Welcome visitors! My name is Aleksey. I am this site’s creator and will be introducing this site on behalf of all of its administrators.
I had several general goals in mind when site began its life on the Internet (although some may disagree with me now):
Verified bibliographies for Authors writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, complete with maximum information about the author and his or hers biography
Fair rating for books and authors based on reader votes and book reviews.
Recommended titles list, based on individual profiling.
Title or book genres classified.
Publishers plans, rumours and gossip.
Book awards and recognition
We all know about bibliographies and ratings, let me briefly describe our Recommendations system:
Because we are all different, our likes are not all the same. You friend may like to read something that is not altogether to your taste. Would you then ask his for an advice on choosing a right book? Obviously, you will not. What if you and your buddy are two of a kind, you like the same thing and even think alike? Now imagine that there is not just 2 of you, but more like 300, and if everyone recommends something he or she liked, then you definitely will know for sure what to read next and avoid getting disappointed by the next book.
This is exactly how FantLab.ru works. Number of our readers is ever increasing. Within them will be plenty of people who will share your likes and interests, as well as your opposites- antipodes. Based on statistical analysis and correlation probabilities, other people’s opinions will be weighed against yours, and results can be seen in “Invisible Connections”
Once people with similar likings are identified, based on their rating’s history, FantLab will give you reliable prognosis of your “enjoyment factor”, in other words, your future rating of the book. Choosing only titles with highest projected ratings, FantLab creates very personal “To Read” list. You can get your “To Read” here – under “Recommended titles list”, but before system can help you, you will need to rate at least 50 titles. The more books you read and rated, more accurate the results
Site Rules and Rules of conduct
All information and rules for site “Laboratory SF&Fantasy” are on the page “FantLab.ru Regulations and Rules”.
“What’s New” Section
This is a default page you will come to when you visit the site. Here we place information about new author’s and news from the world of science fiction and fantasy, or other important updates. Also, on this page you will be able to read other people’s latest book reviews, latest book ratings and comments left on forum pages. You can add your own comments to the news pages.
News also contains subsection “Publishers: News, Rumours and Gossip”. There you will find information on books upcoming releases and books still in the works.
Section “Authors, books”
In this section introduces you to writers Russian and non-Russian. Each author’s page will have biography completed with photos and bibliography. Bibliography is a compiled list of known published and unpublished works, derived from multiple sources by comparisons and additions that characterize its reliability. A complete bibliography is a result of tremendous efforts. That’s why without being shy I can say that we are proud of our bibliographies.
Attention! Some people may say that present bibliographies are not the same as GOST. Yes, that’s true. FantLab’s bibliographies have practical design, — unlike GOST’s format of published works with all available details, all author’s works have been categorized into cycles, series and epics. Each will have publishing editions information along with edition’s detail.
Next to each item in bibliography is its average voted rating, count of votes and number of reviews. If you had voted, your rating will be reflected in overall count and calculation and displayed next to the average and counts.
You can rate author’s work directly on author’s page. To place your rating vote you would need to enter the rating mode by clicking on “enable the rating system” link that’s place immediately following author’s biography. You can rate titles that you have read by selecting desired score (1 through 10, 1 being the lowest and 10 highest) from the drop down box. Be sure to click “Save” link that follows author’s bibliography when you are done placing the ratings of the titles. Once your rating has been registered, they will be reflected in the author’s overall rating and on the rating on works that have been rated so far
If you open writing’s individual page, you will see number of people who rated this title so far and an average rating, annotation, comments or synopsis, listing of parent cycles, series, collections or anthologies and awards where applicable. You can write or read a review on this page, as well as rate the title or see who rated it and how. Title’s page will also contain any available information for published editions, including cover images, sorted by year and divided between Russian and non-Russian editions. If you click on the edition’s thumbnail you will be taken to the title’s edition publishing page with information related to the book’s covers images and format, cover artist, publishing houses, translations and ISBN.
Ratings are divided into three categories: “Worldwide”, “Foreign (alien =)” and “Russian”. First category include both categories, second and third. Each category consists of:
Ratings of Authors
Ratings of Novels
Ratings of cycles and series
Ratings of novellas and short stories.
All of the rating tables are updated dynamically and rebuilt with each new (or changed) posted rating. So, today’s best science fiction or fantasy book, tomorrow can drop a few points below other titles.
