Author Topic: David Gemmell Memorial Award  (Read 27283 times)

David Lee Stone

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #30 on: August 22, 2006, 08:01:32 pm »
Hmm.....maybe it really is unfair to keep petitioning the BFS for a seperate heroic fantasy category when it is so obviously not wanted by the membership (at least, that portion of it present on the website).

Perhaps, instead, a British Heroic Fantasy Society (http://www.heroicfantasysociety.com) that awarded once per year for Novels in the category? Or even - if the family of DG are in agreement - The David Gemmell Award for same? (http://www.davidgemmellaward.com)?

What do we all think of that (as an idea)?

Offline Stan Nicholls

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #31 on: August 22, 2006, 08:37:03 pm »

>Perhaps, instead, a British Heroic Fantasy Society (http://www.heroicfantasysociety.com) that awarded once per year for Novels in the category? Or even - if the family of DG are in agreement - The David Gemmell Award for same? (http://www.davidgemmellaward.com)?<

Are those links to real websites, Davey, or just notional at this stage?  I can't get anything via them.

Yeah, I guess that if the collective mind of the BFS and the committee can't come to agreement, serious consideration should be given to establishing a DG award elsewhere.  But I don't think we've got to that yet.

Someone, I think it was Jen, made the point that the committee might be reluctant to let a DG award be financed by individuals (Davey and me being the volunteers so far) because said benefactors might in some way influence who it was given to.  If it comes to me putting up dosh I wouldn't want to influence the outcome in any way, and to underline that I wouldn't vote in the Gemmell category.  Though I might nominate things the membership wouldn't perhaps otherwise be aware of.

SN



         

David Lee Stone

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #32 on: August 22, 2006, 08:43:25 pm »
Entirely notional at this point.....

....though I am seriously enjoying the notion.  ;)

DFL

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #33 on: August 22, 2006, 08:45:39 pm »
As the holder of the Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1998 (the first?), I would hate to think this award is to be renamed.  I've only vaguely heard of David Gemmell.
des

Offline Stan Nicholls

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #34 on: August 22, 2006, 08:48:31 pm »
The following message was posted in the Welcome section by BFS veteran Gary Couzens. ?I think it contains interesting observations relevant to this thread, so am re-posting it here. ?(Which I hope Gary doesn't regard as too cheeky).

* * * * *

 ?
Some thoughts from a former Chairman and Awards Administrator...

I've nothing against naming an award after the late David Gemmell, but I would be against splitting the novel category, even into Fantasy and Horror. What do you do with works that don't fit neatly into either category? Not all fantasy is *heroic* fantasy, so why should that subset of the genre be singled out? And what do we do with science fiction, as that does get occasionally recommended and nominated?

I'd also rather not do away with the novella category, as I voted for it and it's only run one year so far! I don't think short stories and novellas are equvalent, though it would be difficult to draw a dividing line between them. But for awards reasons we do - at 10,000 words, the same as the World Fantasy Awards do.

There was a Best Newcomer (the Icarus Award) in the early 1990s, but if I remember (I wasn't on the Committee then but did attend AGMs) there was some confusion as to who qualified as a "newcomer". The last winner was Poppy Z. Brite who had had been published for years. The award was replaced with the current Special Award when Karl Edward Wagner died. And KEW had more claim to longterm involvement with the BFS than David Gemmell had.

As for Terry Pratchett, Robert Jordan, James Herbert or indeed David Gemmell, when they published novels they were eligible for the awards. If they weren't nominated, that's because people didn't wish to vote for them. They have no more right than anyone else to be nominated or to win. In fact, James Herbert had his one and only nomination to date two years ago.

What I like about the current system is that everything which is eligible gets on the voting form. Yes, you will get some strange choices, but you will get some interesting stuff that may have been otherwise overlooked. The only eligibility is for publication date: it's not up to the Awards Admin to decide if something "belongs" in the genre (and we have had arguments about certain works in the past, as to whether they are really fantasy or horror). Then again, if you don't think something on the form is worthy of the award, don't vote for it.

To answer one of Stan's questions about awards procedure, the Awards Admin can recommend works (and I did do that) but is not allowed to vote. If there is a tie, then the President has a casting vote - this didn't happen in my four years as Awards Admin, though there were a few categories decided by a single voting point. Apart from that, the President just has a single vote, the same as any other BFS member. The Awards Admin can call on other people to check the recommendations list for any errors and for eligibility - I did do this myself, and this year I performed this function for Dave Sutton.

The drawback of allowing Fantasycon members who aren't also BFS members to have a vote is that the award plaques are made and engraved in advance of the convention. However, I'm sure there is a way around this if needs be - award a plaqueless award and hand out the plaques later?

