Main [  Home  |  Novels  |  Bio  |  Photo Gallery  |  FAQ  |  Workshop  |  Author Notes  |  Science  |  Links  ]
FAQ [  Writing  |  Queries  |  Agents  |  Publishers  |  Editors  |  Contracts  |  Authors  |  Books  ]

Copyright 2005 Tara K. Harper.  All rights reserved.

Tara K. Harper:
Science/Technical References for Writers
Books, Journals, and Software


 

General Science*

  Plant Biology   Plantary Science
 

Biology, Medicine

  Animal Biology     Sailing, Boats,
 

Anatomy/Physiology

  Marine Science       and Weather
 

Disease

  Herpetology   Military Strategy
  Forensics*   Ornithology   Weapons*
    Entomology

A Note About Recommendations
Access to Science and Technical References

    
* updated!


A Note About the Recommendations

It is easy to find layman's information, coffee-table books, and popular references that are useful for school projects--bookstores and local libraries are full of them.  In general, recommendations for those types of books are not listed here.  The recommendations listed here are for the technical reader or for the writer who wants to understand a particular science or aspect of that science in order to get the details correct in his or her literary work.  References listed here include definitive works, text books, and the occasional coffee-table book of images, such as books of electron micrographs.  Some recommendations include caveats.  All recommendations include a brief statement of the science background required in order to understand the text.

You do not have to have a university degree in the discipline in order to understand the material in most of the recommended references, but you should have at least a general science education.  If you have not read technical material for some time, you should consider starting with an overview journal or publication, such as Science News, in order to reaquaint yourself with modern theories, and educate yourself about the recent work in the various disciplines.

It is important to remember that science is not static--our body of knowledge changes on a daily basis as technology and time provide us with more and more opportunities to examine and revamp our ideas, theories, and "facts."  Articles and references that today describe a particular discovery or theory may become obsolete or repudiated six months from now.  Other discoveries may be heralded as great steps forward, while two or five years later, they are considered only more small steps in our increasing understanding of cell  biology, cosmology, geology, and other disciplines.  Yes, each new discovery is exciting, but it is also a single point in an infinte sea of knowledge.  Keep an open mind.

[   Next discussion   ][   Top of file   ]


Access to Science and Technical References

How do you get access to good technical references? --can you find them at a local, public library?  Not usually--not unless you are located in a large city that also supports a university (or two or three).  Local, public libraries are focused more on providing services for communities whose interests lie more in business, history, social issues, entertainment, and school projects.  Most science references in a local library are aimed at readers with a junior-high to high-school science education, and do not include text books or highly technical references--the readership is too small for such books, and the references take up shelf space that can be used more effectively for other material that serves a greater number of readers.  While low-level science books are adequate for the layman reader, they are not usually adequate for the technical reader, the science reader, or the writer who wishes to understand the details of a particular discipline so that that science may be extrapolated into new ideas.

Then how do you acquire or get access to the references listed here?  In general, you must either:
  - obtain access to a private technical library.
  - travel to a university library that contains an adequate reference collection.
  - purchase the reference yourself.

For those libraries (private technical libraries and university libraries) which do maintain an adequate collection, they do not usually loan out the references or allow them to be checked out.  In most libraries, you must read the reference and take notes there.  For a writer, of course, this means you can rarely read/research and write at the same time.

If you choose to purchase your references, you can special-order them through a science-library book club or through almost any general-interest independent bookstore.   Prices vary, depending on where you purchase the volume and how long it has been in print.  I have occasionally received discounts for orders placed through independent bookstores.  While a chain bookstore might give a 10% discount on "all hardcovers," the discount has never applied to any science or technical special orders I have attempted to place through chains.  Science book-clubs do offer discounts which, on those $150 references, can add up quickly.  The science book-clubs also tend to offer references which have been reveiewed and well-received by researchers and professionals in those fields.  The Library of Science has a list of titles which include some valuable texts for writers.

The rest of this file provides a listing of the science and technical references.

[   Next discussion   ][   Top of file   ]


General Science


Science News
Weekly newsmagazine, published by Science Service
ISSN:  0036-8423
Subscription information:  1-800-552-4412
Price: $50/year

Well-written publication for the science-oriented lay reader.  Famliarity with biology, genetics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and statistical analysis is recommended.  SF, mainstream, and thriller writers will find this weekly of particular interest for keeping up with general research and development, for provoking ideas, and for pointing writers toward other references for further information about specific topics.  This is an excellent overview publication, and I highly recommend it for any layperson with an interest in science and development.

This weekly newsmagazine provides overviews of recent discoveries and research in all science disciplines.  Each issue also usually contains two featured articles.  Recent topics have included:  creating microscopic light-emitting patterns on the surface of silicon crystal, Hubble telescope updates and discoveries, the coldest star discovered to date, kidney stones and beverages, rotaviruses, chlorophyll eyes in fish, fungi and old books, fetal deaths correlated to air pollution and odd heartbeats, violence among the mentally ill, fuel cells and catalysts, and bubbles and gravity.  Overviews are often correlated to the articles and papers in current issues of Nature, Science, and other journals.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Science News
Weekly newsmagazine, published by Science Service
ISSN:  0036-8423
Subscription information:  1-800-552-4412
Price: $50/year

Well-written publication for the science-oriented lay reader.  Famliarity with biology, genetics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and statistical analysis is recommended.  SF, mainstream, and thriller writers will find this weekly of particular interest for keeping up with general research and development, for provoking ideas, and for pointing writers toward other references for further information about specific topics.  This is an excellent overview publication, and I highly recommend it for any layperson with an interest in science and development.

This weekly newsmagazine provides overviews of recent discoveries and research in all science disciplines.  Each issue also usually contains two featured articles.  Recent topics have included:  creating microscopic light-emitting patterns on the surface of silicon crystal, Hubble telescope updates and discoveries, the coldest star discovered to date, kidney stones and beverages, rotaviruses, chlorophyll eyes in fish, fungi and old books, fetal deaths correlated to air pollution and odd heartbeats, violence among the mentally ill, fuel cells and catalysts, and bubbles and gravity.  Overviews are often correlated to the articles and papers in current issues of Nature, Science, and other journals.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


New Scientist
Monthly publication
ISSN:  not avail.
Subscription information:  +44 (0) 1622 778000
Subscription information for the online publication:  http://www.newscientist.com
Price:  about $150/year

Well-written publication for the science-oriented lay reader.  A bit less technical than Science News, and often offering articles that are simply fun.  Famliarity with basic science concepts is helpful, but nothing really specific required.  SF, mainstream, and thriller writers will find this monthly of particular interest for just staying aware of different fields and some of the more glitzy, sexy, or fun research.

Three caveats:  First, only the first half of the magazine is articles.  The back half is really just job listings in the sciences for positions around the world -- fun sometimes, to glance through, but not really something I'd recommend for regular reading.  Second, this magazine is very expensive compared to other U.S. magazines, they don't ever seem to offer discounts for paying for more than one year at a time.  Third, and this is what makes me despise them for all that they have decent articles, it's a pain in the buttocks to subscribe.  They've done the typical slimy thing and refused to put their actual subscription address or rates online.  Unless you can find a physical copy of the magazine, you have to give them your email address and other personal information before you can even find out how much it would cost to subscribe.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Science
Weekly publication, by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
ISSN:  0036-8075
Subscription information:  http://www.sciencemag.org
Price:  $108

Dense, often dry, publication for all science disciplines.  Background in biology, microbiology, genetics, chemistry, physics, geology, and astronomy is recommended.  SF writers will find this valuable for keeping up with technology and research; military writers may find the research notes of interest for extrapolating technology into current weapons and defensive capabilities.  Thiller and mystery writers will find the extensive articles on medical/biological fields of interest for helping create storylines and for helping verify accuracy of detail.

