Junkie Brainstorm Session: GFL/Siglerverse numbering system

Allright, you lazy, good-for-nothing beatniks! Get out of that got, drop your linnen and stop your grinnin’!

This year is going to see as many as six new Dark Øverlord products enter the marketplace. ARealGirl and I are starting to plan for the far future, and we want your brains (for doing stuff brains are actually supposed to do, not to put in our belly).

Soon we will release the Mur Lafferty novella THE REPORTER, a story that takes place between THE STARTER and THE ALL-PRO. We have more novellas planned for 2013 and beyond, including TITLE FIGHT, which takes place between THE ROOKIE and THE STARTER. We want to develop a naming system that shows the exact timeline of Siglerverse cannon, and have that nomenclature be included in titles. We want people to be able to see, at a glance, the order of Siglerverse books.

Remember that all Siglerverse books happen in the same universe and timeline. Things that happen in CONTAGIOUS influence things that happen in THE CRYPT, and so on. I will eventually have series that are not part of the Siglerverse, like HUNTER HUNTERSON & SONS, but those stories are not part of this discussion.

Here’s a tricky part: I have four “eras” of the Siglerverse planned out:

• “Olden Times” for stuff that happens before 2000
• “Modern Day” including INFECTED, CONTAGIOUS, ANCESTOR, NOCTURNAL and anything I write that takes place in our current world
• “Crypt Era” for all the stories that take place about 500 years from now
• “GFL Era” for the stories that take place 700 years from now

Because things in “Modern Day” affect things in “Crypt Era” and “GFL Era,” some people will want to read all of the stories in order. At the same time, some people will eat up the military SF of “Crypt Era,” and not give a crap about “Modern Era” or “GFL Era.” So, this numbering system has to serve the fans that want to read everything from beginning to end, as well as cater to fans that just want to enjoy their little piece of the Siglerverse.

OPTION 1 – SEQUENTIAL DECIMAL SYSTEM:

One way is to identifying each series, then tack on a “Siglerverse” number at the end. THE ROOKIE, Book 1 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 4.1) , THE STARTER, Book 2 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 4.2), and so on. That means TITLE FIGHT would be described as: TITLE FIGHT, Book 1.5 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 4.1.5). THE REPORTER would probably be Book 2.1 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 4.2.1). THE CRYPT, Book 1.0 (Siglerverse 3.1) would be followed by THE CRYPT, Book 2.0 (Siglerverse 3.2), and if I go back and write things that happen in-between, it would be THE CRYPT Book 1.5 (Siglerverse 3.1.5)

Here’s where it gets tricky: say we put out eleven stories that take place between THE ROOKIE and THE STARTER – eventually, we would have to put out something like: THE MANAGER, Book 1.5.2 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 4.1.5.2)

PROS:
1. At a glance, you can see the exact order of the stories. When new Junkies enter the Siglerverse, if they so choose they can read the entire GFL series in order.

2. Infinitely expandable: we can keep adding stories for decades, and the system will continue even after I’m dead and some other entity takes over the Siglerverse franchise.

CONS:
1. What happens if I eventually add an era between “Modern” and “The Crypt?

2. Fifteen years from now, could get kludgy. Imagine ARealGirl and I find some great franchise characters in THE MVP that we want to develop with their own stories and/or series. Or, imagine Quentin’s detective Frederico is a breakout star with y’all, and we want to give him a series of books. As the stories pile up, we could see cumbersone names like THE DETECTIVE, Book 3.5.1.4 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 3.3.5.1.4)


OPTION 2 – DATE SYSTEM:

The other method we came up with was to just ad the date of the book’s first day of action, and incorporate that into the title. For example, say THE ALL-PRO story begins on January 2, 2684, the title would be: “THE ALL-PRO, Book 3 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 2684.1.2).

We would go with year first, I think, so if we have a system that sorts alphabetically by the “Siglerverse” number, it would flow correctly.

PROS:
1. Shows clear order of the stories.

2. Ten characters max (4 for year, 2 for month, 2 for day, plus two decimals)

3. Infinitely expandable. We would have a limit of 365 possible products for each “year,” but we’d never hit that number, so we’d be able to drop new stories into the timeline whenever we like without multiple sequential decimals.

CONS:

1. Don’t we still need series numbers for the stories that happen between major books? For example, THE REPORTER, Book 3.1 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 2684.5.10)

2. It might not be clear that things take place at the same time as other books, unless we put the full date range. For example THE REPORTER happens during THE ALL-PRO. Unless I put a full date range (beginning date, end date), it might not be clear that one story takes place during another. Not sure this matters as far as reading things in order, but it is a factor.

You are the fans, the Junkies, so give us your thoughts on these systems or another system.

KEEP IN MIND: ARealGirl and I are developing a massive universe that someday will include novels, novellas, short stories, comics, web series, movies and video games. Some stories will be comic-only, others might be video-game-only. We want to make sure fans that discover us 20 years from now can see the entire timeline at a glance, then best choose what they want to enjoy.

NOTE: If you want to play in this sandbox, please take time to think your system through before throwing in a comment. We don’t want comments like “why don’t you just number them in order?” that show you didn’t read the post, and show you put down the first thing to pop into your head. This is a complex issue that we’re trying to manage to better serve the Junkies.

Comments

  1. bazza200

    To get around the problem of existing books being out of date. Really 1 existing owners are a junkie and most likely know the Sigler Universe however the paperback and others would need something ? So a system which can be used and stuck onto existing books. I know not best but a solution ?
    Maybe junkies can buy the stickers and it be released with book 5 more incentive for existing junkies to get them and another thing to add.
    What do people think ?

