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Free Science Fiction goodies on the web!

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Recently I tweeted a list of free digital comics to my followers and was surprised with the interest it got. That got me thinking ..... how much other science fiction stuff can you get for free off the Internet?

We'll start with the comics. The main provider for digital comics is Comixology at http://www.comixology.com/ They've got an app for Apple and Google devices that it's worth having. Their business model involves you buying digital comics which are accredited to your account and you can look at through the web or the app on your mobile device. I was a long time hesitater on digital comics but their "700 Marvel Number 1s for free" promotion got my attention. And filled my app up :-) But that got me exploring and I discovered that most of the major publishers give away free stuff. There's two places to look: The first is on the web at http://www.comixology.com/Free-Comics/comics-collection/1158 which shows highlighted freebies. The second is by visiting each publisher's section on the app where there's a link to all the free stuff they're currently giving away. DC have lots of stuff and IDW are great with free issues from their Doctor Who, Star Trek and Transformers titles. But by far the best is Marvel who every Tuesday night/Wednesday morning put up three new free issues to read. There's a lot of recent first issues but also usually one classic issue each week. In recent week's we've seen Uncanny X-Men 129 (First Kitty Pryde) & 137 (Death of Phoenix), Iron Man 55 (First Thanos) and Fantastic Four 347 (with some gorgeous Art Adams artwork). I'll try to tweet a list of each week's new freebies which you can then find through the web if you don't have an app so follow me @philip_ayres

The other method of comics distribution is less well used because it's easier to distribute: as a cbz (or cbr) file, which is essentially a renamed zip file containing a number of images. Rebellion sells it's comics like this but they're cheaper bought through www.clickwheel.net though! They require a separate viewer - I use comical on my PC and **** on my iPad. But there is free material here if you know where to look! Visit the main clickwheel page at https://www.clickwheel.net/dashboard for some already CBR'd freebies or http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=thrill&page=thrillindex on the 2000 AD website for a whole load of images you can save and collate into CBRs yourself.

iTunes has, from time to time, given away a few goodies worth having. I've had two Doctor Who episodes for free - giving away Peter Capaldi's appearance in Fires of Pompei the week he was announced as Doctor Who was a master-stroke. iTunes has the same model as Comixology: download to your device, delete when you finished with it safe in the knowledge you can always download it again later cos your account knows you've bought it, even if it was free. Both are worth joining and stockpiling material even if you don't own a mobile device to download material onto. You can always watch/view through the web or, in iTunes case, through their PC application.

There's loads of podcast freebies out there but some of my favourites are found at the Big Finish website http://www.bigfinish.com/podcasts where Toby Hadoke, comedian and moderator of Doctor Who commentaries passim, is on a quest to interview someone from every Doctor Who story. We especially recommend #29. Another Doctor Who loving comedian Mitch Benn is a frequent contributor to The Now Show, available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/fricomedy when the show is on air. I am duty bound to mention the Star Dub PodCast at http://www.star-dub.com/ which I frequently contribute to by mailing the team little gifts for which they show their appreciation by swearing - see http://www.star-dub.com/?p=539 for an on video example!

The BBC used to operate some very good commentary podcasts for the Doctor Who episodes but these are gone now. However tucked away in a disused corner of their website is a number of the Telesnaps, photos taken of the actual recordings, for now missing Doctor Who episodes. You can see those at http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/photonovels/index.shtml They also used to host a number of eBook versions of old Virgin New Adventures, which are long gone but can be found elsewhere on the web with a good search. However the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club hosts an eBook version of the long out of print novel Who Killed Kennedy at http://nzdwfc.tetrap.com/archive/wkk/

Please if you know of any other decent (legal) freebies out there do let us know!

Philip Ayres is an RHBNC Computer Science graduate and was a member of IFIS from 1991-1994
He's currently watching an episode of Blake's 7 every week at http://blakesevendays.blogspot.co.uk/
His epic viewing of all the original Doctor Who episodes can be found at http://dweveryday.blogspot.co.uk/ and he thinks it highly likely he may have to redo several of the earlier stories shortly....
He can be found on Twitter at @philip_ayres

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