Comments from the Locus Poll and Survey
Here are comments, presented anonymously and in random order, submitted by voters in this year’s Locus Poll and Survey. Results of the poll were published in the magazine’s July issue; survey results will appear in August issue.
Keep up the great work!
Thank you for putting in all the work on this survey.
“Do you get your news…” I don’t get all my news from any one source. Some on-line, 6 digital (Kindle) subs to newspapers from around the world, and 4 print subs. I almost never buy print books of any kind anymore; when I do it’s very often those gorgeous Subterranean special editions, or else something that isn’t in e-format, often non-fiction. But I can’t say I pay any of your ranges for e-books; I’ve bought a lot at <$3, but I've also spent >$12. I’ve read a few magazines on Kindle, but I don’t subscribe to any but Clarkesworld, not that I read all that much of it, really. In fact, while I used to read mostly SF, it’s been maybe 15 years since that was true. Terry Pratchett and China MiΘville – them I WILL buy print editions of – Michael Chabon if you count him, Katherine Rusch, and now Hugh Howey are the only people I buy right away. Everything I voted for I read this year, but mostly because of reviews in the Washington Post or New York Times, not because I thought of them as SF I neaeded to read…
There is not many good SciFi books being published — just mainly types of fantasy. I love Bujold, but her new book was *awful*! And I find that the authors I like now are rarely mentioned in Locus — but I enjoy reading Locus.
Not much help, I’m afraid–I’m way too far off the core demographic of anybody other than AARP and Medicare. I doubt that I’m even a typical “retiree.”
Thank you for another wonderful year of Locus! Quality never better.
Hi There, Every year I worry about the membership # (my mailing label looks nothing like what you have above), and every year it seems to be ok. Here’s hoping it continues. You people are doing a great job. Somewhat appalled Locus is not on the Hugo. Year in, year out it’s always my go-to guide. All the best, Jonathan K. Stephens
Keep up the great work :0)
Great work you do – keep on ! Anouk, from the French Riviera
Keep up the great work!
Hydrogen Sonata is NOT a sympathy vote; I had it at #1 long before I heard the sad news.
Thanks to Locus, I am kept abreast of what’s being published; and thanks to the poll, I buy and read more than I probably would otherwise. Keep up the good work!
You continue to be great; thank you for your hard work!
Virtually all of the books I read are from the library. I do not own a TV. [=>Possible additional questions for your poll?]
I look forward to Locus every month. I don’t get to conventions as much as I used to, and Locus is an important link to the SF world for me. Thanks for all the good work, year after year!
For the last few years, most of my books (100-150/year) come from the library instead of being purchased. As always, thanks to the whole Locus staff for all their hard work – it is much appreciated, and very much enjoyed!!
This is always the poll that best reflects my likes, so I appreciate the ability to vote. The article from Paul Kinkaid about SF being backward looking and lackluster is rubbish. I don’t find as many novels that bowl me over but the short fiction work is (and has been for several years) at a true golden age. And that, i find, is mostly from women writers. I am just as excited reading SF/Fantasy now as I was when I started in 1970.
Love it, live it.
Good poll but a lengthy, like most polls.
As usual, Locus provides a wealth of information I need in attempting to negotiate the huge amount of data in the science fiction world: reviews, rants, interviews, and data data data, big data, little data, and data mostly hidden or embedded in otherwise inaccessible sources.
My purchasing print books has stopped and I do all my reading on iBooks on an iPad or iPhone now. The only books I buy in print are RPG manuals, art books, and other “coffee table” books. My purchasing of these sort of print books has increased now that my “reading purchasing” has gone entirely digitial.
Keep up the great work! I’d like to see more coverage of graphic novels.
I sure enjoy LOCUS and am looking forward to seeing some of you in Seattle.
Locus is my bible.
Can’t keep up with the field. Hoping the next earthquake doesn’t tip over my To-Be-Read pile and kill me in my sleep!
My copy of Locus is sent to a friend who can’t afford his own copy. Some of the best science fiction stories are now classified as YA. Local library has been an excellent source of SF reading, luckily for my budget.
Used to buy more books, but this whole retired on fixed disability income makes it impossible. Thank ghods the local county library system has an excellent SF&F collection and acquisitions!
it’s an addiction. i am 36, and i’ve literally been addicted to sci-fi since i learned to read [age 3] my first solo-book [read by myself] was “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel”, Robert Heinlein, read at age 5. there are LOTS of books that were totally overlooked. seriously? yes, i wrote some of them in, but entire GENRES [sub-genres, i guess] are being overlooked, here. alternate history and urban fantasy being the top two.
