Props be unto us
33% of readers like that this is content that can’t be found anywhere else.
20% like learning more about interfaces in their favorite shows.
10% like how it sharpens their thinking around interaction design.
20% of people added a response of “all of the above” (the many slices) which is just awesome.
Your wish list
Many people asked for more frequent posts, and I wholly agree, but can’t do much about it. This is a labor of love, not a job, and I’m fitting it in to my schedule amongst work, marketing my new book, working on new stuff, and being a dad. (Wait. You know that I see maybe $5/month from this, right?)
I’d put the amount of work to review an average movie at 60 hours of work between screen cap, writing, formatting, and social medializing. The only chance I have of upping the frequency is to have more time (unlikely) or more authors, and while I have worked with a great team of them, none of them seem to have the time to do more than they already are/have. So, yeah, once/week is about as much as I can wrangle. Glad to know there’s demand?
Similarly to frequency, there was interest in more advice on which shows to watch. I’m going to presume that’s the report cards at the end of each review. That’s obviously tied to frequency of posts, so is similarly constrained.
There was interest in more sub-genres (like anime, horror-sci-fi, or comedy) and I’m down for that. I had one author who had expressed interest in starting to cover B-movies, which I loved, but he wound up not having the time. I’ll use the requested shows as an indicator of which sub-genres.
Note though that I don’t feel especially equipped to review anime. (I took a risk with Ghost in the Shell. Anime fans: Did it work?) I feel that to do it right takes some background knowledge of the genre as a whole, the common tropes, sometimes the language, and the culture from which it emerged, and I’m lacking on all those fronts. 🙁 I have an author who is better equipped, but she’s also strapped for spare time. I’ll hit her up and see if she’s interested in going in again on some of the requested shows.
There were 8% who were expressed interested in different authors. I’m down for having more voices to bring more content and different perspectives to the site. Which leads us to…
Your opportunity/general shout-out
This and nearly all of the above problems could be solved with more contributors, let me put this out there: I am always looking for more authors with whom to collaborate and get more content. It’s not easy (here is the outline of the amount of work it takes) and my time to collaborate/be a thought partner/editor is constrained, but my authors do report it’s fun and rewarding. So, hit me up: chris [at] scifiinterfaces.com
There was a clear winner in the wish list for new reviews.
- The Expanse (5)
- Star Trek (3) (Since this was asked before Discovery, I presume this means the whole franchise, not just the new one)
- District 9 (2), robot HUD and ship controls
- Babylon 5 (2)
- Westworld (2) (1 request said particularly as it relates to game design)
Great. A nice list. Some problems with it though.
The Problem of TV Shows
As much work as reviewing movies is, reviewing television shows is at least an order of magnitude more than that. (Black Mirror and similar anthology shows are an exception. Except as of the latest season finale we get that it’s a single diegesis which only goes to prove the point…)
Take an example from Star Trek. To review just one technology from the show thoroughly/confidently across the entire franchise (and here I have to make a shout-out to Quora author Cliff Gilley on this post), I have to watch 546 hours hours of television and movies. That’s 23 days straight without sleeping. Dedicated to viewing, understanding, screen capping as I go, cataloging, thinking about rules and exceptions. Maybe an AI could do it. But I ain’t AI. I did it for combadges, but that was greatly aided by the Memory Alpha wiki, which helped me filter out the shows in which the technology isn’t. Not all shows have that awesome of a wiki behind it.
This doesn’t mean I’m against reviewing TV shows on principle, but holy cow is it daunting when I think of the number of movies I could get reviewed in that same amount of time.
In addition to the daunting work, I usually like to wait for a series to be completed before I attempt to review the interfaces. That’s partly so I don’t have to go back and update analyses to incorporate new interactions that appear later, or refer to interfaces by the when they appear. A post named Teleporter Interface (2015–2017) doesn’t exactly roll across the tongue, keyboard, or the eyes.
I’ve made some exceptions. I have the first drafts of reviews for Firefly around here someplace since I wrote the book, and I just need to wrap up the three ongoing properties before I want to revisit those for publication. And I didn’t wait for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be complete before I started reviewing those movies, so exceptions can be made, I just have to have really good reasons to break the “rules.”
Those particular shows
So with that in mind, I have seen season one of The Expanse. I intend to go back and watch the next seasons. But given the cliff hanger at the end of season 1, I really feel I ought to let that one finish before I review.
With the new trailer for Season 2 of Westworld out, I suspect I should wait for that one, too, though I’m really itching to review that one.
And holy shit Star Trek. Unless I stick to the movies, I could spend the rest of my life reviewing those shows alone, and I’m just not up for it yet. If you want to help start, again: Hit me up.
I loved District 9 and got to include a few of the interfaces for the book, so I have a leg up on that one. Quite possible.
There were a bunch of fun one-off requests as well. Here they are, with any notes by me in [brackets].
Destination Moon [a fun older movie! Love it.]
Doctor Who [I want to do this especially given the new Doctor, but it has decades of material for me to review. I was last a regular watcher when the Doctor wore a striped scarf (!)]
Person of Interest (particularly seeing all the “inputs” the machine uses and the limited “outputs”) [Oh man me, too. Especially since it ties in to my interest in AI and I loved this show. They had done their homework on ASI and the show was fun and compelling to boot. And the show is over. So I’m down.]
Battlestar Galactica (reboot)
Contact [So few interfaces in this one it might be pretty easy.]
Dark Star [Oh man. This one would be tough and fun. but awesome.]
Edge of Tomorrow
Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2 [These are pretty likely since they’re in the MCU and that’s a vein I’m currently mining.]
The Last Starfighter [Near and dear to my heart.]
Moon [Great, constrained interface design in this.]
Star Trek The Motion Picture (specifically the bridge and icon system)
To whoever listed Jurassic Park, it’s already done! Same with The Fifth Element. Also I’m not going to review Ender’s Game because Card is such a toxic asshole I don’t even want to indirectly reward him.
If you’re reading this and you think you’d want to review one or more of these, please let me know.
Next up: I begin providing responses to some one-off comments and suggestions.