This month marks SF Signal’s 6th Birthday! Yay us!
It’s been another fine year here at SF Signal. Not only are we having fun (with minimal harm to the environment – the people around us are another story) but we must also be doing something right: just last week we passed 5,000 subscribers to our RSS feed. That’s a nice number. Of course, 10,000 is twice as nice, so everyone hack into your neighbor’s computer and sign them up, mmm’kay? (Don’t make me go purple on you!)
So what are we doing goodly? Probably not grammar, but if popularity is any indicator of quality – and Britney Spears assures me it is – we must give credit to our series of Mind Meld interview posts. They’ve been a huge hit with our readers. (That’s you.) Over the past year, we’ve talked about controversial novels, taboo topics in sf/f literature, gender imbalance in fiction, the best women writers, the funniest writers, the forgotten books of sf, books worth reading twice, books for non-genre readers, a survey of international science fiction, where sf is headed and what we would change, literary influences, writing advice, worldbuilding, time travel, sf with an opposing viewpoint, religion in sf, good and bad SciFi in film and TV, the best SciFi consumed in 2008, the future of Star Wars and the end of Battlestar Galactica and more. There were lots of great reading (and reading suggestions) in those posts and we want to once again thank the kind folks who participated. Without them, they wouldn’t happen. [This is the part where I bow virtually. Pretend I don’t fall down while doing it.]
Besides the round-robin style interview of the Mind Melds, we also put several gracious people directly in front of the SF Signal interview microphone, including Joe Abercrombie, John Anealio, Tobias S. Buckell, Rachel Caine, C.J. Cherryh, Jonathan Maberry, James Morrow, Kit Reed, R.A. and Geno Salvatore, Robert J. Sawyer, Amy Sterling, and Lawrence Watt-Evans. And just to show folks that we can go both ways (as it were), JP and I were interviewed by Cult-Pop‘s Jim Hall.
There were, as usual, a slew of book-related posts this past year, including a new series of Book Cover Smackdown posts for our more judgmental readers (you know who you are). And while we noisily debated Media Tie-In Books for Naysayers, Tim struck Google Analytics gold with 5 Reasons Why You Should Read a Warhammer 40,000 Book. We asked you about the worst book you ever read (perhaps you were reading too fast?) and tried to make you feel more productive by staring a new free fiction category to satisfy the insatiable bibliophiles. You also told us about essential books of the last 20 years and your favorite Ray Bradbury Story. We also discussed reading-related matters like sf authors going Young Adult, sf fans feelings about libraries, and the Kindle 2. There was also a small serving of personal vengeance in the form of Harriet Klausner’s fall from grace. Thank goodness for small miracles. And those salsa flavored Sun Chips. Them’s good eats.
In the film world, the big news this year was the Star Trek reboot, which successfully appealed to fans and noobs alike, spelling good news for Trek‘s future. Newcomer (and bagel welcher) Pete Tzinski even revisited the Star Trek TV/film series in geek-infested (infected?) preparation. Watchmen was another big film (artistically, if not financially), though it was not meant for younger viewers. Coraline, meanwhile, was genre fiction fandom’s secret success. (Yay, Neil Gaiman!) Star Wars was alive and kicking in these parts (and generally kicking us in those parts) – enough so that JP said Star Wars must die and I asked whether this is the end of George Lucas’s reign of terror. Newcomer (and another bagel-welcher) Jeff Patterson also revealed his disgust for all things that occupy the intersection in the Venn diagram of cute and Star Wars. JP has also been keeping us up on the latest releases by continuing his series of Trailer Park posts. You, dear reader, told us about some bad SciFi films you watched. (Oddly, The Day the Earth Stopped never came up). I’m learning of these the hard way by revisiting some long-overlooked SciFi films through NetFlix. Not many of them can even match the coolness of short films like, say, War of the Robots or even Little Batman.
The TV scene didn’t exactly hit us in the head with a pipe, but it wasn’t too bad. Although BSG is gone and Heroes is on a continuing downward spiral, there are other shows to keep us entertained, both new-ish (Fringe, Eureka, Krod Mandoon, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Warehouse 13) and old (Doctor Who, LOST, Torchwood). The SciFi Channel’s name change so far seems to be a non-event…unless sowing seeds of malcontent can be considered an event. In a related musical sidebar, and in what can only be described as a lapse in good judgment on my part, I posted homemade lyrics to a song called Summer Glau. Somehow, it caught he attention of SciFi songster John Anealio who turned it into an original song. I wasn’t born a filk star, the Internets made me that way. Autographs are available for a nominal fee, the line forms in my mind (as if you could fit in there alongside my ego).
Various bits of administrivia occurred these past 12 months as well, including a third blog redesign. If change is the driver of creativity, then [insert something here yourself]. We also compiled our very own list of The 10 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Blogs. It took every iota of will power not to include Pel Toro, but we managed. We also took the plunge into social networking — you might know it under its more popular label: "time sink" – with Twitter and Facebook. You’ll frequently find unique tidbits and other items of interest there. (Oh, and if you find my car keys, let me know.) Continuing my OCD tradition, I posted my own personal Best of 2008. Go me. Staff wise (yes, our staff is wise), we added a few new SF Signal Irregulars to our austere ranks (Karen Burnham, Larry Ketchersid, Jeff Patterson, Lisa Paitz Spindler, Dave Tackett, Terry Weyna, Pete Tzinski, Carl Vincent, and John Ottinger III)…none of whom, I might add, have provided me with any bagels. I’m just sayin’.
Anyway, thanks for another fun year, SF Signal readers! (That’s still you, right? Right?) We hope you had as much fun as we did this past year and we look forward to your continued participation in our little corner of Al Gore’s Internet™.