Author Topic: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires  (Read 62756 times)

DFL

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #135 on: August 18, 2006, 04:31:53 pm »
And once my membership has been cleared, my vote will be for more literary horror, though I do enjoy SF and fantasy.
I'm glad to be back. ?I was a member originally in the mid-seventies. ?But that's beside the point.

C.R. Barker

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #136 on: August 18, 2006, 04:32:16 pm »
These ideas are great, but they all boil down to one thing - manpower!

I've been a committee member for over 10 years and every AGM is the same - we're lucky if anybody volunteers for a post, so it's the same old faces year-in, year-out. That may be good, it may be bad - depends on your point of view! You may argue that's because the BFS isn't interesting enough for people to want to volunteer - but without the volunteers it will never *be* interesting enough.... chicken and egg!

I've tried organising Open Nights in Manchester - spent days scouting pubs, putting ads in Prism. I had 3 people who said they'd come along...

I've had many willing helpers - people who claimed to be passionately interested in doing things - running events, editing mags - then dropped out at the last minute for various reasons, leaving me having to either cancel or work til 2am, then get up and go to a paying job. I once laid out Prism at 4am with a 6 week old baby on my lap to meet a print deadline (go on - get your hankies out.... :()

If we had the money to pay people, we'd get a fantastic response, I'm sure. But we don't - so the committee and other volunteers are exactly that - volunteers. We do have lives, jobs and families. I've been threatened with divorce in the past because of the amount of time I've devoted to BFS stuff!? Now if we had a bigger pool of people, we could all do less, do it better and raise our profile. If we had enough people, we could have sub-committees to organise Open Nights - instead of it being down to one person, we could have a web team - instead of it being one person.

I'm not complaining about things I've done for the BFS and I appreciate we could do lots more and do it better. But we have to start with people who are keen, and more importantly reliable. We do need change - but big-bang change never works in my opinion. Just like you'd never start a new job and change everything on your first day. You'd watch and learn for a while and then suggest improvements.

So basically, the BFS desperately needs people who say "why don't we do x, y and z? I can do x and I have a friend who can do y and z", rather than "x doesn't work, you should be doing y".

Deb

You need to have the online equivalent of an AGM. People who attend business meetings usually work in the same building whereas BFS members are widely spread out. It's crazy to try and do all of this on one morning at an annual convention.

Form a committee via online selection. Then have that committee form policy via online consultation. Set deadlines for input or votes on certain issues. The annual BFS convention could then just be about letting your hair down or clarifying the decisions that have beem made online.

CB




Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #137 on: August 18, 2006, 04:33:36 pm »
Des - thank you very much for your support, and I am delighted that you're rejoining the BFS. Will we be seeing you at FantasyCon this year?

Dave, we have said time and again that we support all aspects of the genre. If you look at past winners over the years and ALL the stories that we publish, you will see that is true. The same goes for the artists we use, we have had horror and fantasy covers to Prism and Dark Horizons while I've been editor, and Debbie did before that. We do as much as we possibly can to promote all aspects, with two fantasy events last year alone, I believe the last separate horror event was a Stephen Laws event, two years ago. As to whether Gemmell or Pratchett have ever won a BFS Award, I'm not sure offhand as my own history with the BFS doesn't go back to the beginning, but the information is freely available in the Awards Section of the website.

C.R. Barker

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #138 on: August 18, 2006, 04:36:03 pm »
I suggested Stephen Jones because of the massive contribution he has made over the years, not because he's horror-related. I find that offensive. And for the record I would not limit subsequent suggestions to any one genre - I would look at who has made, in my own opinion, a massive contribution to GENRE fiction, not one specific area of it.

No, no, no!!!

This is the fundamental problem here. You want to reward someone for years of 'devoted' service, but that's misisng the point entirely. You need someone who is forward-thinking, who can lead the Society into a successful future.

With respect, you are looking at this issue from completely the wrong perspective.

CB

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #139 on: August 18, 2006, 04:39:27 pm »
Well, can't say I've looked across the entire board, but prior to 1982, neither Terry Pratchett nor David Gemmell ever won Best Novel.

Shocking.

Now, I'm betting that if JRR Tolkien was still around, he wouldn't have won anything either.

LOVECRAFT on the other hand.......his house would be BUILT of Cthulhu statues.

 ;D


Paul Kane

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #140 on: August 18, 2006, 04:41:02 pm »
The full listings of who won what are here. No TP or DG that I can see, but I can see quite a few fantasy names there http://www.britishfantasysociety.org.uk/info/bfsawards.htm

Now, how about answering my original mail properly, which you again ignored  :)

Paul.

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #141 on: August 18, 2006, 04:41:36 pm »
With respect, Chris, Ramsey doesn't run the BFS single-handed. He is President, yes, but still has only one vote, like everybody else. The Committee as a whole IS forward-thinking, and permanently looking at new ways to improve things. The President provides a recognisable face for the Society as a whole, which is why it has to be someone well-established, and therefore easily recognisable. Both Ramsey and Steve are eminent in their field, hence my support.

DFL

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #142 on: August 18, 2006, 04:42:26 pm »
Thanks, Marie. ?Yes, I'm now seriously considering coming to Fantasycon. ?I shall check the accommodation situation etc.
des

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #143 on: August 18, 2006, 04:43:49 pm »
Lord of the RIngs was, however, the reason Peter Jackson won one. It is pointless going back over votes thirty years old for two names, when it is obvious that awards have been won over the years by both genres. It is also pointless to make accusations about who would have won. What is important, as a member, is to vote for what you believe in - then the balance will be maintained.

