The new SPAG

Hello! I have been in contact with Jimmy Maher and pleased to say that I have offered (and been approved by him) to take over as editor of SPAG. Issue 61 will come out before the end of the year! I hope that David Monath will be able to join me as editor in the future when he has enough time for it.

It’s been over a year since issue 60, and in that time the IF world has continued as it always has. We do not have a gaping hole that must be filled with SPAG, but that does not mean that there is no place for SPAG in the future. I am therefore looking for writers to contribute content which may be less common today:

  • SPAG Specifics: for many of us this was our favourite part of the old SPAG, and the Specifics will of course remain in SPAG! SPAG Specifics are more than reviews, they are in-depth analyses of important IF works.
  • Technical/craft articles: IF is an unusual genre as an extra large proportion of IF players have also taken a shot at authoring IF works themselves. We would love for SPAG to have a regular technical article! If your work has lead you to any novel programming task, then please consider writing up a discussion (or tutorial) for SPAG.
  • Interviews: let us know which authors you’d love to hear interviewed
  • Synthesis of where the art-form and community are going. Some examples I’ve thought of: IF in the era of crowd funding, shared world storytelling (ex. the Andromeda Legacy), keyword based IF vs hypertext fiction
  • More: let me know what else SPAG should have!

You may notice one thing which is missing: reviews. The new SPAG will not have a section for reviews because there are so many great review blogs out there already. But don’t think this means we will ignore games or competitions! We will have coverage of the major competitions, we just won’t be reviewing them one by one.

If you want to write for SPAG, please email

A couple final questions:

How do you want to find out about new SPAG issues? Is it worth maintaining an email list?

Is there anyone who could help provide a new server for SPAG? I will be shifting to using Wordpress, but unfortunately I am not in the financial situation to pay the fees for a server myself.

Okay, that’s enough for this announcement. Please share any questions or ideas! Thanks!

Cool, I’m looking forward to reading it! I admit I never read it before but I like the idea and I’m glad it’s surviving.

I think it might be nice to feature already-published reviews that were particularly insightful. I follow Planet IF but I very likely may miss some of the reviews that get published. In addition to providing all that a good review usually provides, it could furthermore also serve to introduce readers to some of the key IF-related blogs out there.

As for hosting, I have space on my server, plus room for email addresses and so on. I would be happy to host it. The only question comes down to having a domain registered. The free option would be a sub-domain on the domain I have registered (ie. I can host other domains as well, but there’s the (fairly low) cost to register a new one. Anyway, that’s something that can be discussed. Since it’s just a Dreamhost server, all their usual one-click installs are available, like Wordpress or Concrete5, so it would be easy to set up. Anyway, let me know and we can arrange it all…

God bless you, Dannii.


jakobcreutzfeldt, thanks for the offer! Have you been happy with Dreamhost? I notice that Wordpress themselves promote them, so they’d probably be alright. As for domains we could maybe get

Yes, I’ve been quite happy with them. As far as I can tell, I’ve never had any noticable downtime. Note that I only have a shared hosting service, so I can’t host any crazy, CPU-intensive things, but something like a Wordpress site is absolutely not a problem. Also, hosting files wouldn’t be a problem, like if you wanted to distribute pdfs or game files.

Unfortunately, I think I can only host a sub-domain of a domain that I host; so would need to be hosted by I just checked and a domain at Dreamhost is $9.95/yr. I’d be fine paying that up front for a domain name, if you’d like, since it’s not much at all. I’m pretty sure that transferring a domain to a new owner is a fairly straight-forward procedure. I’ll leave it up to you to decide on a domain name, of course :slight_smile:

If you want, we can continue the boring details in PM or via email (brandon at invergo dot net).

Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t bother joining an email list for this. I would be very happy to just hear about it on Planet IF and here.


Agreed. An RSS feed on the SPAG site that feeds into Planet IF would be great.

I mildly recommend that you get a separate domain, rather than using a subdomain. More flexibility for the future. But it’s not a big deal.

(You can register a domain at some other service and point it at Dreamhost. I do that for and a couple of other domains.)

My sense of Dreamhost is that they’re cheap and fairly reliable. I’ve never had a problem with them, mind you. (I have no qualms about hosting there, because if it ever goes down for a few hours, so what.) (I wouldn’t host there, because if ever goes down for a few hours, I’d get email-deprivation panic attacks. But SPAG doesn’t fall into that category, I imagine.)

Oh yes: thanks for taking this up!

This is SPAGtastic news! I can’t wait to read the next issue. Is there a time frame in mind for bringing out #61?

Agreed and the cost is essentially negligible for that flexibility that it offers.

Yes, I wasn’t clear but this is definitely possible. I do it myself as well for one of my domains which I never bothered to transfer to DH.

jakobcreutzfeldt, I forgot to say that we probably won’t try to republish old reviews. I’ve found the IF Wiki very helpful for finding reviews. I’m sure it has missed some, but it has got a lot! (Everyone: help the IF Wiki! :smiley:) I want to try to keep SPAG different from what the other IF websites offer. For the moment lets say that anything other than reviews would be welcome for consideration!

Joey, I’ll aim for Christmas time!

This gets the “Taleslinger Seal of Approval©”.

Good going Dannii!

I think just adding a feed to Planet IF is good. If there’s a demand for email it would be straightforward to convert the feed.

This is great news. Thanks, Dannii.

Excellent news; I dig the SPAG.

Welcome back SPAG :smiley:

I gotta come out of the woodwork too to say thanks.

I think an email list would be overkill, too, as I suspect a thread here and an RSS feed will work well–and anyone who might want to read an email feed probably has access to here or planet-if’s RSS.

There is much rejoicing, on my part. Thanks for stepping up and preserving/renewing a piece of IF heritage.

A couple thoughts:

I’ve browsed e-zines and news sites set up with WordPress. This will give readers the ability to comment and initiate discussion, as on personal blogs. I don’t mind the convergence of ezine and blog formats, myself.

I think WordPress might itself provide a solution for email. Users who want to stay updated on new content can just sign up to receive email notifications of “new blog posts.”

Are you going to stick with the issue-based publishing model that SPAG used in the past? WordPress would probably fit a rotating publishing schedule better, where new content appears above older content on the home page, somewhat like a blog.

Here are three e-zines that publish continuously on a rotating basis. Only the last of them is based on WordPress, but all allow readers to comment on articles:

For SPAG, rotating publishing would allow content to be published more regularly without requiring much more content. There are also advantages to traditional issue-based publishing, such as themed issues. I just wanted to mention this.

(I hope nobody considers the links I posted to be spam.)

Again, thank you. :slight_smile:

Oh, good. Thanks for doing this, Dannii.

And I approve of the shift away from straight-up reviews; while the IF world might not have as many out-of-comp reviews as might be desired, it’s not for lack of appropriate venues.