Normally, when we announce new updates to the site, it’s something (we think is) exciting and new, like a new interactive book-tracked list, a cool reading contest, a nifty way to rank authors, or (my favorite) BookTrackr.
This time, however, we have announcement that is both exciting and mundane. Yes. That’s right. Worlds Without End has finally ditched its 1990s-style blogging/commenting engine (you know, the one that made you type twisted captcha words and blew up if you used the wrong keys from, you know, your keyboard) in favor of WordPress. Yes. We know. WordPress has been around probably longer than WWEnd has.
So…no. This news isn’t exactly cutting edge. It does, however, mean that our blog will act like every other blog you know, which means we can clip some of those dissertation length posts, and the interface won’t have those eccentricities that get in your way. So, huzzah!
BTW, relatively invisible changes (like this WordPress transition) are much much harder to do than the whiz-bang interactive stuff that people like so much. I know it seems like BookTrackr would be harder to make (from scratch) than integrating a plug in blog, but Chris (our hard working tech guru, a.k.a. Whargoul) begs to differ. So, thanks to Chris, Jonathan and Dave for ensuring that I never have to edit apostrophes out of my comments (or guess at captcha words) again!
Do bear with us as any new site feature, such as this, will require a learning curve on our part. We will be tweaking it over the coming weeks.
UPDATE: If you’re having any difficulties with your RSS feed reader, here is the link to the new feed: http://blog.worldswithoutend.com/feed/
I love a good list. From Letterman’s latest Top Ten to IMDb’s Top 250 Movies to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted I can’t get enough of them. Especially book lists! They fascinate and infuriate in equal parts and provide endless points for discussion and contention among fans. Especially when the list purports to be the "best of" something or other.
Genre fiction is replete with "best of" lists and based on your response to the 20 SF/F/H Lists we have here on WWEnd it seems you folks can’t get enough of ‘em either. No sooner do we post a new one than we start getting calls for another! I love it. There are so many out there I doubt we’ll ever run out of new ones and since each list offers a different take on what’s best we’re perfectly happy to keep adding more.
We’ve added some new ones recently–including one just yesterday–that you guys asked for specifically and we wanted to let you know they’re up. Enjoy!
Damien Broderick and Paul Di Filippo’s book list, from their new book Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985–2010, is a continuation of David Pringle’s Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. Pringle passes the torch in a foreword to the new volume: "Having been unable to keep up with all those new SF works myself, I am delighted that Damien Broderick and Paul Di Filippo have taken it upon themselves to do the job, and I am very happy to endorse their excellent book."
David Pringle has written several guides to science fiction and fantasy. His famous book, Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels, is a highly regarded primer for the genre. In 1988 Pringle followed up with his Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels (1946-1987). Primarily the book comprises 100 short essays on the selected works, covered in order of publication, without any ranking. It is considered an important critical summary of the field of modern fantasy literature.
Worlds Without End has over 800 reviews of some of the best books in science fiction, fantasy and horror. These reviews have been submitted by our members and range from simple opinions ("This book sucked!") to well reasoned technical reviews of some of your favorite genre books. We’ve created this list so you can find all the reviewed books in one place and, if you’re a logged in WWEnd member, you can use BookTrackr™ to easily find reviews for any of the books you’ve read.
Easton Press puts out those amazing leather-bound books you’ve probably lusted over at one time or another. I’ve got a few in my collection and I’m always on the lookout for more – if the price is right. I shudder to think what the whole set must cost!
While we don’t have the actual Easton Press cover images for the list the 139 books on it represent some of the best in genre fiction under any cover.
Take a look and let us know what you think. How many of these have you read? How do you think it compares to some of our other Book Lists?
You may have noticed a few changes around WWEnd lately. We’ve been hard at work pushing out new updates as fast as we can. We just finished a major push to update our Horror coverage with the addition of The Bram Stoker Award and the HWA Reading List. That’s a couple hundred more of the best books to pick from my friends!
And since finding the best books is what this site is all about we’ve just added a new feature to our BookTrackr™ that we think you’re really gonna like. You’ve probably already noticed the new numbered icons that appear on the book covers in the awards pages and elsewhere on the site. These new info icons are designed to help you identify the most celebrated books, at a glance, from amongst the thousands of books in our database. The red icon represents the number of award nominations that book has received, across the 11 awards we cover, while the black icon represents the number of Book Lists that the book appears on.
In the example above, which happens to show the nominees for the 2002 Hugo Award, you can see that all 5 books received multiple nominations but China Mieville‘s Perdido Street Station has a whopping 7 nominations and is included in 3 out of our 14 book lists! The yellow highlight indicates that it’s on my reading list. Can you guess why? The book that won the Hugo in 2002, Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods, boasts a 7/4 and is one of my favorite fantasy books.
These numbers do more than just show nominations and lists, however. They reveal all kinds of interesting and useful information that you can use to find the books you want to read. For example, if you’re wanting to try Vernor Vinge you would find A Fire Upon the Deep at a 4/4 to be pretty tempting.
