Author Topic: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires  (Read 62752 times)

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #150 on: August 18, 2006, 05:20:30 pm »
Hi Neil, glad you rejoined :) And you're right, I think, perception is beginning to change, although it is a problem and has been for some time. We're committed to continuing to expand, and raise the profile/broaden perception - and have been for as long as I can remember.

As to the awards: I see your point, but the whole point of the BFS awards for me, is that they awarded by members to those they believe most deserving. I would sincerely hope it is not just a popularity contest. The cure to this, I believe, is for as many members as possible to exercise their vote, and to exercise it wisely. With a broad membership base, which we have, everyone stands a chance.

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #151 on: August 18, 2006, 05:22:12 pm »
I forgot to mention, Dave, David's collection features both original and previously published fiction, not just new fiction. I've read it, and it's excellent.

Offline Debbie

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #152 on: August 18, 2006, 05:25:41 pm »
neither Terry Pratchett nor David Gemmell ever won Best Novel.

Haven't a clue whether or not they have - I'll take your word for it. But if they haven't, it's because they didn't get the most votes!

It really is that simple.

deb

Offline neilw

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #153 on: August 18, 2006, 05:31:48 pm »
That's it exactly. The larger your membership, the more representative the decision should be.

I think the winner of this years novel award will be an interesting indicator of how far things have moved. There are quite a few of the usual suspects on the recommendation list, but there high fantasy novels are represented too from the likes of George RR Martin and Mike Cobley. There humourous fantasy from Rankin, there's Space Opera (is that even allowed???), young adult stuff from Gifford,  and there's the edgy, innovative, unclassifiable stuff that floats my own personal dinghy, the Tambour and the Duncan.

And will Geoff Ryman's virtually all conquering Air even make the short list?

There'll be controversy, I tell you!

I'm looking forward to finding out at Fantasycon. ::)


Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #154 on: August 18, 2006, 05:37:29 pm »
Ah, there's always controversy, Neil :) We can but hope that the voting reflects our attempts to 'deepen the pool', as it were, persuading as many existing members and new members as possible to vote. Membership is roughly half and half, so it should be wide open.

Looking forward to seeing you at FantasyCon - it's been awhile!

Offline neilw

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #155 on: August 18, 2006, 05:40:54 pm »
Yeah, well they don't let me out as often as they used to.   ;D

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #156 on: August 18, 2006, 05:43:30 pm »
Know the feeling, mate :)

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #157 on: August 18, 2006, 07:08:33 pm »
Bloomin heck, what a lot of posts since last night. Alas, I don't have the time to read everything now, but I wish to make a few comments.

I did as suggested and went to the SFX message board and I stand corrected. It does indeed appear that SFX readers ? those that post on the SFX message board at any rate ? are keen readers of the written word.  My comments were based on previous experiences with the magazine (when attempting to promote the BFS) and its contents. Back then SFX gave me the distinct impression that if it wasn?t on celluloid they (and by extension the readers) were not interested. I apologise to erudite SFX fans if I slighted you. And I?m tempted, now, to buy an issue to see how it has changed over the years.

I think you'll find that BFS committee members have nearly all been aspiring professions and some have been successful; those that are tend to run out of time and are unable to remain on the committee. As for President: Ken Bulmer was President once -- a writer of heroic fantasy. Stephen Jones and David Sutton once edited and published one of the best small press mags to come from the UK: Fantasy Tales. FT contained horror, HF, S&S and SF.

Have people forgotten that Karl Edward Wagner, after whom the Special Award is named, was a writer of some of the finest S&S (aka heroic fantasy) ever? Oh, he also wrote horror. Rob Holdstock writes SF, horror and fantasy. George RR Martin writes SF, horror and heroic fantasy. Until this thread started I didn't hear professional writers going on and on about barriers within the genre; there are enough barriers hemming us apart from literature in general.

If horror dominates the awards, well that's the wishes of the members who vote. The vast majority of members do not vote, alas. If they did things may alter. Why should a particular author win a BFAward? By what right? No one deserves to win. It's up to the members who vote.

Yes, I want to see the BFS evolve and get bigger and better and continue to serve all fantasy fans. Some of the diatribes on this message board are just being unnecessarily agressive now, which is disappointing especially after making some worthwhile suggestions early on.

Hi Des: glad to have you back in the fold.


