(A quick-reference version of some of this
information, that you can keep open while browsing the List, is available;
version by using the "List Format" links at the top of many
At first, the List may look a bit imposing, with odd codes all over the
place. But once you know the secret of what those little codes means, everything will fall
An entry on the List looks like this:
So, what does all of that mean? Let's break it down:
This first line gives the author of the book, Peter David. It also has two
links that will lead you to more information about this author; the [AL] points to a list
of Peter David's books, and the [BL] points to a page of reviews of some of his books.
Different entries will have different links, with different two-letter codes to tell you
what's on the other side. What do all those codes mean? Hold that thought; we'll get to it
This second line gives the book's title (Howling Mad), and a list
of the people who have commented on this book. To save room, these people are listed by
number; check the list of Contributors to find out whose
number is whose.
- The people listed before the first slash gave the book a "+" rating, meaning
that someone interested in transformations should definitely seek out this book. (So two
people--"11", Joe Huber, and "Ph", myself--thought that Howling Mad
fell into this category.)
- The people listed between the slashes gave the book a "0" rating, meaning that
the book is about average as far as transformation goes. (So two people--"3",
Gavin Steyn and "154", William Osborn--thought that Howling Mad was about
- The people listed after the slashes gave the book a "-" rating, meaning that
the book uses transformation only incidentally, and it's probably not worth seeking out if
you're only interested in the transformation. (So nobody thought that Howling Mad
was this way.)
The icon at the far left margin sums up all of these individual ratings:
- : This book heavily involves
- : This book is about average,
- : The transformations in this
book are pretty incidental; it's probably not worth looking for if the transformations are
all you're interested in.
- : There's some question as to
whether this book belongs on the List at all; or there's critical information missing
about the book. (If you know the missing information, please let me know!)
Please take note that these ratings deal only with the question of
"Does this book involve transformation heavily?" They don't deal with
the question of "Is this book enjoyable to read?" we'll get to that question in
The [BBT] to the right is a link to the Bookstore Browser, to let you
search various online bookstores for this book, by title and author. Again, you'll find
all sorts of different types of links as you go through the List, with different codes
telling you what the links lead to; we'll get to those codes before long, I promise...
[Ace; 1989; 0441346634; $3.50] [BB]
This next line has the publication info for a particular edition of the
book--the publisher (Ace), the publication year (1989), the ISBN (0441346634), and the
price ($3.50). Please notice that much of this information comes from my own collection
(and the collections of other contributors), so the publication info given may well not be
for the most recent edition. The [BB] is another Bookstore Browser link, this one doing a
search by ISBN (for this particular edition) rather than for title.
Here we have the meat of the entry--the specific comments people have made
about the book. The contributor of each comment is listed by number; for exaple, the first
comment ("About a wolf who gets bitten by a werewolf...") was made by Gavin
Well, that clears everything up, right? Have fun with the List!
What the heck does "Rating: 3 Result: LY Significance: + Description:
0 Saturation: 0" mean?
An excellent question. Let's find out. :-)
Joe Huber (#11), one of my best contributors, has devised a nice, compact
format for adding lots of information to his comments. I've altered his format a bit, to
make all the codes the same length and to make sure that all the codes were unique; I've
also added a few additional codes.
- Rating: "Okay, forget about this transformation stuff. Is this book
enjoyable to read?"
- 5: An absolute must-read
- 4: Worth reading multiple times
- 3: Worth a read
- 2: Possible read, if it looks interesting
- 1: Not recommended at all.
- NR: Not read. (In other words, the contributor knows that the book involves
transformations, but hasn't read it completely.)
- Cause: "What makes the transformation(s) happen?"
- AM: Advanced medical technology
- AS: Advanced science
- AX: Transformation of humans by aliens
- CM: Current medical technology
- DT: Travel between dimensions
- EC: Result of evolutionary change
- EM: Evolutionary genetic manipulation
- GM: Genetic manipulation
- MA: Magic (cast upon those transformed)
- MC: Magic (caster transformed)
- NA: Natural ability
- NT: Nanotechnology
- RE: Reincarnation
- SY: Symbiosis
- VI: Virus
- VR: Virtual Reality
- OT: Other (described in the entry comments)
Sometimes, more than one of these codes may be listed; for example, "Cause:
MA/DT" means that both magic and dimensional travel are involved. And "Cause:
MA?" means that magic may be involved, but it's not certain.
- Result: "What sorts of transformations happen?"
