Monthly Archives: July 2013

Big Changes Coming to the Blog

This is the same post I ran yesterday at Adventures Fantastic.  The readership of the two blogs overlaps quite a bit but isn’t identical.  I’m reposting the announcement here in case anyone missed it.  If you saw it yesterday, it’s the same thing, verbatim.

Traffic the last few days has been up quite a bit, so when traffic today was down, I wasn’t too worried.  I’ve noticed that trend before, a drop in hits on the day following higher than usual traffic, even thought the traffic drop today is greater than usual.

Then I noticed something in my inbox.  It was from Google.  It had come in overnight, and at first glance I thought it was spam that had slipped through the filter.  Instead it was accusing this blog of being spam.  The second line read, in part, “As a result of your site having pure spam, Google has applied a manual spam action…”

Excuse me!?!

I’m not sure what is going on here.  Google’s Webmaster Guidelines say that if I post a lot of content from other sites with links back to those site but don’t provide original content, then the site is a spam site.  Reviews of products with links back to other sites are not considered spam sites by the terms of the Guidelines.

Yes, I include links to a book’s page, publisher’s page, author’s page, and vendors (Amazon, etc.) as well as a copy of the cover.  I do this as a courtesy to anyone who might be interested in the book.  But there will always be plenty of original content.  I also post rants and opinion pieces, news items if I hear about them soon enough, trip reports, and the occasional obituary or tribute.  And while I am an Amazon associate, as duly noted at the bottom of the page, I’ve never made enough money ($10, cummulative) from it for Amazon to pay me.  In other words, to the best of my knowledge I am not nor ever have been in violation of Google’s Guidelines.

I’m not sure how this blog got flagged as a “pure spam” since there are (at a guess) hundreds, if not thousands, of book related blogs out there that do essentially what I do in pretty much the same way I do it.  Futures Past and Present wasn’t included in the spam classification.  Just Adventures Fantastic.

So either something at Google flagged as spam or else someone reported this site as spam.  Frankly, I can’t imagine who would do that or why.  I have intentionally stayed out of most of the controversies in the field at the moment.  I don’t usually write totally negative reviews.  My intention isn’t to trash someone’s work.  If I absolutely hate something, I usually don’t review it, assuming I even finish reading it in the first place.  In my post at Amazing Stories this week, I did write a pretty negative review.  (Okay, yeah, I pretty much trashed the book, but it was a biography, not fiction, and the standards of quality are different.)

I submitted a reconsideration request.  The response I got was that it would take a few weeks before they changed anything, if they did.

I’m not going to wait that long.  I bought a domain name earlier this year with the intention of self publishing some of my own work.  Being a creature of inertia, I’ve not made the time to get up the learning curve on that yet, I’m about to.  I’ll still review the items I listed a few posts ago, but August may be pretty sparse. I’m going to be switching blogging platforms and transferring everything from here and Futures over there as well as getting some things up for sale.  If anyone has some suggestions about the best way to go about that, I’d appreciate hearing them.  I want to move all 500+ blog posts over.  I’m familiar with WordPress, but I don’t know if it will let me do that.

Once the site is up, I’ll post a notice here.  At that point everything will move over to the new site.

Happy Birthday, James Gunn

James Edwin Gunn was born this day in 1923.  He’s still with us, and I  hope he will be for many years to come.  His best known works include The Listeners (1972), Starbridge (with Jack Williamson, 1955), The Immortals (1964), and Kampus (1977).  He edited the six volume historical anthology, The Road to Science Fiction (1977, 1979, 1982, 1998). This is one of the best overviews of the field.  Nearly every story in it is a classic.  Gunn was a Professor of English at the University of Kansas and is currently Professor Emeritus and director of The Center for the Study of Science Fiction.  This is the organization that gives out the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (which is not the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer) and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award at the Campbell Conference.  He was awarded a Grand Master Nebula by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 2007.

I only met him once, in 1989 if memory serves.  There was some sort of gathering at the UNT in which a number of science fiction authors were present.  I think it was a meeting of the Science Fiction Research Association.  Among the other attendees were Fred Pohl, Jack Williamson, L. Sprague and Catherine de Camp, James Frenkel, and Brad Denton.  I remember Gunn as being a quiet and pleasant man.

Happy birthday, Dr. Gunn, and many happy returns!