Author Topic: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires  (Read 64143 times)

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #60 on: August 17, 2006, 07:48:15 am »
Right......getting annoyed myself, now......

As far as I'm concerned, Ramsey should be voted back in. If he ISN'T, the LAST - and I mean absolutely the LAST thing the BFS needs is yet another horror figure to add the (currently horror dominated) committee of the BFS.

And you and I both know that a good number of fantasy fans JOIN the society because they get the picture in their mind of Lord of the Rings, Pratchett's Discworld and Jackson/Livingstone's Allansia, etc. Well, for all the features they get on such authors, it is WRONG to describe the society as such.

If we're really going down that road, then look at the sales figures for goodness sake!!!!! WHERE are the Pratchett fans? WHERE are the Lord of the Rings fans? They're certainly not members of the BFS: I speak as someone holding last year's figures (as up until yesterday I full planned to take over as Sectretary and Treasurer).

Come to that, WHERE are the readers of SFX? WHERE are the readers of Interzone, which currently has TEN times the BFS membership (and that's a low estimate)? I work for both publications: I KNOW they're mostly fantasy fans.

The society needs a damn good shake up. THAT is a fact.

What should happen is for Ramsey to stay and the society be renamed as it SHOULD be - The British Horror and Dark Fantasy Society.

Oh, and please......if you REALLY believe the members of the Write Fantastic (apologies for earlier mistake, guys) are AGAINST what I'm saying,
then please invite them on here and we'll chat.

They are, after all, a group of FANTASY authors.....and their opinion would be of great interest to me.





« Last Edit: August 17, 2006, 07:52:44 am by David Lee Stone »

Offline Jen

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #61 on: August 17, 2006, 08:32:20 am »
Features on the fantasy side of things are easy enough to rectify...  People: write me some fantasy features!  If you send them to me, I'll publish them in Prism.  Alas, I don't have the time or skill to write them myself...

I'm already trying to expand the events section so that we get a full range of events in... actually managed to find details of some Pratchett signings the other day, so they'll be in the next one...

Although, if memory serves (speaking as stockholder, now), during the last few years we have had LotR features and Dunsany features and things like that... (will have to dig through the last couple of years of back-stock to get the full list of examples...) 

(Hello!  I'm a Pratchett fan... and a LotR fan  ;)  Also, reader of SFX & Interzone!  )


Offline Jonathan Oliver

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #62 on: August 17, 2006, 09:24:02 am »
I actually read both Interzone and SFX. I write horror but I publish fantasy, science fiction, horror and military thrillers. So there is some diversity out there! Huge SF fan, even have an MA degree in SF.
For the record I wouldn't want the BFS to change a thing. I think it is wide enough and the last two BFS cons I've been to have had both a strong fantasy and horror element. I think that the balance is just right personally. Ramesy has done a fantastic job  as President and I would be sad if he left but, at the end of the day, that's up to him

Jon

(Abaddon Books and 2000 AD Graphic Novels Editor)
Jon

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #63 on: August 17, 2006, 09:45:25 am »
Jenny, I KNOW you're a fair editor (and a good one) and I KNOW you would give an even amount of space to both sides....but that's not what I'm personally arguing about.

I just think the BFS needs to change in order to use the name with any level of accuracy.....and I'd be quite willing to aid that change (and I know for a fact that people like Stan Nicholls, Martin Scott and several others would also).

Why don't we have an honorary committee balanced EVENLY among fantasy and horror authors - THAT way, us fantasy guys could contribute a lot more - and maybe even advertise the Society better on our respective sites?????

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #64 on: August 17, 2006, 10:04:28 am »
I seem to be the only one not annoyed here. I have merely stated my opinion, as we are all entitled to do. For the record, as Jon says, I write horror and dark fantasy but read fantasy, science fiction, crime, and anything else that takes my fancy, alongside horror. I read Interzone and SFX, as does Paul.  On my bookshelf you will find Gemmell, Eddings, Feist, Marillier, Chadbourn, Gaiman, John Connolly, Mo Hayder, Justina Robson, China Mieville, Jon Courtney Grimwood, Neil Asher, Charles de Lint, Heinlein, William Gibson, Jeffery Deaver, alongside any number of horror authors. I read voraciously across the genres, my only criterion is that the story appeals to me. While we've been with the Society I have published horror authors, but also fantasy authors such as Juliet E McKenna, Mark Chadbourn, Chaz Brenchley, Neil Gaiman, to name but a few. Whilst my own personal favourite is horror, I have always made sure that anything includes the complete range of genre material, not merely one narrow section. SFX itself does this, featuring items on Buffy, Charmed, X Files, Roswell, Smallville - as you can see, a range of material, which is as it should be. The site says clearly, as does every publication, that we celebrate 'all aspects of the genre' - this is also included in promotional material such as the BFS adverts run by Jo Fletcher in Gollancz books and Write Fantastic promotional literature. The Society as a whole seeks to promote each and every aspect, rather than be exclusionist and eliitist. I believe this to be one of its greatest strengths. The membership database also reflects this, showing we have members from every aspect of the genre - from fans to seasoned professionals. This is as it should be, in my opinion. Everyone is welcome. The last issue of Dark Horizons featured an interview with Neil Gaiman, a fantasy author, and the first original short story for six years by Mark Chadbourn, a fantasy author, plus a wide range of reviews in all genres. The next issue features an interview with John Connolly and an article on Terry Gilliam, among other things.

