Home Prev News Next Home

Five-Minute Voyager v3.0

December 14, 2001

Welcome to...(drumroll, please)...the NEW Five-Minute Voyager!

(grumbling in the audience)

Well, okay, so you've heard that before. But I'm pretty confident in saying that this is an even bigger change than the last one. It's not just a redesign -- it's a rethinking of the whole organization of the site. I'll explain that some more in a minute, but first, have some links to the other sections of this update list:

Voyager - Enterprise - Andromeda - Next Generation - Deep Space Nine - The Original Series
Shakespeare - Videogames - Sci-Fivers - The External Subsites - This Just In - Graphics

In each case there are links to all the new material, along with a few comments thereon from yours truly. Now settle in while I explain the "high concept" of this reorganization....

Subsites

When I started work on the new site design, I had a few changes to incorporate and problems to deal with. Examples: the Voyager section had become huge, with more and more links going stale; Marc's Next Generation section needed to be more structured; I had to create a new cubbyhole for Enterprise; Shakespeare and the video games were getting too big to list on the Episodes page; This Just In wasn't really a subsection of News anymore; the classification of Nan's Stargate page was vague...you get the idea.

As soon as I thought up the concept of a subsite, I was able to solve all these problems at once. I wasn't the first to have that idea (this is the Net -- everything's been thought of already), but it worked marvelously well.

To explain the concept as I see it, I'll need to say a few quick words about what gave me the idea: Algebra 70.210. (Get back here! This'll only hurt a bit.) Basically, that course deals with mathematical objects called "groups," which are collections of items that have a common form or property. For example, the real numbers are a group, as are the integers. (A group also needs an operation defined on it, but I won't go into that.) Anyway, it's possible for a group to contain within it a smaller group -- it's a subset of the larger group, but it's also a group in its own right, with all the same properties. This is called (say it with me) a subgroup. A group can contain all kinds of different subgroups, which will be independent groups BUT will also be linked to each other by virtue of sharing the same parent group.

Did everybody survive that last paragraph? Good. <g> Sorry to rear Math's ugly head at you all, but group theory was my inspiration here, so credit where credit is due.

Anyway, the analogy is pretty natural. A subsite as defined by me is a web directory which is (a) contained within a larger one, and (b) essentially a site unto itself. A subsite may share some properties of its parent site -- layout, for example -- but in many ways it might as well just be thought of as a independent site like any other. (My favourite sprite-based webcomic, Bob and George, is a good example; it hosts a number of fan-made "subcomics" which update regularly.) And that brings me to the new structure of 5MV.

The Episodes page no longer exists. Instead, the main page now links directly to Five-Minute Voyager's nine subsites (each of which I'll talk about below). The subsites all share a common layout, colour scheme, and graphics set; the content is the only difference. This Just In is also sort of a subsite, if a more "dependent" one than the others. Finally, Nan's Five-Minute Stargate has been reclassified as an "external subsite" (until I come up with a better term), strengthening its connection to 5MV; that status has been given to two other sites as well, as I'll explain hereafter.

A quick note about the site's traditional sections: News, About, Features, and Links are all being remodeled now, and you'll be seeing them very soon. (The big changes are in News and About; the latter will get more FAQs to cover all the new site elements, and the former will be overhauled completely.) The fifth traditional section, Feedback, is now reduced to a box on the front page. It's not that I didn't like that section, but it wasn't really big enough to warrant its own directory. The Queue will reappear soon, probably in About.

So much for the general comments. Now I can announce the new stuff in each subsite, starting with the first and foremost....

Voyager

This one's a doozy. Between me and the guest writers, a full two thirds of Voyager's 171 hours have been accounted for. You'll find eleven new fivers in the VOY section, including these:

VS8's "One Door Closes," by me
"Extreme Risk," by Sab
"11:59," by IJD GAF
"The Swarm," by 5MV newcomer FatMatDuhRat

Believe it or not, the remaining seven are all by Kira, of "Concerning Flight" fame. I'd like to take a minute here to thank her for her outstanding contribution to the site -- which currently comes to eleven fivers, a record surpassed only by 5MNG guy Marc Richard. The lady does amazing work, folks; when you read the guest fivers, be sure to note those links for e-mail feedback, eh? (Okay, Kira, I'm done. You can stop blushing now.)