Provides well-written quick-takes on discoveries, news, essays, letters (short article-style correspondence) editorials, netwatch, book reviews, and discussions of issues such as research ethics, genetics initiatives, biomedical patents, and science policy.  Research articles and reports are more dense, and cover the spectrum of science disciplines:  biology, genetics, geophysics, astronomy, cosmology, materials science, physics, chemistry, molecular biology, paleontology, etc.  Recent topics included:  determining neutrino mass, combinatorial biochemistry for drug discovery, polymer electronics--pairings of organic electronics and light, geophysics and hidden oceans, anthrax Lethal Factor (LF), mechanisms of enzymatic activity, surface science (atomic level), and nanotechnology and defect-tolerant computer architecture.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Journeys in Microspace:  The Art of the Scanning Electron Microscope
Dee Breger
Published 1995 by the Columbia University Press
ISBN:  0-231-08252-5
Price:  $40

A fascinating look at the world through an electron microscope.  A coffee-table book.  Nontechnical.  Images of human tissues, velcro, burned tungstun wire, petrified lightning track, bacteria, micromineral, dandelion seeds, wood, and more.  Includes an introductory chapter describing the technology involved in creating the images.  An excellent reference for allowing you to use your eyes to help understand theory and concept.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Biology and Medicine


Current Biology
Bi-monthly publication, by C.B. Current Biology Publishing
ISSN:  
Subscription information:  http://current-biology.com/journals.htm
Price:  $175/year subscription

An excellent journal.  Well-written, well-designed, well-illustrated.  Background in biology, microbiology, genetics, and chemistry is recommended.  Although I should recommend this only for writers who deal with biological systems (SF, mystery, thriller), this is such an excellent journal that I strongly recommend it for anyone with an interest in science.

A single source of information about developments across the full spectrum of modern biology:  cell biology, structural biology, genetics, neurobiology, developmental biology, evolution, and immunology.  Contains original research articles, dispatches (minireviews informing you of significant developments)

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Nature Biotechnology
Monthly publication, by Macmillan Magazines, Ltd.
ISSN:  1087-0156
Subscription information (North America):  1-800-524-0328
Price:  $59/year subscription

Dense, often dry, publication on biotechnology.  Background in biology, microbiology, genetics, and chemistry is recommended.  SF, mainstream, thriller, military, and mystery writers will find this journal useful for extrapolating ideas and for learning about new technologies.

Recent papers and research topics included:  shock toxicology with transgenics, engineering seedless fruit, genome-wide expression monitoring, transgenic bugs, laboratories on microchips, protein interactions, post-genomic protein analysis, gene knockouts, "suicidal" DNA vaccines, microbial bioremediation of contaiminated soils, and more.  This journal also provides news analyses and commentaries on issues in biotechnology, such as patent disputes, biological warfare, NIH funding, business-vs-citizen rights, drug approvals, and genetics/cloning procedures and concerns.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Science & Medicine
Bimonthly publication, by Science & Medicine, Inc.
ISSN:  1087-3309
Subscription information (U.S. and Canada):  1-800-888-0028
Price:  $59/year subscription

A well-written, well-designed, well-illustrated journal.  Background in biology, microbiology, and chemistry is recommended, as well as familiarity with medical terms.  SF, mainstream, mystery, and thriller writers will find this journal useful for both basic information and for generating ideas.

Provides in-depth coverage of conditions, diseases, medical procedures, surgical techniques, and more.  Recent topics included:  pathophysiology of MS lesions, antiocidants and cancer, human milk antibodies, atherogenic lipoproteins, mast cells, angioplasty and endovascular stents, odors and mosquito-borne diseases.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Nature Medicine
Monthly publication, by Macmillan Magazines, Ltd.
ISSN:  1078-8956
Subscription information (in the Americas):  1-800-524-0384
Price:  $95/year subscription

Dense, often dry publication on medical procedures, conditions, diseases, etc..  In general, well-written.  Background in biology, microbiology, genetics, and chemistry is recommended, as well as familiarity with medical terms and procedures.  SF, mystery, and thriller writers will find this journal of value for providing details that can be useful in story creation, for verification and accuracy of storylines, and for generating ideas.

Provides in-depth articles and reports on recent research in journal format, with abstracts, articles, methods, discussions, etc.  Recent articles included:  cellular prion protein receptors, angiogenesis and carcinoma cell invasion, suppression of mutations in epithelial cell lines, acceleration of cutaneous wound healing, cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of aging, viruses and vascular disease, cloned transgenic bovine neurons for treating Parkinsonism, apoptosis, tumor immunogenicity, regeneration in the central nervous system, and new therapies for treating human malignant brain tumors.  Also includes sections for news, commentaries, new technology and book reviews.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Inside Information:  Imaging the Human Body
William A. Ewing
Published 1996 by Simon and Schuster Editions
ISBN:  0-684-83108-2
Price:  $23

A picture book of stunning electron micrographs, gamma camera scans, light micrographs, and endoscopic images.  Excellent for provoking ideas.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 25th Ed.
Edited by William R. Hensyl,Harriet Felscher, and Bill Cady
Published 1990 by Williams and Wilkins
ISBN:  0-683-07916-6
Price:  $45

Includes an excellent subentry locator and a brief medical etymology.  Background in human biology and basic knowledge of medical procedures is useful.  Any writer who deals with medical conditions (disease, injury, trauma, death) should have a copy of this dictionary to supplement his other references.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Anatomy and Physiology


Color Atlas of Anatomy, 2nd Ed.
Edited by R.M.H. McMinn, R.T. Hutchings, J. Pegington, P.H. Abrahams
Published 1988 by Mosby-Wolfe
ISBN:  0-8151-5858-0 (pbk)
ISBN:  0-8151-5851-3 (hardcover)
Price:  $100

An excellent anatomical reference, with clear, detailed photographs.  Background in biology, medical terms, and medical procedures is recommended.    SF, fantasy, mystery, and thriller writers will find this reference useful for any discussion that includes injury, trauma, or death.

This is an excellent general reference for bones, muscles, and organs.  Divided into sections:  head, neck, and brain;  vertebral column and spinal cord;  upper limb;  thorax;  abdomen and pelvis;  and lower limb.  Includes x-rays and drawings to further illustrate various parts of the body (membranes, venous paths, etc.).  Also includes appendices for arteries, veins, nerves, lymphatic system, etc.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Color Atlas of Applied Anatomy
Edited by R.M.H. McMinn, M.D., Ph. D., F.R.C.S.
Photography by R. T. Hutchings
Prosector:  B.M. Logan, F.M.A.
Published 1984 by Year Book Medical Publishers, Inc.
ISBN:  0-8151-5827-0 (hardcover)
Price:  --this reference may be out of print

An excellent book on procedural anatomy, with photographs, rather than drawings.  Background in biology, medical terms, and medical procedures is recommended.  SF, fantasy, mystery, and thriller writers will find this reference useful for any discussion that includes injury, trauma, or death.

This reference shows "how to get at things."  It is not an operational manual for surgery, but rather, it shows how a surgeon gains access to veins, bones, organs, etc.  Each discussion includes background, approach, hazards and safeguards.  Elements in each photographs are clearly numbered and called out.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Textbook of Medical Physiology, Eighth Edition
Arthur C. Guyton, M.D.
Published 1991 by W.B. Saunders Company
ISBN:  0-7216-3087-1
Price:  $45

A comprehensive, clearly written reference on human physiology.  Basic background in biology is useful.  SF, fantasy, mystery, and thriller--even mainstream--writers will find this reference useful for any discussion that includes physiological elements, requires an understanding of the body's response to changing environmental conditions, or injury.