  2. bazza200

    I would like a system which is much simpler a mix of Numbers and letters.
    Having a letter which represents a letter for each Era.
    E.g.O = Old  M = Modern,  F = football era, N = Near Future.
    Then for Books in the Series to Address the problems of denotion between a main book and subsets we could have M = Main Book, N = Novella, Then the final 4 numbers would tell you the sequence on the system cause there’s going to be alot of books however to enable books to be added without having to go and renumber things later you could have a spacing of 100 between main books. Scott would have more of an idea of how many sub books there could be in certain situations. But the idea is the numbers is to try and keep the sequence in tact with the letters to provide the era and book type.
    The Rookie would be GM0001
    The All Pro would be GM0100 

    What do people think ?

  3. Bulldog

    So far I think that a combo of a three letter code with 4 number date on the spine is enough info that doesn’t overcomplicate things… Then on the second page you go with Mr. Fahrenheits idea of graph timeline with a link to take people to an updated version… On that timeline you can click on links that can give you the exact stardate down to the millisecond.

  4. Catalyst

    So here’s my idea:
    The Four Eras would each have a logo, and for the example:
    • Olden Era = The Rocktipi Dumbbell Ship -or- Rocktipi Blade
    • Modern Era =  A Triangle with eyes
    • Crypt Era = Alien marking on the ‘Spire’ piece.(In the episode Dr. Erun Wellington(14 according to Siglerpedia/21 according to podiobooks) they find a ‘spire’ that has the same specific alloy resonance echo that Professor James Keeling is supposedly searching for and get a piece of it and it has an Alien marking on it. Also Dr. Wellington manages to put it in the group mind node along with…..the result of Grizzit’s last task for Dr. Wellington.)
    • GFL Era = A FootBall with a few rings around it (when i say rings i mean like the ones around saturn, so that it isnt just a football, but a galaxy ball)
    So further immediate visual categorization can be achieved by giving each Main book in a series its own color for the logo logo. Then any Novella taking place after one of those books can be a varying shade of the color used for the Main Book.
    in example:
    The Rookie = Dark Blue
    Title Fight = a Lighter Blue
    The Starter = Dark Purple
    The All-Pro = Dark Green
    The Reporter = Lighter Green than the All-Pro
    The Detective = Lighter Green than the Reporter
    Etc.
    For those of us who want it layed out logically on a page: 
    Still use some kind of logo so that 1 mark can be used for each era. Then further classify by Numerically ordering the Series and stand alone Novels that will be in each era, and then another decimal place for the number which that book is in its own series.
    The Novellas then get theyre own decimal point. For the numerical order which it takes place after the starting of it main Novel.
    So there is the problems of Pandemic and Descendant and the Nocturnal Sequel, because they will not be directly after their previous book chronologically. So when listing them off leave them in the order that they happen and still being able to tell which one is part of which series.
    Stand alone short stories could even be listed by leaving the first two places as a 0.
    For this Example:
    • Olden Era = >
    • Modern Era = &
    • Crypt Era = @
    • GFL Era = +
    +.1.1.0=GFL Era.GFL Series. The Rookie
    +.1.1.1=GFL Era.GFL Series. The Rookie. Title Fight
    +.1.2.0=GFL Era.GFL Series. The Starter
    +.1.3.0=GFL Era.GFL Series. The All-Pro
    +.1.3.1=GFL Era.GFL Series. The All-Pro. The Detective
    +.1.3.2=GFL Era.GFL Series. The All-Pro. The Reporter
    +.1.4.0=GFL Era.GFL Series. The MVP
    @.1.1.0=Crypt Era.The Crypt. The Crew
    @.1.2.0=Crypt Era.The Crypt. Shakedown
    &.1.1.0=Modern Era.Infected Series. Infected
    &.1.2.0=Modern Era.Infected Series. Contagious
    &.2.1.0=Modern Era.Ancestor Series. Ancestor
    &.3.1.0=Modern Era.Nocturnal Series. Nocturnal——-(all after this are hypothetical in their release order)
    &.1.3.0=Modern Era.Infected Series. Pandemic
    &.4.1.0=Modern Era.Earthcore Series. Earthcore
    &.3.2.0=Modern Era.Nocturnal Series. Nocturnal Book 2
    &.2.2.0=Modern Era.Ancestor Series. Descendant
    &.4.2.0=Modern Era.Earthcore Series. Mt. Fitzroy
    &.0.0.1=Modern Era.Stand Alone Short/Novella. Hero

  5. ElCas

    I agree that a stardate time line would be best approach to know where in the timeline current and future books fall.

    As romanda said a YYYYMMDD.HH(mm) would be the best format to use. As for books which jump around the timeline, you could just assign them the stardate the over begining date (i.e. the book starts 2686 jumps to 2675 then to 2690 you could assign it 2675MMDD.HHmm).

    As for what to put on the cover, I agree less is more. Simply putting the year on the cover/spine should be enough. You could place the complete number in the front or back page along with the most up-to-date (at time of print) timeline and a webpage to the visit to get the most current timeline.

  6. JunkieGym

    Scott, the problem as I see it is you are looking at this all wrong.  Think outside the box like when you write.

    You are trying to bring your books and identify them into a system that is of our world, very one demensionally.  This is just ass backwards.  You need to be taking our world into yours. 

    Create your own system.  For instance, create an alien type symbol and/or numbering system. (Sklorno, Kreterakian, or Quyth perhaps?)  Blend them together to denote where they intersect each other.  Then there isn’t a dependency on sequencing like you are struggling with right now.

    Think multi-dimensionally.  Try not to look at time in a linear fashion but bend it and warp it how YOU want it to be.  Identify them by where they intersect each other.

