Author Topic: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires  (Read 64141 times)

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #30 on: August 16, 2006, 05:38:20 pm »
Might I ask which categories you'd lose to enable this split, Dave? We try to cover as wide a range as possible, both in terms of which awards we give, and what's eligible within each award. As Paul has said, where do we draw the line? Do we lose best short story? Or best anthology? Best Novel can be won either by a Fantasy or Horror author, and in its time has been won by both. I'd hate to see other categories lose out in order to enable such a split, which I still cannot help but see as not in the spirit of the BFS - open to all.  My own wish is that Ramsey will stay as President, as I believe he's been an exemplary one.

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #31 on: August 16, 2006, 05:44:54 pm »
He IS a great President......don't know WHAT'S going on there, to be honest. Think I need to read some other threads ? ? ? ?

Um....honestly? Novella. If not novella, collection. But, again, just MY opinion.

It really would be nice, though, REALLY nice to occasionally see people like David Gemmell (too late now, unfortunately), Stan Nicholls,
Mark Chadbourn, Juliet E. McKenna, Sarah Ash and - and - and TERRY PRATCHETT up there for the awards.

Offline Debbie

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2006, 05:50:54 pm »
Hmmm - I've been a BFS committee member for about 12 years or so, 10 of which was spent editing various publications. I'm also a writer. If I thought for a moment that my stuff would never even be considered for an award, I'd have voted with my feet and left the committee after a couple of weeks. I'm not ashamed to say I joined the committee initially to raise my own profile in the genre whilst doing good deeds and enjoying fantasy in all its forms. ?Us committee members have no control over the voting - as already said - we don't see the final lists before anybody else does, so why on earth should we be excluded?

Deb

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2006, 05:53:09 pm »
Yep, noted that it's  your opinion, Dave, and you're entitled to it, just wanted to know :) My own opinion, though, is that losing either of those would exclude a lot of valid and excellent fiction, and not just in horror, either. Elastic Press, for example, only publish Collections, but rarely anything horror, and PS publish a lot of novellas in a lot of genres, by some excellent authors. All those authors would lose out on a chance to win a BFS award. Mark Chadbourn won a BFS award not long ago, and lots of Fantasy authors are nominated every year. There's a full list on the Awards Section of the site if you want to go and see past winners, it's by no means limited to horror. Like I said, members recommend and nominate by voting anonymously, and the membership is a fairly even split between fantasy and horror - if every member excercises their vote to the best of their ability (and I think it's derogatory to the membership to suggest members vote in a popularity contest rather than for what they like) then it's the story/book/collection/whatever that most members think is best that wins. Surely that's the fairest, and most representative, way? Our members incorporate professionals, budding writers and artists, agents, editors, and fans - everyone has a voice, if they choose to use it.

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2006, 06:08:58 pm »
Okay, Marie, here's the thing:

I've had nothing but good support from the society since my career took off. I think Prism is cracking and I ALWAYS try to get the BFS more members when I'm on events......

.....so I'm at this one event in Cambridge, along with Susanna Clarke, Mark C and Stan Nicholls, among others. Up comes this bloke - nice guy - buys one of my books - I sign it and the conversation goes:

Me: Do you like fantasy?
Man: Yeah, love it.
Me: Have you read Orcs by Stan Nicholls?
Man: Oh yeah: I've also read (he then reels off just about every fantasy and children's fantasy author I know of, all in one big breath :-)).
Me: Have you heard of the British Fantasy Society
(guy grimaces as I say the name)
Man: Yeah, I was a member....but they're all about horror these days.

.....and that, honestly, is the reply I've got just about EVERY time I've mentioned the society to readers at my signings. And it can't just be
MY readers who think it????

I'm trying to help, here.....REALLY.  :D


Paul Kane

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #35 on: August 16, 2006, 06:11:10 pm »
If we lose best novella, wouldn't we be alienating the newer writers who haven't had novels published yet? And most of the small presses tend only to publish novella-length material because that's all they can afford to publish (500 page doorstops being a tad expensive).

That would go against your earlier argument for newer writers winning. If anything, they stand more chance in this category.  :)

Paul

Paul Kane

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2006, 06:15:44 pm »
By the same token, a lot of people I meet at cons or wherever think the BFS doesn't cover horror because of its name.

So where does that leave us?

Maybe your reader should check out the site...

Paul.

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2006, 06:21:16 pm »
Yeah, but word of mouth is the thing. Website use is on the floor.

More than 50,000 folks bought Ratastrophe Catastrophe. How many of them joined the website? Er...current count 68. Amazing, huh?

Offline Jen

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2006, 06:22:34 pm »
... actually, be interesting if you could find out where, specifically, people are getting the impression we're horror from...  any chance... ?   Did they go to an Fcon that didn't agree with them, or is it from one of the publications, or what?  And when were they members... are they using an old experience to judge how we are currently?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2006, 06:24:17 pm by Jen »

Paul Kane

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #39 on: August 16, 2006, 06:28:50 pm »
Okay, so how about everytime someone buys one of your books at a signing, you send them to the website. Then they can see for themselves.

