Friday, February 4, 2011

ISFDB – A Cool Sci-Fi Resource


I was looking around the net the other day, hoping to find a reference on an old science fiction story I remembered reading years ago, when I came across an interesting resource, the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (http://www.isfdb.org/).

I won’t do yet another Doug list here, I promise, but there is a lot to explore on the site. One of my favorite features, and the one that triggered my Google hunt hit in the first place, was the Author Directory (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/directory.cgi). Accessible via a straightforward graphical alpha index, the directory contains hundreds of names, with links to detailed entries for some of my favorites, and skeletal ones for others.

Additional features include publisher lists, links to recent and upcoming books, and magazine lists. By looking over their author birthday listing, I even discovered that Alice Cooper, one of my favorite rockers, is also a speculative fiction author. Who knew?

What pushed me over the edge to near worship was the ISFDB’s own page of lists (http://www.isfdb.org/wiki/index.php/ISFDB_Lists), with topics like these:

• Annual Page Views
• Most Reviewed Books
• Author Communities
• Awards

What’s more, on their page of lists is a link to a list of Top 100 Lists (http://www.isfdb.org/top100.html). Yes, it is a list of lists of lists! With this much list candy, I could well become a Listopheliac.

All this content is wonderful, but the site is still a Wiki. I say “but” and "still" only to emphasize that as a Wiki, it is fed, clothed, and supported by speculative fiction lovers like you. Wikis have their gaps, their inaccuracies, and their broken links, and the ISFDB is no exception. But Wikis are wondrous information organisms. I find this site especially wondrous, devoted as it is to the genres, with so many people working together to preserve their history and promote their future.

Go check it out. And if you have a useful tidbit of information to add or see a data gap you can fill, you might even consider lending a hand. No marathon PBS-style bid for pledges here, just a bit of gentle encouragement for you to contribute content or support at some point in the future. The science fiction history you help to preserve may be your own.

D. E. Helbling


4 comments:

Marva Dasef said...

I did find this great site and surprised myself by submitting my own SF to add to the site and they accepted it. The only criteria, I believe, is that your book has an ISBN or something like that.

Like Wikipedia, I tend to get dizzy and wander around in a daze for days.

Be careful; it's addictive.

G. Torrance said...

Okay, I have to say that is a great site! I'll be searching around it for years now, I'm sure. Thank you for sharing it.

H said...

Excellent resource, thanks.
I've just uploaded my book, The Cloud Connection, to the resource.

Nathan

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the positive comments!

Marva, an ISBN is not required but helps us find new books when published. We cover Magazines and, to some extent, Fanzines too - Web-Only publications are mostly out. As are comics and graphic novels, usually.