I'm Hervé Hauck (I'm also this guy), a fifty+ Frenchman and SF lover fom a long time (close to forty years).
I'm also a book collector probably nearing the 20.000 volume mark (half in French, half in English).
One of the last dinosaurs of the now defunct french newsgroup fr.rec.arts.sf (as herve), I also have comitted a few translations and done the usual things done by fans everywhere : fanzine writing, fanzine editing, speaking of the genre on radio, con going, con helping, noise-making on forums, contributing to bibliographic enterprises and generaly trying to help spreading knowledge and love of SF.
I also have a few complete (Interzone, Spectrum, Galaxie, Galaxies, SFM, Fiction, Satellite, Venture, Proxima, Etoiles Vives, Orbites, Furus (1ère & 2ème séries)) or quite extensive (Analog, Asimov's, Galaxy, Satellite, Venture, WOT, WoIf, New Worlds, Impulse, SFA, Amazing UK, Fantastic UK) runs of magazines available for verification purposes.
Complete Publication Series Available for Verification Purposes
I've got some complete french publication series, which may help other contributors and is, IMHO, the best path to exhaustivity and detection of anomalies. They are:
Le Masque - Science Fiction 116 volumes, including known reprints (particularly those with different cover art) but there's always the possibility of other reprints.
J. C. Lattès - Titres SF 70 volumes, doubt for #53 (possibly reprinted) and #65 (no data on book).
Albin Michel - Aventures Galactiques 2 volumes, some bibliographies evoke diverse phantom titles (e.g. a second Anderson collection).
Albin Michel - Science-Fiction 4 (1st series, illustrated covers) + 31 (non-illustrated) volumes.
Albin Michel - Super+Fiction 20 volumes (note there's no #18).
Marginal 15 anthologies, the later #16 is not really part of this series.
Fiction Spécial 34 anthologies.
OPTA - Anti-mondes 34 volumes.
OPTA - Galaxie Bis 148 volumes including one 'pure' reprint (#35).
OPTA - Nébula 15 volumes.
Le Rayon Fantastique 119 volumes (there are five titles with doubled #).
Chefs-d'oeuvre de la Science-Fiction 12 volumes.
Etoile Double 14 anthologies (there is no #13).
Autrepart 5 volumes.
Presses de la Cité - Futurama 5+1+36 volumes.
Presses de la Cité - Futurama Superlights 34 volumes.
Fernand Nathan - SF 8 volumes.
scienceSfiction 8 volumes (SF only).
Point Rouge 3 volumes (SF only).
Daniber - Science Fiction - Suspense the first 10 volumes.
Daniber - Anticipation - Suspense the last 6 volumes.
Edito-Service - Anticipation 28 known volumes.
Les chefs-d'œuvre de la science fiction 20 volumes.
Poche 2000 22 volumes.
L'âge des étoiles 11 volumes.
Space Fiction 15 volumes.
Visions Futures 10 volumes.
Les cahiers de la science-fiction 10 volumes.
Stock - évasion 3 volumes.
Horizons Illimités 2 volumes.
20001 2 volumes.
Temps futurs 1 volume.
La Découverte - Fictions 13 volumes.
Les Quatre Dimensions 7 volumes.
Patrick Siry Editeur - Science-Fiction 8 volumes.
Cosmos 12 volumes.
Editions du Rocher - Novella SF 10 volumes.
Les Best-Sellers 24 volumes.
Sciences Anticipation 8 volumes.
Garancière - Aventures fantastiques 16 volumes.
Train d'enfer 3 volumes.
Abysses 20 volumes.
Ici et Maintenant 22 volumes.
Poche Revolver Science-Fiction 4 volumes.
During the years, I became particulary interested in reference books on SF (I own now several hundreds in english and french). I'm in the course of (slowly) reviewing them on my blog : here and a quite complete list can be seen here.
They are listed here so please don't hesitate to ask if you want data that's in any of them (they are the most accessible books of my collection).
Some bibliographic notes on French SF books
Here are some generalities concerning the specificities of French publishing, following the usual ISFDB catogries.
- Pub date : The AI (Achevé d'Imprimer = date of printing, see here) will be used first when avaliable, then the DL (Dépôt Légal = administrative date of the registering at the french national library-BNF) if it is given on the verification copy. Note that DL like "Xth Trimester YYYY" will be entered as YYYY-00-00 and real DL given in note.
