Introductory Editorial

Welcome to the Concat' website.

This is more of an introduction than an editorial as these days we post editorial matters at the top of our seasonal (spring, summer and autumn) Science Fiction News page. The key thing you need to know is that there is loads of stuff on this site for the SF enthusiast, be it material relating to books, films or television. This is especially so if you also have an interest in science: most of us on the Concatenation team are scientists or who work in the technology-based sectors.

Why Concat' and not other science fiction websites? Well, every website has its place. There are literally thousands of websites devoted to specific TV shows, individual authors and films. There are also a few score of good SF blogs or sites that are updated at least weekly if not more frequently. However not everyone has such a focused interest in SF that they concentrate on just one aspect of the genre, and not everyone has the time or inclination to check the internet once or twice a week to find out what is going on. For this reason Concat' is seasonal with a high information content and low on frills: so you do not need to wait for fancy pictures to download, or get distracted with sound effects, or held up by neat animations. We simply aim to provide our regulars with news and reviews that can point them in the right direction and there they can find all the bells and whistles specifically related to their individual interests. And so Concatenation is largely a text-only site with hardly any pictures, no sound effects and no animation: it is sheer unadulterated, if not industrial strength, information.

The Science Fact and Science Fiction Concatenation is different from many English language (Anglophone) SF websites in other ways too. First you will note its full title includes the phrase 'Science Fact and Science Fiction' this is because in one very real sense Concat really is a 'concatenation' (a bringing together or joining) of the two -- 'science' and 'fiction'. As mentioned most of us involved with this site are scientists either by qualification and/or profession, or who work in or with technology. So this site includes some science news from the cutting edge of research and also reviews the occasional popular science book in with its non-fiction SF book reviews (art books, books on films and other aspects of the genre). The practical upshot of this science dimension is that though the site covers a range of 'speculative fiction' it tends to focus a little more on SF and hard SF than fantasy. It also means that we are in no way believers in non-science (such as UFOs abducting thousands of people a year) as we, as scientists, know the difference between 'science fact' and 'science fiction', and that 'science fiction' no matter how enjoyable is just that, 'fiction'!   This is not to say that we do not value the relationship between SF and science as we do. We appreciate that SF can foster an interest in science as well as help scientists think outside of the box.   The second difference between Concat' and many other Anglophone SF sites is that we look at the genre through a European prism. This means that in addition to covering the book and film scene as perceived in the British Isles, we also include SF news from other non-English speaking nations. For example, Concatenation seems to provide the most coverage of the European SF Conventions (Eurocons) as denoted by the European SF Society's (ESFS). Eurocon report links page. Perhaps this is one reason why ESFS members have voted Concatenation for four Eurocon Awards (1994, 1997, 2004 and 2012).

Though we are seasonal, we are in a number of ways still very topical. True our news looks back at the last season's goings on but it also looks forward and includes news of future SF ventures, be they films, books or conventions, that have been commissioned or are in production.   So you can use us to find out what SF and fantasy books are forthcoming (see the forthcoming books section of our SF news page), or DVDs to watch (see our Science Fiction Film Charts) or even to read some short, professionally written fiction (see our SF Futures page). If you like the work of a particular author then it may be we have reviewed other of their works. If so check out our master Science Fiction Book Reviews index that is arranged by author, alphabetically. Similarly, there is also a Non-Fiction Book Reviews index page.   But have a root around the site. On it you will also find some SF articles, a science fiction convention listing and film diary of forthcoming film releases and cons, a few science fiction convention reviews from around the World, and even some whimsy with Gaia.

The best place to start other than our Home Page is our What's New page. This lists recent additions and reveals that The Science Fact and Science Fiction Concatenation is in effect a magazine with news and SF reviews that comes out roughly seasonally (spring, summer and autumn) but not exclusively..

The best way to get around our big seasonal news page is either to jump through to the specific subsection (be it books, films, science, fandom TV etc.) from the main Science Fiction News page or use the mini-subsection menus within each season's menu. Also lower down on the Sci Fi News page there are links to previous seasons' news pages.

The best way to get around the site from wherever you are is to scroll down to the bottom of the page you are on. Here you will find links relating to the rest of the section of the site you are in as well as the home page.

You can help with site content. We cannot report what we are not told. So do tell us of major SF news, awards, major (mainly national level) conventions, author news in your country. If you do not then do not complain about any lacking you discern in site content. (You can contact us by the e-mail address given in the 'contact' link at the very bottom of every page.)   Also, in case you need it, here is further guidance on how to contribute.

Finally, Concatenation's history. This is a long story (a more detailed version can be found here and a rather dated introduction (including mention of some of our other activities) can be found here).   Meanwhile the short version is this. We started out as a print fanzine back in 1987 distributed at the UK National SF convention as part of an anniversary celebration to mark 50 years of the World's first SF convention. Then in the mid-1990s the print zine was also circulated at Eurocons. Production costs were covered by advertising. In the late 1990s we stopped the print edition and moved to the web. In the early 2000s we started to update the site. This was done slowly at first but in 2002 we began our seasonal news pages. Site traffic began as a trickle: if we had known back in the 1980s that there would be such a thing as the internet and we would have a site on it then we would have picked a more search engine friendly title with 'science fiction' in it and not 'concatenation'. Yet, despite the low-level start, site traffic has seen steady growth of between 15 - 20% a year: this is both faster than economic growth and indeed that of the growth in internet users over the same period. This means that unique visitors have typically doubled every three or four years up to now (2009). In 2008 we begun to attract a five-figure number of unique visitors a month downloading a six-figure number of pages. (Remember, one 'unique visitor' may visit the site more than once in a month and each visit may download a number of 'pages', and each page in turn generates a few hits (depending whether or not the page has a piture or two on it). It would be easy for us to say that Concat gets millions of hits but more realistic to talk about unique monthly visitors. If you like, this is the difference between a print magazine talking about the total number of pictures and blocks of text viewed by all its readers (a huge number) as opposed to simply the number of readers it has.) Meanwhile site traffic continues to grow. (In truth we find it a little scary.)

As to who we are we are in fact a loose collective of a score or so with a core team of around half a dozen.

And that, as they say, is that.   Now you can check out what's new.

 

 

For previous editorials click on Editorial 2004, Editorial 2001, Editorial 1999 and Editorial 1997.


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