    We’re entering your world through your books, please don’t try to bring your books into our world like this.

    But, if you want a simple timeline like others have suggested here from Star Wars, meh….  I can certainly understand needing to dumb it down for mass consumption.  Just my 2 cents.

  7. dozier1375

    I have to agree. It need to stay simple. Put the year that the book, novella, short story is happening in on the spine with an updated time line in the book will help keep everyone up to date.

  8. occupy_my_rocktopi

    So how will this affect books like The Rookie hardcover, which has already come out and been sold out.  Will there be a second run on those in hardcover?  Like I said in my earlier post, I think junkies already know and understand the Siglerverse enough to not worry about beiing confused.  But for the uninitiated….

  9. Spyder

    I like the date system idea, but I absolutely think (and agree with what’s been said above) that the book cover is the worst place to put a big numbering system. You could perhaps get away with dates on a cover but not things like “book 3.1 of series x”. The cover of a book should be the best thing for that book, not the series as a whole.

    I would prefer to see the index and grouping of the universe on this website, and mentioned with a URL in your books. This has huge beneits:
    • Everything can be fully dynamic as the universe expands; grouped by era, original release date or even gender if you really want. A variety of ways to view the same big list.
    • Someone who picks up a book and loves it can easily find more.
    • Someone who picks up a book but isn’t interested in reading other sigler books isn’t burdened with a complicated system of indexing.
    I just don’t think attempting to create a dynamic and flexible system that lives on the cover of static paper books will ever work. It might sound cool to us geeks, but it’s adding unnecessary complexity when there are better alternatives.
  10. Scott_MacAlliston

    Seriously Scott,
    putting more stuff on the Cover of a Book is a safe way to get potential buyers confused. I am a bookseller for 8 years now, and have seen it happen many times, too many times…
    I side with Mr. Fahrenheit. Come up with 4 Icons, each for every Era and put that Icon/Logo on the Spine of the Books.
    Then add a Timeline in the Front or the Back of a Book. The Expanded Universe Timeline of StarWars is very, very good and quite easy to decipher.

    And u can include the newest timeline with every reprint of the current edition.
    That way you can avoid the problem, with a non up to date timeline in older books.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers from good old Germany.
    (Sorry for my english, its quite early over here ;-))

  11. Garm

    Sure a fancy numbering system would be nice, but for newer mebers you can add in a page towards the front of the book with a website link written on it that says “for a full siglervese timeline visit http://www.scottsigler.com/______“.  That way you can keep it updated.

    or on the binding if you want to get rid of the nuber system you can put one of those square barcodes that you can scan with your smartphone that takes you to a taxonomy diagram like Mr_Fahrenheit’s

  12. JZ

    I’m in with the simple minded crowd: do not put a number code on the cover – for the large majority of potential readers, it will be confusing rather than enlightening.

    Anything requiring a cipher to understand does not add to buyers appeal.

    I have no really new ideas, but would recommend a combo of several of the previous mentioned:

    1. For timeline use a 4-digit year only and print it across top of the spine. Placed on the very top of the spine, it’ll let you keep the present layout (a logo, the title, author name and publisher) – and it will be easily readable and understandable.
    2. Do not change the short to-the-point title setup you already have. The one/two-word titles rock! I know this disqualifies my ramblings re. the precise formulation for the assignment; but I really think messing up the actual title with a numbers code would be a mistake.
    3. In each book, on the ‘Also by Scott Sigler’-page, include a complete listing (as now), but list the titles as yyyy-TITLE
    4. Maintain an evergreen WIKI-page w. an eeeeasy address for total overview for those with early edition books.

    In toto: keep it simple

    Finally: I’m taken w. Mr. Fahrenheit’s timeline – it’s a super cool illustration that’ll work wonders as a ‘Also by Scott Sigler’ page #2.

  13. Finaldrive

    Sorry this formula should read:

    ERA.SERIES.BOOK NUMBER.SUB-NUMBER.YEAR

    Sorry for the confusion.
  14. Finaldrive

    Ok, here we go….

    I don’t think adding rando letters to a bunch of numbers works well, its confusing.  
    What I like is the “Star Date” idea, but when you pull out the decimal points it becomes just a string of numbers that can be confusing to new readers and it kinda gives me a headache.
    Thoughts on a solution that would make use of both camps….
    ERA.SERIES.BOOK NUMBER.YEAR.SUB-NUMBER
    ME.Infected.2009.1- Infected  
    GE.GFL.3.2864 The All-Pro
    GE.GFL.3.2.2864- The Reporter
    GE.GFL.3.3.2864- Some other book
    The main story of that year would not receive a sub number as it is part of the main story line.  Only sub novels and side stories would receive those sub numbers.
    If new major stories are being created in the same year then a new header, similar to the “GFL Book 1″
    GE.ABC.1.2864- New Series taking place at the same time
    As written on a book this could look something like this:
    Infected
    MODERN ERA
    Infected Series
    Book 1 2009
    ME.Infected.1.2009
    All-Pro
    GFL ERA
    GFL Series
    Book 3 2864
    GE.GFL.3.2864
    The Reporter
    GFL Era
    GFL Series
    Novella 2864
    GE.GFL.3.2.2864
    The only issue comes with EXACT chronology.  If part of book .3 starts before book .2 the exact chronology would get murky with this system. That being said a brief disclaimer at the front of a novel telling people that parts of this book take place during the same blah blah blah solves that problem.  
    Overall, the benefits to a system like this outweigh the limitations.
    Its simple, its easy to read and doesn’t take an abacus and a minor in quantum physics to figure out.
    It makes adding eras no problem and overlapping series less of an issue
  15. Kurt_eh

    One last thought, while dead tree copies can’t be fixed, could a timeline in ebook format be updated as new versions come out?