- Title : French or translated texts, due to a smaller market, tend to have less title changes than US/UK ones. The main causes for such vts are the classical transition from magazine serial to book (particularly when the text is modified) and, of course, the making of a film from the book see here for one of the more complicated cases.
- Authors : The use of pseudonyms and house name is as frequent in France then elsewhere, notably for 'popular' publishers. Sometimes "real" names are used early for pseudonymous works by US/UK authors, like Poul Anderson whose _The barrier moment_ hasn't been translated under the Sanders byline but under his real name.
- Year : For shorter texts, the dating is quite easy as French magazines are generaly dated (note that those are real dates, e. g. a magazine stating "Mars 1990" is really on sale during March and mailed to subscribers at the beginning of the same month, not before). The books (normaly !) have two dates printed on them. The first (and most reliable) is the "Achevé d'Imprimer" (AI), which is the precise (dd/mm/yyyy) date when the book has been physically produced (printed). This changes with successive printings. The second is the "Dépôt légal" (DL) which is the date (intially Trimester/yyyy, then mm/yyyy) when the book has been deposited at the BNF (French National Library). In case of reprints without really major changes, only the AI is different, the DL being rarely modified. In most cases, the only way of differentiating printings is by the AI. Of course, note that some publishers don't give the two dates (usually there's at last one of them), it's sometimes simply due to the printer as successive books in the same collection by the same publisher have different printers and give different sets of dates (AI or DL or AI& DL).
- Catalog ID : French publishers came quite late to the ISBN (generalized in the beginning of the 80s). It's interesting to note that most French books (particularly PBs) are numbered in their "collections" with a lot of variants (double or triple numbers for one book, starting point at #5000, missing numbers, integration of SF in an overall number scheme -like Ace-, addition of unnumebered extra volumes, collection initially without numbering gaining one after some time, etc. ).
- Publisher : Genre publishing is done in French by non-specialized publishers (which are parts of larger conglomerates), most of the time in specific "collections" (a sort of imprint) with (usually) specific numbering, packaging or markings. For exemple, publisher "Livre de Poche" prints SF in a dedicated collection "SF" which is distinct in presentation from its general line see here with numbering starting at #7000.
- Price : French books fall broadly in two categories. HC (very rare) and TP have generally their price printed on the back cover. PB haven't any price on them as the retail price is calculated at the time of the sale by matching the category of the book and a price table (e.g. category one books are € 5.00, cat two € 6.00, etc.). This allows publishers to rise prices quite discreetly (you just have to change the price table) and explains the symbols present on the spines of French PBs (stars, lozenges, logos, circles...) which indicates the category of the book (mostly linear with number of pages). To complicate matters, some books have also changed category during the years. All this to say that the price of a French PBs depends on the time of the buying (remembering that the price of books is unique in France with a 5% margin) and is not an absolute quality of a precise printing. Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, TPs or HCs without price (even in the same collection), or PBs with price on it (mostly pre-1975 titles).
- Binding : HC are quite rare in French publishing (well less than 5% of the total) and concern mostly Book Clubs and a few small press. For known authors, first publication is TP (which plays in France the role of US/UK HC and have quite close prices) then PB (generaly by a different publisher). By large, the most frequent format is PB, either PBO or reprint.
French Bibliographic Sites
There are (IMHO) three main sites for general bibliographic purposes (meaning that they have a sufficient coverage of the whole field), listed here by alphabetical order (they have each a different philosophy and variable manpower and so different strengths and weaknesses).
- BDFI : here
- Index SF : here
- Noosfère : here
Note for the paranoids and illiterates that "field" (singular) refers to SF as a whole and that any attempt to read in the above sentences any condescending tone is just doomed to failure. I can easily be as sarcastic as needed but it's simply not the case here. Persons with easily wounded (but large) egos should learn to read and translate first.
(In French) : Il faudrait être atteint d'un sévère complexe d'infériorité pour lire dans les phrases ci-dessus autre chose qu'une liste des principaux bibliographiques francophones.
Data entered in ISFDB
Here are a few points (which will be updated regurlarly) about the choices that I made when entering information in the ISFDB.
1) J'ai Lu - Science Fiction : For the sake of simplicity, all SF books published by J'ai Lu will be treated as being part of the "J'ai Lu - Science Fiction" series here even if technically the SF line was deliberately not differentiated by the publisher before the 80's. For the same reason, for early books without ISBN, the number in the series will not be repeated in the "Catalog#" field.