Here are her fivers:
"Elogium"
"Alliances"
"False Profits"
"The Omega Directive"
"Once Upon a Time"
"Thirty Days"
"Think Tank"

(Quick note in passing: the new VS8 fiver contains a nod to my very, very patient friend Mary Wiecek, better known as monkee. If you're reading this, oh J/Cish one, I swear I'll get back to you as soon as I possibly can. Please don't kill me.)

Enterprise

A lot of you will already have read my Enterprise parodies, since they've been posted at TrekToday through the generosity of Christian Sparborth. For those who haven't, you'll find all ten in the new subsite, Five-Minute Enterprise (5ME). Of course, I won't have anything to add to that section till late January, when the new episodes appear.

Andromeda

Remember what I said about Christian Sparborth? Well, the overlord of TrekToday happens to also be the overlord of SlipstreamWeb, the Net's largest fansite for Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda. Shortly after offering to carry my ENT fivers at TT, Christian made a second offer -- to carry my ANDR fivers at SSW. At the time, of course, I wasn't writing ANDR fivers. But I figured it might be fun, so I took the offer. Thus was born Five-Minute Andromeda (5MA).

Right now you'll only find five parodies there: the two parts of the pilot, the two parts of the cliffhanger, and the second Season 2 episode, "Exit Strategies." I've missed a lot of episodes this season, which has kept me from keeping up. However, I'm planning to use the rerun break to catch up on a few of them; look for "Home Fires" in the very near future.

(Note: I'm not taking submissions for any show I do that's still in new episodes -- i.e. Enterprise, Andromeda, and VVS8 -- but I'll be happy to take guest fivers for Andromeda's first season.)

Next Generation

Five-Minute Next Generation (5MNG) made its debut a few weeks before the site went on hold in September. It exists thanks to Marc Richard, a fellow Canadian, who writes most of the content and is essentially the Zeke of that series. Under the new structure, Marc's official title is "section head"; he handles feedback and submissions to 5MNG, and his fivers come without the "guest" prefix. (By contrast, the ones I write for 5MNG are guest fivers.)

There are six new Next Generation parodies for your reading enjoyment:
"Yesterday's Enterprise," by Marc
"The Defector," by Marc
"Tapestry," by Michael DeSanto
"Frame of Mind," by Scott Zarchy
"The Icarus Factor," by Kira (again!)
"Cause and Effect," by Kira (again!)

Deep Space Nine

Five-Minute Deep Space Nine (5MD) remains a small section with lots of room for growth. The new structure hasn't changed much about it, except that Nell, author of the WYCBT fivers, is now a section head à la Marc. (Specifically, she's section head of 5MD.8, the Season 8 page.) Here's the new content:

"A Man Alone," by div1701
WYCBT's "....And They All Fall Down," by Nell
WYCBT's "The Good Race, The Good Fight," likewise by Nell

The Original Series

Right now, Five-Minute Star Trek (5MST) isn't much more than a placeholder for two Classic Trek movie fivers. But stay tuned. There are big changes coming here before the year is out.

The two new movie fivers, both by IJD GAF:
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Shakespeare

With nine of his plays fived, I decided it was time for the Bard to graduate to his own section. Five-Minute Shakespeare (5MS) is the only section with two heads: Lea Frost, master of the history plays, and Aragorngirl, master of the...er, not-history plays. I've got some new stuff from Aragorngirl which should show up soon. Meanwhile, read Lea's latest, Henry IV, Part 2, and find out why I hate Prince John so much. (Stupid #$&@ Prince John....)

Videogames

"What are you doing making a Five-Minute Videogames (5MVG) section, Zeke? There are only two games so far!" Good question, Billy. Here's my reason: there were only two games. Now there are more.

The Mega Man series and I go way back, so I decided I'd have a shot at writing fivers for the original six games. (These were my first non-Trek fivers, in fact.) I've written them all, but the last two aren't yet typed up -- expect to see them shortly. Another guest fiver, joining SimonBob's two, rounds out the new subsite. Here's the list:

Mega Man
Mega Man 2
Mega Man 3
Mega Man 4
Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, by Nate the Great

Sci-Fivers

Here, at last, is the promised return of Sci-Fivers! For those who came in late, "Sci-Fivers" was the winning entry in August's "rename the site" poll; I didn't use it, but I said I'd found a different purpose for it to serve. That purpose is now revealed. Sci-Fivers (S5) is the subsite that carries fivers for all series that don't have their own sections; at present, Babylon 5, Farscape, and the X-Files are covered once each. (Hey, it beats "Miscellaneous"....)