  16. JP

    I agree with Shadygirl.  Mr. Farenheit’s idea is awesome.  A tag of some sort on the flyleaf and a timeline on the first page inside the cover lets a reader quickly see where the book generally falls.  That way the timeline endures.  More specific info about the books in a specific segment of the timeline (e.g. order to read them, relationship of the books) could be elsewhere if necessary or useful.

  17. Kurt_eh

    I’ve always enjoyed how they put a visual timeline in the front (or back) of the Star Wars books. 

    The only problem with that is old books don’t have the new timeline.  But, a link to an evergreen timeline site could work, so long as the site is maintained and updated regularly.

  18. ScottEPond

    Wowzer… lot’s of great Ideas here.

    My two point three five seven cents. People are visually oriented creatures. Yes, they buy books (both dead three and digital) to read the words, but when it comes down to the covers they don’t want unnecessary clutter (i.e. extra text that they need to decipher to understand where the story falls into some grander universe.
    Being a conveyor of visualosities (yes, I know visualosities is not a real word… I’m working on copyrighting it as I type), I am very drawn to visual representations of stuff like this. I’m leaning more toward Mr_Fahrenheit‘s suggestion: a visual timeline that you can include in each book to keep things tracked and let your readers see, at a glance, where a particular story or book falls into the universe you are creating.
    There is some precedent of using something like a timeline. Robert A. Heinlein (the Grand Master of Speculative Fiction, in case you’ve lived under a rock your entire life…lol) used something similar and included it in several of his books (“Green Hills of Earth” and “Expanded Universe” I believe). Here’s an example of what he did (which I really dig since it almost tells a mini-story in its own right): http://ad7am.tumblr.com/post/950068377/the-heinlein-future-history-timeline-i-owe-more
    Visually, it’s info-packed, you can see all the currently released stories at a glance, and most importantly it doesn’t clutter your covers…
    Just my four point eight six seven cents (inflation)…
  19. Lone_Ghost_Jinn

    the only thing I’ve found in a short perusal for Isaac is a chornology for his Positronic and Foundation series.  He starts by using the current date of the common era.  C.E.  Like most scientists.  Then he switches to 1 F.E.  I’m guessing that stands for Foundation Era as that is where it shows up.  Here’s the link.

    http://www.sikander.org/foundation.php

  20. Zoot_the_Suit

    I’m a fan of charts.  Regardless of the nomenclature, I need some sort of image to keep everything straight.  The chart showing the chronology of the Enderverse on the Ender’s Game series wiki page is a great example of this.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ender's_Game_(series)

    In this chart, novels are in blue, short stories are red.  Higher on the page is older, lower is more recent.  I would suggest additional colors for games and movies.  Audiobooks could have an additional color, as well, but I’m not sure.
    You could stratify the chart into eras, which could help with the classification, and items could straddle different eras.
    I guess if you need to force a nomenclature, I’m a fan of the SashaBGarza method. (A/B/C/D 10, 11, 20) When in doubt, ask a librarian.

    Either way, if I get confused by a flat list, I want to take a look at some sort of chart to give me context.

  21. cpragman

    Make me wonder what Isaac Asmov did.  He wrote a ridiculuos number of stories, all in the same universe, and added more stories later all throughout the timeline. Anybody know? If he developed a system, it’s probably a good one to copy.

  22. Mr_Fahrenheit

    Ah yes, sorry Waista. Should have made myself clearer on that. I was ignoring the idea of creating a nomenclature to be included in the titles because it struck me as an incredibly bad and confusing idea. I have yet to come across a classification scheme based on numbers or letters that is easy to instantly understand and expand. I respect the FDO’s ability in publishing novels, marketing and self promotion, but I think this is a bad idea.

    Wasn’t advocating putting this on the cover either, in the first few pages alongside, ‘Also By the Same Author’ type of thing. I’ve never seen anyone buy a book without leafing through it first.

  23. waista

    “We want to develop a naming system that shows the exact timeline of Siglerverse cannon, and have that nomenclature be included in titles. We want people to be able to see, at a glance, the order of Siglerverse books.”…..


    ….WHEN THEY LOOK AT THE BOOKS COVER

    taxonomy diagram on the cover of every book may not be what he’s after.
  24. Rednut

    Some great ideas here but if I am reading it correctly the intent behind the numbering it is to locate each book in a timeline without having to know too much background about all the different stories of the siglerverse. If that is the intent then I would suggest just using the year.Eg The Starter would be ” a GFL Story : Year 2683 Jan-May”
    Title Fight ” a GFL Story: Nov. 2682
    The Crypt ” a Crypt Story: 2513-2515

    You have the flexibility to put new stories where you want and nothing to decipher.

    There’s my 2

  25. Mr_Fahrenheit

    Apologies for the posting fail as I tried to add that picture (edit post chucks me back to the main page btw). Anyway you can sort of get the idea of what I mean from that, it’s obviously very rough and ready but hopefully you can see how it would work. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

  26. Mr_Fahrenheit

    If I get this right you’re basically trying to create a classification system, but you need to add to it on a continuing basis. I don’t think that you really want to go down the route of a numbering system at all. It’s going to get super unweildy and end up like a library, with the dewey decimal system, only librarians really understand it.

    Personally I’d use something like a taxonomy diagram:

    You get several benefits:

    it’s really expandable

    You can call the books whatever you like, it won’t matter

    it’s really easy to see where you should start without a complicated numbering system.