2) Le Masque - Science Fiction : The publisher has been entered as "Librairie des Champs Elysées" as on title page. The cover are generally not credited but ISBNs are present from the start. Note that from 1976 onwards, no AI (precise printing date) is given on the books which only state the DL. Some tiltes have been reprinted (a minority), sometimes very closely (three printings at a few months of interval for _L'image de l'autre_ or _Les mutants_) but there is no easily apparent logic, see here.
5) OPTA - Galaxie Bis : Even if there are some short stories added to the main text in the first titles (up to #56), I chose to treat the books as novels and not collections. I also follow the publisher's catalogues in later printing in affecting #130-131-132 to corresponding titles. generally, this series is best conceptualized "backwards", meaning that you've got to use the later printing characteristics and apply them to the former ones (e.g. the name or the fact that it's a novel collection). Note that this is probably one of the trickiest series in french publishing due to a general sloppiness (wrong ISBNs, same ISBN for multiple titles, errors on artist's names, non-stability of artist's names used, incoherences between catalogues and actual series, etc.), see here.
6) Presses de la Cité - Futurama : No specifics for this series except the need to create chapterbooks for a few of the later titles, see here.
7) Presses de la Cité - Futurama Superlights : No specifics for this series except the need to create one chapterbook for #31. Note that I've chosen to use the name "Superlights" against the possible "Super Lights". See here.
8) Albin Michel - diverse series (PBs) : Please forgive the poor quality of the scans. Because of the metallic foil, this series is quite hard to capture. Note that I've chosen to regroup the two first series and that the fifth is under the label "Albin Michel - Aventures galactiques" and not "Albin Poche". See here, here and there. If anybody has better scans, feel free to replace the ones that I've uploaded.
9) Albin Michel - Super+Fiction : See here. I've chosen to give the Clarke (here) the number #1 for the sake of lisibility even if it's technically false. Juste like the pbs, the quality of my scans is low so if anybody has better scans, feel free to replace the ones that I've uploaded.
10) Denoël - Présence du Futur : As I have only between one quarter and one third of the series (which runs to 650+ volumes with numerous reprints), I didn't create placeholders for the missing titles. I'll merge later with this series the few existing items already present in the ISFDB. I also chose not to differentiate the short-lived sort of sub-series like the one which appears on this cover. See here
11) Presses Pocket - Science Fiction : I've chosen this label instead of "Presses Pocket - Science-Fiction" (with an hyphen as on cover) to avoid confusion between publisher and series. Due to the holes in my collection (and holes in the publisher's catalogue) I didn't enter placeholders for missing titles. See here.
12) OPTA - Anti-Mondes : Note that I've given numbers to the first eight titles for clarity's sake even if they are unnumbered. See here
14) J. C. Lattès - Titres SF : The complete series is here. Note that the title of the series can be interpretated in different ways : Titres SF, Titres/SF, Titre SF (for the 1st) and that the first volumes were numbered retroactively.
15) Le Livre de Poche - Science Fiction : This series is here, note that I've chosen the label "Science Fiction" even if SF, S.F., Science-Fiction can be found on the books.
16) Fleuve Noir - Anticipation : The complete series (except some reprints) is here, I've chosen to add placeholders for the titles not in my library, in this case, minimal data is given.
Above the Threshold
Here is my short take on the definition of this nebulous person whose quality determines the extant of his bibliography to be included in the db.
An "above-the-threshold" author is a known author of speculative fiction.
Two equally important terms that must be simultaneously met:
- known meaning that the author's name is recognized by a sufficently large number of persons (be they or not SF fans). To be listed by wikipedia or by SFE3 does not (no more) means that the author is known.
- author of speculative fiction could be read either arithmetically (more than half of the author's works are spec-fic) or in terms of perception (Isaac Asimov probablay wrote more non spec-fic books that spec-fic ones but is perceived as a SF author).
An author could be a SF author but not known like Sharon Baker or David Houston; a not-known author that wrote occasionaly SF like Paul Berna or J. L. Morrissey or a known author that is not perceived as a SF one (a list going from Goethe to Jack Kerouac).
You can compare this definition with Michael's (one of the rare that was written): "The definition of "above the threshold" is two-pronged: 1) an author who is well-known within the speculative fiction field and is considered by those in the broader world of literature to be a spec-fic author, or 2) an author who is not necessarily well-known within the speculative fiction field for various reasons, but the majority of whose published work is considered spec-fic by those working and reading within the field. " which is broader (it seems to include not-known "pure" sf writers).