My buying habits have shifted radically since the last time I took this poll. I now buy ebooks exclusively, except for a tiny handful that are not available (like Subterranean limiteds) or would be inferior as ebooks (such as Theodora Goss’s latest). I am about to switch my magazine subscriptions to digital editions wherever possible, and I plan to re-subscribe to Locus through Weightless. My lifestyle has also changed since having a child. I used to see a movie in the theater almost every weekend; now I almost never go to the theater, and rely on Netflix.
So it turns out that most of my 2012-2013 reading consisted of older books! I kept thinking of some awesome story or another only to realize that although I only read it last year, it was published long before that. I find I don’t really seek out specific magazines. I do notice if one or another keeps coming up in the background of the stories that strike me deeply, but I’m afraid my modus operandi is more — periodically go through short reclists (or anthologies), hit upon a good story, look up everything of the author’s that I can find online. Mostly, I attempt to live in the library.
I am mourning the decline of good classical SF.
Surprised Seanan McGuire and Mira Grant weren’t on the list.
I retired and am getting rid of about 5000 books – keeping autographed, most hardbound, and selected other paperback – switching to e-books.
As I have gotten older, I find myself not searching out a lot of brand new works, instead searching for quality reads of any age. Which means a lot of what I am reading is 1 to 5 years old. So less early adapter and more finicky. I also have read a lot of Urban Fiction. Initially to read from a woman’s perspective, and more now for the “world-building” which was one of the things that fascinates me the most in SF. My convention attendance is way down from 6 or 7 a year to an occasional jaunt. I join them but don’t go. This stems from being a bit jaded (my first con was in 1969) and not being as attracted to a lot of the fiction younger authors write. Its not the quality of SF is down, they really aren’t writing for me.
Locus continues to be a strong value for me, both in terms of information on genre and publishing, and in terms of community. I don’t buy much SF any longer; I have run out of places to store it. I get most of my reading material (SF, Fantasy, etc) from the library, both paper and ebooks. Locus should consider adding this to the poll. Thanks.
I am so glad that Locus exists. They keep me informed between conventions. I’m always thrilled when my picture is snapped at a convention. 🙂
I love the new mailers, it’s nice to get my magazines intact. At the risk of being a provincial American, I have no interest at all in non-English SF (I’m not upset that you cover it, but I just skip those pages) This might make an interesting future question for the Locus Poll. I know this is subjective, but it irritates me that Martha Wells does not show up on the your fantasy novel recommended reading, her novels are consistently brilliant.
It struck me that it would be helpful that for books that were reviewed in Locus, if the Locus issue number in which they were reviewed was shown alongside such titles listed in the annual recommended reading list. I’ve read very few of the titles in the 2012 which explains the paucity of votes. I’d also add that I get most of my reading from local libraries, which is why I buy very little fiction other than secondhand.
I’d love to see more Science Fiction books. I think a boom is coming.
Yyayyyy! you are great.
I sometimes worry that my votes are not very well informed. I tend to vote for what I read, unless I disliked it. That’s only a small selection of the material published in the year.
Believe it or not, though I read less last year than I have in a long time (moving can have that effect) I liked more of what I read and actually read a first novel last year (loaned/forced on me by a friend) I thought was good. I’m not as pessimistic as I have been, which means one thing-SF must be doomed! If an old fossil like me is cautiously optimistic, I’m afraid that spells the end for the field. Some day, before I shuffle off, I hope to own an e-reader. My shoulders have taken a pounding over the last 30+ years, so I can’t really hold up most HCs for long (I had to finish the first volume of the Autobiography of Mark Twain online, because it was taking forever, what with read three or four pages, put the book down and come back an hour later *sigh*). The interesting thing is, I’d spend way more on content in a year than I would the hardware, but coming up with the chunk of cash in the first place is difficult. I feel like the butterscotch man. Such is life.
Still mostly reading paperbacks (so a bit out of touch with recent works), and not really publisher/editor-focused
Thanks again for conducting the new edition of the Locus All-Time poll. It is a valuable resource.
I would subscribe to Locus in a heartbeat if it was available in Newsstand on iOS. The individual ePub/PDF thing you have going is not at all attractive to me; more trouble than it’s worth. I’d like to consume it the way I do Wired, or the New Yorker, or the other couple of magazines I subscribe to digitally.
Excluding new works from the main ‘Best’ categories has not gotten any less silly since last year, or the year before, or so on. Same annual comment about the lack of a home for Alternate History in the ‘Do you like…’ question. Probably should have replaced ‘Fringe’ with something currently running (‘Revolution’, maybe).