My stated opinion is that Ramsey should stay as President - Chris' is in fact the only contrary opinion I have heard in my time with the BFS. He is entitled to it, of course, I am merely stating that in view of this I see no reason why Ramsey should stand down or why anyone should think he would need to resort to the sort of 'politicking' that has been suggested here. Any matter, whether it be who holds Presidency or changes to our general structure, can be raised at the AGM or via email at any time. That has always been the case. To suggest the Committee is horror dominated, when at the moment four members of the committee are associated with horror out of a possible ten, is obviously erroneous and shows your incomplete grasp of the situation - especially when all four horror fans on the committee go out of their way to make sure there is a balance overall. We spend a lot of time makeing sure we have as much of a balance as possible. Anyone is free to submit a fantasy article, story, review, and the ONLY criteria is that they are good enough to get in. That applies across the board.

As to where are the Pratchett and LoftR fans, I happen to be a fan of both myself, as does Paul, and I would expect, quite a high proportion of current members. We've been in touch with Terry very recently to ask him to be involved in a project (sadly he didn't have time) and Peter Jackson won the Karl Edward Wagner award two years ago for Lord of The Rings, so we're hardly excluding fantasy by my reckoning. If what you are saying is you don't want to see ANY horror, which is what I'm inferring from your aggressive stance on this, then I would suggest that it is you who seek to unbalance the Society, and if you are unhappy with what a large number of members appear to be happy with (going by the number of renewals each year) then perhaps you should form your own Society.

As to Chris' comments on the Awards system, I agree we should agree to disagree. Again, any matters such as this are free to be discussed at the AGM in the appropriate manner.

Jon, like you I am a huge fan of many different types of fiction, although I write predominantly horror. We try hard to provide a wide range of events at FantasyCon and we hope to continue this in the future. Thank you for posting.

We are constantly reviewing our publications/event schedules/looking at guests and prospective interviewees, to get as wide a range as possible. I believe this has no small part in why membership is now beginning to increase and I have every hope that it will continue to do so, with new fans of every genre wishing to join us.

I am sorry that as a mere horror author, the personal opinion of the Chair of the British Fantasy Society is apparently of no interest to you, and hope that as you wish, other FANTASY authors and as such obviously in your narrow opinion more qualified and interesting people post their opinions on this. It should prove interesting reading, some of the people you have cited are friends of mine and I doubt very much whether they'd share your narrow view.

ChrisT

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #65 on: August 17, 2006, 10:17:54 am »
Wow... yesterday afternoon there were just two pages in this topic...  :o

Very interesting discussion, guys. Now, my t'pennyworth:

Personally, I've always found it whimsical that a society with fantasy in the title is made of predominantly horror-type folks - though I'm not adverse to enjoying sf, or comic/dark fantasy, but the more traditional six-book epics with orcs and stuff just leaves me cold.

As for the accusation of cliqueyness, well, I detected a tiny sense of that at my first FCon in 2000 - but I knew hardly anyone, and I wasn't the most gregarious of people back then, but you can't get rid of me that easily. :)

Perhaps a change to "The British Horror and Fantasy Society" is in order, but that's a sense of devolution which could lead to further demarcation (what about heroic fantasy, or comic... and does it mean you don't like sf?)

If Ramsey does indeed wish to stand-down, then I agree perhaps a prominent fantasy author should stand has President - Juliette McKenna? - or Mark C who is known for both genres, perhaps? Of course, you can't force people to stand, so it all depends on who puts themselves forward at the AGM.

As the awards stand, none should go: even though the majority of other awards have the blanket "short fiction" prize for both novellas and stories, I think the majority of members prefer a seperate novella award. With regards to voting, both the Hugo's and BSFA awards are voted by members of their respective societies, with only the World Fantasy award governed by judges (insofar has I know) therefore I think a membership voting scheme is the way to go.

As for renaming awards, perhaps the anthology award could be renamed "August Derleth" since he was an anthologist, and the novel award could then be called the "David Gemmell"? Just a suggestion...

