Author Topic: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards  (Read 102381 times)

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #90 on: November 28, 2011, 07:09:08 pm »
. The broader the church we become, the more members we potentially attract.

My reading, I feel, is a very broad church.
But what you say within reason - a society is for like-minded people. Where do you draw the line?

This is what I said earlier, uncontested, on these forums a few weeks ago:

"It may be interesting to consider the place of Fantasy in the map of our interests. Does it belong to Horror (BFS) or SF (BSFA)? Is it a diaspora between the two looking for its rightful Society or a core interest in itself?  I, for one, am interested in SF and Fantasy and literary speculative fiction, but am interested from the standpoint of a Horror or Weird Fiction enthusiast (the BFS was originally called The British Weird Fantasy Society, as David R reminded us).  I suspect that, say, a Fantasy enthusiast may be interested in Horror and SF, but interested from a Fantasy enthusiast's point of view. And so on for a SF enthusiast."  
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Offline LouM

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #91 on: November 28, 2011, 07:17:16 pm »
I think you might be using words that are too big for me, I'm afraid!  ;) I'm not quite sure I follow what you're saying there: I'm sure you aren't saying that someone who reads, say... modern urban fantasy and supernatural crime crossover (which edges into horror) has no place in the BFS - but I don't quite see where you're coming from.

. The broader the church we become, the more members we potentially attract.

My reading, I feel, is a very broad church.
But what you say within reason - a society is for like-minded people. Where do you draw the line?

This is what I said earlier, uncontested, on these forums a few weeks ago:

"It may be interesting to consider the place of Fantasy in the map of our interests. Does it belong to Horror (BFS) or SF (BSFA)? Is it a diaspora between the two looking for its rightful Society or a core interest in itself?  I, for one, am interested in SF and Fantasy and literary speculative fiction, but am interested from the standpoint of a Horror or Weird Fiction enthusiast (the BFS was originally called The British Weird Fantasy Society, as David R reminded us).  I suspect that, say, a Fantasy enthusiast may be interested in Horror and SF, but interested from a Fantasy enthusiast's point of view. And so on for a SF enthusiast."  

Offline charlesrudkin

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #92 on: November 28, 2011, 07:20:28 pm »
Des, like I said the awards for best novel show that at the beginning, the BFS was more flashing swords and Tolkien. So to answer your question - the seventies.   But really what's the issue in having at least half the BFS giving over to heroic fantasy, etc?

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #93 on: November 28, 2011, 07:25:09 pm »
I think you might be using words that are too big for me, I'm afraid!  ;) I'm not quite sure I follow what you're saying there: I'm sure you aren't saying that someone who reads, say... modern urban fantasy and supernatural crime crossover (which edges into horror) has no place in the BFS - but I don't quite see where you're coming from.

I love all that stuff you mention.
But when you spend money on joining a society of peers - you don't think to yourself (do you?) that the more members the society attracts (by expanding the society's core interest willy nilly) can only be for the better, i.e. for greater muscle. Greater muscle for what?  There is always an optimum balance, I feel, between a Society as an interest group and a Society as a commerical weapon that needs to draw on people outside that interest group.
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Offline LouM

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #94 on: November 28, 2011, 08:02:02 pm »
I really don't think that trying to encourage readers of fantasy to join an organisation called the British Fantasy Society is unrealistic, Des - nor is it expanding the Society's core interests willy nilly. It's not unrealistic of them to expect to see fantasy represented in its widest form, either. As you've said: you enjoy reading widely and you read and enjoy the examples I've given - how can representing those in addition to horror be a negative thing?

If the majority of the membership genuinely feel that it *is* a negative, I think we need to make it abundantly clear to anyone interested in joining precisely what the "fantasy" in the title stands for.

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #95 on: November 28, 2011, 08:21:23 pm »
I really don't think that trying to encourage readers of fantasy to join an organisation called the British Fantasy Society is unrealistic, Des - nor is it expanding the Society's core interests willy nilly. It's not unrealistic of them to expect to see fantasy represented in its widest form, either. As you've said: you enjoy reading widely and you read and enjoy the examples I've given - how can representing those in addition to horror be a negative thing?

If the majority of the membership genuinely feel that it *is* a negative, I think we need to make it abundantly clear to anyone interested in joining precisely what the "fantasy" in the title stands for.

OK fair enough. It's just BFS has grown to be what it is today, irrespective of its name.  If it's now growing into a different direction, I shall follow - within reason! :)
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Offline CarolineC

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #96 on: November 28, 2011, 08:54:34 pm »
I'm not sure it is growing in a different direction, is it? (unless horror was given the heave-ho, which doesn't seem to be the case) I haven't been in the BFS as long as Des but since I've been here, I've always viewed it as including imaginative fiction in all its forms. OK so that includes heroic fiction, etc, too - which I have no interest in myself. But that doesn't mean I don't think that kind of fiction doesn't have a place in the BFS.

