Locus Online


April 1999
Comments from the 2nd Online Poll and Survey
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Another Plan B reader heard from...

The where do you get your books question is pretty bad. I only buy HC of a few authors. Otherwise I wait for PB. Or just buy in PB, as they donít publish in HC. [ We'll add another option, and a text field. -- ed. ]

I read Plan B and didnít vote for it for best novel. Keep making annoying remakrs like the ones you were making and Iíll post this URL to the Laurell K. Hamilton list. They are a lot more aggressive then Lee and Millerr fans. Notice where her books ended up on the modern library survey vs the Lee and Miller rankings.....

[ By all means. These demonstrations of the tactics, and manners, of certain groups of fans are quite entertaining. But hardly, you might consider, a credit to the authors whose works you, or they, seek to promote. -- ed. ]

Plan B readers respond to the 1st Poll results...

§ The power of email to influence online polls is pretty amazing. I saw the post on the Steve Miller/Sharon Lee [website?] about this poll a month or so ago and didnít do anything, though obviously a large group of people did. Which skewed the totally un-scientific poll you took. Ah well... you knew that anyway.

And I do like Plan B. Maybe itís not the best of the past year, but Iím a bad person to ask since my to-read pile is way too long these days.

§ Since people actually did read Plan B and Iím one of them, why donít you give it the award it deserves instead of being a bunch of shits? Your attitude is the reason I donít subscribe to Locus.

[ Award? ''Deserves''? Bloc voting has been tried in the Hugo Awards, and it was disallowed then, too. You should be happy we're giving your favorite book all this publicity! -- ed. ]

§ I had to laugh at your ''did you read'' choices. Interesting skew... Unfortunately, I havenít read all that much ''old'' sci fi, horror, or fantasy, so the slant that you have towards established authors *who are still current* is completely reinforced. Sure, I recognize Asimov and a few others, but many of the ''best of the best'' for the over 30 crowd are not familiar to me.

§ Do you believe that science fiction has really experienced a ''death'' of the midlist or is this just carping by writers who canít make the grade?

[ When the likes of Pat Cadigan and Christopher Priest are apparently reduced to writing film novelizations, it's hard to believe it's merely carping. -- ed. ]

§ Hereís a question:
Does the editorial bias of Locus toward writers with big money contracts and full page ads in Locus affect how many grains of salt you take the reviews with?

[ You're imagining reviewers are instructed how to review a book based on which ads have sold that month, or something? Why would a reviewer do such a thing, for the money? But don't take my word for it; compare which books get the big ads and which books get the longest, most positive reviews. Very little correspondence. -- ed. ]

§ What wonderful memories the second online survey brings back. Since I generally concentrate on reading novels, I was not aware just how much really good short fiction I have read within the field. The second survey does a good job of reminding me. I suspect that a very good reading list will be the result of it. And the surveys are a lot of fun to take. Well worth the small amount of time that I invested. Thanks for doing this.

§ Maybe a good article on classic Fantasy novels. Too many magazines and sites seem to think that Sci Fi is more important and/or serious than fantasy.

§ I agree with the person that commented in the last poll that today's writers fall well short of the masters of yesteryear. Weinbaum, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Stapledon, Coblentz etc., who today can write with that kind of literary command and embellishment of the English language. So many of today's artisans cannot write two paragraphs without having to resort to profanities and vulgarity to express what they seem to be unable to do in a dignified manner. And Empire of The Ants was a wonderful novel for 1998 by the way.

[ Empire of the Ants got 3 votes, as did 5 other books; just below the cut-off for our results listings. -- ed. ]

§ I donít keep up with enough current fiction to comment on the '98 choices. The answer for ''how I keep up with current fiction'' isnít quite correct -- for those authors I know I like, I buy the hardcover as soon as it is out (it may sit for a year or so, but it gets bought). As for other books, if they continue to be mentioned as ''seminal'' works, Iíll eventually check them out of the library if I canít find them in paperback. Iím at the point now when Iím finally get caught up with novels from the mid-90s...

§ Why include Ansible in your websites/webzines and not Tangent Online? Though new, it gets around 40,000 hits per month and the number is increasing rapidly.

[ No particular reason; we looked at last year's magazine survey for ideas. -- ed. ]

§ Suggested List will have biased the Poll. It is very difficult to limit selections to only 5. On another day I may have chosen a different 5 in each category.

[ We worried that without such lists votes would tend toward recent award winners, or a handful of stories that ''everyone knows'' are the all-time greats, like Asimov's ''Nightfall''. This is certainly not happening! And so far, a third to a half of the votes are for stories not on the suggested lists at all. -- ed. ]

§ Man, seeing the titles of all the old sf stories just about made me cry. I could reread them over and over again. I love going to old book stores and just wander around.

§ [vote for best novella:] NO AWARD (Iíve read a lot of them, and none are worthy)

§ Sorry for the partial completion but I canít choose out of the nearly hundered items I read this year -- let alone the thousands over the past two decades. I would prefer next time to have the survey structured like the second half of this one -- yes/no type questions.

[ We briefly considered having voters rate every story on the suggested reading lists (and allowing write-ins) and tallying those up... but we didn't think many voters would have the patience for that. -- ed. ]

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