Covers skeletal muscle, smooth muscle, physiology of cell membranes, protein synthesis, etc.  Major sections include:  heart;  circulation;  kidneys and body fluids;  blood;  respiration;  nervous system;  gastrointestinal physiology;  metabolism and temperature regulation, and endocrinology and reproduction.  Also contains sections on aviation, space, and deep-sea diving physiology, including the effects of acceleratory forces on the body, artificial climates, weightlessness, and special physiological problems in submarines.  The final, short section covers sports physiology:  muscles, endurance, body heat, nutrients, salts, etc.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Disease


Field's Virology, 3rd, Ed., Volumes 1 and 2
Edited by Bernard N. Fields,  M.D.; David M. Knipe, Ph. D.; Peter M. Howley, M.D.
Published 1996 by Lippincott-Raven
ISBN:  0-7817-0253-4
Price:  $295

The definitive reference on disease.  Highly technical, with in-depth, detailed information.  Background in medical biology, cell-biology, chemistry, basic genetics, and basic virology is recommended.  SF writers will find this set of volumes useful for a variety of reasons:  perspective on parasitic interactions and invasive organisms, an understanding of immune systems and how they could be engineered to adapt to different organisms and environments, ideas for alien organisms, etc..  Highly recommended reference.

This is an invaluable two-volume set which describes the histories, infectious agents, pathogenesis and pathology, clinical features, epidemiology, immunity, and control of diseases.  Divided into two sections:  the first section describes general concepts of basic and medical virology; the second part describes the replication, molecular biology, pathogenesis and medical aspects of individual virus groups.  This edition also contains information about viruses that infect plants, insects, yeast, fungi, parasites, and bacteria.  

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Physician's Guide to Rare Diseases, 2nd Ed.
Edited by Jess G. Thoene, MD, et al
Published 1995, Dowden Publishing Company
ISBN:  9628716-1-3
Price:  $80

A highly acclaimed reference on rare disease of the Americas.  Technical, but well-written; it's the layout of the long line-length which makes it a bit difficult to read.  Photos are few, but fascinating.  Background in medical biology, chemistry, basic genetics, and basic virology is recommended.  SF, fantasy, mystery, and thriller writers will find this reference useful when creating alien ecologies and considering the lesser-known or more unusual aspects of disease.

This reference briefly describes almost 900 of Americas most commonly seen rare diseases, including genetic diseases, dysmorphic syndromes, inborn errors or metabolism, endocrine disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, opthalmologic disorders, and inherited renal and genitourinary disorders.  Each description of a disease includes signs and symptoms, etiology, epidemiology, related disorders, treatment, and so on.  This reference also includes information on orphan drugs (drugs used to treat rare diseases).  The reference's sections begin with an overview of the type of disease, then presents current information on research, diagnosis, and treatment/therapy of those diseases, including recent DNA-therapies.  Includes speculation into potential, future treatments and research, and a listing of resources (with phone numbers) for further research.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Mechanisms of Microbial Disease, 2nd Ed.
M. Schaechter, G. Medoff, D. Schlessinger
Published 1992, Williams and Wilkins
ISBN:  0-683-07607-8 (First edition)
ISBN:  0-683-07606-X (Second edition)
Price:  $45

A well-written, basic text on microbial disease, using clinical cases to provide a pathobiological context.  Basic background in molecular and cellular biology and chemistry is recommended.  SF, fantasy, mystery, and thriller writers will find this reference useful when creating alien ecologies, describing features of disease, etc..

This reference is an introductory reference for pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and viruses.  It uses biological models to provide overviews of pathophysiology, invasive mechanisms (entry, spread and mutiplication), immune system responses, epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and history of disease.  Also describes infections that result from anatomic and genetic defects in the host, and includes information on congenital and neonatal infections.  

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Volumes I  (General Medicine) and II (Specialties)
Published by Merck Research Laboratories
ISBN:  0911910-15-8  (16th edition)
Price:  $35

A general-reference medical text.  This is likely the most widely used medical reference in the world; it provides clinically useful information that might be needed by family practitioners anywhere in the world.  Note that the Merck Manual(s) are revised and reprinted often, so the current ISBN and price may be different.  Background in anatomy, knowledge of medical terms, basic biology recommended.  

This is a general-purpose reference that covers all aspects of clinical medicine:  disease, injuries, genetic conditions, enzymatic and other abnormalities, congenital defects, acquired and inherited disorders, etc.  Includes etiology, pathophysiology, symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment information, including surgical procedures.  Also includes sections on childhood, adolescent, and adult psychiatric conditions, such as autism, disintegrative psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, and mania.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Forensics, Toxicology, and Mortality


Medicolegal Investigation of Death:  Guidelines for the Application of Pathology to Crime Investigation
        [ Note:  May be listed as  Spitz and Fisher's Medicolegal Investigation of Death ]
Edited by Werner U. Spitz. MD, et al
Published 1993 (latest edition?), Charles C. Thomas, Publisher
ISBN:  0-398-05818-0
Price:  $91

An excellently written, precise, concise, definitive reference on forensic pathology.  Excellent, descriptive, graphic photos.  

Note:
This reference is not appropriate for children.

Familiarity with physiology and anatomy is useful, as is a basic understanding of legal terms.  NOTE:  This title is not out of print, although it is listed as out of print in many online bookstores.  This title must be ordered directly from the publisher, and any decent independent bookstore should be able to look it up and order it for you.  You might have to look this title up by authors "Spitz and Fisher" or ISBN, as the title may not be accurately listed.  Depending on the store through which you have placed your order, it can take up to 1-5 months to receive this reference.  In general, you have to prepay this reference when ordering. Although this is a useful reference for any writer who includes descriptions of death or bodies, mystery writers in particular can use this reference to ensure more accuracy in descriptions of bodies and in the clues used to solve mysteries.

This reference presents forensic pathology with discussions slanted toward criminal investigation.  For example, discussions focus on details that indicate distinctions between accidental death and homicide.  Includes chapters on abrasions, punctures and stabbings, drowning and diving deaths, electrical trauma, child abuse, more.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Forensic Pathology
Bernard Knight, MD, MRCP, FRCPath, DMJ(Path), Barrister
Published 1996, Oxford University Press
ISBN:  0-340-58897-7
Price:  $189

A well-written, easy-to-read reference on forensic pathology.  Excellent, descriptive, graphic photos.  

Note:
This reference is not appropriate for children.

No significant science background required, although familiarity with physiology and anatomy is useful.  NOTE:  This title is not out of print, although it is listed as out of print in many online bookstores.  This title must be ordered directly from the publisher, and any decent independent bookstore should be able to look it up and order it for you.  It can take up to 3-5 months to receive this reference once the copy is ordered.  Although this is a useful reference for any writer who includes descriptions of death or bodies, mystery writers  in particular can use this reference for a variety of reasons to ensure more accuracy in their work.

Includes chapters on abrasions, punctures and stabbings, drowning, electrical trauma, child abuse, more.   This reference does not really duplicate or supplement information in Medicolegal Investigation of Death (see previous reference).  The focus of this reference is on pathology, not on details that would support or disprove a legal case for homicide.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Casarett and Doull's Toxicology:  The Basic Science of Poisons
Edited by Curtis D. Klaassen, Ph. D.
Published 1995, McGraw-Hill
ISBN:  0-071054-76-6
Price:  $70

Highly technical reference on toxicology.  Background in chemistry, medical biology, and molecular biology is recommended.  SF, fantasy, mystery, and thriller/suspense writers can use this reference for a variety of reasons to ensure more accuracy in their work.  SF writers in particular can use this reference when building or creating alien or terraformed worlds and ecologies.

An excellent source of information on the toxic responses of various organs and systems in the body.  Includes information on structural toxicity, general responses of cells to injury, chronic and reversable damage, nonspecific and specific mechanisms of immunity, chemical interactions, and so on.  Covers pesticides, metals, solvents, vapors, radiation, animal toxins, plant toxins, food additives and contaminants, and air, water, and soil pollutants.

[  Next reference  ][  Top of file  ]


Ellenhorn's Medical Toxicology:  
Diagnosis and Treatment of Human Poisoning, 2nd Ed.

