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Eighteen Months of Insite
by John O'Neill

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Wayne MacLaurin
It's been over two years since the SF Site was officially launched in July of 1996, and eighteen months since we switched to our regular bi-weekly format in June, 1997. Speaking for myself, it's been a heck of a ride. According to our server logs, we now average more readers in a single day than we did in an entire month back then -- and I was thrilled to break the 3,000 visit barrier that June, I can tell you. We've had to update our server (more than once), survived numerous technical glitches -- including having our entire file structure accidentally deleted twice -- and read and responded to literally thousands of e-mail. It's been quite an adventure.

Todd Ruthman
But through it all, the thing I've been most proud of is the staff that we've built. When Wayne MacLaurin, Todd Ruthman and I launched the SF Site, it was with the hope that our bumbling efforts would attract contributors with more talent than ourselves. We'd probably still be bumbling if Rodger Turner hadn't shown up a few months later to take the reins as webmaster, completely re-designing the site into something worth looking at. Over the next few months we were joined by Marc Goldstein, who launched our first Games page, Tom Myer, who brought real professionalism to our reviews, Lucy Snyder, who brought our first hosted site with Dark Planet, and the tireless Neil Walsh, whose keen and cynical eye made him the perfect choice for Reviews Editor. It was that small group who single-handedly created the first issue in our magazine format in June of 1997 -- and who for the most part have been with us since.

Alice Dechene
Over the next few months we were joined by such folks as Thomas Julian, Steven H Silver, Margo MacDonald, Stephen M. Davis, and Alice Dechene -- the staff and freelance reviewers in large part responsible for the explosion of content that allowed us to go bi-weekly a month later. We've never looked back.

SF Site offices, circa 1996
It hasn't all been reviews, book columns, and link lists. From the day we started with our new format, we wanted to introduce an editorial column that gave our senior contributors a chance to share their thoughts on topics of real importance to the genre. Alice Dechene contributed the name, Rodger Turner produced the format and spot art, and we were off. The SF Insite column debuted with our first issue in June '97, and it's been a regular feature ever since. In the past 18 months we've seen articles on redeeming SF Cinema, promoting your book on the Web, NESFA Press, the return of Perry Rhodan, SF's numerous sub-genres, and many more. In large part the duties have been split between myself and the ever-articulate Tom Myer, but we've also seen pieces from such notables as Dave Truesdale, publisher of Tangent, Amy Goldschlager of Avon/Eos, Wayne MacLaurin, Neil Walsh, Rich Horton, and others.

For our first issue of 1999, we're offering a look back at 18 months of SF Insite, sorted by author. We hope you'll find these articles insightful, relevant, and informative -- and that you'll let us know one way or the other.

Remember to drop by in two weeks for our big mid-January issue, our traditional Best Of The Year celebration, to see our editors' and readers' selections for the best books of 1998 (it's not too late to vote if you haven't already). You know where to find us.

John O'Neill

John O'Neill is the founder and publisher of the SF Site. He's worked for a number of Internet start-up firms, enough to be deeply confused at almost every level concerning the Internet. He studied English Literature at the University of Ottawa and received a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, neither of which was successful in setting him on an interesting career path. He is a Canadian living in St. Charles, Illinois, with his wife and two children.

Dec. 98: The Books of 1998: a summary of every title received by the SF Site in 1998 and an invitation to vote for your Top Ten.

Dec. 98: A Welcome to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction: one of the oldest and most respected magazines in the history of Science Fiction is proudly welcomed to the list of SF Site's hosted magazines.

Mid-Nov. 98: The SF Site Reader's Guide To Science Fiction, Part II: The Reader's Guide to SF Series: Space Pirates!

Oct. 98: The SF Site Reader's Guide to Fantasy, Part I: the Redwall Novels of Brian Jacques.

Mid-Sept. 98: The SF Site Reader's Guide To Science Fiction, Part I: The Reader's Guide to SF Series.

Mid-August 98: Books in Your Future: August to November, 1998.

August 98: The Return of Perry Rhodan: the triumphant North American return of one of the great Space Operas.

July 98: A Salute to Asimov's SF & Analog, Part II: A Brief History of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.

mid-May 98: A Salute to Asimov's SF & Analog, Part I: Love, Money, and the Future of SF Magazines.

May 98: Books in Your Future: the lure of the uncorrected proof.

Mid-Jan. 98: The Best SF and Fantasy Books of 1997.

mid-Oct. 97: SF & its Influences: Science Fiction Gaming.

Sept. 97: Avon/Eos: The Transformation of an Imprint.

Mid-August 97: Promoting Your Book, Web Style.

August 97: Fiction on the Web.

Mid-July 97: The Future of Online Publications.

July 97: Genres & Sub-Genres: why are SF & Fantasy titles classified and sub-classified so rigorously?

June 97: Welcome to the SF Site.

Tom Myer

Thomas Myer is a technical writer with Cisco Systems, Inc. He is a Contributing Editor with the SF Site and has been writing reviews and articles here since early 1997. He claims he divides his time between reading, writing, and doing research.

March 98 - The Advertising-Technology Complex: the continuing evolution of information technology.

Mid-Feb. 98 - Improving Your Life, the Science and Technology Way: some time-tested tips.

Mid-Jan. 98 - What Cloning Means to the Average Joe: for men only (Ladies, don't read this!)

Mid-Dec. 97 - The Language of Science Fiction: a celebration of some of the best writing in 1997.

Mid-Nov. 97 - Redeeming SF Cinema: why are Science Fiction movies so... one-dimensional compared to SF novels? Tom Myer investigates.

Oct. 97 - Covering Heinlein: "Wow, that cover changes everything."

Wayne MacLaurin

A Senior Reviewer with the SF Site, Wayne MacLaurin has been publishing reviews of genre material on the Web since well before the SF Site existed. A staunch fan of the thick fantasy novel, Wayne day-lights with an Ottawa high-tech firm when he isn't jury-rigging shelf supports for his bookcases or fending off book-eating dogs.

Mid-March 98 - Inventiveness in Publishing: a look at TSR's Double Diamond Triangle Saga.

Dec. 97 - A Look at the gaming card patent of Wizards of the Coast.

Neil Walsh

Neil Walsh is a Canadian writer and editor living in London. He has been the SF Site's Reviews Editor for the past 18 months.

Mid-June 98 - Bringing Back Bradbury: a Rant Against Irritating Publishing Practices. In which Neil takes on Avon Books and the publishing industry at large.

David Truesdale

David Truesdale is one of the movers and shakers of the field. As editor and publisher of the Hugo-nominated magazine Tangent, the only SF & Fantasy short fiction review publication in existence, he has virtually revolutionized critical coverage of genre short fiction. He is a Contributing Editor to the SF Site.

Mid-July 98: A Report on The 1998 Theodore Sturgeon and John W. Campbell Awards.

Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a Contributing Editor to the SF Site, and one of our most prolific contributors. At his own website he has posted over 300 lengthy reviews of genre books. He is one of the founders and judges for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, is the Programming Chairman for Chicon 2000, and maintains the official Harry Turtledove website.

Mid-Oct. 98 - 100 Greatest Works of Science Fiction: Steven has a critical look at the selections made in the October 16 issue of Entertainment Weekly.

Amy Goldschlager

Amy Goldschlager is an Editorial Assistant with Avon/EOS, one of the most respected imprints in SF and Fantasy. This article was suggested to us by Andy Heidel, and is reprinted with permission.

Feb. 98 - Science Fiction & Fantasy: A Genre With Many Faces: A look at the many sub-genres of SF and Fantasy, from Cyberpunk to Space Opera.

Rich Horton

Rich Horton came to the SF Site through his affiliation with Tangent. He describes himself as an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in the St. Louis area.

Nov. 98 - In Praise of NESFA Press: a look at one of the best of the Small Press.

Copyright © 1999 by John O'Neill

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