Bartlett, John ; Kaplan, Justin, general editor. Familiar Quotations: a collection of passages, phrases, and proverbs traced to their sources in ancient and modern literature. (Sixteenth edition) Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company, c1992.
Reference type: Ready Reference
Authority: Bartlett's is a trusted source for quoted material, and has been for many years.
Audience Relation: Science fiction authors have a particular lust for proving that history repeats itself in new and interesting ways. Thus, prefacing a chapter or a book with a famous quote is not uncommon. Having a source for both finding quotes and providing accurate attribution is an asset to any science fiction author's reference collection.
Scope: This book takes famous quotes from English speaking persons and provides them with an index and proper attribution. It is intended for use by anyone who has the need to find or verify a quote.
Content Evaluation: Bartlett's is a work that is familiar to many people who may have been exposed to it during a school library trip. Although the online version is available, the print version is the reviewer's preferred form because the online site is still very slow and difficult to search effectively.
The print version of the book is a thick, heavy tome of 1405 pages, including the indices. The pages are a light buff color, with a nice, large, black font. The index at the front of the book is an alphabetical index of authors. The one at the rear is a subject index for the quotes. The quotes in the main body are arranged in chronological order. Fortunately, the book is prefaced with instructions for its use so that new users are not completely on their own.
The entries are numbered consecutively, restarting at one at the top of each page. They are written in two columns per page with footnotes at the bottom and an authors' names as headers at the top next to the page number.
The main entries of the book are generally quotes that have been oft used after their original generation. Some authors have quite extensive entries, such as the Bible or Shakespeare. Others may only be one quote. The quotes cover all subject areas and are not censored for content.
This book is a useful edition to any author's reference collection who desires to spice up his or her writing with some references to other people. It would especially be of use to authors delving in time travel or alternate histories.