This is a Disaster: SciFi rebrands as Syfy

By Laurel Sutton

March 16, 2009

From our friend Nancy Friedman comes this disturbing news:

Syfy The New York Times reports that cable television’s Sci Fi Channel has been renamed Syfy. The pronunciation remains “sigh-fie.” The new slogan is “Imagine Greater,” and the old SciFi.com website is moving to Syfy.com. The new name was developed by an internal team with the help of San Francisco-based Landor Associates, which is famous (or infamous) for creating corporate names like Lucent, Agilent, and Accenture.

Thanks for nothing, Landor!

Seriously, I can’t imagine a worse choice. “Sci fi”, as a shorthand for “science fiction”, has been around since 1954 and is universally recognized as the designator for that category. Over the years, people have objected to it as a lightweight, silly-sounding nickname that demeans the content (Harlan Ellison, for one, always insists on pronouncing it “skiffy”); a lot of writers prefer “speculative fiction“, which is a broader category, but perhaps more accurate. Science fiction is all about asking “what if?”; Syfy makes me ask “WTF?”

The blogosphere is full of reactions this morning, but I think this one is my favorite.

FYI, “This is a disaster” is now my current cliché fangirl overreaction to anything relating to science fiction. I stole it from this discussion amongst Trekkers about how putting Scotty in the navigator’s seat on a Star Trek cake was the worst thing ever. The title of the article is “Star Trek Cake Upsets Nerds”. This is a disaster, indeed!

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