Author Topic: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards  (Read 1755 times)

Offline joshua rainbird

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British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« on: August 28, 2016, 02:52:24 PM »
Hi

the fantasy genres have experienced various changes in recent years, some affected by commerce, others by the increasing use of advanced forms of social media - I would like to propose two new awards for consideration and would value some feedback as to how BFS members feel that these would sit with the current line up:

the fantasy design award -


design is a collaborative process between the commissioner, designer and manufacturer and often there are considerable compromises undertaken to achieve the end product ...
  • so what could would constitute as a fantasy design?
    a book jacket design (front, back and spine) that takes into account illustration (if any), layout and typeface
    the packaging of a computer game
    an iconographic t-shirt design
    a promotional poster/bookmark

a special award to honour activities or people that promote the fantasy genres:


  • the bloggers, vloggers and podcasters who interview writers
    the people who take active roles in stage managing conventions
    those who assist disabled people in accessing events
    innovative ideas like DF Lewis's real-time book reviews

I'm curious as to what others' think  :)
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Offline Djibril

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2016, 03:15:11 PM »
I suspect the main objection is going to be that these overlap to some degree with existing awards. "Design" is not identical with artist/artwork, obviously, but it's close, and certainly there are some works/artists who are going to be eligible for both in any given year. Likewise, a lot of the things that might come under "promotion" are currently nominated under the non-fiction award (although by no means all, so this perhaps has more legs… could we somehow reduce the overlap with blogging/reviewing, either by omitting them from promotion or by removing them from promotion?). One suggestion might be to extend one or both of these other categories to include your new criteria, although I can see why that's not entirely desirable either.

It's clear to me that these are desirable and worthy things to honour, but I'm wondering how one would argue for them. Can you think of people who would be obviously deserving of a BFA but who have never received one because these categories don't exist yet?

(Disclaimer: I don't get a vote, so I'm just thinking out loud. :) )
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Offline joshua rainbird

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2016, 08:59:35 AM »
good points - I'm thinking aloud too at this stage ...

today, I was wondering how the Stranger Things font would fare if nominated in the Best Artist category - it's generated considerable buzz on the net ...
« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 09:06:22 AM by joshua rainbird »
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Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2016, 10:46:29 AM »
An important consideration is the cost -- can the BFS afford yet more awards, worthy though they may be? Also, the Special Award can and does encompass anything not covered in the other awards.

As for book design -- have you seen Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (the hardback edition)? Wonderfully design publication.

Another though re. design: I suspect all those lovely super special limited boxed editions will mostly win. Probably.

Offline Andy W Marsden

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2016, 11:40:11 PM »
Some great ideas here Joshua, and it's brilliant to see member's putting ideas forward for expanding our scope.

I agree with the counter-arguments laid out above, the primary one being cost: we already have a lot of work and outlay involved, so we may not be able to accommodate even more awards. As rightly pointed out, the Karl Wagner Award covers special contributions to the society, the genre, etc, so another special award is superfluous.

Design is an interesting term. I think we'd need a lot more discussion to clarify this one, to really thrash out how it would work. But do not be disheartened if this one does not make it before the AGM, or gets passed, as it is. It's a good idea, just needs more polish. Hopefully we'll have some more discussion and comment on here in time for you this one to be a viable discussion at the AGM.

Again, if it doesn't make it this year, I'd certainly like to see it come up again next year, perhaps more moulded and better formed. Food for thought, if nothing else.
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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2016, 07:33:04 AM »
But do not be disheartened if this one does not make it before the AGM , or gets passed, as it is. It's a good idea, just needs more polish. Hopefully we'll have some more discussion and comment on here in time for you this one to be a viable discussion at the AGM.

Again, if it doesn't make it this year, I'd certainly like to see it come up again next year, perhaps more moulded and better formed. Food for thought, if nothing else.

Maybe I've misunderstood you here, but the BFS committee doesn't have a role to play in deciding whether proposals are considered by the AGM or not. If Joshua decides to send me a formal proposal to change the awards constitution it should be on the AGM agenda, if he's a current member.

If you wanted to add a committee filtering stage to the process, you could make an awards proposal of your own to change the procedure, but I wouldn't recommend it, because the current system works very well, and is very fair to members. If the committee were to have the power to veto proposals, that would not be healthy.

Offline joshua rainbird

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2016, 10:29:23 PM »
thanks for the replies ... I totally agree - the ideas require further discussion at this pre-contemplative at this stage
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Offline Djibril

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2016, 11:27:16 PM »
So, poking a bit at some of the comments above, in the interest of getting something for this AGM:

(1) Joshua, do you agree your "services to fantasy" aim is covered by the current Karl Edward Wagner Award already (see constitution)? If not, could it be made to be by changing the definition of the award (or adding some examples to the committee's criteria for consideration)?

(2) Would you be satisfied by altering the second part of your proposal to tweaking the definition of the "artist" award to include designers, typographers, promoters, etc.? Or do you think that two separate awards are needed? Again, an example of someone whose work might be left out under the current definitions, or a suspicion that a typographer would never stand a chance again an Interzone cover artist, say, would help to make the case…
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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2016, 07:54:13 AM »
I would say that you can already vote for designers under the category of best artist, and people do, especially cover designers. So the font of Stranger Things might be cool, but (a) was it first published in the relevant year, and (b) has the sum total of that designer's work in the relevant year been enough to warrant your vote? If so, add them to the suggestions list and give them your vote in next year's awards.

