Wednesday, December 23, 2015

BSFA noms

Just real quick: haven't fully checked out eligibility etc. but will probably nominate Sandra Newman, Country of Ice Cream Star, Adam Roberts, Rave & Let Die, Steve Aylett, Heart of the Original & others tba. Here is the list of suggestions (& here is where you can suggest eligible works).
Might try to squeeze in some haphazard short fiction reading before the end of the year: AC Wise has a pretty intriguing looking list & Ethan Robinson looked at hundreds of stories in half the year. Nina Allan has some short sf recommendations and some great non-fiction recommendations (to which you should add something by Nina Allan).

Update: Oops, Ice Cream isn't actually eligible -- seems to have been published in 2014 in the UK and 2015 in the US. I wonder about the eligibility of Adam Roberts's The Thing Itself, which was published at the very end of 2015 but says it was published in 2016? (UPDATE: It's on the longlist). Also have fixed the AC Wise link, and this from Wise is a hella useful hub.

Update: Okay, I have to admit the BSFA process confused me a bit. I am easily confused. I think this is how it works, although I sound kind of paranoid and weird even to myself.

Suggestions and round one
There is a window for both suggestions and nominations from 1 September to 31 December. Anyone can suggest anything, so long as it is eligible. Suggestions are different from nominations. You don't have to be a BSFA member to suggest something. Suggestions basically go into a big crowdsourced eligibility list, which is this Googledoc spreadsheet. Updates are more-or-less live. You could suggest your own writing if you want to. You make these suggestions using this form.

At the same time as suggestions are being gathered, BSFA members can make up to four round one nominations in each category. This is done using the form at the bottom of this page. I assume (but I can't find anything to confirm it) that the output will be a longlist of all nominations received, in order of popularity. Perhaps it will also say exactly how many people nominated each work. (UPDATE: No, it's just a big list in alphabetical order).

Round two
Then, from 1 January to 31 January, BSFA members can vote for works on the longlist to determine what actually gets onto the ballot. I'm not sure how that works: perhaps each member has four unranked votes per category, or perhaps some other system. (UPDATE: yep, the four votes thing). I assume the output will be a ballot of five works per category (unless there are ties, and/or some of the most-nominated five works get fewer than the minimum of three second round votes each). The form and the instructions will appear when they are needed, on the same page which currently hosts the round one nominations form.

Then the shortlist is assembled for each categories, the ballots are sent out, and BSFA members have until Eastercon (in April) to vote using a ranked preference system.

If I have got it right, there are some things I quite like about it. It's useful to throw a wide net at the suggestions stage. Then seeing the slightly more filtered longlist might be productive and fun: if there are some much-nominated things you've never heard of, you've got enough time to check them out; if something absolutely fantastic has slipped onto the lower reaches, you might have time to hose everyone down with your zeal. (UPDATE: the first bit holds true, but not really the second bit, since it's not in order of popularity after all).

An obvious question is how it would stand up to Puppy-style slating etc., though the UK doesn't really do that, or school shootings, in quite the same way yet. While we're at it, here's my proposal for reforming the Hugos. Last year, when there was only one round of BSFA nominations, I suggested four nominations per member was too few: with a small membership, and diffuse voting in the short story category, only three stories got three or more nominations. (I think that's what happened). The tweaks this time round should go some way to fixing that, if people who nominated the lower reaches in round one generally drift toward the upper reaches in round two, or seriously drum up support for their original nominations. We'll see. Maybe Marine le Pen will do really well on the longlist, but not on the shortlist. (The BSFA don't seem to be using the word "longlist," so some of this may be wrong. (UPDATE: OK, now everyone's talking about the "longlist")).

tl;dr: I think I like the new system!

Update: I've already made my noms but it just occurred to me, too late, that maybe I should have nominated this post, by Édouard Brière-Allard, a fairly numbingly persnickety and studious response to Laura J. Mixon's even more numbingly persnickety and studious Hugo-winning take-down of the collected trolls and criticism of Requires Hate. Whatever you think of the controversy, or wherever you are placed in it, or whatever personal suffering you've -- oh Gawd, I can't really avoid bringing this up without having a Stance, can I? For what it's worth, I've no clue how to navigate the huge mass of claim and counterclaim, and I basically just tend to fall back on the heuristic that Requires Hate's politics feel far more sensible to me than what I reasonably presume Mixon's politics are, together with the presumption that the conflict was surely political as well as interpersonal and/or literary-critical and/or about "how you should treat people" -- the three of us should hang out and get to the bottom of it! -- so, whatever you think of the controversy, it's possible you might admire Brière-Allard's handling of the overblown and Grand-Guignol idiom of contemporary online social justice, and the bewilderment or bad faith in which it is frequently received by liberals, and his gently relentless dismantling of Mixon's scientism and tacit claims to objective systematicity. Of course, it's a sly piece too: because its own scientism can always be disavowed as a knowing, quasi-satiric pseudo-scientism. Anyway, like a lot of us, I was brought up to believe that you can always show any tacit claim to objective systematicity to be hooey, but I think Brière-Allard has gone ahead and done it here.

But I don't know? -- I guess the only good I can really imagine coming from Brière-Allard's piece sliding onto the BSFA longlist, or even the ballot shortlist, would be if it got a few more hits, but maybe not gazillions, and if the piece's getting mildly valorized were mediated through that fairly pervasive, though probably not pervasive enough, USian perception of British eccentricity, where that perception is intermixed with a vague suspicion that those Brits might just be onto something, with their Monty Python and their anarchism and their Grimes and their NHS, as well as with the concrete comfort that if they are onto something, it will never matter, because they will always insist on "communicating" it through the discursive equivalent of a post-supernova star collapsing in under its own gravity and, especially, its own awkwardness. Because if it weren't softened in some way, it might just be reviving old griefs and fanning the wrong kind of flames. Oh I'm just vice-signalling here basically. (UPDATE: it's on the longlist).

No comments:

Post a Comment