Sorry, Des, I'm disagreeing with what I think you're saying here (but correct me if I've got it wrong and that isn't what you're saying). The BFS should include all forms of imaginative fiction in my view, and what they're trying to do with this "redressing the balance" thing is to ensure that it does.
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Offline David A. Riley

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #97 on: November 28, 2011, 09:48:13 pm »
It seemed so much easier years ago to be both a fan of horror and fantasy, but that was in the days when fantasy was mainly represented by the likes of Moorcock, Leiber, Vance, Howard and Clark Ashton Smith, before the advent of Bible-sized triple deckers that went on to become almost endless series. The kind of fantasy popular during the early days of the BFS was much more closely akin to horror and often overlapped. I've never been able to get into the kind of stuff that molre accurately represents today's fantasy. On the other hand, quite a bit of today's horror isn't what I particularly care for either, which is why I usually only cast a few of the votes available to me in the BFAs as they were until now organised. 

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #98 on: November 28, 2011, 10:03:40 pm »
Caroline, all fiction is imaginative. I love all sorts from Proust to King. I joined the BFS since it seemed to major on my major interest: Weird Fiction.  I am assuming that is now going to change. I may be wrong.
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Offline neilw

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #99 on: November 28, 2011, 10:12:29 pm »
Why should it change, Des? There's not a homogenous group mind to the BFS. Adding something to a society doesn't mean that you're necessarily taking something else away. The people who love horror can still talk about horror, the people who love the weird shit can still talk about that...if there are parallel conversations going on that involve THE fantasy, the people who aren't interested in that can just ignore it, surely?


Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #100 on: November 28, 2011, 10:18:31 pm »
Why should it change, Des? There's not a homogenous group mind to the BFS. Adding something to a society doesn't mean that you're necessarily taking something else away. The people who love horror can still talk about horror, the people who love the weird shit can still talk about that...if there are parallel conversations going on that involve THE fantasy, the people who aren't interested in that can just ignore it, surely?

I still don't understand why Fantasy belongs to BFS and not BSFA.
I would like to bring other forms of literature into BFS, but I know - or thought I knew - it is tantamount to a Horror Society (with edges to other genres, not another genre with edges to Horror), so I don't try to make it, say, the Proust Society.
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Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #101 on: November 28, 2011, 10:31:23 pm »
[but I know - or thought I knew - it is tantamount to a Horror Society

for example, just as I know the Radio Times includes Radio listings at the back but is mainly bought by people for its bulk of pages and articles regarding TV listings. (A bad example perhaps, but it shows how a name can embrace something traditionally (by usage over years) quite different from the literal meaning of the words in its name)
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Offline Amanda Rutter

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #102 on: November 28, 2011, 11:04:10 pm »
I still don't understand why Fantasy belongs to BFS and not BSFA.

Umm, maybe because BFS stands for British Fantasy Society and BSFA stands for British Science Fiction Association? Just a thought?

Offline neilw

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #103 on: November 28, 2011, 11:59:01 pm »
I've always felt the BSFA to be pretty inclusive as regards fantasy.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #104 on: November 29, 2011, 07:24:15 am »
Graham, thanks for your thoughts on that amendment, and especially for clarifying that the two best novel categories are intended to be wide-ranging rather than restrictive.

Des's point is, I think, that for years BFS members have been told "the fantasy fans are coming!" Long term members have seen successive committees say, "If we do this they might start to like us." And I think he does have an arguable case: a society's biggest concern should be the interests of its actual members, not those of hypothetical non-members.

Having said that, from my point of view, there's no reason we shouldn't have a separate award for heroic fantasy. Even if it does currently seem to be only a minority interest of our members, who are, as he very rightly says, much more interested in the weird end of fantasy, the same could be said for comics and non-fiction (going on voting figures), and we have, and value very highly, awards for those.

But this proposed new award covers all fantasy, and it'll be the same members making recommendations for it, so it's likely to end up full of the kind of fantasy that our members seem to like: Graham Joyce, Neil Gaiman and in all likelihood Sam Stone. The jury will be able to ignore that, of course, and import the best heroic fantasy books that don't make the list, but that's kind of a sticking plaster approach. And will they import heroic fantasy? Or are they more likely to import Hugo winners, Booker winners, that kind of thing?

The question is, will this change achieve the intended goal? I'm not sure it will. Better, I reckon, to have an award specifically dedicated to the kind of fantasy that is under-represented. In practice, I reckon what this change - as proposed - would introduce is a new award devoted to horror, while the fantasy award would be everything that is currently in the best novel category, minus the four books in the horror shortlist.

That aside, it would be really helpful if one of the proposers could take us through the intended procedure for the split award, and answer some of the questions people have had about it. Is it, as the proposal states, one category with two prizes, or do they want it to be two categories with completely separate voting? Could you take us through the steps that the awards administrator will go through to produce the shortlist?