You can even see which years an author was hottest. Take a look at Gene Wolfe to see what I mean. He’s been hugely popular for many years but was absolutely killing it in the early 80′s in particular. Stephen King has nominations for 25 of the 29 of his books in our database which is a pretty clear indication of his consistent quality.
Say you want to try a cyberpunk novel but you don’t know where to start. You can go to our sub-genres page, click on cyberpunk to get a list of all the books that have been tagged as cyberpunk. Now you can look for the books with the highest number of award nominations and list appearances. Neuromancer at a 5/7 looks like a pretty safe bet. Of course, an 8 1/2 rating from 131 member votes will further that impression too.
Some other indicators that have become apparent are that higher award noms tends to indicate a more recent book. There are more awards now than there were in the past so there’s a better chance of getting multiple nominations. The converse of that is that the books with a higer number of book list appearances tend to be older works because they have been more widely read over the years. They’ve stood the test of time as it were. Frank Herbert‘s classic, Dune, is a great example. It has only 2 award nominations, from a time when there were only 2 awards, but that’s offset by 7 book list appearances! They don’t call it a classic for nuttin’!
These numbers can be found on all the awards lists, the author and publisher pages as well as the search page right now. We’ll be adding them to the book lists pages and the members lists next so stand by for that update in the next few days. Take a look at this new feature and let us know what you think. What other useful information can you glean from these numbers? How do your favorite books stack up in noms and lists?
You may have noticed on the novel page that a new button sometimes appears underneath the cover image. Worlds Without End has started including "Add to Amazon Kindle" buttons for those titles that are available on Amazon electronically. You will see this button more and more as we update our database. Once this project is completed, we’ll look at adding Nook, ePub, and mobi editions (where available)
This is our second push for ebook support. The first came a few years ago, when we added the public domain ebook list, where you can download dozens – destined to be hundreds – of public domain books to your ebook reader or computer.
Just as we begin to get serious about adding these links to our site, we hear that Gollancz, the second winningest publisher in our database, is taking many of their out-of-print classic books and making them available as ebooks. The SF Gateway website is going to be "the world’s largest digital SFF library." We couldn’t be more thrilled, since several of our (especially Hugo) winning titles have been out of print for some time.
Now, for your perusing pleasure, here is a list of authors, or their estates, who have already decided to release their corpus for digital reading:
Poul Anderson • Barrington J. Bayley • Gregory Benford • Michael Bishop • James P. Blaylock • James Blish • Marion Zimmer Bradley • John Brosnan • Fredric Brown • John Brunner • Algis Budrys • Kenneth Bulmer • Edgar Rice Burroughs • Pat Cadigan • John W. Campbell Jr • Terry Carr • Arthur C. Clarke • Hal Clement • D.G. Compton • Michael G. Coney • Edmund Cooper • Richard Cowper • John Crowley • L. Sprague de Camp • Samuel R. Delany • Philip K. Dick • Gordon R. Dickson • Christopher Evans • Philip Jose Farmer • John Russell Fearn • Alan Dean Foster • Mary Gentle • Mark S. Geston • Joseph L. Green • Colin Greenland • Nicola Griffith • Joe Haldeman • Harry Harrison • Frank Herbert • Philip E. High • Robert Holdstock • Cecelia Holland • Robert E. Howard • Raymond F. Jones • Leigh Kennedy • Garry Kilworth • Damon Knight • Henry Kuttner • Tanith Lee • Murray Leinster • H.P. Lovecraft • Katherine MacLean • Barry N. Malzberg • Phillip Mann • David I. Masson • C.L. Moore • Ward Moore • Edgar Pangborn • Frederik Pohl • Rachel Pollack • Tim Powers • Mack Reynolds • Keith Roberts • Eric Frank Russell • Josephine Saxton • Bob Shaw • Robert Silverberg • Clifford D. Simak • Dan Simmons • John Sladek • Cordwainer Smith • E.E. "Doc" Smith • Norman Spinrad • Olaf Stapledon • Theodore Sturgeon • William Tenn • Sheri S. Tepper • James Tiptree Jr • E.C. Tubb • George Turner • Harry Turtledove • Jack Vance • Ian Watson • Ted White • Kate Wilhelm • Connie Willis • Robert Charles Wilson • Gene Wolfe
Most Science Fiction and Fantasy fans like a good series. Once we find a book we like we want to return to that universe time and again for more great adventures with the characters and settings we already know. Of course, Science Fiction and Fantasy authors and publishers are only too happy to indulge our obsession. Indeed, single stand-alone books are becoming a thing of the past with trilogies or better being the norm. More is more these days.
Our new list of Science Fiction & Fantasy Series contains all of the series in the WWEnd database for your easy perusal. So whether you’re looking for a trilogy, tetralogy, pentalogy, hexalogy, heptalogy, octalogy, ennealogy or decalogy you’ve come to the right place. We’ve even got a trigintoctology for you serious gluttons.
