This is a quick way to expand the scope of the site and generate new questions and answers.

How it works: One topic will be designated each week. Each person who asks a question relating to that topic will be eligible to win a prize. The current topic is listed below.

How to enter: Ask a question relating to the topic of the week, and tag it accordingly. Each question you ask will get you one entry into a random drawing to win a sci-fi item of your choice from your local Amazon (under $50). The question must not be closed or deleted to be eligible. Users may only win a topic contest once a month. Users will be informed of the month's topics in advance.

Choosing the topic of the week: If you have suggestions for a future topic, please leave them as answers to this post. Topics must be trackable with a tag, meaning that specific authors, books, television shows, movies and franchises are encouraged. Basically anything that currently has a tag is probably fair game. Topics will be chosen based on either their timely and increased notoriety or to expand the Sci-Fi's content and scope.


At this moment and for the foreseeable future, I will not be able to run any Topic of the Week endeavors. That does not mean that the site can't have Topic of the Week contests, especially since people still seem very keen on them. These can still happen, they will just have to be run by you, the community. I pass along my power to you! That does mean that there will no longer be a prize awarded by Stack Exchange, which I hope isn't a massive deterrent.

But why?!

I apologize for not including this earlier; my haste caused me to not expand. My co-worker Laura summed this up pretty well on the Cooking site, when their TOTW was discontinued. For the most part, the reasons are the same. A $50 a week prize for the contest that results in-between 5-7 questions a week isn't that sustainable on our end. But the best thing, truthfully, is that Sci-Fi doesn't really need it as much as it did 8 months ago. The site is showing exponential growth and diversification, to the point where we on our end don't feel you need us nudging you along. Y'all are doing great on your own!

But you also aren't alone! If the community wants to keep going with the TOTW, then please do! It should just now be controlled organically from the community. And if the community needs advice or input from SE, please ping me!

Completed Topics:

  • 2
    Does writing a question about the topic GUARANTEE an entry into the drawing? even if it gets closed and/or deleted? – OghmaOsiris Jan 6 '12 at 19:13
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    We want to encourage good, quality questions, so if this contest allows closeable questions to be eligible, then we run the risk of getting a flood of bad questions. So a question has to remain open to be eligible. I will amend the post! – Brett White Jan 6 '12 at 19:19
  • 1
    By "mass media", do you mean "film"? I don't see any book events there. – Tony Meyer Jan 6 '12 at 19:53
  • 1
    @TonyMeyer I mean "mass media," but in my haste/lazybrainness can only name the big movies coming out this year. – Brett White Jan 6 '12 at 19:54
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    It'd be great if you CHAOS folk could co-ordinate this across the sites (esp. movies, literature, here). e.g. both The Hobbit and Hunger Games were proposed at literature.se (and both would likely be on-topic if movies.se starts doing this). If these events create a lot of duplication, that's not as much of a win. – Tony Meyer Jan 7 '12 at 21:03
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    @TangoOversway This will also be done with a grant. The hope with a grant and also, sometimes, the topic-of-the-week contests is to seed the site with questions that people will be Googling for, thus leading them to this site. – Brett White Jan 13 '12 at 15:53
  • 1
    Hi Brett - I've just figured out what the number next to the question means... I thought it (currently 1/30) meant this was the first question of thirty. But it's how you write dates on your planet. Suggest you replace with something that fits the rest of the known universe, e.g. 30 January. (More seriously: US date system is confusing for those not used to it.) – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Feb 2 '12 at 19:50
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    Why Buffy S1? I'm a fan and it would be great to see Buffy questions, but why then and why S1 only? S1 was, let's be honest, pretty crap, there were only 12 episodes, and it didn't have the buildup of the rich background story that we have now that we're in season 9. Being Human, ST:TNG, The Walking Dead - none of these are/were season specific. – Tony Meyer Feb 2 '12 at 22:14
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    I didn't notice that TNG was only about three episodes. It seems odd, but maybe there are some great Buffy S1 questions. Maybe. – Tony Meyer Feb 4 '12 at 9:09
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    I'm a bit concerned that we are promoting quantity over quality here. What if you got the score of the question (at the time the period ended) as the number of entries? So if someone asks an awesome 50-vote question, they get 50 entries? – Tony Meyer Feb 4 '12 at 9:11
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    "If you have suggestions for a future topic, please leave them as answers to this post." Vote to close. This is a list question. :) – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Feb 7 '12 at 8:52
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    Meta question posted. – Beofett Apr 2 '12 at 17:45
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    @BrettWhite Shall we close this meta question and start a fresh one so we have a clean slate of suggested topics? – user1027 May 7 '12 at 16:06
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    Brett, I'm a mod on movies.SE. Would you mind if I stole the template of this (with attribution, of course) for a similar idea we're pushing around on our site? :) – Tablemaker May 25 '12 at 14:30
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    @TylerShads Please do! Anything to help communities grow and expand! – Brett White May 25 '12 at 14:55

