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The Future of Online Publications

It's been nearly two months now since the SF Site switched to a magazine-style format and we've been grateful for the steady stream of comments from you, our readers. It's helped us to recognize what we've done right and what we've done wrong (usually, it's not having listed your new website promptly enough -- but that's a topic for another column).

One of the things I've enjoyed about managing a Web publication is its immediacy. Unlike print media, we can post our news articles in days -- and update them in minutes. Unlike TV and radio, we are not temporal, so you can always come back and browse through the articles at your leisure -- or forward them to a friend. For all of these reasons and many more, we believe that online publishing really is the wave of the future, a revolution in publishing that may someday be as influential as the printing press (or at least the embossed foil cover).

But where's the proof? Critics of online publications, including the SF Site, are quick to point out that most of us don't have much of a track record. Even the big flagship online SF publications, such as OMNI and TomorrowSF, seem to have been labeled a qualified success at best and there are some who are privately predicting their eventual failure. Nothing sets a new medium back as quickly as an expensive failure. Will the recent well-publicized closure of some of the large non-genre Web publications take its toll on the thriving new generation of science fiction and fantasy webzines being born across the country?

We don't think so. If you'd like to see an example of a thriving SF webzine with an established history and a glowing future, you need look no further than our new sister publication, Dark Planet. DP's editor, Lucy Snyder, has been tirelessly working to establish her magazine as a shining example of just what a true webzine can be -- in terms of art direction, quality of fiction, and frequency of publications -- and we think she's succeeded. We're proud to have her and her creation aboard at the SF Site, and we know you'll enjoy it as well.

As always, let us know what's on your mind.

Keep in touch,

John O'Neill
Managing Editor

Babylon 5 Update

Many of you undoubtedly have already heard that J. Michael Straczynski's epic space opera has been renewed for a fifth season -- perhaps you even saw Harlan Ellison leak the news on the Tom Snyder show. After a harrowing brush with cancellation, Turner Network Television announced that it had picked up the rights to Season 5 of the show, syndication rights for the preceding four seasons, the rights to three made-for-TV-movies now being produced and options on several proposed spin-off series. That's more than enough to keep even the most die-hard fan satisfied over the next year. For all the details, including a lengthy letter from TNT answering all your questions, have a look at The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5.

New Star Trek Site

Star Trek If it's been a while since you've been to the Simon & Schuster website, you're in for a visual treat. For their first anniversary they've re-done the website to substantially improve loading times. Even better, they've launched a brand new site devoted to Star Trek Books at http://www.StarTrekBooks.com/. Readers can ask editors questions about the books, test their Trek knowledge in the monthly quiz, and discuss the books with other fans on the bulletin boards and in the new Subspace Chatter chat room.

At the same time Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, is premiering the New Frontier Star Trek series, a new line of original Star Trek novels which feature new recurring characters created specifically for the series. The first two books are being written by fan favorite Peter David. Have a look at the site to get all the details.

Next issue

The SF Site is now published on a bi-weekly basis, with new issues posted on the first and fifteenth of every month. In our August 1st issue we'll have a report on LoneStarCon 2, the upcoming World Science Fiction convention being held this September, from one of the con's organizers. We'll also have our July Books section, which will cover every book of interest to SF and fantasy fans published in the month of July, with links to excerpts, author pages, and much more. Plus an in-depth look at children's books and our regular book coverage -- including Other Nature by new writer Stephanie A. Smith (it's her third book), Allan Cole's long awaited Wizard of the Winds, Judith Merkle Riley's The Serpent Garden, Stephen R. Lawhead's Grail, a series review of The Great Game trilogy by David Duncan, the anthology Future Primitive, and much more. Be sure to join us on the first day of the month. We'll be here.

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