With regard to raising the profile of the BFS/FantasyCon, it amazes me that neither is mentioned within the pages of SFX: I know it's only one magazine, but it is the biggest selling genre mag in the UK (mind you, Langford does mention FCon in his ansible pages of Interzone). And I didn't see a single flyer at last year's WorldCon.

Until I mentioned FCon on the SFX forum (guerilla marketing?) no-one knew about it, and yet if it's some obscure Dr Who event where you get to have tea with the third cyberman from the left, Christ, everyone knows about it!  ::)

Prism/Dark Horizons: it's all down to expense - but both need a slight re-jig: not to pour scorn on the work done in the past, but the rise to glossy covers is a definitel improvement, but if you compare, for example, old Interzone and new Interzone, you just wouldn't think it's the same magazine - we need a design wizard!

Finally, the previous three FCon's, I think, have been very friendly - but then I've got to know most people - so with an almost double the usual number of attendees, what this "new blood" will think could be quite interesting to note, and probably be of immense benefit to the committee.

Only time will tell, but on the whole, as it stands now, the BFS is a friendly place, but like anything it just needs tweaks here and there, and the occasional revamp does stop complecency from setting in.

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #66 on: August 17, 2006, 10:42:04 am »
I seem to be the only one not annoyed here - MARIE, ARE YOU SURE????????

I'm really not narrow minded - I love horror (any doubt, check out my last few and next two reviews for SFX). My shelves, as I have previously stated, are weighed down with King, Campbell, Michael Marshall Smith, Hutson, Herbert and newcomers like Langan, Whitfield etc.

Horror ROCKS.

.....but, for me, fantasy rocks harder. :-)

What I'm SAYING (exhausted, need oxygen) is that the BFS is a very misleading name. I'm speaking as someone who - at a young age - joined the society because I wanted to know more about FANTASY......I was looking for more stuff by Dave Langford and Pratchett, or for Dungeons and Dragons articles, I was looking for features on Leiber and Robert E. Howard!

I found a nice bunch of people.....all very friendly and interactive. You still ARE a nice bunch of people.....and as one big piece of praise Prism REALLY does seem to be treading the balance between the fields.

But, still, my opinion stands. And - all arguments aside - which of these two titles do you think best/most accurately describes the organization?

Honestly, now......:-).......

The British Fantasy Society (with its current goblin banner logo) or.....

The British Dark Fantasy and Horror Society (dark logo - pref by Les E or JK Potter)

Personally, I'd belong to both.  ;D



ChrisT

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #67 on: August 17, 2006, 10:54:36 am »
The British Dark Fantasy and Horror Society (dark logo - pref by Les E or JK Potter)

I'd go with a new logo... the current one is looking, well, old.

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #68 on: August 17, 2006, 11:04:27 am »
I'm very sure, Dave. With respect, your last post before mine was the first post I can remember where you made the point of your argument changing the name of the BFS rather than accusing it of being horror dominated and unbalanced in it's treatment of the genres. Your suggestion in the context of changing the name I have no problem with, although I disagree with it personally. It can be raised at the AGM as any other business can. All I did in my posts was clarify my position re:balance, and that of the Society, which is that we strive at all times to feature a wide range of material. You were the one who suggested a British Heroic Fantasy Society, excluding all else, not me. I have answered every point you have raised to the best of my ability, and merely stated that I will continue to try and cover all bases as much as possible, as do all the Committee.  Logo redesign is something that has also been discussed in the past, and when we can come up with a logo that pleases all sides (a few have been discussed) I'm sure it will happen. For the moment, however, the current logo is instantlly recognisable as that of the BFS, and anyone who has links with us knows we have a balance - for those who don't know this, we do try and make it clear on site and in the literature and at events. 'Fantasy', to me, has never been limited to a 'Heroic' or 'High' fantasy view of the genre. I have always taken it to encompass a very wide range of literature indeed.

For the record, my own opinion is that the name should remain unchanged, as fantasy is a very broad term, in my opinion. I see no reason to change it, as we always clarify the title in all promotional material and at events.

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #69 on: August 17, 2006, 11:09:05 am »
Well, you've got to give it to this girl - she really fights her corner.

I disagree with her TOTALLY......but such fight! It has to be said, she's a damn fine Chair (she can run my society anytime? :)).

However, we've all have a jolly good argument and battered each other senseless with our own viewpoints.

But look at the ratings, guys! We're up! :-)

Good fight, good fight. Now let me just see if I can find a few of my teeth in this keyboard....

Offline Jen

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #70 on: August 17, 2006, 11:16:45 am »
Who's annoyed?  ;D  Constructive criticism is great for improvement...  :-*

Where to start.... 

