Specials is the name of a range of characters in the Unicode character encoding standard.

The Specials code block contains code values that are neither control characters nor graphic characters, but are provided to facilitate current software practices. Of the 16 reserved code points, only 5 have been allocated as of Unicode 3.2.

Byte Order Mark (BOM)
The special character code U+FFFE is guaranteed never to be a valid Unicode character. It is used in conjunction with U+FEFF zero width no break space (Arabic Presentation Forms B) to identify character set and byte order. By convention, a zero width no break space is often placed at the beginning of a Unicode text file, where it neither adds semantics nor alters the display. When Unicode is stored as 16-bit integers (UTF-16), the concept of byte order rears its ugly head. If your Unicode file begins with the 16-bit value FFFE, you know most likely you've got a valid Unicode file in the reverse byte order from what your machine expects. Similarly, if you have an unknown file that begins with the bytes FFFE or FEFF, you're probably looking at a Unicode text file. If the file starts with EF BB BF, you're probably looking at a UTF-8 encoded Unicode file (as EFBBBF is the UTF-8 encoding of U+FEFF). Files starting with 0000FEFF or FFFE0000 are probably UTF-32.

Interlinear Annotation
In some applications, there is annotating text that related so a string of annotated text. In these cases, there are some operations which need to ignore the annotations, and others that want to include them. To this end, Unicode provides three markup characters: an anchor, a separator and a terminator. To specify out of band data this way, the text stream stores

interlinear annotation anchor
The Annotated Text
interlinear annotation separator
The Annotating Text
interlinear annotation terminator
Multiple occurrences of interlinear annotation separator are allowed, which would then delimit the annotating text into application specific sections. Annotations may be nested.

Replacement Characters
U+FFFC object replacement character is used as an insertion point for objects located within a stream of text. All information about the object is kept outside of the character stream. This character simply provides an anchor to assure correct placement of the object within the text stream.

U+FFFD replacement character is a catchall for characters that cannot otherwise be encoded in terms of known Unicode values.

As described above U+FFFE will never be assigned and is reserved for use in determining byte order.

U+FFFF will also never be a valid Unicode character, an is suitable for use as an error code or other non-character value.

Unicode's Specials code block reserves the 16 code points from U+FFF0 to U+FFFF, of which 5 are currently assigned.

Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms <-- Specials --> Linear B Syllabary

Number of characters added in each version of the Unicode standard :
Unicode 1.1 : 1
Unicode 2.1 : 1
Unicode 3.0 : 3

Number of characters in each General Category :

Symbol, Other  So :  2
Other, Format  Cf :  3

All the characters in this code block are in bidirectional category Other Neutral ON

The columns below should be interpreted as :

  1. The Unicode code for the character
  2. The character in question
  3. The Unicode name for the character
  4. The Unicode General Category for the character
  5. The Unicode version when this character was added

If the characters below show up poorly, or not at all, see Unicode Support for possible solutions.



     Interlinear annotation
Used internally for Japanese Ruby (furigana), etc.

U+FFF9      interlinear annotation anchor Cf 3.0
* marks start of annotated text
U+FFFA      interlinear annotation separator Cf 3.0
* marks start of annotating character(s)
U+FFFB      interlinear annotation terminator Cf 3.0
* marks end of annotation block

     Replacement characters

U+FFFC      object replacement character So 2.1
* used as placeholder in text for an otherwise unspecified object
U+FFFD   �   replacement character So 1.1
* used to replace an incoming character whose value is unknown or unrepresentable in Unicode
* compare the use of 001A as a control character to indicate the substitute function

Some prose may have been lifted verbatim from unicode.org,
as is permitted by their terms of use at http://www.unicode.org/copyright.html

Scott Westerfeld

This is third book in the The Uglies series; if you haven't read the first books, Uglies and Pretties, be warned, this review contains massive spoilers, and moreover, wont make much sense.

When we left Tally at the end of Pretties, she had been attacked by her former best friend, Shay, and injected with a tonic to turn her into a superhuman but vicious super-cop. Specials picks up shortly thereafter, with Tally once again brainwashed, this time as a member of the super-cool Cutters, augmented to have unbreakable bones, super-fast reflexes, stronger muscles, heightened senses... the list goes on, from improved digestion to antennas implanted into their skin. After struggling for months to have a clear head, finally Tally has her old reactions and clear-headedness back, and then some. There is one twist - the Cutters have the social order of a wolf pack, and Shay is the alpha wolf. Tally can think for herself, but when Shay gives her an order, she doesn't even think about disobeying.

They are working to keep the rebels from New Smoke and the ever-more-popular Crims from corrupting more of the city - the anti-Pretty pills are becoming more common, and the Smokies seem to have found a source of military-grade technology, making them serious competition for the Special Circumstances. As this book was originally the completion of the series, the overall plot is somewhat predictable; however, in order to avoid spoilers, I will simply say that all of the major characters appear in this book, including Andrew Simpson Smith, David, Zane, Paris, and of course, Dr. Cable.

This book is a satisfying conclusion to the series, and maintains the excitement and character development of the earlier novels. I found it slightly disappointing that Tally has slipped into the role of a follower for most of this book, and spends a lot of time being pushed around. The constant struggle to escape the mind control of the City is starting to get a little bit old, but there is enough excitement to make up for a bit of repetition of certain themes. In short, if you have read and enjoyed the other books, you will certainly want to read this one.

As expected this book contains a lot of the Cutters, and this means a lot of wrist-slicing. This has surprisingly not been the source of much controversy; perhaps because it is clearly a symbol of the oppression of the Cutters, and something that Tally works to overcome.

Specials is the last book in the original trilogy, although there has since been one more book released, Extras; this book does not center around Tally Youngblood, but she does play a major role later in it.

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