    In hardcopies you only need to add the relevant section, fans will be able to understand exactly where the book fits by looking at an extract of it.

    For the softcopy (which you’ve mentioned you want to move to), they can see the whole system at once and you can auto-update when a new item enters the canon.

    The downside is that it can get unweildy but since you only need an extract to understand where that book fits that isn’t really a problem.

    I genuinely think that for ease of use by fans (especially new ones) any form of numbering system is a bad idea. A diagram is the simplest option.

    It also means you can cross link stories. Take Title Fight, it happens between The Starter and The Rookie but is referenced in The Starter. If you’re universe expands as much as you plan that sort of instant reference note is going to come in really handy.

    You’ll also have the ability to customise it with labels for different themes of content (e.g. football, military, politics) or nature of product (ebook only, videogame, hardcover only, audio only…)

  27. hansv

    +1 It is good I browsed through the comments a second time. The QR code idea (and plain text URL) to the website were what I came up with as well…

  28. waista

    You should take advantage of having one clean timeline for all your books and use the date system. The date system should indicate starting dates. 

    yyyy.mm.dd - yyyy.mm.dd” style date ranges destroy the advantages of yyyy.mm.dd notation. Use yyyy for a product that spans more that a years time and yyyy.mm for a product that spans more that a months time but less than a year. Obviously this is less accurate than a range, but it’s better overall.

    Book and Series labels are completely unnecessary in a date system that catalogues products in a single universe and timeline. Book and Series labels should only be used as a marketing tool to contextualise a product as it is being released. Fans will adopt these labels on wikis etc.

    You do not need to preface the date with “Siglerverse” unless you intend to use the same dating system on future products that are set outside the Siglerverse.

  29. Mycroft

    I like option 3 – to whit:

    Each cover has the title and the year the action starts.

    On the cover page inside is a line(s) stating that this story covers action from start timestamp to end timestamp.

    A timestamp has the following format (as defined in DB2 – hey, that’s where I live)  YYYY-MM-DD-HH:MM:SS.MMMMMM

    Thats Year, Month, Day, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Microseconds

    THEN, you keep a running list online that will allow anyone to print a list sorted by start timestamp at any time.

    1. It keeps the cover fairly simple

    2. It allows for infinite expansion, as duplicate timestamps are allowed!

    3. It will always produce the correct order.

    4. It’s maintainable!

    5. The format is set in stone and never has to be revised (a severe drawback to option 1 – take it from a DBA, don’t build in a need to reformat, it is easy now, but you will hate it later)

  30. steffiebaby140

    Hmmm…both systems have their good points and their bad points.  But here is the drawback for me on both of them, I am i love with book covers.  I want to see a clean cover, with an amazing picture, a very clear title, and tell me who the author is…anything else clutters up the cover and makes it very unattractive to me.  And I have been known to buy books based on covers alone, not even knowing what they are about…ok, to be honest I do that a majority of the time lol.  Here is a thought that is not based on numbering or dating at all:

    Why not add a page to the back or front of each book.  This could be as complex or simple as you like…it this page would basically detail the different “eras”, and then would list in order the different works.  You could even make this almost like a family tree.  I have seen authors do this with character trees that are out of control, so you can instantly see who that character is and what book you’ve seen then in before.  So…for example, let’s go with Infected, this page could look something like.

    Old Era
    work 1
    work 2
    work 39

    Modern era
    work x
    work y
    Infected
    work z
    work b

    You see the idea, but then this presents the problem of…well how to we have a completed tree on older books.  Easily, you don’t.  You add the books that are currently printed, then if something new comes out you update that book’s Siglerverse tree and all books that come after it.  Obviously this is not a perfect system either, but it eliminates the problem of cumbersome numbers down the line.

  31. silivrensf

    I apologize in advance for any misspelled names. I tend to listen to audiobooks more than read these days so I’m mostly guessing.

    I’m horrible at math and so I tend to shy away from numbers unless it’s something obvious. Seeing a big string of numbers would put me off. I’m definately in favor of an INTITIAL+DATE (GFL2683 or MOD2007, CRY*, OLD*, etc.) model. You only need to add additional years (GFL2683-2684), months (GFL2683.5), or days (GFL2683.5.19) if they are significant to a specific story. Most people are capable of figuring out a yearly sequence even if you only use the main year in which the story takes place. An advantage of this is not only is the sequence shown, but if you add eras or want to separate a mini series from the main one, then you just give it a new set of initials (FRED for example or whatever seems right to you). Readers can tell from the dates that the stories overlap, but it doesn’t force them to read them all if they don’t want to in order to figure out the order. Any stories you give their only intitials will probably need a certain amount of explanation anyway, so it’s not like the readers will be missing something if they get hooked on only a side-shoot of a larger era.

    Look at the way you handled the modern era books already: readers who have read both infected and ancestor will put 2 and 2 together to get 4 that they take place roughly around the same time and have overlapping characters. You didn’t need any kind of numbering or lettering system to tell them this.Don’t forget to give your audience a certain amount of intelligence credit. After all, if they are into your stories, they probably appreciate the level of thought and detail that goes into them. :)

    The problem, in general, is that you never tell stories the way you live life, from beginning to end, with no going back. If you write stories about the GFL, but they are side stories, then you’ll probably want to keep them in GFL* anyway. Say you are telling Gredok’s back story. Unless you are going to give him his own series, it’ll probably be labeld something like GFL2592 (I’m throwing out a wild number here that I know will be prior to Quentin’s time). That tells the readers who care that the story takes place 91 years before the events of The Rookie, but is lumped into the greater story of the GFL.