Offline Debbie

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #158 on: August 18, 2006, 11:25:48 pm »
You need to have the online equivalent of an AGM.

That's a good idea. Not sure how it'd work in practice. We do have online committee meetings currently, and it's sometimes hard to keep up with so many different people all talking at once (they take hours too!)  But it's definitely worth thinking about how we could make it work.  That's always been one of my worries - having the AGM at FantasyCon makes people think they have to be at the Con to stand for a post, or even to come along, whereas we do try to make the point that any BFS member is welcome to attend the AGM/vote/stand - they don't have to have registered for FCon.

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #159 on: August 19, 2006, 09:05:08 am »
Okay......I'm starting to see things from your point of view......

EVERYTHING Peter Coleborn said in his last post was right. Peter knows the society - to my mind - better than anyone else. He has described the way it works PERFECTLY.

Peter's argument was basically this: what right do Terry Pratchett and David Gemmell have to automatically win British Fantasy Awards?

The answer is: no right at all. But the fact these two men are the BESTSELLING fantasy authors in Britain and the fact that they have NEVER
won awards tells me something. It tells me that the - oh - 500,000 people who read their books are not MEMBERS of the society. Nor are
Stan's fans or Martin Scott's.....or mine.

I think - I personally think - that the society can't AFFORD to change.

If Terry Pratchett's fans joined and voted, they would totally outnumber the current membership - so Terry would win all the awards.
The same goes for David Gemmell. That's not fair.

But if the BFS isn't the place for Terry's fans or David's fans, etc...then what is it?

Honestly? It's a place where authors who've yet to make it big can go to get their work read and appraised by other people with the same
interests. It's a place where people can get their photograph taken with pro authors like Ramsey Campbell and Neil Gaiman, and put those
photographs on their website for others to see.

It's a place where - because of its small membership - people can submit their work with half a chance of actually SEEING it published.

And reading that all back.......why should you change? Most of you - the ones I've read - are really promising authors who SHOULD get deals with major publishing houses (who admittedly seem to be putting less and less money into genre fiction).

But does all of the above actually make the society what it is NAMED to be.....THE BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY........goblin banner and
all........no, no it doesn't.

The PROBLEM is that your membership is never going to rise because at the moment there is really NOTHING special for people who AREN'T
aspiring writers. All I'm saying is that a 'little' space given over to high fantasy would - to me - make all the difference. Throw in an RPG
game for the RPG fans, throw in a barbarian cartoon for comic-fantasy fans, run a few interviews with Pratchett, etc. Devote a few pages
to reflect on the awesome career of David Gemmell. Harry Potter is fantasy, isn't it? How about a feature on that? How about a feature on
FIGHTING FANTASY - 14 million copies sold worldwide! Where are the features on the current BOOMS in fantasy? World of Warcraft? Guild
Wars?

It would encourage people like myself to run adverts for the BFS on our websites, because the publications would suddenly start to contain stuff we'd consider GENUINELY of interest to our fans.

Here's an example: if you publish a Thrud strip at the back of every issue, you suddenly attract the Carl Critchlow fans. If you get Stan to write
a short RPG game set in Maras-Dantia, along come the orcs fans.

Mix it up a bit, make it interesting for new people.....and for young people. Fantasy is something that should be enjoyed by everyone.

You guys say you're not getting the contributions.......but are you going out and asking for them? I've been writing Illmoor now for three
years now, five novels in hardback and four in paperback so far, January and June, and I've never been asked to contribute in any way. Don't
think I ever saw David G or Terry P contribute to Prism, either - now Terry might be a busy man, but he's also very friendly and approachable,
and you're not telling me that over the last few YEARS he's not agreed to one interview.




David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #160 on: August 19, 2006, 10:46:10 am »
What was the Cambridge event BTW??

Sorry, Jen - was flicking through the first few pages and saw that I'd ignored your question!

The event was set up by Heffers in Cambridge for sf/fantasy authors from both the adult and children's market. Guests included Susanna Clarke, Stan Nicholls, Mark Chadbourn, Patrick Cave, Chaz Brenchley, China Mieville, Sarah Ash, Colin Greenland, Michael Scott Rohan and myself.

I remember having a great time, though was violently ill after eating at a really BAD restaurant with Pat and the publicity team from Simon & Schuster.

