Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions that we've had in the past. If you have a question that isn't covered here, please drop us a line in the Forums or the Contact Us page, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
What is Worlds Without End?
Worlds Without End is a non-profit fan-run web site and growing online community, dedicated to identifying, reading and sharing the best Speculative Fiction books the genre has to offer. We want to make it possible for you to identify the books you are most likely to enjoy, and to help you keep track of your To-Be-Read and Have-Already-Read lists.
While the site initially focused on books which had been nominated for, or won, awards, it has expanded to include works identified on a number of prominent curated lists of the Best of Speculative Fiction, as well as a large body of other published works of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.
Members are also able to request the addition of traditionally-published books which they are eager to read.
What awards does WWEnd cover?
Worlds Without End brings together extensive listings of novels, authors, and publishers for the major awards in Speculative Fiction, including Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. If you're a member, you can follow along with BookTrackrTM to see what percentage you've read. The list of awards currently covered by Worlds Without End is here.
Is Worlds Without End going to cover any other awards?
Yes. We plan to continue expanding our awards base until we run out of significant awards to cover. If there is an award you'd like to see added to the list, you are welcome to submit it for consideration.
What other awards do you plan to cover?
Currently, we are in the process of adding the short fiction winners and nominees for the Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon Awards.
Why does Worlds Without End focus on the awards so much? Many fine books never even get nominated.
The awards we cover form the backbone of the WWEnd database. They offer a broad cross section of where the genre has been and where it's going. They show us what was considered the best, or at least most widely read, of the genre at the time and give us a glimpse into years gone by. But they are more than just an historical record. They're a useful tool to help you find great science fiction, fantasy, and horror. They can lead you to try new books and authors - some you may never have heard of before, some you may have forgotten. They bring to light new up-and-coming authors you may never have found otherwise.
Of course the awards are not without their controversies and detractors. Determining "the best" in any art where personal taste is so subjective is always going to create controversy. Every award has it's pros and cons. Selection process, qualification criteria, voting procedures, regional biases, author celebrity plus many other factors can affect the outcome of any given award. They are as flawed as the passionate people who run and participate in them. That does not mean they are without merit... just that their inherent limitations have to be kept in mind.
By covering many different awards we hope to mitigate some of these issues. We don't suggest that anyone ONLY read the award nominated books forsaking all others. We hope that visitors to WWEnd will use the awards as a tool to find new books and authors to read just as they use book reviews from trusted sources, recommendations from friends, gut instinct and whatever other tools they would normally employ when book hunting.
We consider the awards a great jumping off point that will give you a better than average shot at finding a good read. Maybe even a great read.
Where do you get all the information on Books, Authors, and Publishers for your database?
Worlds Without End has a group of Uber Users who volunteer their time to enter new books as they are published, as well as older traditionally-published books which are not yet included in the database. The primary "source of the truth" for the information entered is The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB), but Uber Users also rely on secondary sources for the information they enter.
What are the criteria for books in order to be added to your site?
Currently, fiction can be added to the WWEnd database if it falls into one or more of the following categories:
- fiction which appears on one of the awards we cover
- fiction which appears on one of the "Best of" lists we cover
- traditionally-published speculative fiction novels, collections, and anthologies which appear in the ISFDB
- self-published novels which are available as standalone physical volumes by established authors who are already in the WWEnd database
- traditionally-published shorter fiction (usually novellas) which is available as standalone physical volumes through traditional outlets such as Amazon
- shorter fiction which appears in collections and anthologies already in the WWEnd database and is available to read for free on Internet websites
- shorter fiction which appears for free online on Tor.com, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed Magazine among others
- traditionally-published non-fiction works which are directly related to the Speculative Fiction genre
We love adding newly-released books to the WWEnd database -- but please note that we will wait to do so until after the final cover and a story synopsis have been released by the publisher, and the Kindle version has been listed on Amazon.
Requests for additions to the WWEnd database can be made in the "Make Your Book Requests Here" thread in the Books, Awards & Lists section of the Member Forums. Please note that all works are added at the discretion of the WWEnd Administrator and Uber Users, though if we choose not to add something requested by a member, we will explain the reasons behind that decision. Novels will generally take precedence for entry over short fiction (with the exception of short fiction awards covered by WWEnd).
Which fiction will you not add to your database?
Works which Worlds Without End does not currently cover include:
- non-genre works, including those by authors who are already in the WWEnd database
- e-book-only works which do not appear on one of the Award or "Best of" lists we cover
- graphic novels which do not appear on one of the Award or "Best of" lists we cover
- self-published works by new authors
- non-fiction works which are only indirectly related to the Speculative Fiction genre
Again, please note that all works are added at the discretion of the WWEnd Administrator and Uber Users, though if we choose not to add something requested by a member, we will explain the reasons behind that decision.
