Today is SF Signal’s 9th birthday! Yay us! :)

We are celebrating this in the usual fashion: by bombarding your senses with a link-heavy post full of self-congratulatory babble!

THE NEW RECRUITS

We’ve expanded the SF Signal army again this past year. And even though not a single one of them understood the “newbie buys us bagels” rule [facepalm], I promise they’re still a top-notch crew! ;)

Josh has been doing themed book competition/reviews, where he pits books that have something in common against one another…and only one emerges the victor. So far, he’s tackled multiverse stories, fantasy crime fighters, angels & demons, Sherlock Holmes, zombies, fantasy doorstoppers, bleak sf, stories with robots, and magic systems.

Regan came to our rescue at the beginning of this year. When the Free Fiction posts were in danger of being discontinued, Regan stepped in and took over the reigns. He’s been doing a stellar job, too. There’s tons of free fiction available for hungry genre fans. On behalf of the community of free fiction lovers…Thanks, Regan!

Author Brian Ruckely writes the always-entertaining Words and Pictures column. In it, Brian looks at science fictional graphic novels and comics. There’s lots more out there than superhero comics, and Brian has been exploring them in-depth…like Planet of the Apes and Elephantmen, Pluto, Chew, webcomics, Locke & Key, 7 Billion Needles, Finder, and Gotham Central and All-Star Superman. Brian will steer you towards some good reading…so if you’re not already tuning in, do so.

Jaym Gates is a busy gal! Publicist, editor, stage manager, Twitter maven, avid reader..it’s a wonder she finds time to post books reviews. Her experience as a wearer of many hats gives her a unique insight, so do check out her reviews.

Our newest reviewer, Nick Sharps, is something of a Warhammer 40K fan. Although he does review other titles, he’s really well-versed in the world of WH40K and is not afraid to tell it like it is. Check out his reviews as well.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the continued contributions of the SF Signal “Old Timers” who I suspect are, like me, patiently waiting for free bagels…[second facepalm]

GUEST POSTS

Besides an awesome army of contributors, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting guest posts from a wonderfully generous group of contributors. So, many thanks to Karin Lowachee, James Bloomer, Christine Donatello, Courtney Schafer, Kevin Maher, Galen Dara, A. Lee Martinez, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Adam Roberts, Michael A. Burstein, Daniel Polansky, Raz Greenberg, Michaele Jordan, T.K. Kenyon, Myke Cole, Jason Sanford, Rene Sears, K.V. Johansen, S.M. Stirling, Bradley P. Beaulieu, J.M. McDermott, Simon Haynes, Stina Leicht, Heather Massey, Laura Resnick, C.J. Hill, Michael Dempsey, Nancy Kress, Martha Wells, Ernest Hogan, Jack Skillingstead, Lynne M. Thomas, Barbara Hambly, K.D. McEntire, Niall Alexander, Matt Forbeck, Carrie Salo, Howard Andrew Jones, Louise Marley, David Chandler, Daniel Abraham, James L. Sutter, Stephen Gaskell, Lawrence Person, Deborah J. Ross, Grady Hendrix, Jennifer Brissett, Helen Lowe, Robert Louis Smith, David Tallerman, Carrie Cuinn, Walter Jon Williams, L.B. Gale, Jeremiah Tolbert, David Moody, Jeff Salyards, Gilbert Colon, Jennifer Pelland, Charles Davis, Constance Ash-Sublette, Laura Tisdall, Paula Stiles, M.K. Hobson, A.S. King, Win Scott Eckert, Jay Sherer, Zack Parsons, Alex Graham, G.J. Koch, Eric Brown, Zachary Jernigan, James Aquilone, Christopher Paul Carey, Robert Jackson Bennett, Gail Z. Martin, Gina Misiroglu, Brian Bandell, and Anderson O’Donnell.

BIG NEWS, BIG CHANGES

Much has happened at SF Signal over the past year…

Firstly, we were nominated for two Hugo Awards! I cannot tell you how excited we are to have been nominated. It’s not the possibility of winning; it’s that folks thought enough of us to nominate us in the first place. Our heartfelt thanks.

Second, we are lucky enough to have Patrick Hester as our new Associate Editor. Patrick sees it as a promotion and a way to get free bear claws from newbies. I hope he has better luck than me. [See previous facepalms] ;)

We also moved our back-end blogging platform to WordPress and with it, changed the look of the site. Not much to say here except that there will likely be more changes coming, theme-wise.

THE SF SIGNAL PODCAST

The SF Signal podcast is still going strong, thanks to the amazing efforts of the aforementioned Patrick Hester. Patrick is the reason we were nominated in the Best Fancast Hugo category. The podcast records twice every week, bringing you both interesting panel discussions and personal interviews.

The panel discussions bring together the SF Signal contributors and occasional special guests to talk about a particular topic. Past topics included Under-Explored Themes in Science Fiction and Fantasy, reading novellas, Near-Future Science Fiction, Essential Science Fiction Films Every Fan Should See, Horror in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Time Travel, YA Fiction, International Authors, Sword & Sorcery (Part one, two and three), Our Favorite SF&F Books of 2011, Our Favorite SF&F Movies and TV Shows of 2011, Favorite Characters from SF/F, Sword & Sorcery Mega Panel (Part one, two and three), Military Science Fiction Mega Panel (Part one, two and three), 2012 Summer Movies, eBook Pricing, NASA vs. Star Trek, Mind-bending ideas from SF/F, Female Superheroes Who Deserve Their Own Movies, Book Spoilers, and Books that Changed Our Lives, among others.

For the interviews, Patrick talks with distinguished guest. In the last year he’s talked with Gary K. Wolfe, William Gibson, Brian Malow, Lauren Buekes, Brent Weeks, Lee A. Harris, Ian McDonald, Philip Athans, Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood, Jennifer Brozek, Erin Hoffman, Sam Sykes, Howard Tayler, John Joseph Adams, Maurice Broaddus, Elizabeth Moon, John R. Fultz, Charles Day, Jennifer Pelland, David D. Levine, Lavie Tidhar, Robert Jackson Bennett, Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt, Claude Lalumière and Don Pizarro, Nick Hurwitch and Phil Hornshaw, Rachel Swirsky, Robert McCammon, Helen Lowe, Ken Liu, Kij Johnson, Paul S. Kemp, Editors John Joseph Adams and James Lowder, and Courtney Summers.

MIND MELDS

Our Mind Meld posts continue to please readers. Thanks to Paul Weimer, Fabio Fernandes and JP Frantz for doing a fantastic job of administering them. Readers should check out the vast archives for some really great reading with wonderful contributions from a whole bunch of generous panelists. You won’t be disappointed.

TOO MUCH TO MENTION

With several daily posts appearing, it’s impossible to mention everything we’ve done…but that won’t stop me from pointing out some popular highlights, like Tom Tobias’ awesome flowcharts: Navigating NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books (that one even went interactive!) and Everything You Need to Know about the Hugo Award; our Roundatable with Elizabeth Bear, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Charles Stross and Rob Ziegler Discussing the Role of Modern Literary Speculative Fiction; and Daniel Abraham’s Private Letter from Genre to Mainstream . And so much more…

AND IN CLOSING…

…I’d like to extend a huge, huge Thank You to all of the SF Signal readers out there who take the time to stop by, read some stuff, comment on some stuff, and in general just share their enthusiasm about the genres we all love. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: 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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