Author Topic: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.  (Read 4202 times)

Offline Del Lakin-Smith

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The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« on: October 24, 2011, 03:39:23 PM »
As promised by Graham Joyce in his last announcement. We are running a survey to collect thoughts and opinions from BFS members and Fantasycon attendees to help us define the future of the British Fantasy Awards.

The survey is now available on-line at http://bfawards.britishfantasysociety.co.uk/index.php?sid=26915&lang=en

The survey is open to all BFS members and registered attendees of Fantasycon for the years of 2010, 2011 and 2012.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 08:39:28 PM by Del Lakin-Smith »

Offline Andrew Hook

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 09:31:15 AM »
All completed...interesting questions. Will be equally interesting to see what comes out of it.

Offline Paul Campbell

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 08:03:09 PM »
All completed...interesting questions. Will be equally interesting to see what comes out of it.

Hmm, I don't know so much Andrew; the questions are worded - and sequenced - in such a way that going to a jury system is already presupposed. Don't get me wrong, I think that is the way to go, but there's really nothing in the survey which concretely addresses the issue of the imbalance of horror over fantasy. Indeed, the only solution the survey seems to offer to this problem is by going to a jury system.

Mind you, if they mean an imbalance towards high-fantasy then I could care less: the best genre fiction out there is cross-genre, where writers just cut loose and write whatever the damn hell they want (i.e. Tim Powers, China Mieville, Dan Simmons). Tolkien-esque fantasy really has been done to death – and truthfully, how are you supposed to award the damn stuff? What, based on instalments?! “And the award for the best middle volume of a 10 book trilogy goes to...” As most fantasy books are part of a series, how on earth are you supposed to make a judgement on the story’s worth when the story might not end for another decade and several volumes later?

Think I’ve just stick too horror and science fiction...

Offline joshua rainbird

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2011, 04:16:42 AM »
Not sure I agree Paul.  At a younger age when all I could afford was cheap second hand paperbacks I often read stuff out of sequence.  A good fantasy writer should bear that in mind.  Many don't but enough do.

And for that matter so should film-makers.  *cough* Back to the Future 2 *uncough*
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Offline mightyjoeyoung

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 07:36:02 AM »
I like comic fantasy, and Robert Asprin's 'MythAdventures' series is something I read in no specific order. It didn't suffer much for it as each story, although having many common characters, is a 'standalone' piece. I really can't get into high-fantasy sagas, it's like having a decade of soap opera hardbound.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 09:33:32 AM »
I would have liked to have seen questions on more concrete proposals, like the stuff suggested in the awards thread - the "Conan" amendment, preferential voting, different approaches to producing the shortlist.

I think we were also forced to choose between panels and voting, whereas it would have been better to simply say for each individual option whether we liked it or not.

I voted against the "British" idea - members struggle to think of stuff to nominate as it is! But other "British" awards do it, so I suppose it wouldn't be that big a deal if we did too.

Disappointed to see the question on whether the rule against recommending yourself should be dropped - it's the one thing that's kept any sanity to the longlist! Disappointed too to not see a question as to whether it should be extended to partners, which is something I think is urgently needed.

The eligibility list question is an odd one too - if doing that, you might as well drop the recommendations stage altogether. Finding every eligible short story (and checking their length) would be fun.

Those two questions, taken together, seem to indicate that the plan is to get publishers to supply lists of eligible items, which we would then vote on. I can see some benefit in that, so long as there aren't Gemmell Award-style limitations on which publishers can submit.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 09:38:59 AM »
Re the film and television awards, the mention on the form is the first official confirmation we've had that they were abolished...

With apologies to people who were at the AGM, that was crackers. They were among the most popular categories with voters every year since their introduction, the categories in which almost everyone felt they could express an opinion.

Two committee members (Peter Coleborn and Martin Roberts) told me that it was said at the AGM that these were among the least popular categories with voters this year - we now know that to be completely untrue.

If the AGM was misled by false information into voting for these categories to be abolished, that would be very concerning.

Replacing them with screenwriting categories is daft - who among us has read the scripts? And why should the writer be the only person involved in a production whose contribution is recognised? We're a society to celebrate the fantastic as a whole, not just writers. What we would end up with is a situation like the Hugos: choosing between five episodes of Doctor Who, instead of celebrating five films and five tv programmes.

It seems to me that that was a decision made, not in the interest of celebrating fantasy, but in the interest of giving awards to people who might come to FantasyCon.

At the risk of being awkward, I would also ask whether the proposal to abolish the TV and film awards came from the floor, because the awards constitution doesn't actually allow for that. Changes to the awards have to be submitted to the chair in writing... Course, the committee can easily tidy that up by taking a formal vote to make the same change.

(Edited for a typo.)
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 09:46:49 AM by Stephen Theaker »

Offline LeeH

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2011, 10:13:06 AM »
Quote from: Stephen Theaker
Replacing them with screenwriting categories is daft - who among us has read the scripts?

I don't think that argument is entirely valid - you don't need to have read the scripts if you've seen the work on screen. I agree - the abolition of the TV and film categories was a mistake, but this seems intended to partly address that.


