Would Asimov think the Syfy name is ‘dumb’?

March 23, 2009 | 9:52 p.m.

11syfylogo 3 Would Asimov think the Syfy name is dumb?A post-“Battlestar Galactica” Sci Fi Channel is quickly scrambling to rebrand itself as much more than just a science fiction cable network by changing its name to Syfy, and one of the channel’s founders is not happy about it.

Exclusively at Hollywood.com, what looks to be the first of many letters from Sci Fi co-founder Mitch Rubenstein was posted.  Rubenstein launched the channel with Laurie Silvers, and they now own Hollywood.com.

In the letter, Rubenstein has a bit to say about the channel’s roots and alludes to more “chapters” coming about how Sci Fi came to be, but he also had some specific comments about the name change, saying: “What would Isaac [Asimov] have said if the name was instead Syfy Channel. He would have said (we believe): That’s just plain dumb. Syfy, say it’s not so!”

Strong words. And will the Science Fiction Writers of America continue to back the network?  By now, it’s probably not much of a concern for Syfy, and it has other things to worry about like getting the domain name since there is a well-known Web portal that … wait a minute. Can one make money from dropped domains? Because when you go to the onetime Syfy Portal site, you are now redirected to the new Airlock Alpha site.  OK, check on that front.

Now if only the debuts of “Caprica” and “Stargate Universe” can go as smooth.  The network plans to make the changeover July 7, when it will launch the series “Warehouse 13.”

— Jevon Phillips

UPDATE:  SCI FI Channel president Dave Howe revealed two other ideas the network tested during the naming process: SFC and Beyond. [Sci Fi Wire]


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12 Responses to Would Asimov think the Syfy name is ‘dumb’?

  1. OJ (not that one) says:

    Didn't Isaac Asimov write in his autobiography "I. Asimov" that the abbreviation "sci-fi" was dumb, adding that only "spec-fic" (for "speculative fiction") would be a worse term for the genre?
    Or is that so obvious that Rubenstein was making a play on it that I fail to get?
    (That said, "Syfy" is a horrible name, but I'm in the wrong country to receive it anyway.)

  2. steve kindel says:

    Asimov would approve. In his collection of short stories "Nine Tomorrows," published in 1959, there is a story titled "Spell My Name With An S"which details how a simple name change turns a failure into a success. Or, as a publicist once said, "It doesn't matter what you say about me. Just get my name right." Syfy it is.

  3. Mike says:

    I could be misremembering here, but didn't Asimov argue against even the term "sci fi," preferring instead SF?

  4. Spook says:

    SciFi channel doesn't need a new name, it needs someone who is a real scifi fan to run it. They get good shows and then dump them too often (Dresden files, anyone?), while putting too much hokey junk on (any "made for scifi movie).
    There is a substantial portion of us who are science fiction fans who thought the new battlestar galactica show stank, too.
    What's with all the daytime TV storylines these days? Smallville is another good example of this trend :(

  5. OakMonster says:

    Feel that? That's Asimov rolling over in his grave.
    Syfy? It makes your look stupid like you can't spell Sci Fi properly. Not to mention that it starts to resemble the spelling of an STD…
    Besides, like changing the name of the channel will really bring the masses to watch bad monster movies, gamer challenge, and WFC. Best of luck to Caprica or SG Voyager…er…Universe. Warehouse 13 doesn't look good.
    *sigh* I miss Eureka…

  6. science fiction fan says:

    What great news! The "SciFi" channel represents science fiction as a genre in the same way that The Learning Channel is all about education. Always hated the name and the fact that they are the channel most associated with science fiction, fantasy etc., when half the time their idea of a science fiction movie is "Field of Dreams", and the other half is represented by a horror film that somebody filmed with zero budget.
    Now that they are distancing themselves from science fiction as a brand, hopefully they'll continue to move away from it until they no longer have anything to do with the genre.

  7. FaQ12 says:

    I don't think it matters whether Asimov would specifically approve or disapprove of the name change. That's not the point that's really being made. The point being made is that Asimov certainly would shake his head at the direcction the network (scifi, syfy, skiffy, or whatever you want to call it) is taking. Rather than embracing the genre, they're revealing that, when the chips are on the table, they're at best indifferent, and at worst embarassed toward science fiction as a genre, and the fans thereof. The unspoken line that echos through each 'rebranding' pr release they've made is that they aren't just rebranding: they're disassociating. Once again, sci-fi fans are treated as second class citizens in the world of television.
    What's new?

  8. Kevin Hosey says:

    Here's what author Peter David said in his blog:
    "I tend to agree with what Isaac Asimov once told me: Sci Fi was a stupid term from the very beginning. When it was first coined, it was supposed to be a play on “Hi Fi.” But Hi Fi was short for High Fidelity. Sci Fi didn’t track because “fiction” isn’t pronounced with a long “i” sound. So to my mind, Sy Fy makes as much sense as Sci Fi, which is to say, none. Garbage in, garbage out."

  9. Gregory says:

    The i in "fidelity" isn't a long i either, you kow.

  10. Greg says:

    Fidelity doesn't have a long i, either.

  11. Sci-FEH it is then. No long I's.

  12. Websnap says:

    "Beyond" would have been way better, though I'm glad we in Canada have "Space"

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