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It's always interesting to see the varied complaints against awards. I'm a juror on the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and we get to hear all manner of feedback - more in some years, usually when we never really reached consensus.

Here's Christopher Priest's complaint about this year's Clarke Award nominees.

...And here's John Scalzi's response.

EDIT: ...And here's Catherynne M. Valente's response (thanks, etcet).

Your thoughts?


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 29th, 2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
Good lord, Priest's diss of Stross's novel was a thing of beauty. I mean ouch for Stross, but I love to read a good pan, and dude, that was a good pan. I don't think I need to describe my glee at reading his opinion of Tepper's 2011 contribution.

As to his comments about the jurors for the Clarke award being incompetent, well. If the jurors are as beholden to the publishing world's response to their call for nominations as are the jurors of the Campbell, I don't think incompetence is the main issue. The main issue is that 2011 just kinda sucked for SF books. Even if it wasn't, calling for the resignation of the jurors and the cancelling of the award is ridiculous.

I didn't have to read Scalzi's reply to know what he'd say. Although I did. And I was right about what he'd say. While he has valid points, he is incorrect in diluting Priest's complaint to a matter of taste. Considering a book for an award has very little to do with one's personal taste. As Priest points out early in his rant, there are certain standards to which award-winners must be held. A juror might absolutely love a book but not feel it qualifies as an award-winner (if they're being a Good Juror). Whether the book suits one's personal taste should be only a small factor in its making the short list.

Although I side with Priest more than Scalzi in this particular argument, I love the idea of nominating Priest to head the Clarke jury for next year. That's just perfect.
Mar. 29th, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC)
That was my take, too: Priest has many valid points, but geez, dude, I'm tired of people blaming jurors for outcomes they disagree with. Hate it so much? YOU can be on the jury and see how you feel afterward.

I do think Scalzi has a point about taste, but your point is perhaps even more relevant: I have loved many books that I didn't vote for to win (though I often put them in my list of finalists so they would be recognized). A juried award is more than a popularity contest or display of personal taste: It ought to reflect the jurors' critical evaluations of many merits. I have, in fact, included books I did not like in my list of finalists, because I recognized their quality.
Mar. 30th, 2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
I agree with this comment and especially agree with I don't think I need to describe my glee at reading his opinion of Tepper's 2011 contribution....
Mar. 30th, 2012 05:00 pm (UTC)

*Fistbump* Sista!

Mar. 30th, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
Not a fan, eh? I think people either love or hate her work.
Mar. 29th, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
Scalzi 10, Priest 3 (Valente 7)

Maybe this flags me as a lightweight or a dilettante, but I had never even *heard* of Christopher Priest until yesterday (I've only been reading genre fiction for twenty years or so, and lately, I've been a lot more involved with and exposed to short fiction instead of novels, though I did enjoy Rule 34 enough to chuckle at it, but not enough that I won't feel bad if I lend my copy to someone else and not get it back).

[Thematically appropriate LJ icon by matociquala is thematically appropriate.]
Mar. 29th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting the link to Valente's contribution to the conversation. I liked what she had to say (even though I also liked Yellow Blue Tibia).

I might start reading her LJ now, because damn she's good with the funny. Daddy, you ain’t never gonna convince SF writers to quit it with the neologisms, that is what we call a lost damn cause is just golden. And true.
Mar. 29th, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
Indeed. She and Cherie Priest (cmpriest) and eBear (matociquala) bring a lot of signal to what little noise is left around here.
Mar. 31st, 2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
One good thing is that LJ has gotten easier to catch up on, whereas before FB and G+ I was always hopelessly behind. On the other hand, now I'm hopelessly behind because we have so MANY MORE social-networking tools. *sigh*
Mar. 30th, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
I used to read almost entirely at the short length, myself, and miss that being my primary reading! So nice to enjoy an entire story in the time it takes to get through a single chapter of a novel.

I loved Priest's The Separation, though he's probably most famous for The Prestige, which was also make into a movie.
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:11 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid that Priest is a bit of a dufus on this one.
Mar. 30th, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! What makes you say that? The fact that he's saying it at all, what with being a contender?
Mar. 31st, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
At the risk of showing myself, once again, to be Not Serious, I must say that pissing contests, posturing, denunciations, manifestos, assignment of status and ranking, apportionment of blame, and separation of the sheep from the goats are all things I go to fiction to AVOID.
Mar. 31st, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha! Yeah, I think Priest is less likely to make friends among those he's skewering.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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