Quote from: Stephen Theaker
We're a society to celebrate the fantastic as a whole, not just writers. What we would end up with is a situation like the Hugos: choosing between five episodes of Doctor Who, instead of celebrating five films and five tv programmes.

Well, no - because the Hugos don't have a screenwriter category - they have Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (usually film) and Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form (usually TV), so arguing to go back to Best TV and Best Film (which I support, by the way) is actually an argument to make the categories more like the Hugos, not less.


Quote from: Stephen Theaker
I would also ask whether the proposal to abolish the TV and film awards came from the floor, because the awards constitution doesn't actually allow for that.

As far as I'm aware, there were no minutes taken, but I would also be very interested to discover the source of this proposal. If the proposal was made and passed by a method not allowed, the decision should be reversed until such a time as the motion is made - and passed - legally.
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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2011, 10:25:12 AM »
I don't think that argument is entirely valid - you don't need to have read the scripts if you've seen the work on screen.

To use Doctor Who as an example, we know from The Writer's Tale that most scripts during Russell T Davies' time as showrunner were comprehensively rewritten by him, and that extempore changes were often made on set (e.g. someone getting electrocuted in a doorway, I think, in Partners in Crime, which Davies thought didn't make much sense and wasn't in the script). We do know what ends up on screen, we don't (or rarely) know what was in the original script. If you're deciding based on the finished programme, that's what the award should be for, really.

Well, no - because the Hugos don't have a screenwriter category - they have Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (usually film) and Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form (usually TV), so arguing to go back to Best TV and Best Film (which I support, by the way) is actually an argument to make the categories more like the Hugos, not less.

I didn't say it would make them like the Hugos, just that we'd probably end up with a similar outcome: choosing between five episodes of the same programme.

Offline neilw

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2011, 10:28:39 AM »
the questions are worded - and sequenced - in such a way that going to a jury system is already presupposed.

I felt that too, Paul, but there was plenty of room to lodge alternative views. As it happens, I disagree with going down the juried award route. I've always thought of the BFS award as being the fantasy/horror counterbalance to the BSFA award - an award conferred on practitioners of a certain kind of fiction by members of a particular society/convention. So, I'm very much in favour of retaining it as a member vote. We can help address the recent narrow scope of the voting by a/ changing the voting system so that people vote for a preferential spread of works, and b/ most importantly getting a bigger voting pool with a wider range of tastes. The most important thing is to make the society attractive to fans of other kinds of fantasy. And, yes, that means THE (trad, epic, heroic) Fantasy.

Mind you, if they mean an imbalance towards high-fantasy then I could care less

Aw, man, that just sounds like you're saying: "imbalances are bad, m'kay - except if they're imbalances against stuff I don't like". You can't have it ayeways. In order to call the society and awards "Fantasy" we need to represent all forms of fantasy, and we need a voting populace who will vote for that stuff if that's what they like. It doesn't necessarily mean awards will go to George RR Martin every year (okay, every five years...) - just because people like THE Fantasy, it doesn't make them slavish fans who will vote irrespective of quality. They're as capable of making intelligent voting decisions as the Horror crowd and the "cross-over" bunch, and we should be welcoming of their input. Who knows, we might actually get some tips about the innovative and interesting fantasy fiction that is being written in that tradition.

And anyway, maybe THE Fantasy fans won't feel the need to vote in the BFS award - the Gemmels were set up specifically because the BFS award was not inclusive of that kind of fiction.



Offline LeeH

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2011, 10:35:11 AM »
Quote from: Stephen Theaker
We do know what ends up on screen, we don't (or rarely) know what was in the original script. If you're deciding based on the finished programme, that's what the award should be for, really.

This is true. "Best screenplay" would have been better wording than scriptwriter. I'm more in favour of the previous TV/film categories, though, as I've said.
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Offline Del Lakin-Smith

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2011, 12:32:17 PM »
Just a few points of clarification on the Survey.

This was designed to get a general feel of the members thoughts and opinions about the BF Awards. There were no concrete proposals as this is purely a data gathering exercise. I tried to include comments with every answer, so that if you thought the question was not right you could express this and add alternatives. I did look at using ranked answers, but wanted to keep it as simple as possible. Also, no decisions have been made as yet (as far as I am aware) and until we get an Awards administrator all we have to go on is the input of the membership. So any suggestion of leading questions is coincidental.

This is very much a learning process for everyone, so please keep the input coming as we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2014, 10:22:10 PM »
For reference (my own if no one else's), here's a link to the news item announcing the results of this 2011 survey on the BFS website: http://www.britishfantasysociety.co.uk/news/british-fantasy-society-awards-survey-results/

Offline joshua rainbird

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2014, 09:42:56 PM »
thanks Stephen

it would be nice to see a selection of the comments to the last question (which was a qualitative not quantitative question) on the survey - unless they were impolite  ;D
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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Survey.
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2014, 11:12:59 PM »
Hi Joshua - I'd be interested too. Unfortunately I wasn't running the awards back then, or even on the BFS committee, and I don't have access to the source data. I'd love to have everything like that in hand if possible, so if anyone reading this has a copy they could email me that would be terrific.