SFX - that's an easy one
Quote
with regard to raising the profile of the BFS/FantasyCon, it amazes me that neither is mentioned within the pages of SFX:

And do you know how many times we've tried to get BFS things in SFX?  Every bloody time we're met with a brick wall.  Reviews.  News.  Event announcements*.  Awards announcements.  And their ad rates are astro-bloody-nomical or we'd have had a BFS or Fcon ad in there years ago...  (*Mind, I see we've finally made it onto their website events listing...)

So if anyone wants to be SFX liason and give it a shot... be my guest!   Give em a kick about Fcon, see if anyone's going to come (and hence, do a shorty feature) like they have Eastercon etc. 

Prism:
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as one big piece of praise Prism REALLY does seem to be treading the balance between the fields.
Ooh, thanks...  ;D

Quote
Prism/Dark Horizons: it's all down to expense - but both need a slight re-jig: not to pour scorn on the work done in the past, but the rise to glossy covers is a definitel improvement, but if you compare, for example, old Interzone and new Interzone, you just wouldn't think it's the same magazine - we need a design wizard!

Agreed.  DH future comments will have to wait for the new editors to chime in, but Prism...
Yes... glossy covers... yum.... would love to (we used to have them on Prism a while back because the printer we were using did them at ridiculously cheap rates...)  if we can source a printer that won't destroy the budget, we'll go back to glossy covers.   
Also, currently Prism  is cheap and cheerful at the moment because it makes it easier to make sure it gets out regularly... (ahem  :-[
But yes, any design wizards... talk to me... arty stuff is sooo not my strong point... will try and bring some pretty things in with each new issue, but am also concentrating on getting the text contact boofed up...

Also, what do we think about sizing?  A5 works with the current amount of content, when we have the reviews added for the Oct issue, we're going to be much thicker so will be looking at perfect bound, probably.  And I want more features, and some opinion columns... (though DH is also having opinion columns, I think, so need more conversations with Pete & Jan about split..)  Would it better, at that point, to go to A4?  A5 is a cootchy size, but A4 gives more space to play with and more design options. 






« Last Edit: August 17, 2006, 11:28:42 am by Jen »

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #71 on: August 17, 2006, 11:17:23 am »
I agree that I will always stand by my convictions, Dave, and that we'll have to agree to disagree personally. Anything like name change, logo redesign, bring up at the AGM and it will be discussed. I'm glad you think I'm a good Chair, I try very hard to be. It's something I take very seriously and am passionate about.

ChrisT

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #72 on: August 17, 2006, 11:23:43 am »
Well, you've got to give it to this girl - she really fights her corner.

What do you expect Dave? Marie's Irish... they're like bloody terriers!  ;)

ChrisT

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #73 on: August 17, 2006, 11:31:38 am »

SFX - that's an easy one

And do you know how many times we've tried to get BFS things in SFX?  Every bloody time we're met with a brick wall.  Reviews.  News.  Event announcements*.  Awards announcements.  And their ad rates are astro-bloody-nomical or we'd have had a BFS or Fcon ad in there years ago...  (*Mind, I see we've finally made it onto their website events listing...)

So if anyone wants to be SFX liason and give it a shot... be my guest!   Give em a kick about Fcon, see if anyone's going to come (and hence, do a shorty feature) like they have Eastercon etc.

Well, I'll continue to haunt the forum... infact, I think I'll change my signature.  ;D

But agree with you about the ad-rates, but then the magazine is probably bloody expensive to produce, even with 30,000 odd paying for it.

Quote
But yes, any design wizards... talk to me... arty stuff is sooo not my strong point... will try and bring some pretty things in with each new issue, but am also concentrating on getting the text contact boofed up...

I know Steve Upham's going to FCon - his pdf e-zine Estronomicon looks lovely. Maybe worth a chat...

I've found a printer here that can do a saddle-stitched perfect-bound 32pp A5 glossy-cover booklet, at just over a ?1/copy (@ 200 copies). I'll be giving them a call myself...

A5 is definitely the size, though: handy to read on the toilet.  :o

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #74 on: August 17, 2006, 11:33:34 am »
Hey Chris

Tell me about it..........should have known better....I'm only half Irish, so I was bound to get beaten!

Jen's quote "Features on the fantasy side of things are easy enough to rectify... ?People: write me some fantasy features! ?If you send them to me, I'll publish them in Prism. ?Alas, I don't have the time or skill to write them myself..."

I'm working on a page-length cartoon-script series about a barbarian with OCD called Thunk Nuggit and the Fourth Axe of Arsenal. As soon as I
find an illustrator with the right 'style' who's prepared to work for nothing, I'll be straight in with it.