Today is SF Signal’s 8th birthday! Yay us! :)

We are celebrating like we always do: by inflicting upon our readers a link-heavy post that will make their computer mice beg for click-mercy! But don’t give in, dear readers. Your mice have been collectively manipulating you for years (“Oh, touch me, roll me…glide me across the desk with your firm-but-gentle caress…”)

Umm… Ahem!

OUR AWESOME CONTRIBUTORS ARE AWESOME

What makes this day (and this link-laden post) possible are the tireless efforts of our wonderful (though bagel-void) contributors. In the past year alone we’ve enlisted some of the most passionate and enthusiastic folks in the online sf community into our ranks:

Each of them contributes in various ways, and taken together are a significant part of the SF Signal gestalt. For example, Patrick, when he’s not slaving over the podcast microphone (more on that later), is serving up several pop culture goodies and rants like recaps of The Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who, Fringe, Chuck, and Young Justice, as well as sharing his thoughts on Borders’ store closings and the SyFy re-branding. He also asks why he should read your favorite science fiction novel. And don’t get him started on another TV Genre Smackdowns. (But between you and me, go ahead and get him started. He loves it.)

Tech-savvy Jay, meanwhile, harnessed the power of the Internet for the forces of good by Crowdsource a SciFi Convention. Matthew Sanborn Smith has been sharing his hysterical Beware the Hairy Mango podcasts. Aidan Moher has taken over the reigns of the visual feasts that are the Book Cover Smackdowns. Jessica Strider is writing reviews and profiling new authors. Clifton Hill is also reviewing books, and his recent review of A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin is already one of SF Signal’s top reviews. Matt Cardin, meanwhile, has treated us to his Stained Glass Gothic column. Lee Thomas puts a nice twist on interviews with his column Be My Victim. John H. Stevens (the Professor to my Gilligan) entertains with thought-provoking goodness with his mind- (and vocabulary-) expanding column The Bellowing Ogre. T.N. Tobias has a knack for writing great content; his infographic on helping you decide which SciFi series you should watch on Netflix as well as his list of 10 Literary Novels for Genre Readers are hit-getters. Author Jamie Todd Rubin is brimming with enthusiasm for the Golden Age of science fiction with his column The Wayward Time-Traveler. Paul Weimer (besides writing reviews) shares his love of gaming with his column Roll Perception Plus Awareness. Fabio Fernandes talks about his experiences with eBooks in his column E-Libris. Rhonda Eudaly just started, but already she’s making a splash. Besides her confession as a Transformers fangirl, she’ll be covering genre art. If this week’s interview with John Picacio is any indication, she’s off to a great start.

And those are just the new folks! We still have lots of veteran contributors adding to our eclectic mix. (Shall I mention the Herculean efforts of Charles A. Tan? Or that David Tackett is back with his comprehensive Free Fiction lineups?)

Do yourself a favor and give them a visit at their own blogs. Those are the venues that sold me on them, and I bet you’ll be hooked as well.

THE SF SIGNAL PODCAST

The big news, content-wise, this past year has been the launch (finally!) of the SF Signal podcast…which wouldn’t have happened without some prompting from Patrick Hester (who agreed to do the heavy lifting) and longtime SF Signal contributor John Anealio (Patrick’s partner in crime at The Functional Nerds). The SF Signal podcast (now posting twice a week) consists of panel discussions and interviews. Why tune in, you ask? How about this array of past interview guests: Lou Anders, A. Lee Martinez, Jon Sprunk, Mur Lafferty, Karen Burnham, Amelia Beamer, Brenda Cooper, Maurice Broaddus & Jerry Gordon, Brent Weeks, Sam Sykes, David J. Williams, Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Levinson, Kevin J. Anderson, Pamela Sargent, Graham Hancock, Vonda N. McIntyre, Bud Sparhawk, Gregory Benford and George Zebrowski, Gail Carriger, Philippa Ballantine, S. Andrew Swann, Lou Anders, Sue Lange, Mike Resnick and John Picacio (on eBook publishing), Darryl Gregory, David Drake, Tobias Buckell, Cat Valente, Chris Roberson, Allison Baker & Alan Beatts (on the Borders Bankruptcy), Peter V. Brett, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Paul Di Filippo, Tim Pratt, Paul S. Kemp, E.E. Knight, Michio Kaku, Daniel Abraham, Howard A. Jones, M.D. Lachlan, Jonathan Strahan, Peter Orullian, Holly Black, Stina Leicht, David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt (conducted by Lou Anders), Laura Resnick, Andrew P. Mayer, Tracy Hickman, and Ellen Kushner.