The BFS Council idea. Don't like it - it seems elitist. Are pro writers necessarily gifted with wisdom? All that means is that you are lucky/talented/perseverant/hack (delete as applicable, and I'm not aiming this at anyone) enough to have a deal with a major publisher. That would exclude quite a few big names who are published in the UK by PS, Immanion and other independents. And it's safe to say that major book deals are for novels - why exclude short story writers? Drawing distinctions like this reminds me of the badge colour-coding system that Fantasycon had in the early nineties when I first attended - to distinguish between "professional guests" and "other guests". I hated that system, and I'm glad it was scrapped. If we do have a Council (and what's wrong with a committee anyway?) it would need to be made up of volunteers anyway - we all have demands on our time after all.


Offline Stan Nicholls

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #35 on: August 22, 2006, 08:51:31 pm »
As the holder of the Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1998 (the first?), I would hate to think this award is to be renamed.? I've only vaguely heard of David Gemmell.
des

No one's suggesting the KEW be renamed, Des.  We're talking about a new, additional award.

And surely the KEW goes back further than '98? 

SN

Gary Couzens

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #36 on: August 22, 2006, 09:16:48 pm »
As the holder of the Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1998 (the first?), I would hate to think this award is to be renamed.? I've only vaguely heard of David Gemmell.
des

No one's suggesting the KEW be renamed, Des.? We're talking about a new, additional award.

And surely the KEW goes back further than '98??

SN


Veteran am I? I do feel old. :)

Looking back, KEW died in 1994 - about a fortnight after attending that year's Fantasycon as it happened. The first Special Award went to John Jarrold in 1995. I seem to remember at that AGM it was suggested and voted that the award be renamed in KEW's honour, which would make the first winners Steve Lockley and Mike O'Driscoll in 1996 for the previous year's Welcome to My Nightmare convention. Jo Fletcher won it in 1997, then Des in 1998.

We added an additional award last year (Best Novella) for - I believe, and someone correct me if I'm wrong - about ?50 or so extra. In the lengthy debate earlier, someone (Pete C?) did say that we do get a good deal from Arthur Payn, who is a semi-retired sculptor and a longtime friend of the BFS. Commercially-produced statuettes might well cost a lot more.

Having said that, I'm not against a David Gemmell Award for Best Newcomer, as long as you have a definition of "newcomer" that you stick to. The John Campbell Award rules have you as eligible for two years from the date of your first professional sale (and there is a list of markets and publishers which constitute "professional"). This can cause difficulties for writers with slow-burning careers - Charles Stross became a big name quite suddenly over the last few years but he wasn't eligible as he'd made a professional sale in the 1990s. (I was eligible in 1995 and 1996, but no-one voted for me. :()

As for THE fantasy not being published at shorter lengths, what's stopping people from setting up a magazine to publish such fiction? Trevor Denyer did for a while with Legend. Apart from not being "epic", there's no reason why fantasy novellas can't be published, as long as they're good enough and there are publishers willing to take them on. PS has published novellas by Juliet McKenna and Steve Erikson, amongst others. Incidentally, talking about Fantasycon biases, the latter was one of last year's guests of honour.

Gary Couzens

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #37 on: August 22, 2006, 09:35:10 pm »
Returning to DLS's idea of a David Gemmell Award for THE fantasy fiction... There would be nothing to prevent anyone setting up, financing, defining and bestowing such an award *independently* of the BFS, then there would be no conflict with the BFS Best Novel Award and conceivable that the same work could win both!

Such an award would not be a BFS Award, but there's no reason why it couldn't be given at a Fantasycon with the organisers' consent.

Even so, you'll have to define what qualifies as "traditional, heroic, epic fantasy" and what doesn't!

David Lee Stone

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #38 on: August 22, 2006, 09:46:37 pm »
Gary

Thanks for all your points and opinions. I must admit, the independent award idea is seriously starting to sound like the better option.

A website and a yearly award would be absolutely no problem to fund and/or run, and I'm sure the field would benefit greatly from such a recognition....


 

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #39 on: August 22, 2006, 11:36:58 pm »
Maybe not in the right thread, but some of these postings have made a valid point: why does there appear to be so few short heroic fantasy stories? As has been said previously, almost all of the small presses in the UK that I've seen and that publish short fiction cater for non-THE fantasy. Almost all the UK small presses I've seen are published by fans of non-THE fantasy. Why is that? When I started reading fantasy a long time ago the shelves were full of short THE and related fantasy anthologies and collections: Conan, Fritz Leiber, Sprague de Camp, Swords Against Darkness, Lin Carter anthologies. These were professional books, not semi-pro/small press titles. Nowadays, in Waterstones you are hard pushed to see THE/S&S fantasy collections.