Ed. Matthew J. Ellenhorn
Published 1997, Williams & Wilkins
ISBN:  0-683-30031-8
Price:  $99

Highly technical, detailed reference on human toxicology.  Background in chemistry, medical biology, and molecular biology is recommended.  SF, fantasy, mystery, crime, and thriller/suspense writers will find this reference valuable for ideas and to ensure more accuracy in their work.

An excellent source of detailed information about immunotoxicology, such as mechanism of action, immune-system response, clinical presentation, emergency adverse effects, treatments, and antidotes.  Includes five major sections that discuss principles of poison management, drugs, drugs in the home, chemicals, and natural toxins (marine and terrestrial) found around the world.  Covers neurologic, dermal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and other effects of chronic use or abuse.  Also includes information about unusual effects of drugs, such as the increase in intraocular pressure sometimes seen with ipratropium bromide, or the suicide ideation sometimes seen with fluoxetine and fluvoxamine.  Discusses dose and overdose levels, stabilization, decontamination, and elimination 'enhancement' of toxins during treatment.

This reference includes brief descriptions of the research used to support the information, including whether the study was double-blind, clinical trial, human or animal study, and so on.  In general, Ellenhorn uses information about animal studies only to indicate the mechanism of action of a particular toxin, not to propose or assume that human clinical responses will be identical to animal responses.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Recent Vertebrate Carcasses and their Paleobiological Implications
Johannes Weigelt
Translated by Judith Schaefer
Published 1989, University of Chicago Press
ISBN:  0-226-88166-0
ISBN:  0-226-88167-9 (paperback)
Price:  ??

An early work, but still useful.  Includes both drawings and photographs.  Basic knowledge of biology and paleontology is recommended.  All writers who include descriptions of decay or remains -- especially murder-mystery writers, should find this book useful.

Originally published in German in 1927, this work is still a fascinating account of the decomposition of modern animal (livestock) carcasses.  It describes how various signs indicate length of time the carcass has lain undisturbed, desiccation and mummification, effects of water, wind, quicksand, mud, etc.  Also describes scavenger activity and the sorting of bones by weight as carcass remains are eaten.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Printed and distributed by the Massachusetts Medical Society, publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine
ISSN:  0149-2195
Price:  $79/year

A half-size, black-and-white, weekly report of disease reported throughout the U.S.  Familiarity with basic viral, bacterial, and fungal family names and pathology is useful.  SF/Fantasy writers may find this report useful in order to get a good picture of the overall incidence of disease in an industrial country, and to compare the incidence of disease in different states and territories.

This report provides a weekly update of the number of cases reported in each state and territory of the United States, of various diseases, including:  AIDs, Chlamydia, E. coli (various strains), Legionellosis, Lyme Disease, malaria, TB, rabies (animal), measles, meningococcal disease, pertussis, etc.  This report also includes cases of reported diseases, including information about epidemiology, treatments and results of treatments (failures, additional treatments, changes in drug regimens, etc.), and follow-ups.  Features different conditions and diseases each week; for example, one issue describes cases of lightning-struck victims (including deaths); another issue describes syphilis screening at Cook County (Chicago) Jail, one of the largest jail systems in the U.S..

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


General Biology - Plant


Botany for Gardeners:  An Introduction and Guide
Brian Capon
Published 1990 by Timber Press, Inc.
ISBN:  0-88192-258-7
Price:  $18

An accessible, detailed, introductory text on basic botany.  Background in botanical terms recommended.  

Covers germination, growth, organization, adaptation, camouflage, chemical protection, osmosis, cell turgor, phytotoxins, and so on.  Discusses the structure and adaptations of wood, roots, stems, leaves, seeds, and flowers.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Fantastic Trees
By Edwin A. Menninger
Published 1995 by Timber Press, Inc.
ISBN:  0-88192-324-9
Price:  $30

A useful, accessible reference that provides brief, high-level information on unusual trees from around the world.  (Even the prologue is interesting.)  Some black-and-white photos.  Background in botanical terms useful, but not necessary; this book is written for the layperson.  This is an "idea" book:  SF, fantasy, and adventure writers will find this book useful for reminding them that there are interesting trees with unusual effects on their environment, and for creating more varied alien environments of their own.  (And now for a dig at our current environmental practices:)  Northwest writers will find this book especially useful for reminding them that there are many more types of trees and tree-environment interactions than are generally seen in our logging-company-replanted, monoculture forests.

This book covers trees with unusual form, fruit, flowers, bark, roots, leaves, etc.  For example, trees with parasitic roots, breathing roots, organ-pipe trees, and a host of trees with common names such as bottle trees, cucumber trees, flask tres, pillow stuffers, belly palms, dragon's blood trees, and so on.  Includes information about trees that become twisted through genetics, heredity, storms, and more.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Plants that Merit Attention, Volume 1:  Trees
Edited by Janet Meakin Poor
Published 1994 (reprint) by Timber Press, Inc.
ISBN:  0-917304-75-6
Price:  $50

An accessible identification guide to trees that are seldom seen in the general landscape.  Color photos.  Background in botanical terms is not necessary.  This is an "idea" book:  writers will find this book useful for reminding them of the variety of tree forms, fruits, and cultures which can be encountered in a single, cultivated country.

This is not really a reference, but a coffee-table book with color photos and brief identifying information for various species of tree in North America.  Each two-page spread features one type of tree, and includes three color photos of distinctive bark, blossoms, fruit, foliage, or color.  Descriptions provide extremely brief information about disease and insect problems, transplanting, culture, and propagation, including information about species which have been found to grow in submerged conditions.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Myxomycetes:  A Handbook of Slime Molds
Stephenson and Stempen
Published 1994by Timber Press, Inc.
ISBN:  0-88192-277-3
Price:  $35

A somewhat technical, fairly accessible, introductory text on "true" slime molds.  Does not cover dictoyostelids (cellular slime molds).  Background in botanical terms recommended.  

This text provides an introduction to slime molds--creatures that are part animal, part fungi, or rather, organisms that defy rigid taxonomy.  This reference covers life cycles, structural features, types and components of fruiting bodies, and spores.  Provides general information about substrate relationships, insect associates, and symbiotic or predatory relationships with fungi, insects, mosses, liverworts, and so on.  (Also includes a few amusing anecdotal stories about human interactions with slime molds.)  Provides decent information on collecting and maintaining slime-mold cultures, and on distribution of slime molds in various habitats:  alpine, desert, etc..  A significant portion of this reference consists of taxonomy and identification of 175 of the most common species.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


General Biology - Animal


Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, Second Edition
Murray E. Fowler, D.V.M.
Published 1986 by W.B. Saunders Company
ISBN:  0-7216-1013-7
Price:  $150

Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, Current Therapy 3
Murray E. Fowler, D.V.M.
Published 1986 by W.B. Saunders Company
ISBN:  0-7216-3667-5
Price:  $100

The definitive reference on wild- and exotic-animal medicine.  This reference looks (when you try to order it) like the 2nd edition and 3rd edition of a single work; however, it is actually a two-volume set.  The second volume, titled Current Therapy 3, does not simply update and does not supplant the information in Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, 2nd edition.  Basic knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology, medical terms, and biology is recommended.  SF/Fantasy writers will find this an invaluable reference for writing about animals and alien biologies, conditions and ecologies.

The first volume covers general concepts of preventive medicine, behavior of captive animals, restraint, and anaesthetics.  The majority of the volume covers diseases and conditions of all animal families, including epidemiology, pathology and zoonoses.  This volume also covers infectious diseases, blood disorders, nutritional disorders, parasites, fungal infections, injuries and environmental conditions (such as bumblefoot).  The second volume, titled Current Therapy 3, includes new information on marsupial, amphibian, reptile, avian, chiropteran and other specific diseases, conditions, and treatments.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Wildlife Feeding and Nutrition, 2nd Edition
By Charles T. Robbins, Ph. D.
Published 1993 by Academic Press, Inc.
ISBN:  0-12-589382-5 (hardback)
Price:  $90

A technical text on wildlife nutrition, based on an upper-level undergraduate course.  Background in biology and chemistry is recommended.  

