This afternoon I’ll be lumbering around looking for rare sunlight together with the original Blogosaurus, Rob Bedford. Rob’s been at the blogging gig since dinosaurs roamed the earth (one of his many college nicknames was actually Dinosaur Bedford in a reference to The Tick). He’s been participating in the online genre community/fandom since joining SFFWorld in 2000 where he’s been moderating discussion forums, reviewing books, and interviewing authors. His geek-inspired writings have since also appeared at Tor.com and SF Signal.
SCy-Fy: Rob, you write for many different sites.
RB: Yes. I don’t blog so much for my personal blog on a daily basis but rather much of what I write, in terms of reviews, blog posts, columns, etc., appears elsewhere. My reviews have been appearing at SFFWorld for well over a decade, I write The Completist and curate Mind Melds for SF Signal, and do occasional book reviews and other assorted articles for Tor.com. So while the things I write don’t always appear at the same place, a review or piece I’ve written appears about once per week at one of those various aforementioned web locales.
SCy-Fy: Where do you find the time?
RB: I steal time at work to write those book reviews and other pieces and usually polish them off and post them at home. For SFFWorld, the other reviewers and I (Mark Yon, Mark Chitty, Luke Brown, Nila White) review each other’s reviews before we go live with anything.
SCy-Fy: What are your future initiatives?
RB: To continue reading and sharing my thoughts on what I read with other people in a broad sense. Also, to finish the third round of edits on one of my novels, reassess another novel-in-progress, start another one plus some other things.
I’ve got a re-read series coming up at Tor.com that I just finished writing. The only thing pending on that is the timing since we (my editor[s] at Tor.com and I) want to make sure the re-read hits at a time appropriate to the author’s next book being published.
SCy-Fy: Tell me more.
RB: That re-read write-up covers a series I re-read last year (Tad Williams’s marvellous Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, probably my favourite Epic Fantasy series). For the past few years, I’ve found myself unofficially re-reading or re-reading and catching up to finish the series. That is, for series where I’ve only read one book or not finished reading the series like Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet or David Anthony Durham’s Acacia Trilogy.
Before review copies helped to build Mount ToBeRead (© Fred Kiesche), into the beast it is now, providing me with an ample supply of books and focus on the newer releases, I read through the first four books of Kate Elliott’s enchanting Crown of Stars series. Those books had a great feel to them, were a world-building marvel, and were populated with interesting characters. As newer books in the series published, the aforementioned review copies took precedence over non-review reading. So, at some point later in the year (I’m thinking Spring/Summer), I’m going to re-read the first four (it has been over a decade since I read the fourth book, Child of Flame) and finish off the series. How I document this (a series of blog posts, with a partner-in-crime, at one of the places where my reviews appears, etc.) is still undetermined. But interacting with Kate Elliott and following her on Twitter has me very excited to jump back into these books.
SCy-Fy: What do you think will be the major future challenges for SFF blogging?
RB: Trying to predict the future is a game best left for the Science Fiction writers. I will say, however, that the past might be a good indicator that it isn’t easy to determine where this blogging thing is going in the future. When I launched my blog in 2004, it was a time when blogging for oneself was the way to go. Not to say that people still don’t have their own personal blogs that have become institutions in the genre blogging community (Bookworm Blues, A Dribble of Ink, MyBookishWays and The Wertzone to name a few), but content aggregators like Tor.com, SF Signal, and io9 have become what the genre readers seem to gravitate towards.
SCy-Fy: Any tips for bloggers and reviewers?
RB: Carve out your identity, separate what you do from others without alienating those other folks. For all things, however, follow Wheaton’s law: Don’t be a dick.
SCy-Fy: Traps in SFF blogging?
RB: Not including the giant stone ball tripped when you swap the idol with the bag of sand you thought was weighted perfectly but actually wasn’t? I don’t know, aside from flat out copying content from other blogs/sources and passing it off as your own. I’ve seen on more than one occasion jerks try to do this by stealing my stuff or, for example, stealing content from SF Signal and trying to pass it off as original. In most cases, those thieves will cease and desist, but other web sites have ceased the copying but continued on their own path and pretended like the past didn’t happen.
SCy-Fy: What have been your most popular posts?
RB: Neil Gaiman linked to one of my blog posts once, the guest post from Brian McClellan seems to have the most page views, and people seem to like my regular Books in the Mail posts. My latest Completist column for SF Signal, featuring another all-time favourite series, The Acts of Caine by Matthew Stover, seems to be getting some good traction and people acknowledging how underappreciated, brilliant, ahead-of-its-time the series is (especially the first book Heroes Die). I think my Tor.com reviews, by and large, generate decent response, too. I was particularly happy with my re-read of the brilliant comic series Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabe Rodriguez.
SCy-Fy: Which upcoming releases are you most looking forward to?
RB: I wrote a post on my blog late last year that highlights the 2015 books I’m most anticipating, but I’ve either already received a few or those or read a couple. So, from that list, I’d say Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb. Off that list, I’d say Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Blades (sequel to the marvellous City of Stairs), Robert R. McCammon’s return to epic horror with The Border and The Aeronaut’s Windlass, and the launch of The Cinder Spires, a Steampunk series from Jim Butcher. Of the books on my personal Mount ToBeRead I already own that keep shouting at me to read them: The Red by Linda Nagata, The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett and Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
SCy-Fy: Thanks, Rob. I’m feeling sluggish now that it’s getting dark. We’d better go and find a sun lamp.
RB: Thanks very much for inviting me to participate!