- AN: Animal characteristics (someone turning partly or completely into an animal)
- AP: Astral projection
- AR: Age regression (becoming younger)
- AT: Artificial telepathy
- BC: Bodies of several people combined into one single body
- BM: Body metamorphosis
- BT: Brain transplant
- BX: Body completely transformed
- EA: Evolutionary ability
- GC: Gender changes
- HG: Hermaphroditic gender changes
- IN: Transformation from/to inanimate object
- LY: Lycanthropy
- MD: Decrease in mental power
- MP: Increase in mental power
- MR: Mental recordings
- MT: Mind Transfer
- MU: Mind transfer--participant(s) unwilling
- MX: Minor body transformations
- PE: Personality changes
- RM: Racial metamorphosis
- RP: Reverse possession
- SC: Shape changers
- SP: Spiritual possession
- ST: Soul transfer
- TD: Telepathic disguise
- TT: Mind transfer forward/back in time
- VA: Vampiric ability
- ZC: Size change
- OT: Other (described in the entry comments)
- Significance: "How important are the transformations to the book?"
- +: Very important; the book is all about the transformations, or revolves around them.
- 0: Somewhat important; the transformations are critical to the story, but not the focus.
- -: Unimportant; any transformations are incidental to the story.
- X: Not rated
- Description: "How well are the transformations described?"
- +: The transformations are described very well.
- 0: The transformations are described reasonably well.
- -: "Poof! He was a wolf."
- Saturation: "How many transformations are there?"
- +: There are transformations everywhere.
- 0: "Average"--probably a few transformations.
- -: Only one transformation. (Or perhaps even none at all--for example, a character may
have been transformed before the events of the book even start, and the book deals with
the results of that transformation.)
So, that explains the List.. but the mystery of "What do those
two-letter codes mean?" is still unanswered. If your answer to that mystery is
"Who cares? I'll figure it out as I go!", then I admire your initiative; stop
wasting your time here and start reading the List, silly!
But for the more cautious souls among you, who want to know everything they can before
they leap into the unknown, read on for just a bit more...
As you read through the list, you will sometimes come across funny little
two-letter codes in brackets. These will lead you to all sorts of
hopefully-interesting-and-relevant information. What sort of information? Well, here's the
- [AL]: Author List. The ftp archive at sflovers.rutgers.edu has a collection of
lists of works by particular authors (in the /pub/sf-lovers/bibliographies/authorlists
directory); this link will take you to the list of works by the author you're reading
- [BB]: Bookstore Browser link by ISBN. This link will take you to a
separate browser screen, which will let you browse various online bookstores' information
on information on the book (such as its availability, and reviews written by other
customers). If you're interested, it will also allow you to order the book. This link
does a search for the book by its ISBN number; that's faster, and more reliable (since
it's not as vulnerable to typos in the author or title), but it means that you'll only see
that particular edition of the book--you won't see other editions that may have come
out. Following one of these links does not obligate you to buy anything!
If one of these links doesn't seem to lead anywhere, please see the Q&A page for more info.
- [BBT]: Bookstore Browser link by title. This works the same way as the
[BB] links, but does a search by title (and possibly by author, depending on the store)
instead of by ISBN. This will show you every edition of the book that the store has, not
just the ones I know about. But it's slower, and a bit less reliable. Following
one of these links does not obligate you to buy anything!
- [Bo]: Cross-reference to Book list. You'll find this if you're reading the
Stories section of the list, and the author in question has also written
transformation-related books; this link will take you to the author's entry in the Books
section of the list.
- [BR]: Book review. This will take you to a review of the book you're reading
- [DZ]: Dani Zweig's Belated Reviews. Dani Zweig has written a very large, very
well-written set of reviews about various SF authors and books; this will take you to the
review of the book or author you're reading about.
- [FT]: Full Text. In a few rare cases, the full text of a book or story may be
available on line; for example, Project Gutenberg electronically archives some books that
are in the public domain. In these cases, following this link will let you see and
download the book or story being talked about.
- [FT$]: Full Text--Commercial. "Virtual publishing" companies are
starting to appear--companies that publish books and stories over the Internet. With some
of them, you have to pay in advance; with others, you read it, and then pay if you like
it. (Or they may give you the start of the story, but sell you the ending...) This link
will direct you to stories published this way. (It will not lead you to a
location that commits you to spend money, nor will it display anything you're supposed to
pay for if you like. For that reason, you may have to follow a few more links after
this one to get to the actual story.)
- [GS]: Good Stuff. Things that didn't fall neatly into any of the other
categories, but which seemed interesting enough to include anyway.
- [HP]: Home Page. An author's home page, which may contain more info about the
- [RR]: Raymond's Review. Eric S. Raymond wrote another very large, very
well-written set of reviews about various SF authors and books. This will take you to his
review of whatever the heck it is you're reading about.
- [SS]: Cross-reference to Short Story list. The opposite of the [Bo] link; if
you're reading the Books section of the list, this will take you to the author's entry in
the Stories section.
- [??]: Watch this space. This one isn't really a link; it means that I haven't
checked for other useful web sites covering this title/author yet.
I hope that this explanation makes the List more useful for you. If you
still have questions, please let me know.
Where to from here?
Copyright © 1993-2000 Phaedrus /