Incidentally, the winner of the 5MV Nomenclature Contest was Kevin "SimonBob" Williams, author of two 5MVG guest fivers. Take a bow, Kev!

UPDATE (12/17): I've now posted my first venture into Sci-Fivers, the fourth-season B5 episode "Atonement." Why this particular episode? Because my buddy Caillan Davenport just had a birthday, and there's a character in this episode whose name is eerily similar to his. Now, I'm a little late with this, since his birthday was last week -- in fact, today happens to be my birthday -- but I think it's still appropriate. Glückliche Geburtstag, guy!

The External Subsites

Five-Minute Stargate (5MSG) was, for a long time, the only site in this category. Run by Nan the Mysterious Romulan, author of two guest fivers here, it has continued to prosper and grow.

Five-Minute Buffy the Vampire Slayer (5MB) is the brainchild of RandomFandom's "Kelonzi_hippie." I found out about it by following a site referral from my hitcounter, but I'm sure she would have told me anyway...right? <glare> Anyway, all kidding aside, Kelonzi has a very impressive site here; her fivers cover most of Season 5 and the start of Season 1. Well worth a look if you're a BtVS fan. (Or even if you're not. I still enjoyed it....)

Five-Minute Fifth Voyager (5M5V) is a weird case. The creators of "Fifth Voyager," a somewhat insane Voyager/Pokémon hybrid British fanfic series (say that five times fast), are fans of 5MV; I've been in touch with staff-writer Marill for many months. Anyway, Marill and friends have decided to write some fivers of their own series, and I saw no reason to stop them. Their site looks beautiful but currently suffers from a mild lack of content; I'm sure they'll post something soon.

This Just In

Not too much to say here. This Just In (TJI) has earned its own section, so I've moved it out of News and into a subsite-ish-thing. Unfortunately, I've been too busy in recent months to keep writing new articles, but I plan to get back on track soon. Once I do, there may be a couple of standalone articles before my evil clone strikes...but sooner or later, he will strike....

Graphics

This is a major change, and one I'm very proud of. To begin with, there's a new site banner which introduces the minimalist "five minutes" clock graphic I'm now using. The front page carries nine new logos (one for each subsite), along with a new This Just In masthead and link banners for the three external subsites. Each subsite has its own main banner in the style of the original front-page banner. On the fiver pages, there are now five graphics at the top of the page: a clock in each corner, a subsite logo in the centre, and arrows on both sides. The arrows act as "previous fiver" and "next fiver" links, doubling the textual links at the bottom of the page.

Now here's the fun part. When I showed these new graphics to Marc, he pointed out that they didn't look very much like links -- especially since they lacked the traditional blue color of hypertext. I liked the graphics as they were, so I didn't want to make them blue. After considerable thought, I came up with a way to keep the look and increase the clarity of their function: by using floatover graphics. What do I mean by that? Drift your mouse over the two 5MV logos at the top of this page and see....

This new system is now in effect on pretty much every page of the site. Most of the front-page graphics now light up, and they should do so very quickly thanks to a little trick I used at the bottom of the page. Is this system frivolous and unnecessary? Well, yeah, but I like it.

The Windup

Well, now that I've talked your ears off (and probably the ears of anybody else standing nearby), I'm basically done. I have only one more comment: keep watching the skies. Er, the site. These changes are only the beginning -- there's plenty of new content to come.

As always, I welcome feedback, be it kudos or flames or anything in between. You can get in touch with me at my usual address, quixotically@excite.com, or my secondary account, zeke@sci-fivers.com.ar. I also encourage you all to visit the Five-Minute Voyager forums and join in the conversation.

Final note: I just noticed that the hitcounter has surpassed 60000! This wasn't planned, but it's a great way to ring in the changes. Thanks for visiting, fiver fans, and I hope you enjoy the show....

Previous article: 5MV Nomenclature Poll Results (9/22)
Next article: Thoughts on the Death of DS9 Horizons (1/23)

Site navigation:
Home
___ News
___ ___ Five-Minute Voyager v3.0

Five-Minute Voyager and subsites are © Colin Hayman.