The list of questions starting with do you have high speed internet are best done with check all that apply format rather than yes-no. No is implied if unchecked (i.e., recode sysmis=no). Some questions, such as the series that starts with How many new hardcovers do you buy per month? are in the wrong format because one can check more than one per line. On the do you own…the one for TV, I think LCD is much more popular than plasma, so it should read LCD/HDTV instead. Fringe is not on par with the other listed items in terms of popularity, however moot since it should be removed for future years. If you numbered the questions, it would be easier to describe these issues. You did better in previous years…what happened with the programming?
You guys are kicking ass at Locus.
As usual, I can’t vote on the new books/stories categories since I tend to read things only after they appear in paperback or short story “best-ofs”. The only novel on this year’s list that I’ve read is “Redshirts”, which came out in paperback a couple of months ago.
I love LOCUS!
Locus continues to be an excellent magazine and source for what’s new in SF. i know this might be sacrilege, but i would not miss it if you would not do the issues on forthcoming books or did them less frequently. i would like the space that would create to be filled with more reviews and special themed issues. As i have aged i have less patience for multi-volume books, mainly because it is such a drag to have to wait for the next books to come out. They also seem to be prone to having more filler. Where are the good editors of yesteryear? Probably in my imagination.
To elaborate on how long I’ve read SF: have read it 25+ years, but only in the last 2-5 years has SF become my primary literary genre.
I wouldn’t be able to make an informed guess about the quality of SF I buy without Locus. The people who produce Locus are absolutely essential in helping me decide what I read. I’m not really fond of any type of fantasy or foreign SF and the only YA SF I’d read would be something my granddaughter had read and liked and wanted to discuss with me. I’m so sick of vampires I could vomit, ditto for elves, fairies, dragons, etc. I read Vol 1 of Patterson’s bio on Heinlein. The very first book of SF I ever read was Have Spacesuit Will Travel. It was a breath taking sense-of-wonder trip for me. And while I still enjoy most of his writing, I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have liked Heinlein the individual, had I known him personally. I have an extensive back list of SF that I’ve yet to read. One of these days I hope to retire and do that. In the meantime, Locus magazine is in excellent hands. Keep up the great work. Charles would be proud.
I think I made this comment last year or the year before, but what the hey: There’s never been a better time to be a science fiction writer; consequently, there’s never been a better time to be a science fiction reader. Not that it means anyone will make a buck off it, but a person who would get into this field to make a fortune is more in need of counseling anyway.
In the Books Received section of your magazine, I wish you would separate out the paranormal romance from science fiction/fantasy and young adult from general adult.
As usual, a lot of the books I buy are never-read remainders, and I still don’t know if I should be counting them as new or used!
Locus magazine is fantastic and wonderful. Great inspiration.
Can’t keep up with current reading, too many good books out there.
It’d be interesting to see which podcasts people regularly listen to.
Gads, glad that you are still going great!
I love Locus!
There are so many good artists, it really was hard to pick just five. Keep up the GOOD work!
Enjoy Locus quite a lot, especially the behind the scenes of writing and selling.
i made some comments in the last year survey about Locus short fiction editor should be paying more attention to Analog and that more attention shuld be paid to mid sized speciality cons, Readercon, Wiscon,etc Both thes things have happened Thank you
Thank you for having a YA section. I hope the Hugos gets on the bandwagon.
Great job as usual. I’m in fact both paper and digital suscriber (in France) but will soon be only digital (Santa got me a kindle ! and digital is really cheaper for an oversea subscribtion). This to say that I hope to get my +1 for the digital subscribtion even if I don’t give you my real subscribtion number! Benoεt – Lyon, FRANCE
I think a trend is how much decent SF TV there is on now. Takes up time I wold be reading. Other interests not covered include filk (why not on the list?), space, engineering, baseball. Locus is one of only 4 journals I read cover to cover.
I used to read Science Fiction almost exclusively until I encountered Stephen R. Donaldson’s “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever” back in the late 1970’s. Since then, I have read fantasy most of the time (about 60%).
For the past several months, it is my perception that Locus is focused more & more on short fiction – whether it’s magazines, anthologies, or collections. While I realize that critics/reviewers can read short fiction more quickly than novels, I’m beginning to feel short changed. The same short fiction is often reviewed by multiple critics, and reviews of longer fiction is becoming rarer and rarer, and when it is reviewed, it’s often in short form. If this trend continues, I will likely not renew my subscription. While I”m interested in the whole world of scifi/fantasy, I’m more interested in novel-length books, and want to see more reviews of them. Currently, I truly cannot recommend Locus for people who, like me, want to know about the world of long genre fiction, and not just short stories.