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #144 on: August 18, 2006, 04:44:42 pm »
Go to www.fantasycon.org.uk, Des, all the information you need is there. Email me if anything's not clear.

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #145 on: August 18, 2006, 04:50:36 pm »
Dave, you're just not listening to what you don't want to hear. The BFS has changed a lot even since I first came on board.

You've sat there and listened as we've told you that the BFS is not horror biased (over half the committee are horror fans, and half the membership, and Marie and I both read across the board). Our President writes both horror and fantasy. FantasyCon reflects all the genres, not just horror - look at the line-up and the panels this year, plus which we set up events that are purely fantasy-based like the Steve Donaldson event from last year (there were no pure horror events like this last year or this year). I've only worked on one horror special pub, the others were fantasy or had fantasy elements, like our celebration book. If you want to know what the major authors, fantasy, sf and horror feel about the BFS and whether it's stale, read the book.

Granted, it might be the perception that the BFS is horror-biased, but this perception is clearly wrong as we've tried to explain. Your answer to this seems to be to get rid of parts of the committee that are horror, half the membership and the President (which you keep insisting you don't want), and for yourself to have a more dominant role.


But whether a perception is wrong or not is irrelevant, it's up to US to change it. It's no good just turning round and saying 'people don't know what we're really about' - if you take the 'perception is wrong' angle, the society will just stay exactly as it is. As it HAS done.

Okay....let's try to have a look here.....

What NEW bfs-associated dark fantasy/horror writers have emerged in the past few years? YOU, for one. Then there's Lebbon, Tidhar, David Sutton (his own work), O'Regan (sorry Marie - I'm shortening)......you'll know at least TEN more....

Right....what new HIGH/HEROIC fantasy writers has it produced in the same period?

Er.......hmm........tough one...........hang on.........Bilbo Baggins?

Paul Kane

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #146 on: August 18, 2006, 04:58:28 pm »
Now you're assuming the BFS had something to do with those people 'emerging'. I've been writing since the mid 90's and was published way before I came to the BFS...

As for new Fantasy writers - aren't you one, Dave (albeit comic fantasy, granted)? And if you don't know any more then that's a sad reflection.

Anyway, life's too short to talk to brick walls. I'm off for the weekend to have a life  ;) Adios.

Paul.

Offline Marie O'Regan

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #147 on: August 18, 2006, 05:00:25 pm »
I'm sorry Dave, but David Sutton is not a new writer. He has been writing and editing for a very long time, now. Paul was published before he was associated with the BFS and so was I. Likewise Lebbon, Tidhar, and anyone else you care to name. It also stands for new fantasy authors - Mark Chadbourn and Juliet McKenna have, I believe, come to prominence over the last ten years, and you. None of which has been solely due to the BFS. And the BFS cannot be held responsible for what people write.

As to perception, we've said all along that we are always trying to change that perception, and we always will.

David Lee Stone

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #148 on: August 18, 2006, 05:07:29 pm »
I'm talking about Sutton's new original fiction (which, again, is worth checking out - and what a cover!)

Thanks for including me in that. However, though I'd love to give the BFS some credit for my progress, interestingly enough my career only seemed to move during the three or four years in which I'd resigned my BFS membership. But then, I do write fantasy.

I'm sorry if you think I'm a brick wall, Paul, but the fact is we both believe PASSIONATELY in our seperate fields.

Nevertheless, the argument has been stimulating and strong.

Have a good weekend. I'm off to run a roleplaying game with my group....hopefully they'll do the orc impressions loudly enough to drown out the noise of my wife's screams when Pete gets relieved of the Big Brother crown by Aisleyne.

Offline neilw

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Re: A General Observation On Awards Questionnaires
« Reply #149 on: August 18, 2006, 05:10:58 pm »
>What NEW bfs-associated dark fantasy/horror writers have emerged in the past few years? YOU, for one. Then there's Lebbon, Tidhar, David Sutton (his own work), O'Regan (sorry Marie - I'm shortening)......you'll know at least TEN more....

How does one get "BFS=associated", David?  Sorry mate - for leaping into a raging debate unannounced - but I think you're clutching here. The writers you mention are also "associated" with a variety of other things as well. That one doesn't wash for me I'm afraid.

Which is a shame because I was mostly agreeing with you up to a point (if you want to know I thought you could have been just a tad less combative in your delivery).

As it happens I agree with you about the perception thing. I've recently rejoined the BFS (having lapse my membership, but more due to laziness than disgust), but I always thought the intention was to concentrate on dark fantasy and horror because that was the shape of the hole left by the what the BSFA didn't cover. Honestly, the BSFA has been serving fans of heroic/high/big/fat fantasy very well for a long time.  ;)

Having said that, on renewing my sub, I'm happy to see that the BFS *does* - to my eye, and apparently to a number of people signing up for their first ever fantasy con this year - appear to be expanding its remit. And I think that's great. All power to everyone getting involved and expanding both the membership and appeal, and eventually Changing The Perception. Which will take time and effort. I think after FCon this year you'll see a bit of a change though. By the sounds of it the membership is bigger and more varied than usual, and I think that's largely down to the selection of guests. So, all good, yes?

The question of whether high fantasy novels should win the BFS award will become an intersting one. Obviously horror fans will vote for their authors and the high fantasy fans will vote for their authors, and hopefully there will be enough non-aligned free-thinking members left to make sure the awards go to the best written and most innovative, challenging and entertaining work of the year.

I prefer juried awards to popularity contests. Nothing gets me more depressed than the Hugo awards short story short list. *sigh*