Author Topic: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards  (Read 102390 times)

Offline David A. Riley

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #270 on: November 29, 2011, 10:19:59 pm »
Well, I have had over 700 posts on this forum and I must admit this is by far the most heated I have ever known it. I put this down to the strength of feeling within the BFS over the issues under debate. Normal service will no doubt return when things settle down. I don't see anything unhealthy in strongly held views being strongly argued, providing these aren't accompanied by threats.

Offline Pyroriffic

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #271 on: November 29, 2011, 10:24:24 pm »
Well, I have had over 700 posts on this forum and I must admit this is by far the most heated I have ever known it. I put this down to the strength of feeling within the BFS over the issues under debate. Normal service will no doubt return when things settle down. I don't see anything unhealthy in strongly held views being strongly argued, providing these aren't accompanied by threats.

That may be the case, but someone glancing through the forum isn't going to immediately know that.

It's a relief to know that I won't have to go on a lion tamer's course or anything, though. Not sure I could do the top hat and tail coat justice.
I reject your reality and substitute it with my own.

Offline Grafire

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #272 on: November 29, 2011, 10:37:39 pm »
hello Pyroriffic
Please don't judge us by these heavy conversations.  The majority of members -wonderful people - sensibly don't come near this stuff.  You've stumbled into a Society which is going through an important  renewal period.  Very shortly this will stop and other people will find other things to discuss.  We need new people with new ideas and you are very welcome.

Offline Phillip Spencer

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #273 on: December 03, 2011, 03:05:16 pm »
I have nothing to add to the 19 pages of passion about the awards, other than to thank everyone for their commitment to trying to have the best process and for staying the course, despite significant disagreements, and come up with something positive to put to the BFS membership.

I noted with some amusement the discussion around "horror vs fantasy" on pages 5 to 7-ish (28 / 29 Nov postings).  After forty years nothing much changes!

To address the point raised by Nemonymous:
Quote
I always thought the BFS was intended to be (and has been de facto) a Horror Genre Society; it was just that its founding fathers removed the 'Weird' from British Weird Fantasy Society (Weird Fantasy being at one time an alternative for Horror), because they didn't want to be deemed 'weird'! Is this a new flashing swords ginger group hoping to take it over?

As one of the founding members of the BFS one of my strongest memories of those days was the debate around the name for the embryonic society.  What did we represent?  I recall Keith Walker being strongly in favour of "British Weird Fantasy Society" and I was an equally strong voice in favour of dropping "weird" for two reasons. One, as Nemonymous states, was the connotation of the term "weird" but also and more importantly, I felt this was too restrictive.  At the time I was active in both the BFSA and the Tolkien Society but saw both, in their different ways, as being too narrow in their coverage. Founding the BFS was, for me at least, to represent "a broad church" that covered the full span of fantasy literature, from SF, through science fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword & sorcery, weird and dark fantasy to horror.

So, my intent was to be more all-encompassing and not to disenfranchise a particular community or group, such as horror fans. Somewhere along the way, the term "fantasy" seems to have acquired a narrower definition to it than I personally had in mind. However, if anyone out there wants to point a finger of blame for the loss of the "weird" from the BFS, I guess it should be pointed at me.

To conclude, I was particularly happy to see the broad range of genres represented by the guests at Fantasycon 2011.  To me that is part of the strength of he BFS.  Long may it be open!

« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 03:16:35 pm by phillipspencer »

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #274 on: December 03, 2011, 05:12:24 pm »

Fascinating to hear from you, Phillip.
Thanks for your special perspective. 
My view is that the membership will decide. Things will ebb and flow. Nobody can have an argument with the tide (as I know where I live!). :)
des

I have nothing to add to the 19 pages of passion about the awards, other than to thank everyone for their commitment to trying to have the best process and for staying the course, despite significant disagreements, and come up with something positive to put to the BFS membership.

I noted with some amusement the discussion around "horror vs fantasy" on pages 5 to 7-ish (28 / 29 Nov postings).  After forty years nothing much changes!

To address the point raised by Nemonymous:
Quote
I always thought the BFS was intended to be (and has been de facto) a Horror Genre Society; it was just that its founding fathers removed the 'Weird' from British Weird Fantasy Society (Weird Fantasy being at one time an alternative for Horror), because they didn't want to be deemed 'weird'! Is this a new flashing swords ginger group hoping to take it over?