    I also agree that some thought should be given for publishing some kind of timeline in the introductory pages of future books if you are going to be concerned with readers connecting the stories and think a lettering or numbering system is too complicated. Even a timeline accurate list without dates would be good enough: “In chronological order according to when they take place: Infected, Ancestor, Contagious, The Rookie, The Starter, The All-Pro”. Like that. Many of the series I’ve read in my life (most noteably the Dragonriders of Pern) have book lists in the front that have made an effort to at least list the books, which at least tells you the order in which they were written. It helps loads when trying to figure out the author’s logic. Yours would obviously be in story-chronological order, which is better, but it’s better than nothing for sure.

    I guess overall, I like these two suggestions best. they both have the opportunity to address your chronology problem without getting overly complicated.

    On a side note, concider sometime in the long-term future publishing an “Overview of the Siglerverse” type reference book. Hardcore fans love that kind of stuff. :D I have several of those in my library for LOTR and Dragonriders of Pern. They are great to collect!

  32. shumcal

    Right, throwing my useless opinion into the ring. I think any sort of numbering system, while intrinsically preferable, is simply unsustainable in the long term, leading to ridiculous numerical monikers.

    I gave it quite some thought, but like you, the only alternative that I could see was using the dates. To address the very real problem of stories taking place concurrently, I do think that the simplest answer is a range. It would be quite easy to put something like the following at the bottom of each cover/spine:

    2683/11/27 22:30
    -
    2683/2/14 14:25

    or just:

    2683/11/27

    -

    2683/2/14

    if you decide that hours are redundant, as it is visually preferable. This has a number of advantages, in that it is, as you said, infinitely expandable, and you will never have awkward problems about introducing a new era or series. It also becomes readily apparent which order stories should likely be read in, even if stories are overlapping or contained within another’s timeline.

    Finally, a small detail; you should put a complete (to-date) timeline of all novels/novellas/anything in the first few pages. Despite never being fully comprehensive, it is an invaluable resource, and one that I greatly appreciated having in other series.

    Well, that’s my two cents.

  33. tsolo888

    This veered a little off topic but I think it is relevant.  I played around with the free timeline maker I mentioned further up in the post and thought you might like to see an example of what can be done.  It is nothing special, but it gives a feel for the potential of an interactive timeline, especially being able to put links to the book sales pages.  You could even put a QR code on the inside of the jacket that sends you to the timeline.   http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/siglerverse 

  34. Lone_Ghost_Jinn

    I agree with romanda and the stardate.  You don’t get all the cumbersome “dots” that are in the “book 4.1.2.5.  It also does not require you to remember which series comes first.

    I’d suggest yyyymmdd.time of day  as he does.  Simple and straight forward and also solves the problems of stories that begin on the same day.

  35. Stormy

    Perhaps
    a slight alteration to Option #1 – have the era names as
    alpha-identifiers, rather than numeric, so it comes out as something
    like:

    OE
    - Olden Era

    ME
    - Modern Era

    CE
    - Crypt Era

    GE
    - GFL Era

    So
    under this system, it becomes.

    Infected
    - ME-1

    Contagious
    - ME-2

    Ancestor
    - ME-3

    Crypt:
    The Crew – CE-1

    Crypt:
    Shakedown – CE-2

    THE
    ROOKIE
    – GE-1

    THE
    STARTER
    – GE-2

    THE
    REPORTER – GE2.2

    TITLE
    FIGHT – GE-1.5

    Etc,
    etc.

    If
    you replace ongoing sequential numbering with era-sequential
    numbering, it allows for greater expansion of the era, and therefore
    more flexibility for new eras. For example, if you wanted to put some
    of the Bloodcast/Colour is Adjective short stories into the timeline,
    but wanted them to occur prior to Infected, but they didn’t
    necessarily fit into the Olden Time Era, you could easily create the
    new category of the Pre-Modern Era (PE).

    Or
    if you wanted to have ancient alien visitors beating up some
    dinosaurs (or collecting samples for the eventual invention of
    Dinolition), you could have the Jurassic Era (JE). Whereas this would
    fall under the Olden Times era of the current Option #1.

    While
    there is the con of readers having to be aware of the eras (though it
    would simple enough to lay out in the “other books by the FDO”
    page, I’m not sure how, under the current system, you would number
    a story that, for example, comes before the Rookie, but isn’t part
    of the Crypt – so something like one generation before Q on Micovi
    would be a GFL story, rather than a Crypt story, but would it be
    4.0.1 or something, to indicate it occuring before the Rookie?

    (And
    yes, I’m sure there’s other flaws, but it’s 6am, it’s the
    best I can do for now).

  36. romanda

    If we limit this to the current “Series” then i think there will be issues.  If this is simply an addition to the end of the book name, or even listed in the front  of the book by this date then i think it solves the problems.

    using the 1/2/3.whatever will not work because of the idea of future books being in between these books, etc. 

    Having prefixes, or 1000/2000/3000 will not work because at a future date they will come back and add books in the middle of that, and if they are to fit in the “time line” then your back to trying to fit them in to some strange # sequence.  

    If its in there as a date then it will be simple for anyone to look up what 24560103.0444 means.   Or even have this in the newer books where it shows the yyyymmdd.hhmm type thing, on the page with all the other books.

    Then even if 2 books happen on the same day, there is a way to know what one is in what sequence without trying to figure out what “era” it is, or “what series”.  If its 1 universe, then it should have 1 date system.  

    Its the “siglerverse” and not the GFL/INFECTION/CRYPT-verse, if they all happen with set dates (which they seem to do) this makes much more sense.

    This also makes it very easy to maintain a timeline, since all the books have the date/time on them.

    Again, just my 0.02.