In the ratings tables next to each title will be displayed an average score and (in parenthesis) number of people who rated it.
To be included in the ratings tables, each title need to pass a threshold of submitted votes. This threshold is fixed but grows with a number of active voters and visitors to the site.
Ratings of Authors
We have a complex formula for calculating Author’s ratings. There are several ways to do it and its hard to say what way is correct and what isn’t, so after considering all matters, we decided the following:
Rating will be derived by average user rating of the titles, in other words iteration in calculation is not based on titles, but on users. For each voter an average rating of the author is calculated together with weight that this overall rating will have on the overall rating. Weight is non-linear value calculated by applying number of rating votes submitted by voter and is=1-1/(1+0.2*NumOfVotes) . This way, user’s influence on average rating will not grow exponentially, but will never exceed 1. Site user that rated 100 titles of the author will have same almost same influence on the rating as a user who rated 20 titles. So it does not really make sense to place extra ratings on favourite or despised authors
Why has it been done that way? Ratings you place should reflect how well you know the author’s work. You may be familiar with 0 (read none of the titles) to 1 (read almost all of the available titles). First, second and third books you acquire knowledge of author, but following ones are not likely to change your opinion of author’s work. This has been proved statistically. My rating system assumes that your knowledge of author can be absolute and equal to “true” or 1. In mathematics this function from preceding paragraph is described as hyperbola arising from 0 and aiming for 1. Coefficient of correlation 0.2 was determined based on writer’s productiveness.
The sum of author’s “knowledge” for each user is the limit of its “rating’s worth”. Its accounting for number of ratings received as well as numbers of users that submitted the ratings.
There is a set threshold of 5 for “rating’s worth”. If rating is lower then 5, author does not qualify for rating tables and will never reach them unless its threshold exceeds 5.
Only novels, short stories, novellas and cycles are included in author’s ratings. Articles, essays, collections, anthologies and unfinished work (yes, you can rate them as well) are not used for calculations.
Forced Inclusion. After first results of author’s the ratings were published, fans started deliberately rating some authors higher. As a consequence administration of the site decided to add an additional threshold to the rating’s calculation formulae that leads unfounded ratings to a zero.
Now only users with status of active participate in the ratings, and 90% of the offending users do not fall into this category. Ratings placed by remaining group are under investigation by site administration and in the event of obvious attempt to lower or increase the author’s ratings, the offending user will be contacted by administration and his or hers ratings will be nullified.
Please participate in the rating process, place more votes with your scores but be objective in your judgement. Don’t you agree that its better to stimulate writer to do better then to flatter the author outright. We are for fair competition!
“Invisible Connections” Section
“Invisible Connections” Section shows results of correlation analysis based on rated titles. When a user is in unregistered, this section will display pairs of users with highest positive (think-alikes) and lowest negative (antipodes) coefficient of correlation. If user has logged in as is authorized, this section will display his or hers think-alikes and antipodes.
Classical linear correlation of two values (ratings of two people) shows a tendency of one of the value to take a meaning proportional to the other value. We used a classic correlation on this site before. Now we changed that to be calculated based on a different formula, but the principal remains the same: the difference between two ratings made by different users. If highest ratings placed by one user correspond (in most cases) with highest ratings placed by another user, and lowest ratings correspond with other lowest, there is a direct correlation dependency (coefficient of correlation is positive). If to the highest rating of one user correspond lowest ratings of another user and vice versa, the opposite of a direct correlation dependency is in effect (coefficient of correlation is negative). Coefficient of correlation takes a meaning between -1 to 1. Meaning of 1 relates to a strong functional linear dependency, for example when two ratings of different users are the same for all rated titles. Meaning of -1 relates to a strong functional linear dependency when all of the ratings are defect opposites to each other.
You should keep in mind that when we calculate coefficient of correlation for two users we take into account only paired ratings made by both users. Coefficient of correlation is only an intermediate link in the process of defining of “invisible connections”. Its basic imperfection – is that it does not take into an account a volume of selections. That means that its does not care on how many pairs or related ratings to base its calculations, one rating or twenty. Credibility depends on the volume of selections, that’s why in order to figure out “invisible connections” we take into account a criteria called “measure of likeness” that depends on both coefficient of correlation and the volume of selections.
