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April 29, 2005

2005 Locus Poll
Posted by Teresa at 11:23 AM * 41 comments

Just thought I’d mention that May first is the deadline for the 2005 Locus Poll, which is the largest reader poll in science fiction and fantasy.

(I will, with superhuman resolve, refrain from saying anything about Our Books.) (Which we love.) (And think are wonderful.)*

Anyway, the Locus Poll makes it really easy to vote. They’ve got their lists of recommendations loaded into the ballot form as pull-down menus, though if you’d rather vote for something not on the lists, you just have to type it in. Anyone can vote, though if you’re a Locus subscriber, you get an extra issue added to your subscription for voting.

That’s all.

Comments on 2005 Locus Poll:
#1 ::: Steve Thorn ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 11:59 AM:

Wow, looking through the ballot reminded me of how little I read last year.

#2 ::: Steve Thorn ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 12:01 PM:

Then again, I was writing a lot. Yeah, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

#3 ::: John Klima ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 12:04 PM:

Sorry to shill here Teresa, but Alan DeNiro's story that was in Electric Velocipede, "A Keeper," (which is on Locus' recommended list) can be read in its entirety online at:

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 12:05 PM:

(mumble) stphn zlnsk (mumble)

#5 ::: Mike G. ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 12:23 PM:

Hey, where's the entry to vote for "Atlanta Nights"? Or it that going to be eligible next year? :)

#6 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 12:33 PM:

I thought that Atlanta Nights was ineligible, as it must have first been published in some other language, and then badly translated. Of course, one can always vote for it, and let Locus decide.

I reference:

Paresa and Tatrick Hielsen-Nayden, "The Domino Theory of Books: Influences of Thomas L. Friedman, Julia Moore, William T. McGonagall, Amanda McKittrick Ros, Florence Foster Jenkins, Edward D. Wood Jr., and Petley Studios on Travis Teas's Atlanta Nights", Journal of Interdisciplinary Academico-obfuscatory Skills, 3(14)1-59, 1 Apr 2005.

#7 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 12:59 PM:

Well, I went there with the intention of responding, but, although my browser window covers most of my screen, I had to scroll right to left to read the insructions. I departed. I hate that.


#8 ::: Demus ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 01:45 PM:

Voting on the main ballot took mere moments to finish. Voting on the best short fantasy stories of all time...I gave up after an hour. Ranking them just made me feel wrong.

#9 ::: Piscusfiche ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 02:04 PM:

Argh. I just moved and all my Locus magazines are in boxes. (What is the proper plural of Locus? I really and flippantly want to say Loci but I know that's wrong. And I know that trademarked names are actually supposed to be used as descriptors, ie. Tylenol pain reliever or Kleenex tissue, so I went for Locus magazines but that's just so... clunky.)

Anyway, I'm contemplating the giant pile of boxes, with about seventy of them labelled as "Books". (The moving men cursed my name as they hauled those boxes up three flights of stairs--we have no elevator.) And I have no clue which of them has my Locus subscriptions....

Guess this gives me a reason to unpack quickly. The things one will do for an extra issue....

#10 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 02:35 PM:

The proper plural is "Loca", as it changes from male in the singular to neuter in the plural, quite possibly the only noun in Latin to do so.

Trivia R Us.

#11 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 03:23 PM:

Boy, I'm with Steve...this really drove home how few of the books I've read lately are of "recent" vintage.

This just confirms to me that my planned excursion to Borders is well justified!

#12 ::: Lillian ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 03:28 PM:

Just 70 boxes? I moved last August (week before WorldCon, natch), and I had 82 boxes of books. This was AFTER I did a major clean sweep of the library. Luckily I live on the first floor.
Good golly, I voted in the Locus poll months ago. Be interesting to see what wins, if I can remember how I voted...I read even fewer of the nominees than usual, but I've been getting my fledgling jewelry business off the ground, and that leaves very little time for recreational anything. Toss in a new kitten (now 8 months old), and my 'to read' pile is above my hip and climbing.

#13 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 03:49 PM:

Only one of the books I read in the last year was published in 2004 -- Ringworld's Children. I bought Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell, but I haven't started reading it yet...I'm reading a couple of short novels to cleanse my palate after slogging dejectedly through Little, Big (Sorry, I know it's supposed to be the Greatest Fantasy Novel ever, but I prefer stories in which stuff, like, happens). Once I'm done with the shorties I should be ready to jump into another doorstopper.

It's convenient that they put stuff in drop-downs, but it seems like it'll tend to skew the poll toward their selections, making the data more uniform and less interesting than it would be if they didn't provide any hints.