Similarly for your proposed special award: I think it is already covered by the special award that we have now. This year we had suggestions ranging from professional writers who would have half a page to themselves in any encyclopaedia of literature, to amateurs who had done one small thing that was very, very nice. But the special award used to cover best newcomer, and that was split back out into its own category, so the same could possibly be done with a 'local hero' award of the kind you're suggesting.

But those are just my thoughts as a fellow member. As awards admin, I don't think either proposed award would present any great procedural difficulties to the administrator, except in adding to what's already quite a hefty workload. Plus as Peter says, the additional cost of the physical awards (and posting them out to people) is a factor that the AGM would probably take into account.

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Remember, Stephen, that any proposals must be endorsed by at least two other paid up members before they can be put before the AGM, as per the Constitution, and this is the part that can preclude many proposals before they get to the AGM. Nothing to do with Committee.

Not quite, Andy - they must be endorsed by two paid up members before they can be *put to the vote* at the AGM. So the practice has been for the proposal to be put before the AGM, and then put to the vote if two people at the AGM endorse it - or indeed not put to the vote if no one endorses it, as happened with my proposal last year. No proposals, at least not in any of the years I've been involved, have ever been precluded from being put to the AGM by this rule.

But yes, you're right, nothing to do with the committee. Our role is purely administrative and advisory when it comes to such proposals -- and so it should be, I think, otherwise, say, no reforming proposals could ever get through to the AGM against a committee's wishes.

Offline jared

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2016, 11:08:56 AM »
FWIW, I really like the thinking behind these awards, even if - as discussed - the language might need to be changed so that they're more clearly distinctive.

The BFS is a quasi-professional society with a membership of many, many people that are quasi-professionally involved in the industry. We have a better insight of - and appreciation of - the 'hidden heroes' (including designers, marketers, event organisers, etc) that others might not. Which means we have the opportunity to celebrate people that otherwise wouldn't get noticed.

That's not to knock the more conventional categories (short story, novel, etc), or the ones that are just plain fun (comics, movie stuff). But categories like this could bring something unique to the table.

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2016, 01:36:46 PM »
Unless a sponsor for the proposed awards is found I think this is a no-no, at least for now. Membership is already £35 a year for just four publication -- nearly £9 a time. I rather see the extra publications promised us -- they added real value to the society -- than new awards. I don't want to see my subs increased in order to create these new categories. Or would we replace any of the existing awards, and if so which?

Offline Djibril

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2016, 02:43:05 PM »
Genuine outsider question: is saying on the grounds of cost putting the cart before the horse? Could the AGM be persuaded to approve the new categori(es) contingent on deciding how to fund them, say? Perhaps the new categories would not be run immediately, but potential sponsors could be shown that the AGM has agreed to the categories, but won't run them without financial help (as opposed to trying to get someone to agree to sponsor an award when they might or might not get approved at the next AGM anyway)? In any case, it seems to me useful to have it on record (and in the minutes) that categories were proposed, and on what grounds they were voted down, as a spur to future action.

(What sorts of people/entities sponsor categories, currently—BFA or elsewhere? How much hard cash per year would be needed to add one new award to the existing slate?)
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Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2016, 03:18:32 PM »
Good idea

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2016, 04:49:44 PM »
(What sorts of people/entities sponsor categories, currently—BFA or elsewhere? How much hard cash per year would be needed to add one new award to the existing slate?)

At present we have no sponsors as such. The Sydney J. Bounds Award is awarded with the family of Sydney J. Bounds, and they offer a cash prize, but don't pay for the award itself. PS Publishing sponsored the small press award, and paid a cash prize to the winner, but didn't cover the cost of the physical award. Angry Robot sponsored the short fiction award for two years, and although I don't know for sure I'm guessing they paid for the physical award.

The cost of our current bookends is about £80 each, all told (bookend plus plaque and shipping), the cost of which is split between the BFS and FantasyCon. But of course the incoming awards administrator could choose to change the awards to something cheaper or more expensive.

Offline joshua rainbird

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Re: British Fantasy Awards - suggestions for two new awards
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2016, 05:14:49 PM »
So, poking a bit at some of the comments above, in the interest of getting something for this AGM:

(1) Joshua, do you agree your "services to fantasy" aim is covered by the current Karl Edward Wagner Award already (see constitution)? If not, could it be made to be by changing the definition of the award (or adding some examples to the committee's criteria for consideration)?

(2) Would you be satisfied by altering the second part of your proposal to tweaking the definition of the "artist" award to include designers, typographers, promoters, etc.? Or do you think that two separate awards are needed? Again, an example of someone whose work might be left out under the current definitions, or a suspicion that a typographer would never stand a chance again an Interzone cover artist, say, would help to make the case…

to be honest I don't know enough about the Karl Wagner award to pass comment other than it may feel as if the award was hijacked - as it's named after someone there is a risk someone may feel offended somewhere along the road ...

as for the second point, I think the difference between design and art is as wide as the difference between an anthology and a novel
I think there is a credible risk that people would favour cover artists if they were lumped in with designers, the innate preference for something human in our lives favours pictures over typography, especially if they represent people, human experiences or desires, but I stress my idea was more about the teamwork involved in bringing a design to fruition, whereas often an artist is mostly working solo on a project.

as a whole, the current line of awards, while broad, favours writers in the various disciplines that they work within, its good that writers are recognised and rewarded, but and it's a question that has perplexed me for a long time - is the BFS primarily a literary society that accommodates other interests or something else?
Incidentally, the current GoH line-up at FantasyCon by the Sea are all writers.

personally I would be happy if the BFS were either a genre literary society or was broad and all encompassing. But at the mo' its identity seems a bit confusing.

If wishes were horses then we'd all be eating steak.
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But ... if fishes were courses then we'd all be eating hake ...