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SciFi, a Gateway drug?

20/07/2011. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Gollancz, the SF and Fantasy imprint of the Orion Publishing, are to launch a digital SFF library, the SF Gateway, which will make thousands of out-of-print titles by genre authors available as eBooks. Building on Gollancz’s Masterworks series, the SF Gateway will launch this Autumn with a thousand titles by a hundred authors. It will build to 3,000 titles by the end of 2012, and 5,000 or more by 2014.

Gollancz’s Digital Publisher Darren Nash, who joined the company in September 2010 to spearhead the project said, “The Masterworks series has been extraordinarily successful in republishing one or two key titles by a wide range of authors, but most of those authors had long careers in which they wrote dozens of novels which had fallen out of print. It seemed to us that eBooks would offer the ideal way to make them available again. This realization was the starting point for the SF Gateway.”

The SF Gateway will be integrated with the recently announced new online edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Direct links between the Encyclopedia and the Gateway will provide easy access to eBook editions, for sale through all major online retailers. The Gateway site will also act as a community hub and social network for SF readers. The site is planned to include forums, blogs and promotions.

Alastair Reynolds said of the project, “When I first started reading SF seriously, as a teenager growing up in Wales, one of the first walls I hit was the realisation that many classic and influential works of the field were either out of print or so hard to obtain that they may as well have been. SF is a forward-looking genre but its past has always been as fascinating as its future, and for that reason the SF Gateway is an exciting and groundbreaking venture, which should prove an enormous asset to the field.”

Pat Cadigan added, “This is exactly what I've been hoping for now that the digital book is becoming more widespread. I have always said that the eBook will not be the death of the physical book – the eBook will save so many wonderful books from being lost. We have to remember that what we read is the book – what we read it on, whether ink and paper or pixels on a screen, is just the interface. I'm honestly thrilled about this new project and delighted to be on the list.” The SF Gateway will be officially launched by Gollancz in September as part of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of its SF list.

The SF Gateway was conceived by Orion Deputy CEO Malcolm Edwards, who told SFcrowsnest, “It’s clear that publishers need to show that they can respond to the challenges and opportunities of the digital revolution imaginatively, particularly when it comes to backlist. The SF Gateway is just such a response, creating what we hope will become a destination website which will promote the books and authors it features in an active way. We hope it will not only be a success in its own right, but that it will provide a model for future developments in backlist publishing.”

You can keep track of the project at...

Authors featured in the launch include such names as Marion Zimmer Bradley, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Frank Herbert, Alice B. Sheldon (James Tiptree, Jr), Robert Silverberg, Kate Wilhelm and Connie Willis. Here's the full list...

Poul Anderson
Barrington J. Bayley
Gregory Benford
Michael Bishop
James P. Blaylock
James Blish
Marion Zimmer Bradley
John Brosnan
Fredric Brown
John Brunner
Algis Budrys
Kenneth Bulmer
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Pat Cadigan
John W. Campbell, Jr
Terry Carr
Arthur C. Clarke
Hal Clement
D.G. Compton
Michael G. Coney
Edmund Cooper
Richard Cowper
John Crowley
L. Sprague de Camp
Samuel R. Delany
Philip K. Dick
Gordon R. Dickson
Christopher Evans
Philip Jose Farmer
John Russell Fearn
Alan Dean Foster
Mary Gentle
Mark S. Geston
Joseph L. Green
Colin Greenland
Nicola Griffith
Joe Haldeman
Harry Harrison
Frank Herbert
Philip E. High
Robert Holdstock
Cecelia Holland
Robert E. Howard
Raymond F. Jones
Leigh Kennedy
Garry Kilworth
Damon Knight
Henry Kuttner
Tanith Lee
Murray Leinster
H.P. Lovecraft
Katherine MacLean
Barry N. Malzberg
Phillip Mann
David I. Masson
C.L. Moore
Ward Moore
Edgar Pangborn
Frederik Pohl
Rachel Pollack
Tim Powers
Mack Reynolds
Keith Roberts
Eric Frank Russell
Josephine Saxton
Bob Shaw
Robert Silverberg
Clifford D. Simak
Dan Simmons
John Sladek
Cordwainer Smith
E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith
Norman Spinrad
Olaf Stapledon
Theodore Sturgeon
William Tenn
Sheri S. Tepper
James Tiptree, Jr
E.C. Tubb
George Turner
Harry Turtledove
Jack Vance
Ian Watson
Ted White
Kate Wilhelm
Connie Willis
Robert Charles Wilson
Gene Wolfe

Built using HTML5 and CSS3, both the SF Gateway and the previously announced Encyclopedia of Science Fiction are being developed by STEEL, a London-based digital agency.

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