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March 21, 2011

Blogs I Read

The SFX Blog Awards has got me thinking about what blogs Science Fiction blogs I actually read.

I could just export my OPML and let you read it yourself, but that’s a bit dull isn’t it? Instead I’ll give you a bit more information…

Firstly I don’t read io9. Occasionally I pop over there and have a peek. I’m sure there’s some good stuff on there somewhere but it’s buried beneath an awkward layout and endless speculation about upcoming superhero films. It’s mostly the sort of SF news I don’t really care about: why speculate about upcoming films so much? Why not just watch them then review them? And the volume is far too high to subscribe to the feed and filter out the interesting stuff, so I don’t bother.

SF Signal is another high volume blog, but this one I do subscribe to. Team SF Signal do a much better job than io9, although once again, there’s far too much volume for me to read everything. Instead I scan the daily links and check for interesting articles and read the odd review. Their Mind Meld posts have become famous and are usually very interesting. I much prefer the personal tone you get there, a real blog, instead of a corporate advert machine.

I also read Futurismic. Which, depending on your definition, may or may not be Science Fiction. Whatever you decide it’s definitely SF brain food and Paul does a great job finding stuff that is just tomorrow, science, politics, whatever.

I read Ansible. Once a month, SF fan gossip. Right frequency, right content.

I read xkcd. Because you have to. It makes me laugh. Out loud. A lot.

I read Bruce Sterling’s Twitter feed @bruces. Which makes me feel slow and stupid and antique and out of the loop. I also follow a crazy selection of people on Twitter that I dip in and out of.

I read Torque Control the blog of the BSFA’s Vector Magazine Editor. Which has been mainly Niall until very recently. Now he’s moved to Strange Horizons so I’m reading that too (although lack of full content feeds is annoying) .

I don’t read Boing Boing, too high a volume. I don’t read Slashdot, similarly. I do read The Register, but that’s really for the day job.

I subscribe to the BBC press office feed, but that’s only really been useful for finding out information about Outcasts and Being Human.

I read other stuff too, but those are the ones  that stand out.

I’m trying to cut down. Instead of reading more blogs and more Tweets, I want to spend my time reading more books. It’s all too easy to get sucked in to trying to read the entire internet, to little gain. I want to read a book, watch a film, watch a TV show, then blog a review and talk about it a little. Then repeat.

I used to read loads of authors blogs but now I read hardly any. An author’s blog is now more likely to put me off reading a book than encourage me. Thinking of some authors I really love at the moment, they blog very little or not at all: Neal Stephenson, Ian McDonald… I don’t care about their blogs, I care about their books. Meanwhile I haven’t read anything by John Scalzi, but his blog persona puts me off the idea of doing that. Do you have to cultivate a fan base via a blog these days? Or is blogging dead as Bruce Sterling predicted? I don’t know. What I do know is that I prefer to read books to blog posts. Still reading this? Go and read a book.

4 Comments

Thanks! Re: lack of full content feeds, we know, we need to get our installation of Movable Type upgraded before we can do anything. It is on the to-do list.

Thanks for listing, am off to check some of them out shortly. I'm a fan of io9 too, but the....not sure what it is, ajax? layout they changed to really messed the site up. Think it's only when you log in though, so am staying logged out if I can't find the option to turn it back to the blog view.

And yeah, I really need to start reading again. Think I'll re-read VALIS or something.

I'm hurt, scandalized, appalled, that you don't read my blog. (That's a joke, son, yer s'posed t' laugh.)

I like Scalzi a lot. He's a good writer, quick wit, funny. He can pull of the blog thing well, but most other authors can't, and really should't try. With him, the feeling is almost like you're working in the office with a guy who just randomly drops this stuff into conversation because he's kind of interesting. Sadly, a lot of authors who tell interesting stories themselves are not particularly interesting, and listening to them natter on about the price of string at the save-n-pack and the way people irritatingly misuse gerunds just doesn't really cut it.

I check out Ellison's Art Deco Dining Terrace now and again. Fun site, but hard to sift through. Apart from that? Not much. Yours. Rarely the Onion AV club, but I'm not sure that counts.

I'm totally on board with you about io9, which has so much access to the industry and genre, and so many resources, and just kind of pisses it all away on ephemera.

Getting back to my site, I do egotistically think we've got a really good one. We've received very nice comments from Ellison, Scalzi, Niven, the late Dwayne McDuffie, and a few others, and we even run original fiction every Wednesday, most of which has been pretty well received by critics. That was a shameless plug, feel free to edit it out if you like.