  37. FNH

    As another has said, complex numbers will be difficult to use. I suggest a simple large number. Start off with a large numbers for each era 

    So modern period would start with 1000, crypt era at 2000 and GFL era at 3000.
    Rookie 3000, Starter 3200, All Pro 3400 . Then if you have a story to be read between Rookie and Starter, you drop it into the middle of the range at 3100. Then if that had a follow up story you would subdivide again and it would be numbered as 3150. 
    Doing this gives it simple sequence with a lot of gaps to be filled.
    I’d also add the suggested three letter code for the series after the number, so the sets can be identified on a shelf ( e.g. 3200-GFL )
  38. Combat_Cook

    I hope I am not under thinking this situation.  I like the K.I.S.S. method for any problem.  Here is what I see as a simple solution.

    First, ignore the whole flashback concern…If a junkie can’t figure that it is a flashback they are not worthy…they should be killed…and eaten.

    Here is my simple combination of what I have read from others.

    1. Have at the top the ERA like you have in the GFL Series books

    2. At the bottom you can put the main year that the story is centered…example 2012

    3. On one of the first pages of the book have an up to date list of products from that ERA in order of the date timeline when it is set to start (flashback start not included)…example

    Modern

    2009

    Infected (Novel) 1/1

    Infected (Graphic Novel) 1/1

    Scary Perry: Home Invasion (PC Game) 5/8

    Presidential Files: The Blue Triangles Book 1 (Novella) 7/1

    2010

    Contagious (Novel) 1/1

    Presidential Files: The Blue Triangles Book 2 (Novella) 7/1

    2011

    Ancestor (Novel) 1/5

    2012

    Nocternal (Novel) 3/1

    4. At the end put in a listing for the link to your website and to the timeline located on the website for additional books they may want to read.

    This would give them the list of books in that era and in what order to read them…a location to look up the timeline and other timelines in case the book they found is old.  If we as followers of the FDO can’t figure out that maybe this novella or that novel land in the timeline of another we should be…well…found unworthy…killed…and eaten!

    I’m just saying…

  39. BigJohn

    I’ve seen this kind of thing in other book series, but ultimately have not found it very useful. At some point, something is going to get written that needs to be squeezed in between some existing books, and a divergence will need to be managed.

    In the Elfquest Readers Collection, the collected comics were put into their original order and broken into 6 volumes, numbered 1-6. Additional volumes collected additional material, and were number 7-10 or so. Then more stories were written and took place chronologically between existing numbered volumes, so they started adding “a” and “b” to the numbers. so we had published books 1-10, then 8a, 9a, 9b, etc.
    The books are not published in chronological order, so there is no way for a fan who buys the new books as they come out to read them in their intended order.
    Let’s pretend I’m a future junkie. I see these books with these esoteric numbering schemes on them, and i have to figure out whether they are just part of the title, or if there is some significance to them. If I realize there is some significance, I need to try to decode what the formula is and how I can use it. To do that, I’ll either need some kind of explanation printed in the book itself, or I’ll go to the website of the author to find out more. Nevermind trying to follow it all in audio form if I buy the audio book. (Matters of chronology are hard enough to read, must less listen to. Remember the Author’s Note in the All-Pro?)
    I’ve had the same problem with the Jack Ryan books by Tom Clancy, and the Pendergast books by Preston & Child. I know there is a particular order, and I know that it’s not necessarily the publish date. I do not hold it against the author that they do not provide the tools for me to put the stories in order just by looking at the book itself. My (obsessive) need to read things in order is my own cross to bear, and I use the tools available to me to make that happen.

    As I mentioned above, that tool is most often the internet. Wikipedia and the authors’ sites are places that I feel I can find definitive timeline and suggested reading orders for ElfQuest, Jack Ryan, Pendergast and even Dragonlance (which also splits their titles into core books written by Hickman/Weis and those written by others). I’m sure the same things exist for Star Wars and Star Trek novels, or any other anthology series.
    Anyway, my point is that while I understand what you’re trying to do, I don’t know that it is a particular problem that needs solving in that manner. Maintaining a part of your own website, and a page in Wikipedia, accomplishes essentially the same thing, and is easily updated. No crazy decimal system for the reader to decode, and no stress for the author over how to number a new book.
    My $.02, humbly submitted.
  40. sigleraddict

    I  think they both have their faults.   After reading all the posts a few concerns I have would be,  it needs to be simple to see which books are the main books in a series and which are the additional books  which the first system sort of does, but damn it could get confusing with more than 3 or 4 decimals.    The date system, does not clearly identify this either,  and you will have things in the dates (especially in the crypt character stories) that have flashbacks.  Also you will get a lot more confusion from new junkies with this system.  Definitely have both a complete list in order of your books in the front of each one, and an explanation page of your sigler verse number  or else you will get the same eternal questions from new readers    

    I think you need to do a two tier system as you have made examples of but not use the initial decimal.   State the era,OLD,  MODERN, CRYPT, GFL,  and then the book #, and sub story #, etc   but keep it as short as you can.     This also allows for expansion into new story eras  (You can give me my own battalion in the army for that suggestion, I don’t need my own tank).

    let me re work your examples to show you:

    ( “THE ALL-PRO, Book 3 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse GFL 3) )      

    TITLE FIGHT, Book 1.5 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse GFL 1.5). THE
    REPORTER would probably be Book 2.1 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse GFL 2.1). THE CRYPT, Book 1.0 (Siglerverse CPT 1) would be followed by THE
    CRYPT, Book 2.0 (Siglerverse CPT 2), and if I go back and write things
    that happen in-between, it would be THE CRYPT Book 1.5 (Siglerverse CPT 1.5)

    This is infinately expandable.   Say your right and Fredericho is a big star and you start his own series,   instead of ” THE DETECTIVE, Book 3.5.1.4 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 3.3.5.1.4)”

    Give him his own prefix.  FRED 1.4    FRED 1     Fred 2.5    FRED 5.7
    and update the timeline in the new books, and your master timeline on the top of the web site,  which I can’t seem to find one easily anywhere (web site, siglerpedia, forums)  (HINT HINT (ok that suggestion gets me my own helicopter)

    ok  hopefully that helps.  I know it is not perfect, but maybe it can spawn a more perfect idea, and does break your problem of expandability.

