Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Year's Best Science Fiction, Pt. 2

After devoting two days to it, my lens for the Gardner Dozois edited The year's Best Science Fiction series is done. At least, it's done in the sense that all the major stuff I wanted to put in the lens is in it. No lens is ever really done, partly because sometimes I come up with new ideas for it, and partly because if something isn't changed every so often, its rank on Squidoo and the search engines starts to fall off.

I got a lot smarter about looking stuff up to find out which stories were Hugo and Nebula award winners or nominees. I abandoned the six-Wikipedia-pages approach once I realized I could look up each story through the ISFDb, or Internet Speculative Fiction Database and see all the awards listed. It sure beat scanning through lists trying to remember the names of stories or authors.

Another improvement was moving development of the modules from the Squidoo lensmaster workshop to a simple Notepad++ file. Each module was basically the same, with only the story listings and bits of code for the cover graphic and the links changing. I had a lot more room to work with, which made the cutting and pasting easier. The final eleven modules for the Eleventh Annual collection back to the First Annual Collection were done that way.

I got a few done in that offline manner and uploaded them to the lens workshop and found it worked out pretty nicely. Aside from correcting a few errors that became noticeable only after saving a module, the only other thing I had to do was decide on a color for the module's 4-pixel border based on the colors in the cover.

For all but the first two volumes I was able to find the stories listed at LibraryThing. Someone going by the name Blue Tyson listed them for almost every volume, and I was able to find the missing ones on the ISFDb.

The lens is actually a better source for this series than Wikipedia, which does not have listings for seven of the volumes. Also, Wikipedia only lists Hugo Award winners, and I don't believe they list them all for the volumes they cover, but I could be wrong about that. My lens lists Hugo Award winners and nominees. It also lists Nebula Award winners and nominees. Wikipedia is silent on the Nebulas.

Still, the lens isn't as complete as the ISFDb, which lists far more awards beyond the Hugos and Nebulas. I'd say about 80% of the stories won some kind of award. But if I tried to list all awards, the lens would be more cluttered and I'd probably only be half done. I figured covering only the Hugos and Nebulas makes sense since they are the biggest awards, plus I have lenses on Hugo and Nebula winning and nominated novels.

An unrelated note: This morning when I turned on the computer, I noticed Windows had done an automatic update, so I had to restart. At the time I wondered what would be bollixed up this time. As the day went on I almost forgot about it until I decided to write this post. I use Firefox about 99% of the time these days. When I opened the window to do the post, I noticed all the icons at the top of the window were missing. I had to switch to Internet Exploder using IE Tab in Firefox, and there they are. Of course, I had to log in, which meant trying to remember my password, but eventually I did.

No comments: