Turning Over The Helm
by Ernest Lilley
Review by Ernest Lilley
SFRevu Editorial ISBN/ITEM#: EL100601
Date: 01 June 2010 /
Fourteen years ago I'd just come off a gig working with my friend Tony Tellado as Co-Host on Sci-Fi Talk, his radio program in NYC, and as editor of Sci-Fi Talk Frequencies, the show's newsletter/magazine. I cranked out the print run of a few hundred copies on a combination of inkjet printer and photocopier and bound them with a contraption I dubbed the "staplematic"...consisting of three staplers bolted to a board.
When we finished our run on the air we shut down the newsletter as well, so I started up SFRevu to keep my hand in reviewing. Having had enough stapling and printing to last me, I decided to make SFRevu an online publication, which was somewhat radical back in the mid 90s. I really wanted to call it SFReview, but a software company had beaten me to it, so I decided I liked the pseudo-Orwellian spelling of SFRevu, and in June of '97, I published issue 1.0. Since then it's been published every month, with a few exceptions, and it's still going strong.
SFRevu has grown from a little webzine put out by myself and a friend or two to a well known publication with a solid editorial staff, dozens of contributors, and thousands of readers.
I established a specific editorial mission at the outset, and it carries on in much the same vein today. Our twin aims were to connect readers with books (and occasionally other media) they'd get something out of, and to offer readers a chance to break into reviewing.
I'm very pleased with results and the quality of the publication today. For the most part, the writing is very good, and occasionally downright brilliant. Many of the people who have written for SFRevu have gone far beyond my original goals, becoming serious critics in their own right, and I'm thrilled to have had a part in giving them a start.
Over the last few years Gayle Surrette has been handling more and more of the daily work of getting the issues together. As Managing Editor, she's been a terrific asset, freeing me to develop ideas for the publication, and to work with Paul Haggerty, who happens to be her husband, on the database code that it runs on. Thanks in no small part to Paul's skill, the code works pretty smoothly at this point.
In fact, between the two of them, everything is working pretty smoothly. So smoothly, in fact that I'm turning over the publication (as well as Gumshoe Review, its sister pub) to them. I'm looking forward to seeing Gayle (and Paul) getting the credit due for their good efforts. I started the ball rolling, and I'm really proud of how it's turned out, but it's time for a new hand at the helm.
Meanwhile, I'd like to thank a few of the people who helped make SFRevu into something more than just me putting out a few reviews every now and then.
Special thanks go to Sharon Archer, SFRevu's first Managing Editor, without whom this never would have gotten off the ground, as well as to Steven Sawicki, our Damnalien's columnist, John Berlyne, our UK Editor, Charles Tomaino, who established us as a short fiction review site worth paying attention to, and Drew Bittner, who's appreciation of both media and written SF has added to our breadth and depth.
There is a much longer list of reviewers and friends who deserve sincere thanks for all they've done as well, and hopefully you know who you are. There are also many in the professional ranks, both reviewers and authors, that have made this both possible, and a pleasure besides. Of these, I'll only name Charlie Brown, who often chided me on panels about some point or other. I learned a lot from him in those brief interactions, and now that he's gone I feel as though I've lost a stern uncle...and one who cared enough to make me a better reviewer and editor.
In the end, the people I owe the most to are the readers, and to all of you I'm very deeply grateful. Thanks for stopping by to see what we've got for you, and hopefully we've had some impact on what you're reading, and how you see it. Right now I don't have any specific plans, except to take some time to read a few authors in depth rather than to try and keep up with the broader flow. We'll see how that turns out.
I wish Gayle, Paul, and all the crew all the best as they chart their course through the literary heavens. I'll be around on the edges, but they get to choose which stars to steer by, and I wish them a voyage full of wonder.
This has been a blast.