To demonstrate these evaluated variables we have implemented 5 levels of “invisible connections”. Each is defined by coloured circle and has an equivalent in its likeness to your tastes.
— clone. measure of likeness M = [0.75 .. 1.00]
— sibling. measure of likeness M = [0.60 .. 0.75]
— friend. measure of likeness M = [0.45 .. 0.60]
— acquaintance. measure of likeness M = [0.30 .. 0.45]
— antipode. measure of likeness M = [-1.00 .. 0.30]
Individual recommendations are in reality our systems’ prognosis of how you will feel about an unread title. To get it, your think-alike ratings and titles are analysed, averaged in weight measures of equal measures of likeness. This way, resulting recommendations will be based on one or more similar thinking mind. To identify people like that on FantLab, try rating as many books as you can read, the list of similarly thinking people (think-alikes) and their recommendations will be populated automatically.
On recommendations page you will see maximum of 3 cycles, 10 novels, and 10 short stories that you are more likely to like. For each book supplied with information on publishers, editions and estimate of your future rating and degree of confidence.
Here are some speciality algorithms that apply when book is selected for recommendation:
Books that belong to epics are not chosen; rather epics themselves may get selected.
Authors whose at least 5 titles were rated with average lower the 6 are not considered.
If a book placed in the waste basket belongs to epic/series/cycle, none of the above or the book will get selected for recommendation. For example if you place “Return of the King”
in the waste basket, system will not recommend any of the “Lord of the Rings” books (Fellowship of the Ring, “Two Towers”) or the main epic itself.
If you place 4 or more books of the same author the waste basket, the author will never be recommended again unless you remove it from the waste basket
If a cycle was suggested, none of the novels or short stories that belong in it will be chosen to avoid repetition.
If a cycle was suggested and it belongs to a larger cycle, the larger cycle will not be chosen in order to avoid repetition.
Individual recommendations are calculated between 3 to 20 seconds and depend on the host server. Is host is empty, calculations take about 1 second (multiple optimizations)
In my opinion, main flaw of old iwant.ru, dedicated to films and movies, was a lack in connecting with the users. That’s why I spend several months developing site’s forum and personal correspondence. I have not planned on building the correspondence engine, it just happened. Either way, to get in contact with any registered user, you need a list of registered users. And this is a sole purpose of this section, it contains information on registered users and links to their pages. You can sort the list by most of listed parameters.
By default the list is sorted by visitor’s rating, the most active ones are listed on top.
Our forum is my pride and joy. Pride not because its super cool, but because I wrote the code with my own hands (everyone else seems to be using some freebies full of holes). It may stand some improvements but its more then enough for now. We’ll gradually add more functionality. It has all important features that don’t exist in most standard forums.
The only and I hope the last fault, which users should never experience – is in order to create a new topic, visitor must be at least an “Activist”. I know that makes some people unhappy, but not to being an “Activist” seems like a real shame to me. The 200 point needed to be one can be achieved with first 40 rated titles. If you haven’t read 40 books yet, you are still able to participate in discussions by choosing topics, and when you do you will also be awarded points toward the activity rating. Don’t know about you, but I consider this kind of system fair.
Sorry, I digress.
So, in the forum you can create new topics for discussion and new surveys for voting on. You can complete a survey only once. Surveys show you what other people opinions are, so its very similar to topics being discussed. When you participate in the discussion, you have a use of several tools.
Each forum has a moderator that has a right to take actions against an offending user.
“Personal Articles” Section
Personal article is a blog that allows visitors to maintain personal diary, post articles and receive comments. We deliberately call this section “Personal Articles” and not a blog as commonly done, because this section’s primary purpose is to attract writers, critics and reviewers, to facilitate interesting postings about fantasy and science fiction. These postings will be selected and displayed on the main page and will grant FantLab.ru a status (among others) of a journal. Taking this idea into consideration, “Personal Articles” were divided into two categories – public and personal. Only public articles can be published on the main page. Function of Personal Articles is very similar to Live Journal or other blogging sites. Users can subscribe to Personal Articles, you will be notified in your FantLab inbox about replies to your comments ( Personal mail functionality will be discussed in detail below), you can see what articles and comments were read or not, practically designed comments tree, you can post drafts of articles and so on.
Anyone can create Personal Article, to get it please write to creator.