  41. occupy_my_rocktopi

    I agree with romanda and I don’t think the cons listed for option #2 are that big of a deal.

    1. Don’t we still need series numbers for the stories that happen between major books? For example, THE REPORTER, Book 3.1 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 2684.5.10)

     

    So I answered the second con first, but I think this con has pretty much the same answer.  If you have grabbed someone’s attention with the cover art, they are hooked for at least the 10-15 seconds it would take to glance at the blurb on the”front inside flap” if it is a hardcover or the back if it is a paperback.

     

    Right?  I mean Junkies and even “converts in process” will already know if they follow this site or your podcasts at all.  And the rest you are going to hook with cover art and title.  Get them there and I think you will have created that 10-15 second of them reading the blurb where you can lay out a bit of detail as needed.

    2. It might not be clear that things take place at the same time as other books, unless we put the full date range. For example THE REPORTER happens during THE ALL-PRO. Unless I put a full date range (beginning date, end date), it might not be clear that one story takes place during another. Not sure this matters as far as reading things in order, but it is a factor.

    You are the fans, the Junkies, so give us your thoughts on these systems or another system.

     

    In my opinion someone looking at this book on the shelf will at least glance at
    “front inside flap” if it is a hardcover or the back if it is a paperback.  Add a blurb about this book taking place in between The Manager and The Owner.  So I would say have the start date, but not more than that on the cover/spine.
  42. hotchman

    I kind of like Romada’s idea of a star date system. While yes it may seem cumbersome in the end what you are trying to do is tie everything together. You can use Tsolo888′s timeline creator to clearly define the eras, even use them on the spines if you want to define eras for people that just want one era. You had mentioned if someone was just into one thing, lets say football for example, you could put on the spine or where ever for the Rookie:

    26840102
    GFL Era

    I don’t think you need to get into the minutia before each chapter but this way people could stick to eras if they wanted to. That would also leave you open to introduce other eras along the overall timeline of the siglerverse. 

    The only issue would be if you start another universe that carries on along the same lines. The solution I would take up then is introduce a letter in front of the star date so it read s26840102 for siglerverse and x26840102 for the same time in the other-verse.
  43. orion549

    Well, I have to say I’m for option 2. In fact, I was for option 2 before I read option 2, because I was thinking about it while reading the intro and option 1. Yes, it doesn’t give you an idea of what short stories or novellas take place during a previous one, however it gives you the best chronological numbering system I think even simplifying it to year and month of first action would be fine, that might help to demonstrate some of the books that are in the same timeframe, especially if they are started in the same month (yes, seveal books with 2684.5 might be a little confusing, but how often does this happen?)

    Any other way is too limiting in the event you want to shove some stories in between things 15 years in the future. The only other thing I would add is a letter to the end to indicate the series, in case in the future things start to bleed together. Only do it for long series though. So All Pro could be 2684.1.2G for GFL series, Contagious would be 2009.1.20T for Triangle series, or something like that. Say Ancestor was a stand alone it would just be 2010.11.7, making it easy to see which books were a series with them still being in chronological order.
  44. tsolo888
    I really think since you already have a fairly accurate timeline to work with, that you should run with that.  I really don’t think cover wise that you need to be any more in depth than a simple four digit year.  My suggestion would be to put the exact date on the cover page or something like that and then maybe refer them to a web based, interactive timeline so they can visually see the eras and how each story fits in to them.  The following link is to a free online timeline maker, I’m sure there are many other this is just for an example.

    http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/timetoast-interactive-timeline-creator/

  45. w_nightshade

    Obviously, this is all just my ignorant opinion.  So here goes:

    The date system seems more cumbersome to me.  The cons you listed are significant, and I find the range issue especially problematic.  My guts tell me “no.”
    Decimals seem cleaner to me, and the expandability is very useful.  And the example of Frederico’s novel (when can I pre-order?) sounds perfectly workable to me as stated – I don’t have a problem with it.  And it has the added benefit of being (relatively) easy to script for when working with this stuff in a database (for example).  Decimal system gets my vote.
  46. romanda

    I think the “stardate” approach works very good, with yyyymmdd.partofday

    This makes it consistent no matter when the book/story takes place. 

     THE ALL-PRO story begins on January 2, 2684, the title would be: “THE ALL-PRO, Book 3 of the GFL Series (Siglerverse 2684.1.2)

    more like 26840102.?? – start of date? would that be 01- 1 am? 23 = 11 pm?
    Keep all the .’s out except for the part of the day.

    This way if you have a story that happens to start say at 10pm and one that starts at noon on the same day, it would look like:

     26840102.12 – Story starting at noon
     26840102.22 – Story starting at 10pm

     Heck you could expand it to mins too if need be.

     26840102.0930 -  9:30 pm
     26840102.2205 – 10:05 pm

    Then things that happen in the “current times”
     20120119.1004 – when i was typing this in.

    this makes it possible to have a story take place any time and just simply show when the story “starts”. 

    Problem is, what if the story “jumps” around in time?  Could you use the #’s for chapter headings?