This reference covers all aspects of wildlife nutrition, including proteins, fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and so on.  Provides in-depth discussions of metabolisms, the effects of activity, thermal regulation, body growth, protective and defensive agents, and physical regulation of ingested material. Describes throughout the book the causes of poor growth, low reproduction rates, immobility, and deaths due to inadequate nutrition, water supply and food supplies.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Walker's Mammals of the World - Volumes I and II
Ronald M. Nowak
Published 1991 by The Johns Hopkins University Press
ISBN:  0-8018-3970-X
Price:  $90

The most comprehensive, preeminent reference on mammals.  Background in biology recommended.  

This reference is divided into sections, with each section describing one genus.  Includes information about distribution of species, habitat, physical traits, locomotion, daily and seasonal activity, population dynamics, social behavior, reproduction, and longevity.  

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Marine Biology, Ichthyology (fishes), and Diving Science


Fishes:  An Introduction to Ichthyology, 2nd Ed.
By Peter B. Moyle and Joseph J. Cech, Jr.
Published 1988, 1982, Prentice Hall
ISBN:  0-13-319211-3
Price:  $75

This is a well-written volume on the structure, physiology, evolution, systematics, zoogeography, and ecology of fishes.  Detailed drawings.  Basic knowledge of marine-biology terms is recommended.  SF writers will find the systematics, biology, and adaptive discussions especially useful.in creating well-rounded biologies for alien or terraformed worlds.

This volume covers both freshwater and saltwater fishes, including special fish in island environments, desert waters, arctic adaptations, etc.  For each environment, the discussions include descriptions of competitive, symbiotic, parasitic and predatory relationships, as well as adaptations and general information.  Other topics include:  metabolic conversion of biochemical compounds, behavior and communication (poster colors, auditory signals, chemoreception, etc.), basic ecology, breeding behavior, and more.  Taxonomy of all major fish families is described in brief chapters and discussions.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


The Physiology of Fishes
Edited by David H. Evans, Ph. D.
Published 1993, by CRC Press, Inc.
ISBN:  0-8493-8042-1
Price:  $100

This is a comprehensive, fairly well-written volume (the numerous citations often interfere with the readability) covering almost all aspects of the physiology of fishes.  Knowledge of biology terms and of basic chemistry is recommended.  SF writers will find the descriptions of biological mechanisms especially useful in remembering (while creating science-fiction aliens) how diverse a single organism's systems can be.  However, any writer who deals with marine environments will find this reference of value.

The volume begins with a brief chapter on evolution and phylogeny.  Following the basic information on evolution, topics include:  swimming propulsion systems, aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, bouyancy, gas exchange and branchial diffusion areas, osmotic and ionic regulation, branchial salt uptake mechanisms, ammonia and urea metabolism and excretion, thermal biology, and endocrinology.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Sensory Biology of Aquatic Animals
Published 1988, by Springer-Verlag
ISBN:  0-387-96373-1
ISBN:  3-540-96373-1
Price:  $60

This is a clearly written, easy-to-read, in-depth volume about sensory biology for marine mammals, arthropods, crustaceans, etc.  Basic knowledge of biology terms and anatomy of marine organisms is recommended.  SF writers will find the detailed information about sensory biology to be valuable in creating advanced or alien communication systems and more-believable alien physiology.  Other writers who deal with marine environments may find this reference useful in more accurately portraying the behavior of aquatic creatures.

The volume begins with a chapter on the physical and chemical characteristics of signals in an aquatic environment.  Other topics include:  hydrodynamic and acoustic field detection, social communication, vision (including structure of eyes), equilibrium, mechanoreception, surface-wave detection, and more.  Several chapters on chemoreceptors describe the organization of sensory systems, diversity of chemoreceptors, and adaptation of chemoreceptors in environments filled with chemical "noise."

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


The Physiology and Medicine of Diving, 4th Ed.
By Peter B. Bennett, David H. Elliott
Published, 1998, W.B. Saunders, Co.,
ISBN:  0-70202-410-4
Price: $75

Excellent reference on diving physiology, medicine, accidents, etc.  Basic knowledge of biology and medical terms is useful.  It is not necessary to have experience with scuba or unassisted diving in order to understand this volume, but such knowledge will allow you to better understand the effects and situations described in this book.  SF writers will find the detailed discussions useful when writing marine and diving scenes, and when creating marine aliens or engineered humans who can survive marine environments.  Other writers--mystery, thriller, military, mainstream, and fantasy writers--who deal with any kind of diving will find this book valuable.

Topics include:  ventilation and gas exchange, barotrauma, saturation diving, decompression sickness, hypothermia, bone lesions, the physiology of breath-hold diving, etc.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Herpetology


The Biology, Husbandry, and Health Care of Reptiles
Edited by Lowell Ackerman, DVM, Ph. D.
Published 1997, TFH Publications, Inc.
ISBN:  0-7938-0504-X   (the three-volume set)
Price:  $195

A definitive three-volume reference on herpetology.  Color photographs and electron micrographs.  Background in animal biology, anatomy, and chemistry is recommended for volumes I and III.  SF/fantasy writers will find this a valuable reference for information about venoms, hatchings, breeding, and other specifics of created/fantasy aliens, reptiles and creatures such as genre-pervasive dragons.  Mystery, thriller, military and adventure writers will also find this reference useful when dealing with topics such as environment, envenomation, zoonoses of reptiles, and so on.

The first volume of this reference provides in-depth, technical information about anatomy, physiology, general biology, inheritance, thermal biology, sensory biology, venoms and envenomation, and biological rhythms.  Included in this volume are sections that describe taxonomy, animal welfare, transport, sex determination, and the preparation of museum-quality specimens.  The second volume covers husbandry of snakes, turtles, and lizards, and does not require as much technical background as volumes I and III.  The second volume includes information about habitat, feeding, breeding, waste management, etc.  The third volume provides in-depth information about health care, including examination, diagnosis, internal medicine, disease, zoonoses, anesthesia, surgery, and necropsy (postmortem examination).  Excellent photographs demonstrate conditions and procedures.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Biology of Amphibians
William E. Duellman and Linda Trueb
Published 1994 by The Johns Hopkins University Press
ISBN:  0-8018-4780-X
Price:  $40

Dense, but well-written reference on all aspects of amphibian biology.  Background in biology, anatomy, and chemistry recommended.  There has been enough media attention on poisonous arrow frogs and other popular amphibians that many of the interesting characteristics of amphibians are well-known to the average layperson.  However, SF and fantasy writers in particular will find this book useful for details and special considerations when building multi-environment creatures into their stories.

This is the widely acclaimed, definitive reference for all aspects of amphibian biology, from cytogenetics and development to biogeogrphy and phylogeny, including life history, ecology, morphology, and evolution.  Topics include factors affecting thermal acclimation, encounter and escape behavior, noxiousness and toxicity, distress calls, courtship and mating, sensory biology, and so on.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Ornithology


The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Ornithology
Edited by Michael Brooke and Tim Birkhead
Published 1991 by Cambridge University Press
ISBN:  0-521-36205-9
Price:  $70

A clearly written, well-organized reference on ornithology.  Somewhat technical, but written for the layperson.  Excellent diagrams and illustrations.  Basic background in biological terms--especially ornithological terms, is recommened.  Information on navigation is somewhat out of date, but there have been many recent articles in science journals that have discussed how navigational information is stored in bird brains.  Also, because of recent paleontological developments, information about links between fossil birds and dinosaurs may be inaccurate.  However, in spite of those caveats, this reference is an excellent resource for SF/fantasy writers, and any other writer who deals with avian species.  Highly recommended.