26 Answers 26


Instead of a specific franchise, I'm thinking of some kind of meta theme, e.g.:

  • robots
  • disaster sci-fi
  • robots causing disasters :)

The list is endless!

  • 6
    So long as it involves Robots and Disaster I'm in! – AncientSwordRage Jan 12 '12 at 21:12
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    What about time traveling robots? – PearsonArtPhoto Mar 13 '12 at 15:27
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    @Pearsonartphoto: I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Mar 13 '12 at 15:44
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    @wikis I need your Questions, your Answers and your Reputation. – AncientSwordRage Jul 22 '12 at 14:12

Awards, e.g.:

This could either be broad (questions related to any of the nominees in a week before the award was given) or narrow (questions related to the winner(s) in a week after the award was given).


I'd like to see some other topics that aren't so narrow and cover a wide range of works that we don't see much of. For instance:

  • Classic SF Film (includes Forbidden Planet, Metropolis, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and a slew of other films, including B movies)
  • Pulp authors/Golden age (includes Heinlein, Asimov, and all the others -- we see them, but not much of them)
  • Pre/Proto SF&F (includes Frankenstein, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe, Castle of Otranto, MacBeth for examples)

Firefly would be another great addition. It just isn't covered well enough here, although it does have a few questions...


Total Recall would be a good one!


One major series that has hardly been touched here is the Disc World series. It even was merged into this site a few weeks into the beta. This should be a topic for the site.

  • 2
    There are already vibrant Discworld communities out there. It's hard to compete with them: all the questions have already been asked and answered elsewhere. If we can get questions, and good answers, then that would be a huge boost for the site. – user56 Jan 13 '12 at 14:34

A series of Watchmen prequels was just announced. This might be a good topic as the release of the first issues approaches.

  • 1
    Oh yes, noted. Big one. Big one. – Brett White Feb 1 '12 at 16:08

If you want to encourage niche topics, how about

As you can see, most questions with that tag are related to video games, that were created to an already existing franchise (Star Wars), which is already covered, simply for being a scifi/fantasy universe.

This is a bit sad, because many (non-spin-off) video-games offer quite interesting scifi and fantasy stories (from the top of my head, Monkey Island, Half Life, Doom (which spun off a couple books AFAIK), *arCraft, and so forth).

I once asked a doom question which received minimal attention, perhaps because the community is so focussed on the big mainstream works that are published via classical channels like film or books.

My point is: Lot of potential here that hardly anyone notices. Maybe the right thing for TotW.

  • 3
    Arqade is the hot site in the network at the moment. A game-related topic could draw in a lot of visitors if we advertise there. – user56 Mar 23 '12 at 22:45
  • 1
    We like questions about gaming lore... bring them! (if you want) – juan Mar 24 '12 at 0:51
  • Walking Dead returns to AMC in a couple of weeks.
  • Game of Thrones returns on April 1.

The Work of HP Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos could do with some attention.


How about week? Featuring questions about all incarnations of zombie lore (no pun intended).


Ursula Le Guin? (I'm just suggesting that to get extra rep from my SO who's a fan :)))


Game of Thrones Season 2 starts airing on the 15th April (presumably in the US) according to IMDB.


Underworld: Awakening is coming out in 2 weeks (friday, the 20 January 2012), so a Underworld series week seems appropriate.

  • Great! I will schedule that one next, if all goes according to plan. – Brett White Jan 6 '12 at 18:24
  • @BrettWhite So you are planning to do it the week before the release? The week following the release wouldn't be better? (FYI, I'm not planning to see it on theater) – DavRob60 Jan 11 '12 at 17:57
  • We could run it Wednesday to Tuesday, so it captures lead up, opening weekend, and the first part of the week after. – Brett White Jan 11 '12 at 18:21

If the site had existed when LOST was airing, I imagine it would have been pretty popular here.

I think it would be worth adding more LOST content - when I've been researching answers, I've found that the existing content is generally fairly low-quality. In particular, there's a lot of material to be found that isn't up-to-date - it's speculation that hasn't been updated since the series ended.