Still think that counting the subscribers twice isn’t right.
I’d like more about the vast changes coming/developing in publishing, especially self publishing by both new and established writers.
I had one grunch, but the eggplant over there…
I don’t subscribe, but either read the magazine at the library or purchase select issues.
I don’t read much sf now, though have in the past. But many of the questions you meant to be about sf (eg convetions and conferences) would be on chidlren’s literature – my subject. So i do read YA SF and Fantasy.
As I’ve mentioned before, the poll needs numbers between zero and one for the “per month” questions. I watch at least one theater movie per year, sometimes two or (rarely) three, but far fewer than one per month. I assume questions about “SF reading” include fantasy and have answered accordingly. I answered “yes” for “book collector” although I’m more of an “accumulator.” Perhaps those terms should be defined in the survey. Is it my imagination that LOCUS prints fewer book reviews per issue than in the past? I read the magazine mainly for the reviews and the “Forthcoming Books” lists (and secondly for the publishing news). I regard the interviews as a nice “extra” and would gladly see one of the two monthly interviews replaced by another two or three pages of short reviews. Or offer additional short reviews online (for free reading) to supplement the quantity that can fit in the print magazine. (I’m a print subscriber but don’t have the wrapper with my number.)
As someone who enjoys books that usually do not make it onto your recommended list, it always irritates me that the vast majority of my favorite books of the year have no chance of placing (much less winning) this poll. I continue to live in hope that enought people will remember reading and enjoying a book that is not on your recommended list and that it wins.
You are going a great job–Charlie would be proud!
Thank you, Locusites. I find I know fewer and fewer of the novels and stories – guess I’m getting old!
My consumption of media varies widely month to month. Also, I borrow 3-8 books a month from the library (many of which are new publications). If you want to get an accurate view of how much people are reading you should include questions about library usage.
I read almost no fantasy this year. Find the amount of YA material included in Locus worthless and a bit distressing. Also was not able to read any shorter length fiction, I was concentrating on book length SF. I no longer collect books (to expensive and space consuming.) I read the paperbacks and then pass them along to others. I will never support/use ereaders etc. for this reason (it’s impossible to share the book.) Also, the un healthy effects staring at tablets screens etc. is just too risky. I consult Locus Online daily, wish there were more reviews.
Am confused that Daily Science Fiction is one of the choices in your marketing poll yet not one of the choices to vote for. Yet Redstone is a voting choice, and that’s a dead market. Daily Science Fiction is quietly helping, with fair pay, a huge number of authors, (far more than many of the magazines on your list) is quietly satisfying a greater number of readers, (more than many magazines on your list) and deserves a nod from you. I realize Lois doesn’t want to review it, which is understandable since the volume is so great, but Locus could acknowledge that it has a strong track record and a huge following by including it in the poll. And perhaps Lois could review the Friday stories, which are longer, or perhaps pick a week every third month or something. Or Locus could do an overall interview/review/comment on the phenomenon. Also – I am not a regular subscriber but I do purchase individual issues here and there, as I can afford, and I read what you post online. Oh, also – if you don’t finish this poll at one sitting, it must refresh automatically because the next day all my answers were gone and I had to redo everything. ARG!
You do a wonderful thing for people like myself. however, maybe you could include more hard science and space opera, and expand your Tue. New books section. I like to buy as many as possible through your links, and, consequently, you’d benefit too. Thanks.
Disturbing trend watching publishers going out of business due to on-line books and such.
it started with Asimov but didn’t end with Zelazny
When I was the sf, fantasy and horror reviewer for the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS for 33 years, I read at least two genre books a week. Since the paper’s demise in 2009, I have been reading more mainstream novels–catching up on a lot I had missed (I had never read a John Grisham book). Therefore, I had to leave a lot of areas blank on this year’s survey. I still look forward to LOCUS each month as I have since the early ’70s.
Not sure why some dead artists like Frazetta or deceased magazines like Talebones are still on the poll. But otherwise great lists that help me look up new stories I have missed over the last year.
I subscribe to the e-Locus, and had been habitually downloading the PDF version because it mirrored the magazine. For the latest issue, I tried the Kindle version, and found it easier to read (because I didn’t have to adjust the screen often to get the right reading size). I’ll be downloading the Kindle format from now on.
Locus continues to be the Wall Street Journal and Atlantic Monthly of SF news and review publications.
I would love it if Locus digital subscriptions could be made available through the Kindle store in the same way that Analog or F&SF digital subscriptions are.