This reference covers all ornithological topics, from diseases, endoparasites, and ectoparasites to mechanical sounds and songs made by birds.  For example, it includes information on how bird diets change with age, styles of flight, preening and feather care, special issues regarding island distributions of birds, misdirected parental care, and characteristics of domestic and domesticated birds.  The chapter on anatomy and physiology is excellent.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Manual of Ornithology:  Avian Structure and Function
By Noble S. Proctor & Patrick J. Lynch 
Published 1993 by Yale University Press
ISBN:  0-300-05746-6 (hardback)
Price:  $45

A clearly written, well-organized reference on avian anatomy.  Technical and organized to some extent as a workbook, with question areas at the end of each chapter; however all terms are defined within the reference.  Excellent diagrams and illustrations.  Basic background in biological terms--especially ornithological terms, is recommened.  Any SF/fantasy writer who creates or works with avian species will find this reference valuable.

This reference covers all aspects of avian anatomy, from systematics to features and skeleton, musculature to the respiratory system.  Each discussion includes clear descriptions of form and function of the specific part or mechanical action.  For example, the form and function description of the Horned Grebe explains how the grebe minimizes the effort required to pull its leg forward against the water.  The discussion on thorax and abdomen includes a description of the special adaptation of the pectoral girdle bones and muscles.  The discussion of wings provides detailed information about the balance of strength and rigidity required for flight.  And so on.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds
John K. Terres
Published 1995 by Random House
ISBN:  0-517-03288-0
Price:  $75

A comprehensive, dense, fairly accessible, definitive one-volume encyclopedia.  For the layperson.  Basic background in biology is useful, but not required.  

Covers specific bird families, as well as general entries such as nests and nesting, skeletal structures, and viruses.  Contains 6,000 alphabetical entries and cross-references, including coloring and markings, songs, flying areas, habitats, and behaviors for 847 North American birds. Includes 1,675 photos & illustrations, 875 in color.  This reference tends to focus on habitat, migration, breeding, and other notes of interest mostly to birders, as unusual details are more likely to be found in books about specific genus, species, or varieties of birds.  However, the discussions on bird form and function are clear, concise, and idea-provoking.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Entomology (Insects)


The Hot-Blooded Insects:  Strategies and Mechanisms of Thermoregulation
Bernd Heinrich
Published 1993 by Harvard University Press
ISBN:  0-674-40838-1
Price:  $80

A clearly written, interesting text which describes thermoregulation in all major insect groups.  Background in biology and entomological terms recommended.  SF writers will find this a valuable reference for ideas and for ensuring plausible physiologies and environments when they create alien or terraformed environments.

This volume describes all aspects of thermoregulation, including possible evolutionary causes, posturing, chemistry, the mechanics of shivering, evaporative cooling and water loss, torpor, dormancy, and so on.  Also contrasts the adaptations and thermoreulatory mechanisms of various species, summarizes behavior and morphology, and questions various theories.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


The Ants
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction
Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson
Published 1990 by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
ISBN:  0-674-04075-9
Price:  $80

The definitive scientific study on ants.  Well-written, very accessible to the lay reader.  Basic background in biology is recommended.

This oversized reference describes in detail the anatomy, physiology, social organization, ecology and natural history of ants.  It includes information on the efficiency of semiochemicals, trail following, the marking of home ranges and territories, the evolution of physical castes, thermoregulation, symbiosis between ants and plants, and so on.  Includes interesting notes, such as the information that ants, as well as other social insects do not engage in play behavior.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Geology, Planetary Science, and Mining


Global Tectonics
Philip Kearey and Frederick J. Vine
Published 1995 by Blackwell Science Ltd.
ISBN:  0-632-02424-0
Price:  $45

A well-written, balanced reference on advanced geology and geophysics.  Considered an excellent text for senior-undergraduate and graduate-level studies of tectonics, geophysics, etc.  Basic physics and familiarity with geologic terms is recommended.  Any writer who deals with geologic formations will find this reference useful.  Especially in the popular (increasingly tiresome) context of stories about earthquakes, tsunami, and comets hitting the earth, mainstream, thriller, and other writers, not just SF/fantasy writers, will find this book of value.  Caveat:  Because of recent developments in imaging and sensing technology, information about planetary cores should be researched in recent journals.

Covers internal structure of the earth, including velocity structure, comopsition, deformation, isostasy, lithosphere, and terrestrial heat flow.  Also covers continental drift, sea-floor spreading, plate tectonics, ocean ridges and continental rifts, transform and transcurrent faults, subduction zones, and mountain ranges.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Resources of Near-Earth Space
Edited by John S. Lewis, Mildred S. Matthews, and Mary L. Guerrieri
Published 1993, University of Arizona Press
ISBN:  0-8165-1404-6
Price:  $75

A dry reference on resources of solar-system bodies.  Background in basic physics, geology, and chemistry is recommended.  Extremely useful for SF writers.

This book describes current theory for assessing and extracting materials from the moon, asteroids, Mars, and other bodies in the solar system.  Covers oxygen extraction, production of volatile and nonvolatile lunar materials, asteroid compositions, short-period comets, and surface soils and crusts of planets.  Includes in-depth discussions of manufacturing methods and requirements, extraction processes, smelting, utility of solar power, and so on.  

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Bryce 4, Metacreations
A 3-D landscape rendering tool, software program, available for Windows.
Price:  $??

This is an addictive, powerful, nonintuitive rendering tool for landscapes.  Includes rotational viewing and sky movement (default sky velocity is approximately 7000 mph).  Best to purchase the after-market user manual by Suzanne Kitchens.  

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Sailing, Boats, and Weather (for Mariners)


Annapolis Book of Seamanship
By John Rousmaniere
Published 1989 (revised edition), Simon & Schuster
ISBN:  0-671-67447-1
Price: $32

The definitive, indispensable bible for sailing, based on the sailing program of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.  Technical, covering basic and advanced techniques.  Well illustrated with drawings, diagrams, and B/W and color photographs.  Basic knowledge of sailing is useful, but not required.  Any writer who deals with sailing will find this book an excellent reference.  Hardback copy highly recommended.

Includes chapters on basic sailing, advanced sailing, navigation, meteorology, and provides excellent, overall procedural information with illustrations that demonstrate techniques and describe concerns.  The first chapter provides basic information about boats--parts of boats, how boats work, hull speed and planing, and how to interpret dimensions and rigs.  Other chapters cover getting under way, sail trim, weather, sail-handling, gear and knots, navigation aids, piloting, magentic compasses, special piloting techniques, and seamanship, including anchoring, sailing in heavy weather, emergencies, equipment and maintenance.  Includes information about human perception and actual sailing conditions and situations.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Chapman Piloting : Seamanship & Small Boat Handling, 62st Ed.
By Elbert S. Maloney
Published 1996
ISBN:  0-688-14892-1
Price:  $40

The definitive reference containing information which every motor boatman and mariner should know.  Basic knowledge of boats and sailing is useful.  Fantasy writers, historical-fiction writers, modern writers and other novelists who deal with sailing or boating will find this especially useful for verifying accuracy of sailing techniques.  Although this reference is available in paperback, you should purchase the hardback copy.  It is a large reference, and the paperback edition may not stand up to continual use.

Contains descriptions of weather, in-depth discussions of anchoring techniques, special seamanship techniques, piloting and navigation, marlinspike seamanship, and more.  Provides anecdotal stories to illustrate situations, follows typical and adverse sailing situations and problems to provide solutions, and answers questions about such topics as what happens if you miss your objective and cannot tell whether you are north or south of your entrance; how to read local weather signs, and so on.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


The Handbook of Sailing
By Bob Bond
Published 1988, Alfred. A. Knopf
ISBN:  0-394-50838-6  (hardback, 1980 -- there is probably a newer edition)
ISBN: 0-679-74063-5  (paperback; 1992)
Price: $26.00

An excellent, descriptive, complete, procedural reference.  Technical, covering basic and advanced techniques.  Exceptionally well illustrated with drawings, diagrams, and B/W and color photographs.  Basic knowledge of sailing is useful.  Any writer who deals with sailing or boating will find this book especially useful.  Hardback copy recommended.