Maybe because non-THE fans went out and created their own imprints, non-THE short stories became more successful, more popular. Many of these people are BFS members, and they carriied their enthusiasm into the Society and hence the high number of so-called horror (this is a wide area) dominates the nominations.

When I edited DH (albeit for two issues) a decade ago, the greater majority of short story submissions were non-THE. I'm told it's not that much different now.

I'm told that the breakdown of THE and non-THE fans in the BFS is about equal. Certainly at Fantasycons you see a lot of attendees clutching the lastest epic fantasy. So why the apparent imbalance? If THE fantasy fans were as proactive as other fans, things may be different.

And for the record, there was a small press anthology published a few years ago that exclusively published heroic fiction. Ask Stan: he has a fine story contained therein. The book is SWORDS AGAINST THE MILLENNIUM, edited by Mike Chinn, and published by The Alchemy Press. Copies are still available; email me for further details.

And I am sure that if someone wishes to edited something similar for BFS publication, the committee would be receptive. Send a proposal to the Chair (but be prepared to do the work of soliciting, editing, and producing the book).





ChrisT

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #40 on: August 23, 2006, 09:14:38 am »
As we seem to be agreeing to disagreeing, maybe a DGMA would be better placed has an independent award, but given out at the annual FCon - and both organisations could then cross-promote each other.

I'm sure Gemmell's widow would be tickled, but I agree with Stan that he probably wouldn't like the award to be given to any work that is gratuitously horrific.

To be honest, I have very little interest in heroic fantasy, though has a young teenager I loved those sword and sorcery gamebooks.

Offline Stan Nicholls

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #41 on: August 23, 2006, 11:42:02 am »
[quote author=Peter Coleborn link=topic=747.msg4056#msg4056 date=1156286218

> ... why does there appear to be so few short heroic fantasy stories?<

The situation's somewhat healthier in the US, with F&SF, Realms of Fantasy, etc, and a trickle of anthologies.  Ditto Europe, where short stories in many genres still get published.
In the UK, maybe it's a reflection of the reading public's rejection of short stories - there are so few markets, paying or otherwise.  But I suspect it has something to do with the nature of fantasy itself.  Perhaps it simply doesn't lend itself well to the short form, not least because it involves establishing a setting - ie world building - and shorter length tells against that.

SN
 
 

Offline Chadbourn

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #42 on: August 24, 2006, 10:43:34 am »
As a big fan of the Weird Tales authors - R E Howard, Ashton Smith and the rest - I think fantasy works as well in short as it does in long.  The trick is, I think, to give a snapshot of your world rather than a full-blown canvas.

Completely off-topic, sorry.

David Lee Stone

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #43 on: August 24, 2006, 05:40:56 pm »
Sorry to keep this off topic for a post or two - but I loved Ashton Smith myself. Did you read The Abominations of Yondo???? FANTASTIC. The Nameless Offspring gave me one sleepless night I definitely didn't need.  :)

Offline JamesB

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Re: David Gemmell Memorial Award
« Reply #44 on: August 25, 2006, 11:27:15 am »
I'm not sure an independent award is the right way to go. I think we're all in the business of making the BFS as broad a church as possible in order to build profile and increase membership. Fantasy is a popular genre in the UK and the BFS should represent it in all its forms. I wonder whether it has been seen as niche/small press driven by many would-be members who do not often see their favourites discussed within the site pages or on the discussion boards. I don't know if that's true but it's a thought.

I'm very much in support of a Best Newcomer award named after David Gemmell. Inspirational to new writers and immediately attractive to fantasy readers who have traditionally only read the 'big names'. I understand the definition concerns and would suggest that it should be awarded to a first novel. The author could have written and published shorts/novellas etc but this would be a first full length novel published in the UK by any means (independent, POD, mainstream, whatever). David Gemmell wrote full length novels. The award should reflect that. And should it be exclusively fantasy? Well, while my first thought was 'hell yes, heroic fantasy debuts only' I've concluded that any area of the genre should be considered. And yes, it should therefore include all the bizarrely titled subsets of our magnificent area of literature.

I think it would be a mistake to make the award independent of the BFS. We should stand together, not plough a multitude of furrows. Surely, bringing more mainstream fans into the society can only help open their eyes to the mass of material out there that doesn't sit on the Waterstone's shelves. I'm with Stan, I think it would have made David smile and I think Stella would consider it a terrific and enduring tribute.

James

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« Last Edit: August 25, 2006, 11:28:54 am by JamesB »