#14 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 03:51 PM:

I mean, of course, "in the past year," not "in the last year." At least, I hope there are years yet to come.

#15 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 04:38 PM:

I've read lots of books this year, and bought lots of books this year, but the sets only slightly intersect. I'm currently reading Egan's Darwin's Radio, which is from 1999 and in with the 2000 books.

#16 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 05:49 PM:

Whence, I wonder, did they get their list for Best Fantasy Novel of All Time and Space? It seemed to me there were things missing. Similarly, when they asked what sort of fantasy I liked, the options (High/Heroic; humorous;romantic) did not cover the stuff I actually like.

I did mention, after the exhaustive "who are you" questionnaire following the vote, that my favorite flavor of ice cream is coffee. They asked just about everything else.

#17 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 09:44 PM:

Skwid: thank you for that link. I'm just this minute back from Borders, and I've already exhausted my weekend's supply of coupons. I thought that I had printed out a sufficient supply, but I wound up bringing my entire family out to the bookstore. (I get most of my junk mail at my work email, so it would have been a pain to drive back to the office just for more.)

Count me among those who are ludicrously behind on their reading. I find that my time for reading is increasingly being stolen by the internet, at the expense of time for reading real live books.

And Teresa, thank you for the reminder: Locus used to have their deadline on April 15th, which was a lot easier to remember as a Looming Deadline. Some years, filling out the Locus ballot would be more anxiety-inducing than taxes.

#18 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 10:02 PM:

John Klima, by all means go ahead and shill. It's different when other people do it.

Everybody knows they can vote for Electric Velocipede for Best Magazine, right? Or for some other magazine, of course; but Electric Velocipede is right there on the "recommended" pull-down menu. That makes it easy to vote for.

The same is not true of Mike Ford's Heat of Fusion, which is unaccountably missing from the list for Best Single-Author Anthology; likewise Stephan Zielinski's Bad Magic, which isn't on the recommended list for Best First Novel.

I'm just sayin'.

#19 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 10:34 PM:

Oh, and Locus is running a separate poll for "All-time Best Fantasy Story".

That was fun, too.

#20 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 11:39 PM:

I knew I'd read very few novels from 2004, but I thought I'd read a fair amount of shorter works from that year.

Yeeps. Not that many, apparently. Lot of titles I didn't recognize. Many of the titles I recognized stopped there; couldn't remember the stories that went with titles. Ended up with less than half a dozen shorter works where I culd remember the story clearly. (And one of those was a gimmicky short story that I remembered because it annoyed me.)

#21 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 11:40 PM:

As long as we're shilling, neither Rosemary Edghill's fantasy anthology Murder by Magic nor my story in it, "A Tremble in the Air," are on a drop down menu.

#22 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2005, 11:59 PM:

Piscusfiche. Yeah: moving. Boxes, piles, sorting, throwing (pain), saving .... (See also Moving House, June 24, 2004 ; Grind, June 29, 2004)

My own home is 12-foot-wide inner-city terrace, already has nearly 3 housefuls of stuff in it (bought it with contents from the deceased estate of a relative, so it included much family history).

For around 5 years I've been staying with my frail mother in the flat where I grew up, in which we lived from 1958, caring for her. She's now past that stage, will have to go into full-time care and we will need to rent out the flat to help pay for her care. (Prices have gone crazy, I'd never be able to buy anything like it, so hope to keep it for my 'social security'.) Almost 50 years of two hoarders lives, including all the family stuff that isn't in my house needs to be sorted, thrown, moved (where!?), etc.

My partner's house was in a hideous mess (Do hoarders attract hoarders?) when he died & I fell ill simultaneously. After 2-3 years work it's much better - down to "normal" household situation, but badly needs repair. Have to decide if can afford to repair. If can rent, use for storage, whatever.

My good friend who did most of that work was retrenched, can't live on his savings, has decided to move to Singapore where it's cheaper to live [any comments, anyone?]. He plans to rent his flat out for a while, decide if to sell it later; therefore needs to clear it out, decide what to do with the hundreds (thousands?) of books and further hundreds of DVDs, dozens of dragons he's collected or been given, and the rest of his stuff. Harder to go & blob on his couch with a cuppa when it's ~4,000k North West.

I get to work this week and find they're going to tear up the carpet & put in a new one, so everyone has to pack up all their things & throw out what's unwanted. I think you've seen what sort of things accumulate around publishing/editing type desks (well, cubical farms). Sigh. There's no escape.

Trying to think positive. