Dear Locus Online:
§ Dear Locus Online:
I found it interesting that Theodore Sturgeon tied for 6th as “all-time short fiction writer” without placing a single story in any of the other categories. Is it possible that so many of Sturgeon’s fellow writers have lavished praise upon him that “everyone knows he’s great” without being exactly sure why? (I am perhaps guilty of exactly that, voting for Sturgeon as a writer without specifying any of his stories in the other categories.) I suspect that “Microcosmic God” or “Baby Is Three” (both reprinted in the first two “SF Hall of Fame” volumes) might have made the poll if they’d appeared on the lists of suggestions. Indeed, Sturgeon wrote so many excellent stories -- far more than appeared on your lists -- that his fans might have found it difficult to agree on a few that clearly stand out above the rest. I’d like to see a list of which writers got the most votes in the story categories; this could settle the question of whether Sturgeon’s reputation overshadows his impact on today’s readers, or whether it was just impossible to agree on his “greatest” work. (If the latter is true, maybe you could hold an all-Sturgeon poll to settle it!)
[Part of the answer is that some popular writers have so many popular stories that votes don't accumulate for any one story -- as you admit by your votes. Since you wrote I've posted tabulations of all-time short fiction writer derived from short fiction votes, and collection votes. Sturgeon rates lower by these two rankings -- indicating that his reputation doesn't rest on just a couple stories or books. Also, since you wrote, I've extended the posted short fiction results to include all stories that got 3 votes or more, so that ''Microcosmic God'' does appear on the novelette list. The lists of suggestions were derived from counts of anthology and collection reprints, with award winners added in; not an ideal correspondence with all-time popularity, perhaps. ''Baby Is Three'' is seldom reprinted, for example, since it's a part of More Than Human.
|© 1999 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.|