What about foreign language books and awards? There are many excellent books in Polish, Russian, Japanese, etc. that you are overlooking...
As a practical matter, the WWEnd team members speak English, as do around 99% of our visitors. Given the dismal availability of foreign language books in the U.S., even in translation, we'll be sticking with awards and books in our native tongue for the foreseeable future. However, the number of books translated into English from other languages has increased exponentially in recent years, and we will continue to add those to our database.
Why is my favorite author or book not in your database? Do you hate them? What kind of site are you running here???
This is one of the most asked questions we get, often in angry or accusatory tones. The simple answer is often that we have just not gotten around to them yet, or that they don't meet the guidelines for inclusion in the WWEnd database. That's it. There's no conspiracy to defraud your favorite of their rightful place in the annals of SF/F/H. We have recruited a handful of Uber Users to help us expand our database. If your favorite author or book is missing, add it to the "Make Your Book Requests Here" thread in the Books, Awards & Lists section of the Member Forums, and someone will jump on it pretty darn quick.
On rare occasions, we will get a request to add the entire back catalog of an exceptionally-prolific Golden Age author. While it's okay to request this, please bear in mind that all data entry is done by volunteers, and that we prioritize adding recent books, and books members are currently intending to read, over adding books so that someone can tick off novels that they've read in the past.
My favorite author is on your site, but you only have some of their books in the database. Where are the rest of their books?
Just as with the authors, we simply have not gotten around to all the books yet. We're working on it. If there is a specific book by an author already in the database which you'd like us to include, post it in the "Make Your Book Requests Here" thread in the Books, Awards & Lists section of the Member Forums, and we'll get it added.
Why isn't my Search finding a particular book or author or series, even though I'm pretty sure they should be in the database?
Right now, the Search will find all book titles containing the search terms as well as all books whose series name contains the search terms, OR all books by authors whose names contain the search terms. So "green hills" will find The Green Hills of Earth and "r heinlein" will find all books by Robert A. Heinlein, but "heinlein hills" will not return any search results. Titles or author names with special characters will not appear in search results unless the search term contains identical characters; so "itaranta" will not find all books by Emmi Itäranta, but "emmi" or "itäranta" will find those books.
If you've tried a couple of different ways to find the book, series, or author you're seeking, and it still isn't coming up, post a query in the "Make Your Book Requests Here" thread in the Books, Awards & Lists section of the Member Forums, and someone will jump in to help you.
How do I find all the books for a particular year or genre or fiction length?
The special Books Published by Year feature allows searching by a particular year of first publication, and this can be narrowed down by fiction type (Novel, Collection, Anthology, Omnibus, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Non-fiction) and/or by Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror. This is a good way to identify works which are eligible for current award nominations, or to find all the books which can be used for a year-based RYO Challenge. For subgenre searches, use the "Advanced Search" option at the top right of the WWEnd page.
How do I find all the books for a particular fiction series?
A regular search by series name will sometimes include other books which have the same keywords in their title or series name. The special SF/F/H Series feature provides an alphabetical listing by specific series name, and this can be narrowed down to within the Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror genres.
Why doesn't the cover you show for a book match the cover on my copy of that book?
A novel may have been published numerous times in its history, and publishers will often commission a new cover image for a new edition. And often the same novel will be published in both the US and the UK with different covers, because the publication rights will belong to different publishers in those countries. Worlds Without End will generally (but not always) use the cover image from the first printed edition. If the only available image of the first edition cover is of very poor quality, or no image is available, the cover from a later edition may be used. For books in a series, we try to use matching covers. Some books will have additional covers shown at the bottom of their page, but most of the time only one image will be loaded to the database, so that time can be spent time entering other books rather than loading additional covers.
What's up with those flashing cover images?
Ace Books published a line of "Doubles" from 1953 to 1981, and Tor Books published a similar line of "Doubles" from 1985 to 1991. These were two novels contained in one volume, where the first novel could be read, then the book flipped over and the second novel read in the other direction. These books have two front covers and no back covers. To reflect this, the WWEnd database image for those volumes is an animated gif which cycles through both covers.
Some of your data seems to be incorrect or incomplete. What gives?
The data contained within WWEnd is as accurate as we can make it given our limited resources. We make every effort to ensure our content is correct but we acknowledge that there are inevitable errors. Our awards listings are very accurate, as that data is relatively easy to obtain online. Many authors provide press kit information on their web sites like bios and pictures, etc. that we'll use here. We won't use information that is outside the public domain without permission -- and getting permission is time-consuming and laborious, thus the many holes in our author data.
The same issue exists for our novels. Synopses are public domain, and most times freely available online, but many publishers/authors do not wish to share excerpts, so we don't always have those. However, if you can point us to a book excerpt which is freely-available online, post the link to it in the Member Forums, and we'll be glad to add it to the book's page in the database.