Of course if it's your opinion that we're all horror then your readers will think the same, right?  :)

Paul.

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2006, 06:31:36 pm »
Now THAT'S a good question, Jen. If I'm honest, they're usually (by the look of it) late 30s, 40s, etc. Some have been parents who got into my books through their kids and others are the sort of people who read my books because they love fantasy RPGs. Illmoor is very popular among RPG lovers - so is Ramsey Campbell's stuff - his GOATSWOOD settings/stories formed the basis for one of the most popular RPG suppliments of all time: Chaosium's Cthulhu - Made in Goatswood.

The RPG community is DEFINITELY one you should mine - there are THOUSANDS of them out there (I run three groups in Thanet alone!)

Anyway......they DO seem to be of an age where they've tried the society - maybe once - and found it not 'fantasy' enough - and by that I always get the feeling they mean HEROIC fantasy.


David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #41 on: August 16, 2006, 06:34:07 pm »
Yeah, but Paul - I LOVE horror. I have what I suspect to be one of the largest Ramsey Campbell collections in England! :-)


Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #42 on: August 16, 2006, 06:39:53 pm »
I think Dave, that both you and Paul are citing opposite sides of the same argument. You meet fantasy fans, and they say the BFS is too much horror. Paul and I write horror and dark fantasy (but read across fantasy, sci fi, horror, crime) and a lot of our friends like horror. When we meet them, we hear that the BFS is all fantasy and no horror. I think both sides perceive the other to be prevalent, whereas the truth is that we - the BFS - are permanently trying to cover all bases. We always mention horror authors/artists that are members to anyone who says there's too much fantasy, as an attempt to show them that's not the case. I'm sure you'd do the same to anyone who said we're all horror to you. But we do have to be fair to both whilst we both remain under one umbrella. The problem we have is an ongoing one of trying to broaden that perception of what we are, and that's something we're permanently trying to address. Paul and I are at most Open Nights (I've missed three for family reasons since I joined the Committee, but have been at all others) and Awards Showcases, and always try to attend events where we can. When we're asked to attend an event in our capacity as writers, we always try and push the BFS as a society for all aspects of the genre, and I know other Committee members try and push information about us wherever they can as well. Again, if  you go through the previous FCON accounts and lists of Award Winners, fantasy and horror are both represented, so again - neither perception cited above is correct. I don't know any easy way to change that perception other than to keep on doing what we're doing. We're lucky that authors in all aspects of the genre support us in so many ways and at so many events, and we're always looking for new ways to raise our profile and new ways to attract new members. It does appear to be changing slightly, as membership is increasing, but we still have to keep trying, and any suggestions are always welcome. I know Juliet, Stan, Mark and all the other members of the Write Fantastic, for example, are always willing to help the BFS in any way they can, and hopefully that will result in new members who are fantasy fans. Likewise, authors like Tim Lebbon and Mark Morris always help on the horror side. My own hope is that the current perception will begin to change as more members read the publications and see a balance, and hopefully spread the word.

Paul Kane

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #43 on: August 16, 2006, 06:48:13 pm »
Cool, Dave, I'm envious. And let's not forget that Ramsey also writes fantasy too - his story for our book is a great fantasy tale...

I think where this is going off the tracks is our definition of 'Fantasy'. If you're just going to cater to heroic fantasy, then no, a lot of the people you're talking about won't be happy by all our output probably. But Heroic fantasy is only one of the forms of fantasy - you yourself write comic fantasy, as does Terry P (so would he be classed as pure Heroic Fantasy? Probably not).

I guess the point I'm making is that you're never going to keep all of the people happy all of the time, but that's no reason to just concentrate on one select group alone just because our society has the word Fantasy in the title. It's always covered all the genres, and should continue to do so.

The only way we can change word of mouth is if we spread it ourselves.

Paul

C.R. Barker

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #44 on: August 16, 2006, 07:00:01 pm »

http://hauntedriver.co.uk/page23.html[/quote]

Will check it out.. .

In the meantime, one of the things, as a group, that we've always liked about the awards is that it is voted on by the entire membership instead of a smaller panel of judges...?

[/quote]

I think there are flaws to both balloted and judged award processes, which is why I favour a system whereby the grass-roots members (inc writers, publishers, editors etc) get to nominate the various works in round one, and then a panel of elected 'expert' judges then sit down and 'mark' the entries based upon a transparent and accountable system in round two.

Of course, there is no perfect system. Ultimately it would in some way be subjective. But you can at least tinker with things to eliminate or reduce many of the key problems. For example, I should imagine that it is quite easy gathering entries for the first round long list, but that many voters then fail to vote on all categories because they haven't read the works concerned. By allowing members to thus select the candidates for the long list, and then asking judges to read every work nominated, you are surely quickly improving the system.

CB

NB. And by a shrewd selection of judges (electable positions perhaps?) you could ensure that the perceived horror-bias within the BFS was addressed, because you could ensure that (for example) one judge came from a horror background, one from a fantasy, etc etc. Indeed, you could even create the positions of "Fantasy Judge", "Horror Judge", "Small Press Judge" etc etc, thereby ensuring a healthy spread of expertise and experience.