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The Yiddish Policemen’s Union – Michael Chabon July 18, 2007

Posted by showmescifi in Books, Michael Chabon, Sci Fi, science fiction, sciencefiction, scifi, serentiy, Star Trek Games, star trek tng, starwars, wikipedia, Yiddish Policemens Union.
2 comments

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What’s a review for The Yiddish Policemen’s Union doing on ShowMeSciFi? Easy – it’s a speculative piece of literary science fiction in that it occurs in a fictional timeline that doesn’t exist.

Similiar but not nearly as dark as Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The HIgh Castle – Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union deals with a US that is different than the one we know in that the State of Israel never survives and as such a seperate temporary homeland for the Jews is carved out of a desolate place of Alaska.

This is their story on the eve of ‘reversion’ the event which will force the Jews out of Alaska as the State of Alaska retakes the land.

It’s an interesting concept and one that drew me in on the speculative – what if – side.

The actual story is another matter. Essentially it’s a murder whodunnit against the speculative history backdrop which is o.k except for the fact that Chabon does a very very very poor job of building a case against the murder. It’s as if he wrote 300 pages and realized he had to pin the crime on someone so he just threw a dart.

The lead character Meyer Landsman is the only one with any real depth the others are sad caricatures that are poorly draw. I would have given up on this book well before reading to the end were it not for Chabon’s easy style. It’s unfortunate that his plot was so utterly lacking.

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SCIFIPEDIA vs. Wikipedia February 23, 2007

Posted by showmescifi in jedi, klingon, scifi, SCIFIPEDIA, sith, Star Trek, Star Wars, stargate, stargate atlantis, stargate sg1, startrek, starwars, wikipedia.
4 comments

SciFi.com is now actively promoting its own SciFi wiki called SciFipedia. It’s an effort to build out a complete ‘encyclopedia’ of SciFi shows, characters, games and other such trivia.

SciFi.com is expecting/hoping that people will freely give up their time and knowledge to help build out the content. Not a bad idea and one that Wikipedia has proven works.

There is a big glaring monstrous problem with it though.

If you look closely at SciFipedia’s pages in particular the Terms of Use it becomes very apparent that Scifipedia is nothing like Wikipedia. First off Scifipedia content is not licensed under any real open content license like Creative Commons or the GNU Free Documentation License. What that means in normal human speak is that you can’t freely use any content from Scifipedia.

USE OF SCIFIPEDIA CONTENT

Except as described in this Terms of Use, you agree not to reproduce, duplicate, copy, create derivative works from, perform, sell, resell or exploit SCIFIPEDIA or any portion of SCIFIPEDIA (including any promotions and advertisements for SCIFIPEDIA) (collectively “SCIFIPEDIA”), without express written permission from SCIFIPEDIA.

Wikipedia is totally different in that the GNU Free Documentation license and Creative Commons licenses are all about letting information be free. Part of the incentive of contribution is knowing that you’re setting information free for any/all to benefit from.

Speaking of contributions, at Wikipedia anyone can contribute at any time. There is no need to register if you don’t want too. I’ve contributed many hundreds of entries to wikipedia and have never once registered.

With Scifipedia you have to register or you can’t contribute.

The policy for SCIFIPEDIA is that only registered members will be allowed to contribute entries. The registration will be handled though the SCIFI.COM main website, and registered SCIFI.COM members need only log in. A name and email address will be required, and you’ll need to follow an authentication procedure to become a registered member.

Bummer.

Then last but perhaps most importantly is the fact that Scifipedia has only 4,710 entries or so. Wikipedia greatly outstrips that already, containing the same and alot more in SciFi than SciFipedia.

So what am I saying?

I’m saying if you’re going to give of your own free time and will to help enrich and educate why not do so in the most free, most collaborative and most used media the world has ever known. Forget about scifipedia – contribute to Wikipedia.

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