Of course, if you’re a WWEnd Member you’ll be able to use BookTrackr™ to monitor your progress with the series you’re reading and tag those that you want to read later. Check it out and let us know what you think of the list. What series have we missed that you’d recommend to your friends? Which series are your favorites? Full points if you can tell me how many books make up a trigintoctology and the name of the series we’re referring to. Enjoy!
That’s right, the team here at WWEnd, Chris (whargoul), Rico (icowrich), Liz (Battlestar) and your’s truly, are going to Renovation, The 69th World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, Nevada in August. We’re very excited to say the least. We’ve got our Hugo Voter Packets, very nice by the way, and we’re looking forward the Hugo presentation, the programming, meeting some authors and just mixing it up with other SF/F fans. Not to mention the gambling.
But it’s not all about fun and games, though we’ll try to get in as much of both as we can. No, we actually have a plan. We’ve got a fan table and we’re going to demo Worlds Without End to unsuspecting passers-by. The goal is to get the word out and drum up some new members. Just last week we passed 1,000 members, thank you all very much, and we’d like to see that number climb further – and faster. More members makes a better site for everybody. It means more reviews and participation, better novel tagging which improves our sub-genre search, and more folks talking sci-fi and fantasy. That’s what we’re all about, you know.
Anyway. we’re not really sure what to expect, since this is our first con, but we’ll have a big screen TV to do the demo and a couple laptops so folks can signup on the spot. I hope the internet connection is decent. As an incentive, we’ve created a set of 5, limited edition, WWEnd bookmarks as giveaways for anybody that signs up. Not a huge deal but t-shirts are expensive and they ARE pretty cool bookmarks. Even if you don’t read physical books anymore.
So, if you’re going to be at the convention make sure you come by our table. We’d love to meet some of our members face to face and talk a little treason. You can get some free bookmarks to boot! So, anybody going to be in Reno come August 16th? Any tips for Reno?
Welcome to the not so new but certainly improved Worlds Without End! If you’ve been here before you’ll no doubt notice some pretty big changes. (If this is your first visit, you just have to trust me when I say it just keeps getting better.) Our goal was not a total re-design but rather a face lift – just a nip and tuck here and there – to freshen things up a bit and return that youthful glow to the site.
Why the changes? Well, this is the internet and you have to update your site once in a while if you want people to keep coming back. Nobody likes a stale site. But more importantly we keep growing and changing our content so we needed to update our navigation to help you guys can find the good stuff. On top of that our Google stats are telling us that lots of people are finding the site but most of our visitors aren’t going any further than our blog. They seem to be writing us off as "just a blog" when we have so much more to offer than that.
Here is a list of the major changes we’ve implemented to address these issues:
- New Home Page
We moved the blog out of the home page and gave it its own section. The new home page has links to the latest blog articles and a slideshow to highlight our best posts. Having a proper home page also gave us room to tell folks about some of our site features and the new content that gets added every day like new novels and authors and the latest member submitted book reviews.
- Main Navigation
We were fast running out of room for links in our old menu and sub-menus so we opted for a mega menu approach. Hover over the main menu items and you can see how the mega menu drop down gives us plenty of space to show off the breadth and depth of our content while allowing ample room for future growth. We also re-organized and simplified the navigation and grouped all the social stuff – blog, forums and links – to the far right.
- Giant Footer
We took the "new stuff" bits out of the footer and put them on the home page where they’ll get more attention and replaced it with a constant site-map. The new footer shows off all our content at once and makes it easy to see where you are and where you want to go next.
- Re-Organized the Books Section
This is where the rubber meets the road for WWEnd. It’s all about the books. In this section we cleaned up the sub-menu, killed off the award info pages and moved that content into a hidden slide outs on the award list pages and changed the book list pages to the full width template so we could get more columns in and make them look as good as the awards pages. Check out the SF Masterworks list to see what I mean.
There are a ton of other small changes throughout the site that you may or may not notice but hopefully they’ll all add up to a better user experience. So take a look around and let us know what you think of the redux.
This list contains all the award winning books by women authors for the 10 awards we cover on Worlds Without End: Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Locus SF, Locus Fantasy, John W. Campbell, BFS, World Fantasy, Philip K. Dick and Arthur C. Clarke. (You can see the complete list of winners for all 10 awards here.)
Novels written by women account for only 65 of the 305 award winning novels across all 10 awards. That’s only 21.3% since the first Hugo award was given in 1953. Seems a bit low to me and, no doubt, many others out there. In any case, what they lack for in quantity they make up for in quality.
So how many have you read from this list? Which ones would you recommend? For me, you have to read The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. One of my all-time favorites.
The Classics of Science Fiction list, compiled by James Wallace Harris and Anthony Bernardo, is an attempt to create a definitive list of the best Science Fiction books. Harris and Bernardo collected 28 different recommended and "best of" lists by noted fans, critics and writers and then cross-tabulated the lists to see which books showed up with the most frequency. The result is a ranked list of 193 books, each having seven or more citations.