And when I say ill.......I mean it.? :-X
« Last Edit: August 19, 2006, 10:47:42 am by David Lee Stone »

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #161 on: August 19, 2006, 12:41:38 pm »
I find it sad that you resort to personal comments, Dave, and will not do so myself, but stick to the 'argument' you keep repeating. A large numer of members are, I'm sure, fans of Pratchett and Gemmell. BFS Publications have sections on RPG, reviews on independent and mainstream books, films, interviews with fantasy and horror figures. Surely fantasy fans will enjoy a Neil Gaiman interview and a Terry Gilliam article? Jen has told you Gemmell will be featured in FantasyCon literature, and in Prism. We are not excluding anybody, and never will. The British Fantasy Society is a place for fans and professionals alike from all aspect of the genre. Membership is increasing, and we have said repeatedly we are working hard to ensure that continues. This year's FantasyCan has four Fantasy Guest of Honour. Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Raymond Feist, and Juliet McKenna.  Ramsey is the only 'Horror' Guest, and he also includes writing fantasy in his repertoire. I see no sign of this horror domination you persist in pushing. I do ask for contributions, and have been very lucky to feature both Fantasy and Horror authors. Dark Horizons also seeks to encourage new writing, hence including the winner of annual Short Story Competition - one of your suggestions which was already, in fact, in existence. We feature articles on film, interviews with authors and filmmakers (which I'm sure are of interest to readers and film fans as well as aspiring writers).  Guidelines for Dark Horizons are on the site and Prism and Dark Horizons are open to submission from everyone, not just members, if news is submitted it will be included as long as space permits, and submissions to Dark Horizons are not limited by genre. Likewise the awards are voted on by members, and therefore 'awarded', if you like, by them - the readers. The Committee is unable to bias this in any way - we find out the winners at the Awards Ceremony, the same as everyone else. We are constantly trying to ensure there is an interesting mix, and the increasing membership is, I believe, an indication that we are succeeding. We will, however, continue to keep things fresh.

You have said that I keep giving the same answers, but what I have said is the truth, and the truth doesn't change. What other way can it be said? Your perception of the BFS is a wrong one, and perception is something we are constantly seeking to correct, but your refusal to listen to the answers if you don't like them doesn't help this.

I have answered your questions - and directed you to the relevant editors should you wish to submit material, and will continue to answer any questions you may have. I will not, however, reply to personal comments, whether they be against me or any other Committee member.





David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #162 on: August 19, 2006, 01:12:03 pm »
If you're really taking this as an attack on you personally, then I'll apologise and say no more....for such is not my intention. My intention, as a fantasy author, was to request a few changes to the machine that is the BFS.

That, and nothing more.

I'll leave you with this, though. I was a member of the BFS in 1997, again around 1999 and am currently a member.

Apart from the dramatic improvement of Prism (and that has improved) it seems to me that nothing has really changed, just a general shuffle
of the same names.

I'm sorry if you believe this to be wrong, but thanks to some of the emails I've received in the last few days, I am increasingly of the belief that there really ARE a lot of people out there who feel the same way I do.

I will keep my membership going until the current subscription runs out.

Thank you for listening and replying personally to all of my comments.

Davey.

Offline Debbie

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #163 on: August 19, 2006, 01:42:32 pm »
Last Dark Horizons - Spring 2006:

- story by Mark Chadbourn - if he isn't fantasy, then I don't know what is!
- book reviews - fair mix of fantasy, horror and sf
- interview with Neil Gaiman
- story by Lavie Tidhar - haven't read it but the illo is horror
- graphic comic review
- short story award winner's story
- article on Abraham Merritt - quote "essentially a pulp fiction writer", "influential to later heroic fantasy writers"
- rpg reviews

Plus some poetry. Looks like a fairly well- balanced selection of material to me - a nod to all facets of the genre

deb

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #164 on: August 19, 2006, 02:06:17 pm »
Thank you Debbie, much appreciated. My nod to personal comments wasn't meant to refer to comments against me personallly, Dave, it was your comment: "Honestly? It's a place where authors who've yet to make it big can go to get their work read and appraised by other people with the same interests." Together with your contention that no members are Gemmell or Pratchett fans. I am sure that any number of our members who like those authors would find that offensive, as would all those members and nonmembers alike who are not 'names' and submit their stories to Dark Horizons and other such publications in the hope that their work will be read. I have published authors big and small, and am happy to have been able to provide a platform, without excluding anyone on the basis of their chosen preference in the genre.