Some things like publication information are notoriously hard to fathom. Some instances that have caused confusion for us thus far:
- The same novel can be published in multiple years, by multiple publishers or imprints, in multiple countries.
- Some books are published under different titles in different countries.
- Books sometimes get published out of narrative sequence, or the author will come back ten years later to insert a new volume into a previously-established series.
- Some series are listed in publication order, some in chronological order according to the narrative flow, and some according to the author's preferred reading order.
- A publishing house can have separate and distinct imprints for different books in different countries, or will combine with other publishers to distribute different books under a joint name.
We are always working to make our content more complete and accurate, and we encourage our visitors/members to make posts in the Member Forums pointing out any errors or omissions they find, providing suggestions for improvement in presentation methods, and contributing new content where possible.
What is BookTrackr™ and how does it work?
BookTrackr is a WWEnd members-only feature that helps you track the books you've read or want to read. It also shows you the percentages you've read of each of the Award and "Best of" lists. And it enables you to add Subgenre Content labels, Ratings, and Reviews to books you've read, in order to help other members with their decision-making. See the BookTrackr™ page for complete details on how it works.
What is a Roll-Your-Own Reading Challenge, and why do I have to read so many books?
Roll-Your-Own Reading Challenges are goal-oriented, time-limited reading agendas created by WWEnd members who'd like to set up a specific challenge to themselves for a particular type of reading. Other members can choose to join any number of existing Challenges, or set up one of their own. Sometimes there will be an accompanying discussion group set up in the Member Forums to go along with a particular Challenge.
Challenges run for a set period of time (often, but not always, for the length of a year), and have varying goal levels from which each participating member can choose, depending on what they want to achieve. Participation in Reading Challenges is always purely optional; sometimes real life or other priorities will change your reading goals, and no one will ever come and ask you why you haven't read all of the books listed on your Challenge.
Why can't I add a certain book to my list in a RYO Reading Challenge?
If your reading level for a Challenge is X books, and you've already got X books tagged for that Challenge, you will not be able to add any more books to the list. You can, however, un-tag one or more books in that Challenge to make room to tag different books instead. And while some Challenges permit any book, whether it is tagged as "Science Fiction", "Fantasy", or "Horror", to be included on a reader's list, other Challenges may be limited to only books tagged with a specific subgenre. Look at the Challenge description; if it specifies only one or two subgenres rather than all three, and the book you want to add does not have that subgenre tag, you will not be allowed to add it to the Challenge list.
If you believe that a book should include a certain missing subgenre, you can post in the "Make Your Book Requests Here" thread in the Books, Awards & Lists section of the Member Forums asking that it be re-evaluated and possibly changed.
Where did the Award-Worthy Books list come from? Who are you to decide what deserves an award?
The WWEnd Award Worthy Books list is a crowd-sourced summary of the books which WWEnd members have designated as being "Award-Worthy" in their opinion, with the books ranked most-to-least by the count of readers who have given a book that designation. Right now this feature is available only for Novels.
Why can't I add a certain book to my list of Award-Worthy Books?
The Award-worthy list is keyed by first Publication Year, in combination with the "Science Fiction", "Fantasy", or "Horror" subgenre tag. If the book you want to add to a specific subgenre Award-Worthy list does not have that subgenre tag, or its first year of publication is not the year of the list to which you are trying to add it, you will not be allowed to add it to the list.
If you believe that a book should include a certain missing subgenre, or that its first year of publication should be different, you can post in the "Make Your Book Requests Here" thread in the Books, Awards & Lists section of the Member Forums asking that it be re-evaluated and possibly changed. In addition, only 5 Award-Worthy books are permitted for each Publication Year/Subgenre combination. If you've already got 5 books tagged for that combination, you will not be able to add any more books to the list. You can, however, un-tag one or more books in that combination to make room to tag different books instead.
Why do your links to Amazon and Audible books appear with Referrer URLs? Is this a scam?
Because Worlds Without End is a non-profit, volunteer-run site, we rely on donations, advertisements, and Amazon referrer earnings to cover the financial costs for servers, software, and hosting.
What can I do to help Worlds Without End?
This is a great question! There are many things you can do to help Worlds Without End improve and grow. As a general answer: Get involved! Sign up, post in the blog or the forums, contribute a book review, tell your friends about us, link to us on genre-related sites, use our Amazon and Audible links when you purchase books, etc. For more specifics, see our Support WWEnd page. Worlds Without End is only as good as our members make it. It's through YOUR participation and contributions that we'll be able to continue to grow and prosper.
HELP! None of these things answered my question!
Feel free to send a private message to the WWEnd Site Administrator, or post your question in the Comments & Suggestions section. You are also welcome to to email us directly at info (at) worldswithoutend (dot) com.