or "photographic": [... hb/nonpictorial] or [... pb/photographic]. If a book has cover artwork but the artist cannot be ascertained, [... pb/uncredited] may appear. As well as hb/ and pb/, we also allow the self-explanatory "binding unknown/" for works not classifiable as hb/ or pb/ – covering pre-1850 books – generally issued in unillustrated wraps for binding, many later French/Continental titles – and foreign editions (Chinese and Japanese, for example) where we have been unable to confirm the format. We also use na/ ("not applicable"), na/nonpictorial, or na/Jim Burns (substitute any artist here) for ebooks, CD-ROMs and microform editions which very often begin with artwork analogous to jacket art or typography; and for broadsheets, calendars and portfolios which are not precisely hb/ or pb/. "mag/" is used in the rare cases when we separately list original magazine publication in the Checklist, for example a foreign-language novel published only in magazine form in the author's home country but translated as a book; this designation is more frequent in about the author and further reading cites. See below for an example showing the format of a magazine citation.

The comment field can be a receptacle for almost any miscellaneous information. Collaborators, however, are listed after the publication details. Prior magazine publication is noted in ascriptions within the entry body and repeated in a Checklist comment field.

Order of Precedence in Comment Fields

This information, necessary for encyclopedia contributors, is perhaps of less interest to readers but should nevertheless be given.

  1. ¶ A paragraph sign or pilcrow is used only rarely at the beginning of comment fields to mark the preferred English translation of a non-English-language work. See Jules Verne.
  2. Literary nature The never-stated default is "book-length fiction". Alternatively, one of the following: bibliography, encyclopedia, nonfiction, novelette, novella, play(s), poem, poetry, screenplay, story.
  3. Internal structure The never-stated default is "novel". Alternatively: anth (anthology), coll (collection), coll of linked stories, fixup (see Fixup), omni (omnibus). Combinations are sometimes useful in awkward cases – anth/coll or coll/omni.
  4. External description More than one of these may appear as applicable, in the following order (e.g. "chap: dos:"): broadsheet, cd-rom, chap (chapbook), dos, ebook, graph (graphic work), portfolio, tie.
  5. Nature of variance Applies to variant editions shown indented or multiply indented in the Checklist: cut, exp (expanded), much exp, rev (revised: typically "rev of the above"), vt (variant title: may stand alone as in "vt of the above:" or follow another term as in "cut/exp/rev vt of the above:"), anon trans (translation) of the above, trans by J Random Translator of the above.
  6. General comments Optional and very often omitted. There are many possibilities here. The following appear frequently: "book is dated xxxx rather than the correct ­yyyy"; "written xxxx" (when the date of writing is significantly earlier than the publication date), "edited by J Random Scholar" (applies to single-author collections edited by third parties – anthology editors are specified after publisher details and before the comment field).
  7. Series affiliation Always given in boldface: Marauders, for example, or Marauders: Death Vengeance (indicating a subseries of Marauders)
  8. Cover data Always the last item in a comment field: hb/ (appearing alone if the artist is not known), hb/J Random Artist, hb/nonpictorial, hb/photographic, hb/uncredited, pb/ (with variations as for hb/), na/, binding unknown/, mag/ (magazine).

Also given in Checklist form are about the author and further reading citations, with the author of the reference added before the title. Page ranges, where applicable, may be included in the "general comments" slot. Brief examples follow, taken from the entries Philip K Dick (a brief extract only) and Jonbar Point. [DRL/JC]

about the author

further reading

previous versions of this entry

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