Includes chapters on basic sailing, advanced sailing, navigation, meteorology, and more.  Excellent, procedural information on docking, mooring and anchoring (including kedging off), night sailing, and sailing in fog.  Covers such specifics of navigation and piloting as navigation in tidal waters, shaping and plotting courses, navigation when sailing to windward, errors, and buoyage.  Illustrations show step-by-step procedures for almost all techniques.  For example, rigging the headsail, center mainsheet techniques, capsizing, alternatives to the spinnaker, etc.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Mariner's Weather
By William P. Crawford
Published 1978, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Published ISBN:  0-393-03221-3
ISBN:  0-393-30884-7 (paperback, 1992)
Price: $22.00

An excellent, definitive reference on weather for mariners.  Dry and somewhat technical; includes B/W photos.  Any writer who deals with weather in his stories will find this an exceptionally useful reference.

Describes formation of weather systems, variations and anomalies, consequences for mariners, weather forecasting and weather charts, optical concerns, and more.  Includes photos to illustrate the Beaufort Scale, cloud formations, etc., and also contains many diagrams to help describe weather fronts and formations.  Contains complete chapters on heat, winds, clouds, and fog.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea
Edited by Peter Kemp
Published  1994 (reprint edition); Oxford University Press
ISBN:  0-192-82084-2
Price:  $30

An excellent, definitive, encyclopedic reference of all things nautical.  Technical.  Knowledge of seamanship, ship styles and terms, and historical periods is recommended.  Writers who do not have such a background can still glean useful information from this excellent reference.  The paperback edition of this reference is sturdy enough to stand up to continual use.

This reference, organized alphabetically, covers everything from historical naval battles to mariners' superstitions.  For example, it defines terms such as forebitter, black's the white of my eye, full and by, pusser's medal, and more.  Includes descriptions of all significant mariner's terms, equipment and gear, parts of vessels, important ships, naval battles, and naval personalities.  (Interestingly, it does not contain information about "tapping the Admiral," the story of how Admiral Lord Nelson's body was returned to England after his death at the end of the Battle of Trafalgar--perhaps because it would be intolerably irreverant to the historical devotion which Nelson's men felt for him.)

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Practical Sailor
Published twice a month for most months (once a month for 3 months); by Belvoir Publications, Inc.
ISSN:  0161-8059
Subscription information :  1-800-829-9087
Price:  $29 for 12 issues

This small but excellent publication provides specific information about issues, problems, concerns, situations, equipment and gear, rigging, boat configurations, recent developments in gear and equipment, and just about anything else you need to know if you own a sailboat.  For example, recent issues have covered shrink-wrapping hulls and blistering; cockpit proportions , night vision, teak treatments, installation considerations for hydraulically powered sailboats, and fabric waterproofers.  Although the price might seem high ($84/year regular subscription, without discount), this publication is worth every dollar.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Sail
Monthly publication,f by Donald A. Macaulay
ISSN:  0036-2700
Subscription information :  1-800-745-7245
Price:  $24/year

This glossy publication provides anecdotal descriptions of interesting voyages, problems, and issues; covers boat modifications; provides in-depth articles on equipment, gear, rigging, and configuration; and includes travel information.  Includes answers and solutions to typical and atypical sailing, gear, and travel problems.  Recent issues have covered bluewater cruising, keel modifications, secondary charging sources for batteries, and diesel cooling problems.  Many how-to articles on modifying, maintaining and upgrading boats.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Military, Strategy


Roots of Strategy
Edited by Brig. Gen. T. R. Phillips
Published  Stackpole Books
Volume 1, ISBN:  0-8117-2194-9
Volume 2, ISBN:  0-8117-2260-0
Volume 3, ISBN:  0-8117-3060-3
Price:  $17/each or $45/set

A three-volume set containing texts of eleven definitive works on military strategy, including the five greatest military classics of all time.  Sometimes dry, sometimes florid, sometimes clear and concise, depending on which work is being read.  Provides insight into the development of military strategy throughout the ages.  Although the three volumes cover the basics of the contained texts, writers who are further interested in strategy should consider reading separate editions of some of the contained texts, such as various translations and commented versions of Sun Tzu's Art of War and a more thorough and commented Clausewitz's The Principles of War.

The three-volume set contains texts from:  Sun Tzu's Art of War, the oldest military text in existence; ca 500 B.C.; Vegetius' De Re Militari, the most influential military treatise from Roman times; Saxe's My Reveries Upon the Art of War, with deep insight into tactics and leadership; The Instruction of Frederick The Great for his Generals (1747), and the Military Maxims of Napoleon.  Also includes de Picq's Battle Studies, a very edited version of The Principles of War by Clausewitz, Jomini's Art of War, von Leeb's Defense, von Freytag-Loringhoven's The Power of Personality in War, and Erfurth's Surprise.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


On War
By Carl Von Clausewitz (1780-1831)
Published:  1982, reissued, Penguin Classics
ISBN:  0-14-044427-0
Price:  $13

A thorough treatise on war.  Florid, verbose, and fascinating.  This is the abridged/edited version of Clausewitz's On War, but it covers all main points of his theories and observations.  Highly recommended.

A philosophical appraisal of war--of the moral factors involved in war.  However, through that appraisal, this becomes a book of strategy and observations on total war, judicious and injudicious war, and the relationhip between war and politics--that war is a continuation of politics by other means.  Presents strategy via "the four elements composing the atmosphere in which War moves:  of danger, physical effort, uncertainty, and chance."  Examines military genius, courage, intelligence, hesitation, resolution, obstinancy, etc. in men and their commanders.  Describes tactics and strategy, the use of various types of forces, reserves, the timing and commitment of applications of forces, and so on.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Bodyguard of Lies
By Anthony Cave Brown
Published  1975, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
ISBN:  0-688-10281-6
Price:  $18

A fascinating book about how the Allies kept D-Day secret from Hitler.  Well-written.  A thorough who's-who knowledge of WWII, basic who's-who knowledge of WWI, knowledge of the various theaters in WWII, and the timeline of the 1938-1945 era is strongly recommended.  The illustrated truth is worth a thousand abstract essays, and this one is the epitome of strategy and maneuver. Any writer who considers including in his work concepts of strife, conflict, combat, war, leadership, courage and sacrifice should read this book.  Highly recommended.

"Battles are won by slaughter and manoever.  The greater the general, the more he
contributes in manoever, the less he demands in slaughter..."

                 - Winston Churchill.

This is the history of the war of deception--strategems and special means--that kept D-Day a secret from Hitler, including the information that was not declassified until 1972.  This book describes all aspects of that war of deception, from secret intelligence and communications (interception and decryption) to counterintelligence and security:  intellect, stealth, menace and deception, resistance, sabotage, and guerilla warfare.  This is the story of how the greatest number of men and machines in military history was assembled in secret in England.  (Includes, as part of this history, a fascinating description of the initial relationship between the secret-intelligence organizations of England and America.)  Seems to spare no event, doubt, regret, sacrifice, or stoic determination from being recounted or analyzed.

"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."
                  - Winston Churchill

See also:  Listings of military resources

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Sun Tzu's Art of War - Various Editions and Translations

1.  The Art of Strategy
By Sun Tzu (ca. 500 B.C.)
Translated by R. L Wing
Published 1988, Doubleday
ISBN:  0-385-23784-7
Price:  $16

Sun Tzu's Art of War, written about 500 B.C., is the oldest military work in existence.  In this edition, the translator attempted to remain faithful to the original script of The Art of War, nicluding the translation of the Chinese character bing as "strategy," which he believed to be more faithful to Sun Tzu's intended objective than a translation of "war," "military," "battle," and so on.  This edition presents the Chinese characters side-by-side with the English translation, and provides an English version of Sun Tzu's words with a similar rhythmic and harmonic sense as the original words had.

