Author Topic: Best Anthology Award  (Read 5897 times)

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Best Anthology Award
« on: January 12, 2014, 10:54:50 AM »
Over breakfast this morning, discussing the British Fantasy Awards, this thought occurred: should the Best Anthology Award be renamed Best Editor Award? Not sure how I feel, but worth posting here -- it might engender some discussion.


Offline CarolineC

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014, 04:10:34 PM »
Hmm. Personally, I'd say "no" as this implies that the editor is the most important person concerned with an anthology. Yes, of course the editor is very important indeed - but surely so are the writers whose work is chosen? Without them, the editor would have nothing to put into the anthology in the first place! For that reason, I think Best Anthology is best as this seems to recognise the importance of everyone involved equally.
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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 04:44:00 PM »
This came up before, and I still think the same I did then - I'll post it here for reference:

It would set the members and the jury a difficult task, I think. Unless we’ve worked with an editor, or have the opportunity to talk to people who have, we don't really know how good the work is that they put into a book. If, in the end, we're only judging them on the basis of the finished product, we might as well be rewarding that finished product.

Also, it might produce a predictable set of nominees every year. Having the award be for an actual book focuses our attention on what particular work has been done this year, and ensures winning and nominated books will be remembered.

The special award is perfect for recognising the kind of ongoing work editors do, the cumulative effect that they have over time.

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2014, 04:46:19 PM »
This is eminently sensible.

This came up before, and I still think the same I did then - I'll post it here for reference:

It would set the members and the jury a difficult task, I think. Unless we’ve worked with an editor, or have the opportunity to talk to people who have, we don't really know how good the work is that they put into a book. If, in the end, we're only judging them on the basis of the finished product, we might as well be rewarding that finished product.

Also, it might produce a predictable set of nominees every year. Having the award be for an actual book focuses our attention on what particular work has been done this year, and ensures winning and nominated books will be remembered.

The special award is perfect for recognising the kind of ongoing work editors do, the cumulative effect that they have over time.
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Offline Allen

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 06:09:19 PM »
Peter raises an interesting proposal but I think Stephen has answered eloquently and sensibly.

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 08:31:40 PM »
Some editors may produce more than one anthology a year and thus the sum of their work may surpass one excellent anthology. Ellen Datlow springs to mind.

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2014, 08:37:34 PM »
If, in one year, one novelist had two great novels and another novelist had a single super-great novel? If the best novel prize became the best novelist prize, it would probably be given to the former novelist, not the latter.
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Offline CarolineC

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2014, 09:47:43 PM »
Some editors may produce more than one anthology a year and thus the sum of their work may surpass one excellent anthology. Ellen Datlow springs to mind.

That would be my concern, in fact. The BFS could then end up with the same situation it had when PS Publishing were winning the Best Small Press Award every year (not that they don't deserve it, I hasten to add - they are superb!). That is, the award would go every year to either Ellen Datlow or Stephen Jones, for example. If it stays as Best Anthology then even an antho produced by someone who isn't as well known as an editor stands a chance of winning.
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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2014, 11:09:50 PM »
Even with perfect knowledge, it would be very hard to compare the work of an anthologist who produces three or four books a year with someone who works on 24 books a year, like the editors on the old BBC Doctor Who line, or the editors of magazines, or the editor of a website or blog. It would be hard to find jurors with enough time over the summer to read a year's output of any given editor at the Black Library.

If the anthology award were replaced by a best editor award, I suppose anthologies would go back into the collections category, as before. That wouldn't bother me too much - they are both just books of short pieces, and whether the pieces are by one person or several people isn't necessarily an essential distinction for the awards to make. We don't have a separate award for novels written by three people. But my guess is that people prefer it as it is.

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2014, 07:50:42 AM »
Perhaps we should have The Best Novelist Award to replace both Best Fantasy Novel and Best Horror Novel. (That latter distinction has always been a false one for me and to this day I don't actually understand such a distinction, just another reason why I don't vote.)
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Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 09:44:36 AM »
Perhaps we should have The Best Novelist Award to replace both Best Fantasy Novel and Best Horror Novel. (That latter distinction has always been a false one for me and to this day I don't actually understand such a distinction, just another reason why I don't vote.)

In my experience, the overwhelming majority of good novelists manage one good novel a year. I wasn't talking about the width -- if you remember your TV sitcoms, Des.

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 09:49:30 AM »
Even with perfect knowledge, it would be very hard to compare the work of an anthologist who produces three or four books a year with someone who works on 24 books a year, like the editors on the old BBC Doctor Who line, or the editors of magazines, or the editor of a website or blog. It would be hard to find jurors with enough time over the summer to read a year's output of any given editor at the Black Library.

If the anthology award were replaced by a best editor award, I suppose anthologies would go back into the collections category, as before. That wouldn't bother me too much - they are both just books of short pieces, and whether the pieces are by one person or several people isn't necessarily an essential distinction for the awards to make. We don't have a separate award for novels written by three people. But my guess is that people prefer it as it is.

I was referring to editors who edit anthologies as opposed to editors who edit novels, collections or otherwise -- I didn't make that clear.

I can't remember all the arguments for splitting anthology from collection and don't want to raise them again because they were extensive (weren't they?). Not sure I like your description: "just books of short pieces". It's a bit derogatory and I bet you didn't mean to be.



Offline Rolnikov

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2014, 03:51:24 PM »
Just as in simply, pieces as in not just short stories. Anthologies and collections for our purposes can include poetry, non-fiction, comics, etc.

So a best anthologist award then, rather than best editor. Seems like a very specific type of person to have an award for. Why them and no other editors? Or other kinds of people involved in publishing?

No idea what the arguments were for splitting collections and anthologies - I wasn't a member then and I haven't read anything about it. But I think if you removed the anthology award you would have to let the anthologies back into collections as well. I think members would be unhappy if they weren't able to vote for anthologies in any category.

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2014, 04:32:27 PM »
Perhaps we should have The Best Novelist Award to replace both Best Fantasy Novel and Best Horror Novel. (That latter distinction has always been a false one for me and to this day I don't actually understand such a distinction, just another reason why I don't vote.)

Which begs the question, I suppose -- who decides which novel is eligible for which of these overlapping categories?
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Re: Best Anthology Award
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2014, 04:33:04 PM »
The voters.