There's a lot of material to draw from: other than the TV episodes there were regular podcasts, some 'webisodes', the DVD extras, and so on.


I think the works of Gerry Anderson would be a good topic. There is plenty of material and it could add a whole new group of visitors.


Vote this answer up if you also started feverishly trying to remember/google a Sci-Fi or Fantasy work titled "HIATUS" upon reading today's update :)

P.S. More on topic, I think Lem and Zelazny are heavily under-asked.


Philip K.Dick

This would be a good topic, on par with out recent Heinlen one. It would cover the upcoming Total Recall movie, and all the past novels and adaptations.


Supernatural - Season Eight

..is airing soon (in 75 days) and may be it's last. Would be a good time to give the show some focus, and we know well enough in advance to prepare fore it.


Surprised Doctor Who has not been added here. A new series is starting and it appears to be at a peak of popularity. This would certainly attract more people.


Conventions, e.g.

Behind-the-scenes/fandom questions are on-topic here, so there could potentially be good questions about these events (although it would take work to avoid ones that were specifically about the 2012 events).


Season 1 of American Horror Story was very popular, and the information about Season 2 coming out seems to be generating a fair amount of interest. I don't know if a date for Season 2 has been announced yet, but this has the potential to draw a fair amount of new traffic.

  • I really loved AHS and thought it was over-the-top in a fabulous way. It came full circle, you know? But is it sci-fi or fantasy? As much as I think it's a clever and chilling show, I have to say I think its genre is horror. – Slytherincess Mar 24 '12 at 19:27
  • @Slytherincess I don't think horror and scifi are mutually exclusive. The fact that the dead come back as ghosts firmly puts it in the realms of scifi/fantasy. If being a horror title puts it off topic, the "Alien" franchise, and countless other scifi titles would be off topic. – Beofett Mar 24 '12 at 22:34
  • Have there been questions here about American Horror Story? What aspects of AHS do you find to be sci-fi or fantasy, as opposed to horror/paranormal? :) – Slytherincess Mar 25 '12 at 5:42
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    @Slytherincess As I said, I don't feel they are mutually exclusive, so "as opposed to" is an inappropriate term. I believe I already mentioned the ghosts. How are vampires and werewolves scifi, but ghosts aren't? And whether or not there are any questions yet is completely moot, since the whole point of this promotion is to draw new traffic. – Beofett Mar 25 '12 at 12:18
  • Please note as well that we have a [horror] tag, with a fair number of questions (including Buffy questions). – Beofett Mar 25 '12 at 13:32
  • That's fine! I was just curious as to your personal thoughts on it, but I suppose that's not appropriate for comments anyway. :) – Slytherincess Mar 25 '12 at 19:35
  • @Slytherincess I'll be back in chat tomorrow. If you're around, we can discuss it further there :) – Beofett Mar 25 '12 at 19:57
  • That would be great! :) – Slytherincess Mar 25 '12 at 23:44

Roleplaying games

There are extensive novels, worlds and histories to most of the D&D worlds, as well as stories that go with many other mainstream roleplaying systems, like World of Darkness, Mouseguard, and various others.

It could tie in quite well with the release of D&D Next, whenever that is.


Transformers, anyone?

There is a huge amount of material and it will help draw in new fans.


R.A. Salvatore, Mercedes Lackey, Anne/Todd McCaffrey

Prolific writers with lots of material. I want more fantasy. Icewind Dale anyone? Spine of the World; Hawk brothers; Crystal Singer and brain/brawn ships... drow elves, griffons, companions, fire-lizards...

  • Currently this thread is dead. I'm in the process of revamping/restarting this contest, here. – AncientSwordRage Sep 1 '12 at 14:34

I'm not entirely sure that Harry Potter needs help with getting more questions, or if a website is "mass media", but ...

Presumably Pottermore will go out of private beta at some point this year.

  • 3
    We don't really need a contest for that - just a "honoris causa" grant. We all know who's gonna win anyway, and she doesn't need a contest to encourage tons of great questions :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 15 '12 at 11:12
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    I think that Harry Potter is a totally legitimate topic, especially if Star Trek is allowed, Blu-Ray or not. Deathly Hallows 2 just came out on Blu-Ray too, not long ago. I'm not saying this because Potter is my thing, but I know one goal is to attract more users to the site. HP might make a good gateway for that. Just my two cents! :) – Slytherincess Jan 20 '12 at 15:11

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