2.  The Art of War
By Sun Tzu (ca. 500 B.C.)
Translated by James Clavell
Published 1983, Delacorte Press
ISBN:  0-440-00243-5
Price:  $10

This edition of The Art of War presents the original text in a fairly descriptive manner.  Interspersed with the text are commentaries from the editor which describe battles and situations in the following centuries (from 400 B.C. up to 1000 A.D.) which illustrate Sun Tzu's strategies and philosophies.

3.  The Art of War
By Sun Tzu (ca. 500 B.C.)
Translated by Samuel B. Griffith
Published 1971, Oxford University Press
ISBN:  0-19-501476-6
Price:  $6

This edition of The Art of War includes introductory chapters which discuss warfare in Sun Tzu's historical period, the context of city-states, the lack of references to calvary, the influence of his works on Mao Tse-Tung, and so on.  This edition also includes some commentaries by the standard eleven Chinese interpreters, such as Chang Yu, Li Ch'uan, Tu Mu, Ts'ao Ts'ao, and Ho Yen-hsi.  Appendices provide texts of strategists who followed Sun Tzu--such as Wu Ch'i, ca 438 B.C., and Sun Tzu's influence on Japanese military thought.  This edition of The Art of War retains the descriptive language of the original texts.

4.  The Art of War
By Sun Tzu (ca. 500 B.C.)
Translated and edited by Thomas Cleary
Published 1988, Shambhala Publications, Inc
ISBN:  0-87773-452-6
Price:  $10

This edition provides the text of The Art of War in more modern, less-descriptive language, with each statement or paragraph followed by reiterative or explanatory commentaries from among the standard eleven interpreters.  It is interesting to compare the comments by interpreters of various dynasties.  This edition includes introductory information about Sun Tzu's historical background, the context of The Art of War, and Taoism and The Art of War.

5.  Sun Tzu's Art of War:  The Modern Chinese Interpretation
By General Tao Hanzhang
Published 1987, Sterling Publishing Co.
ISBN:  0-8069-6638-6
Price:  $15

The Modern Chinese Interpretation was written by a senior officer in the Chinese People's Liberation Army, who analyzed Sun Tzu's ancient thoughts on the art of war and examined their values and shortcomings in the context of modern military theory and war.  Using examples of modern Chinese battles, General Tao illustrates or refutes Sun Tzu's principles, which were based on smaller city-states rather than on the military might of a country with a population of hundreds of millions.  An interesting reference.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


A Book of Five Rings
By Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645)
Published  1974, Overlook Press
ISBN:  0-51741-528-3  (hardcover)
Price:  $9

A classic book of Japanese leadership and strategy.  Brief, simple, and clearly written/translated.  Famous for over 300 years as "The" guide to Kendo.  A background in martial arts, business management, or philosophy is recommended.

Includes the five books:  Ground, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void.  The Ground book describes the basis for strategy--benefits of weapons, timing, etc..  The Water book is really a written summary of the principles of Kendo:  stance, gaze, footwork, posture and positioning, timing, attacks, parries, etc..  The book of Fire is about fighting, combat, and defeat (or rather, not-defeat)--it is the Ichi school of strategy.  It covers the principles of location and environment, setting up your opponent, making the enemy play your game (rather than allowing him to lead you), unbalancing your enemy, and so on.  The Wind book is a comparative critique of other schools' concepts.  The fifth book, the Void, is a statement of existence, spirit, and principle.

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Weapons

There are so many books on weapons that this listing cannot include the definitive or best descriptive references on each type of weapon.  The few references listed here provide only a jumping-off point from which you can better determine the type of specific reference you need.  

I find that most weapons books are poorly written or so boring or dry style-wise that it's hard to get through them.  Also that information can be misleading because of its poor presentation.  There is a great deal of repetition from one reference to the next--seems as if every fourth guerrilla fighter in the world has to write his own how-to version of resistance and guerrilla skills.  You might find better information in hunting books (such as Mike Lapinski's High Pressure Elk Hunting), than in some of the more general snipercraft or guerrilla oriented books.  Or consider getting some of the Precision Shooting Annuals, which contain the best articles published by Precision Shooting from each year.

One thing you might consider is going to a good-sized gun show to look for references.  An expo-sized gun show usually includes a few book-sellers who have tables of books on weapons specs, use, recognition and disarming techniques, and so on.  I have rarely found what I was looking for in a used book store.

Also refer to:
Listings of military resources

[   Next reference   ][   Top of file   ]


Street Stoppers:  The Latest Handgun Stopping Power Street Results
Evan P. Marshall and Edwin J. Sanow
Published 1996 by Paladin Press
ISBN:  0-87364-872-2
Price:  $60

A technical reference on bullet effectiveness, including research results and discussions of neurogenic shock.

[  Next reference  ][  Top of file  ]


The Complete Bladesmith:  Forging Your Way to Perfection
By Jim Hrisoulas
Published 1987, by Paladin Press
ISBN:  0-87364-430-1
Price:  $40-$45

A comprehensive, well-written, basic book about forging knives and swords.  This is a valuable reference for any writer who needs to know how basic blades are made.

Includes information about forging, hardening, tempering and heat-treating a blade; and grinding, polishing, and sharpening knives and swords.  Also includes chapters on creating fittings, grips, and leatherwork for the blade.  There are several detailed chapters about pattern welding and problems with using some of the more exotic or rare materials (such a meteorite iron), cable blades, Japanese blades, and so on.  Also includes formulas for steels, tempering oils, bluing solutions, etching solutions, and welding fluxes.

[  Next reference  ][  Top of file  ]


The Master Bladesmith:  Advanced Studies in Steel
By Jim Hrisoulas
Published 1991, by Paladin Press
ISBN:  0-87364-612-6
Price:   $45-$50

An excellent, well-written, comprehensive, definitive, detailed reference about advanced techniques in blade-making for swords, spears, and axes.  If you've already got the vocabulary and an understanding of basic techniques, this is the book that gives you the detailed how-to information, including problems and 'secret' techniques for achieving a particular result.  Highly recommended.

This book gives detailed information about alloys, techniques such as fullering, and many types of exotic and difficult blades to make, including curved, double-edged blades; distal/nondistal blades, kopis blades, and flame blades.  The chapter on metal and wood finishing includes the how-to information, but also includes descriptions of common problems with bluing and acid etching techniques.  There is detailed information about making hilts and sheaths.  The chapter on nonferrous alloys includes information about pattern brazing (mokume gane) and coloration.  The chapter on Damascus steel provides detailed procedures, pattern descriptions, information about different alloys that can be used for the laminates, and solutions for common problems, such as carbon migration, cold shuts (the little black or silver lines), spideweb cracking, inclusions, weld separation, delamination, red short conditions, and so on.  Includes information about how to make, build, acquire, and use specialized tools.

[  Next reference  ][  Top of file  ]


Swords and Hilt Weapons
Published 1993, by Barnes & Noble, Inc.
ISBN:  1056619-249-8
Price:   -- this reference appears to be out of print

A comprehensive and historical survey of sword-making and of the swords, knives, and daggers of Europe, Japan, North and South America, the Islamic world, Africa, India, China, and Central and Southeast Asia, from the stone age to the present day.  Does not discuss use of weapons, so much as it reviews the history and shape of specific weapon types.


Copyright 2005 Tara K. Harper

All rights reserved.  It is illegal to reproduce or transmit in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, any part of this copyrighted file without permission in writing from Tara K. Harper.  Permission to download this file for personal use only is hereby granted by Tara K. Harper.


Main [  Home  |  Novels  |  Bio  |  Photo Gallery  |  FAQ  |  Workshop  |  Author Notes  |  Science  |  Links  ]
FAQ [  Writing  |  Queries  |  Agents  |  Publishers  |  Editors  |  Contracts  |  Authors  |  Books  ]

_______________

[ Top of  File ]