As one of the founding members of the BFS one of my strongest memories of those days was the debate around the name for the embryonic society.  What did we represent?  I recall Keith Walker being strongly in favour of "British Weird Fantasy Society" and I was an equally strong voice in favour of dropping "weird" for two reasons. One, as Nemonymous states, was the connotation of the term "weird" but also and more importantly, I felt this was too restrictive.  At the time I was active in both the BFSA and the Tolkien Society but saw both, in their different ways, as being too narrow in their coverage. Founding the BFS was, for me at least, to represent "a broad church" that covered the full span of fantasy literature, from SF, through science fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword & sorcery, weird and dark fantasy to horror.

So, my intent was to be more all-encompassing and not to disenfranchise a particular community or group, such as horror fans. Somewhere along the way, the term "fantasy" seems to have acquired a narrower definition to it than I personally had in mind. However, if anyone out there wants to point a finger of blame for the loss of the "weird" from the BFS, I guess it should be pointed at me.

To conclude, I was particularly happy to see the broad range of genres represented by the guests at Fantasycon 2011.  To me that is part of the strength of he BFS.  Long may it be open!


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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #275 on: December 03, 2011, 05:50:08 pm »
Yes - absolutely fascinating to hear from someone involved in making the original decisions!

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #276 on: December 04, 2011, 10:12:24 am »

As one of the founding members of the BFS one of my strongest memories of those days was the debate around the name for the embryonic society.  What did we represent?  I recall Keith Walker being strongly in favour of "British Weird Fantasy Society" and I was an equally strong voice in favour of dropping "weird" for two reasons. One, as Nemonymous states, was the connotation of the term "weird" but also and more importantly, I felt this was too restrictive.  At the time I was active in both the BFSA and the Tolkien Society but saw both, in their different ways, as being too narrow in their coverage. Founding the BFS was, for me at least, to represent "a broad church" that covered the full span of fantasy literature, from SF, through science fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword & sorcery, weird and dark fantasy to horror.

So, my intent was to be more all-encompassing and not to disenfranchise a particular community or group, such as horror fans. Somewhere along the way, the term "fantasy" seems to have acquired a narrower definition to it than I personally had in mind. However, if anyone out there wants to point a finger of blame for the loss of the "weird" from the BFS, I guess it should be pointed at me.

To conclude, I was particularly happy to see the broad range of genres represented by the guests at Fantasycon 2011.  To me that is part of the strength of he BFS.  Long may it be open!


I had heard this via Dave Sutton, but it's great to have one of the original Gang Of Three? Four? reminding us. I joined the BFS a couple of years after it was formed and I felt that back then the society was a broad church. Like you, I found the Tolkien Society's brief too narrow, as too the BSFA (admittedly the BSFA does cover a lot of fantasy nowadays). Welcome back, Phil.

Offline David A. Riley

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #277 on: December 04, 2011, 12:27:46 pm »

As one of the founding members of the BFS one of my strongest memories of those days was the debate around the name for the embryonic society.  What did we represent?  I recall Keith Walker being strongly in favour of "British Weird Fantasy Society" and I was an equally strong voice in favour of dropping "weird" for two reasons. One, as Nemonymous states, was the connotation of the term "weird" but also and more importantly, I felt this was too restrictive.  At the time I was active in both the BFSA and the Tolkien Society but saw both, in their different ways, as being too narrow in their coverage. Founding the BFS was, for me at least, to represent "a broad church" that covered the full span of fantasy literature, from SF, through science fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword & sorcery, weird and dark fantasy to horror.

So, my intent was to be more all-encompassing and not to disenfranchise a particular community or group, such as horror fans. Somewhere along the way, the term "fantasy" seems to have acquired a narrower definition to it than I personally had in mind. However, if anyone out there wants to point a finger of blame for the loss of the "weird" from the BFS, I guess it should be pointed at me.

To conclude, I was particularly happy to see the broad range of genres represented by the guests at Fantasycon 2011.  To me that is part of the strength of he BFS.  Long may it be open!


I had heard this via Dave Sutton, but it's great to have one of the original Gang Of Three? Four? reminding us. I joined the BFS a couple of years after it was formed and I felt that back then the society was a broad church. Like you, I found the Tolkien Society's brief too narrow, as too the BSFA (admittedly the BSFA does cover a lot of fantasy nowadays). Welcome back, Phil.

Hi Phil - long time no hear!

The BFS's broad church, of course, was much easier in the early days as, apart from Tolkien, fantasy writers were the likes of Moorcock, Leiber, Vance, Howard and Clark ashton Smith, whose work was often borderline horror, to suit those of us more inclined that way. There weren't the endless trilogies (and longer) that dominate fantasy these days.

I would add one other thing, and that was that those of us initially involved in the society were more interested in the fannish side of things than the professional, that the BFS existed for their beneifit (which is how we regarded ourselves, as fans) than for publishers and professional writers, etc. Indeed, the only professional writers with us then that I can remember were Ramsey Campbell and Ken Bulmer, who was the society's first president.


Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #278 on: December 04, 2011, 02:13:57 pm »
Ken was a lovely man -- I was very sad when he died.

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #279 on: December 04, 2011, 02:16:41 pm »
David, don't forget the four books in the Runestaff sequence, the two Corum trilogies. But at least the total page count for each series was about the same as that for the first volume of a fantasy trilogy nowadays, or so it seems.

Offline David A. Riley

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #280 on: December 04, 2011, 02:55:57 pm »
Those Moorcock books were so short that it was a weekend's enjoyment just to read them - and they were fast reads too. I never minded that they were in long series - not till he started to link all his heroes into one. That became tedious and when, I think, I lost interest in them. The Eternal Hero - or whatever he called him - was a mistake, I think. Until then I loved the various series he started. In fact I reread most of them not long ago and enjoyed them just as much as I originally did.

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #281 on: December 04, 2011, 02:57:34 pm »
I would add one other thing, and that was that those of us initially involved in the society were more interested in the fannish side of things than the professional, that the BFS existed for their beneifit (which is how we regarded ourselves, as fans) than for publishers and professional writers, etc. Indeed, the only professional writers with us then that I can remember were Ramsey Campbell and Ken Bulmer, who was the society's first president.

Yes, those were the days. In the 1970s, I had no conception of being a published writer. I guess most members now at least aspire to that, because of the way books are easier to publish (electronic text sent by email and ease of wordprocessing etc etc) and everyone with a blog. We are all 'professionals' now! Hence the difficulty with the awards.  Voters and Voted For potentially the same people.
des
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Offline David A. Riley

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #283 on: December 04, 2011, 03:01:03 pm »
I would add one other thing, and that was that those of us initially involved in the society were more interested in the fannish side of things than the professional, that the BFS existed for their beneifit (which is how we regarded ourselves, as fans) than for publishers and professional writers, etc. Indeed, the only professional writers with us then that I can remember were Ramsey Campbell and Ken Bulmer, who was the society's first president.

Yes, those were the days. In the 1970s, I had no conception of being a published writer. I guess most members now at least aspire to that, because of the way books are easier to publish (electronic text sent by email and ease of wordprocessing etc etc) and everyone with a blog. We are all 'professionals' now! Hence the difficulty with the awards.  Voters and Voted For potentially the same people.
des

The awards were never seen as being all that important in those days. Moorcock won the best novel award several years running and never attended the convention - not that anyone seemed to mind. It was just a bit of fun. That fun element seems to have died, sadly.

Offline Phillip Spencer

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Re: Overhaul of the British Fantasy Awards
« Reply #284 on: December 04, 2011, 06:41:33 pm »

I had heard this via Dave Sutton, but it's great to have one of the original Gang Of Three? Four? reminding us. I joined the BFS a couple of years after it was formed and I felt that back then the society was a broad church. Like you, I found the Tolkien Society's brief too narrow, as too the BSFA (admittedly the BSFA does cover a lot of fantasy nowadays). Welcome back, Phil.

Hi Phil - long time no hear!

The BFS's broad church, of course, was much easier in the early days as, apart from Tolkien, fantasy writers were the likes of Moorcock, Leiber, Vance, Howard and Clark ashton Smith, whose work was often borderline horror, to suit those of us more inclined that way. There weren't the endless trilogies (and longer) that dominate fantasy these days.

I would add one other thing, and that was that those of us initially involved in the society were more interested in the fannish side of things than the professional, that the BFS existed for their beneifit (which is how we regarded ourselves, as fans) than for publishers and professional writers, etc. Indeed, the only professional writers with us then that I can remember were Ramsey Campbell and Ken Bulmer, who was the society's first president.

Thanks for the kind words! It's great to be back in touch with you all. I will try and stay much more engaged with the society (easier, despite spending a lot of time abroad, now we have internet forums, etc.)

David, you are right about the fannish side. I was a fan (and still am) but see the increased value of the BFS now so many publishers and authors have become involved.

Seeing you mention Ramsey and Ken reminded me that one of my prize possessions from those days is the first "New Writings in Horror" edited by David Sutton. (Yes, I did read horror despite being "anti-weird"! Indeed, the book is still on my bookshelf, despite numerous moves and a fire at my flat which wiped out most of my paperback collection in 1992.)

I bought the book at a convention soon after it came out, I guess in 1971. On my way back to my room found myself in a hotel lift with David who spotted it tucked under my arm and promptly signed it.  He then passed it round the authors in the lift and by the time I disembarked it had been signed by Ramsey, Ken, you and Bryn Fortey. It's a great memory!