Things to do
The entering of my bookshelves in the ISFDB is close to its end (took me more than 5 years!). Even if there are some fanzines left and disliking "speculative bibliography" (the entering of data based on secondary sources), I'm now more focused on moderator's duties.
Deleting authors without titles attached : In the first field of the Author Search Form of the Advanced Search enter "Rowena Mor". It will pull up several authors. Be sure to check only two authors to merge: the titleless author and a true author. In this case, check 213073, the author without titles you want to get rid of, and 21339, the canonical author. (You could actually choose any one of the other authors since there are actually no records to merge.) Then click on "Merge Selected Records". The next page is the most critical step so you must be very careful to make the correct choices when reconciling the two authors. Be sure to retain all which apply to the canonical author. Then click "Complete Merge" and accept the submission.
Multiple cover artists : if a single cover art is credited to multiple artists, the best thing is to credit only one of them when the publication is first created, then go back and edit the cover art record to add the other artist(s). To fix one that's already in the database, edit the publication, removing all but one of the artist credits. Once that submission is accepted, go back and update the cover art title record to add the other artist(s).
No number of pages on ebooks.
If artist credit from signature or secondary sources = credit to canonical name.
Interviews always credited to canonical name.
To link to a publication record, there's an easy to use template which does 90% of the work for you. It really helps in a wiki post when you're referring to a specific publication. Between the standard template brackets (the curly ones, two at the front and two at the back), give the letter "p" (for "publication"), add a pipe ("|"), and then the record number. So if you want to link to this record you can use the standard wiki link I just used or the template like here: 273129. Look at the raw edit of this post to see how each is done. You can also link to titles with a similar template. Just replace the "p" with a "t".
Hello, I've approved your submisison for this book but had to make some changes to conform to our standards: 1)
- A good place to start might be the Charing Cross Road, not far from Forbidden Planet. There are a handful of bookstores just north of Leicester Square tube station, notably Quinto Books and Any Amount of Books, which IIRC has a small paperback SF section near the entrance and a small hardcover SF section underground, but Quinto certainly has the better quality books. Charing Cross Road's SF/mystery store Murder One closed a few years ago, as did the excellent Fantasy Centre in north London on the Holloway Road. The best place to go in the area now for secondhand SF is probably Cecil Court, three streets south of Leicester Square tube station. It's full of secondhand/antiquarian bookstores but these stores stock mostly hardcovers rather than paperbacks. I've occasionally spent a whole day there, however unfortunately I won't be in the UK around 16 March. :( PeteYoung 23:18, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
- I visited both Any Amount of Books and Quinto Books on Charing Cross, and as you said they only have tiny SF sections, roughly 1 and 1.5 shelves, respectively. After my raid they probably need to recuperate a while :-) before they again have something on offer that is worth its while. Slightly better equipped (one set of shelves, floor-to-ceiling) is the basement of Henry Pordes Books, also on Charing Cross and right next to the other two stores - they mostly have newer books, a lot of them were duplicates from the Gollancz SF Masterwork series that they must have picked up from some wholesale source. Next I checked out some of the stores in Cecil Court, but I soon found out that they cater only to collectors who are willing to spend serious money for first editions. My Back Pages in Balham no longer exists, Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street was supposed to have a second-hand book section in the back but I couldn't find it, and Judd Books on Marchmont Street, although a gorgeous second-hand bookstore, mostly has academic books and only a relatively small general fiction section with a mere handful of SF books strewn in. With such meager success, at last I succumbed to the lures of the Forbidden Planet megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue, but what a disappointment - not a single book by John Brunner, two copies of Babel-17 but nothing else by Delany, and just one (1) book by Pohl (Gateway) and Vance (The Complete Lyonesse). The most attractive part for classic SF readers like me was the Gollancz section with a lot of omnibuses from the SF Gateway pub series. Another large commercial bookstore that I visited was Foyles on Charing Cross: This was a pleasant surprise because they had a sizable SF section, and I liked the tasteful ambience of the place much more than the Forbidden Planet's cold neon glare. After so many so-so experiences, at last I found happiness in Skoob Books, which is located in The Brunswick off Marchmont Street. They have a large SF section of second-hand books, both old and new, in a delightfully packed basement full of nooks and crannies and hidden corners where you can sit down and browse at your leisure. I chatted a bit with the owner, and it appears that their SF section is so large because they are now picking up all the stuff that used to go the now-closed Fantasy Centre. Cheers, Patrick -- Herzbube Talk 18:38, 8 April 2016 (UTC)