What, need more reasons? How about weekly panel discussions about things of interest to genre fans – too numerous to mention here, but go peruse our podcast episode list and see why we were nominated for the Parsec Award.

Thanks to all the SF Signal contributors (and special guests, too!) for taking part along the way.

GUEST POSTS

Speaking of celebrity guests, along the past 12 months our hollow halls (you read that right) have graced with the presence of many notable guest posters. If I were the type of person to name drop, I’d drop the names of Jason Sanford (who reviewed Dark Faith, I Am Number Four, Who Fears Death, Brave New Worlds, and The Songs of Distant Earth), Larry Doyle, Lavie Tidhar (Twice!), Dan Abnett, Brenda Cooper, Mikal Trimm, Athena Andreadis, Lawrence Person, S. Andrew Swann, J.M. McDermott, Guy Hasson, Lory Kaufman, Joyce Chng, Ernest Lilley (Twice!), Sven Michael Davison, Paul Guthrie, J. Sherer, Jeff VanderMeer (Twice!), Karen Dales, Teresa Frohock, P.I. Barrington, Kim Harrison, Lichfield Dean, Jonathan Wood, Alexander Hammond (Twice!), Courtney Schafer, Louise Marley, Jon Sprunk, Judith Tarr, K. Tempest Bradford, Stina Leicht, Joel Shepherd, Martha Wells, Daryl Gregory, Paul Malmont, Alex Bledsoe, M.G. Harris, Jeff Carlson, Philip Athans, and Michaele Jordan. Thankfully, I’m not a name-dropper, because that’d take a long time for me to type.

Thanks to all of our guests for their gracious contributions. May a big, black Monolith of Goodness find a home on your doorstep — except a little off to the side because nobody would believe you twisted your ankle tripping over a big, black monolith on your doorstep.

MIND MELDS

Our Mind Melds are still a top reader favorite. And speaking of favorite, we used the Mind Melds as a vehicle to ask panelists about their favorite Big Dumb Objects, favorite Literary Dystopias, favorite Audiobooks, favorite SF/F Games, and favorite SF/F Settings. We also asked about the best female characters in science fiction/fantasy/horror and the importance of ‘The Russ Pledge’, as well as neglected cultures. We asked about memorable anti-heroes, ideal science fiction television shows, underrated anime (with videos!), and whether Star Wars should be rebooted.

Some book-related topics (and there were many) included the persistence of Steampunk, Golden Age writers, fantasy novels besides A Game of Thrones That would make an excellent weekly series, fantasy books/series that are better than Lord of The Rings, challenging sf/f books, sf books that will stand the test of time, sf/f/h books we love to re-read, the appeal of the Warhammer 40K, horror novels that would make a great films, lessons learned from master world-builders, and (for the more writerly) a nice collection of writing advice. There were lots more juicy topics, but by now your brain should be sufficiently fried. Mmmm…fried brains…

THERE’S MUCH TOO MUCH TO MENTION!

So much other stuff happened this past year, it would be impossible to list them all. (But they are totally listed here.) Should I mention Lisa’s popular Stargate Universe recaps? Or Larry’s post on Donating Books for a Library in Kabul? Or Andrew’s post on Military SF? Or JP’s post on The Upcoming Fall SF/F TV Scene? Whoops! Too late! I already did. :)

Suffice it to say that it would be worth your time to thumb through our archives and see why SF Signal was named as SFX’s 2011 Literary Blog of the Year. I promise it wasn’t the unmarked bag of gold that mysteriously found its way into the SFX offices. Almost promise. Well, maybe suggest. And by “suggest” I mean imply. By which I mean deny. In fact, what bag of gold?

And In Closing…

…I’d like to extend the biggest Thank You of all to you, dear reader. You are the reason we do this every single day and we genuinely hope that you are having as much fun with SF Signal as we are bringing it to you.

See you later…in spaaace!

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