FantLab’s inbox works like internal ICQ. You add people to your contact list and their logins will always be visible. You write them a message and regardless what page of the site they are on, a blue envelope (message icon) will start blinking next to your name on their computer immediately. Contacts links will change solidity when they are online. You can attach files to the messages; you can send a copy of the message to your personal email mailbox. You have same options you use on FantLab forum when it comes to formatting a message. Messages are never deleted from site. History of the messages will be split into the pages. Optionally you may add user’s FantLab id to the black list, you will still receive the messages but silently without blinking icons.
User Classifications, stages of advancement
System of user classification stimulates individuals into higher activity. The higher you class rating, the more privileged you become. Classifications are graded based on accumulated points. To be assigned a new class, you need to accumulate enough points to cross into the new class threshold. You current class and number of accumulated points is listed on the left uppermost corner on any FantLab page “Entry” .
There are 8 classifications all together:
1. Newby — beginner class that gets assigned to you when you register. You need to accumulate 200 points to go to the next stage.
2. Activist — a minimal class that allows you to utilize FantLab functionality. You can create new topics in forum. Starting with this class your books ratings will start affecting overall author ratings. You need to accumulate 800 points to go to the next stage.
3. Authority — you can create new surveys in forum. Starting with this class your books ratings will start affecting overall author ratings. You need to accumulate 2,000 points to go to the next stage.
4. Philosopher — you can classify titles, you will need to accumulate 4,000 points to go to the next stage.
5. Magister — excellent class to throw your way around. You can do almost everything, no more special privileges to be gained, further advancement is only by status. You need to accumulate 7,000 points to go to the next stage..
6. Grand-Master — You need to accumulate 10,000 points to go to the next stage.
7. Titan (World Pillar/Axis Mundi =) — 15,000 points to become almighty
8. Almighty (creator) — antonym of newbie.
What generates points and how many:
— Rating of any title :5
— Posted review: from 0.1 to 10 (depends on a length)
— Classification of genres: 3
— Forum comment: between 0 and 3 (depends on the comment’s length and on number of existing posts, more posted, less points awarded)
— New discussion thread in a forum: 3
— New survey: 5
— Participating in a survey by placing a vote: 2
Correcting and adding information to a page (link “Found an Error? Have additional information?”): from 0 to 3 (depends on how much your submission benefited the site, decided by administrator)
Classification of genres is based on selected by users; it includes the type, general plot ideas, where action takes place, linear narration, reader’s age group and more. All together Classification of genres has about 200 entries that are organized into tree-structure. Title is considered classified when 5 of more people had submitted their classifications. Particular genre will be displayed when at list 50% of the voters selected it. Next to the results of the submitted votes, we have a visual display that shows a number of people who voted for a particular genre to total number of votes. For example
To take a part in genre classification submission, a user needs to be at lease at the “Philosopher’s” level, title rating is required as well. “Philosophers” and higher can always see results of the rating«Философы», regardless of ho many people voted so far. They also can review every submitted vote and if necessary discuss it individually by messaging or in forum.
Everyone else does not have access to this level of detail
Search for specific genre in “genre search” section
Questions and answers
Can I download texts here?
Answer: No. This is not a library
Why Sci-fi only?!
Answer: Main concept of FantLab is completeness and reliability. We think that its better to do one thing perfectly than so many things poorly.
How do you select authors you maintain on your site?
Answer: We choose authors who write fantasy, sci fi, horror and so on. If the work of any particular author is questionable, the decision of placing this writer on the site is up to me, creator.
Can I do anything for FantLab?
Answer: Absolutely, we are always in need of help putting together bibliographies or and awards. You can post news, any information you can offer us is great, much appreciated and recognized. Ask us, we will explain and show you everything.
Can I advertise here?
I have read some books that are not on your site. Will you add them?
Answer: Sure we can. We are always adding new authors, so you should write to us and we will add the books you liked. Only we will add them together with complete information of the author and bibliography. Contact us through “Contacts”.
I registered. What’s this about activation?! Why?!
Answer: So you could not rate some books and not take any responsibilities for your actions. Also so you could retrieve lost password, we mail it to your valid email address.
Our site in English
Official language of FantLab is Russian. There is no translation of another pages in English. But you can use machine-made translation of Google Translate: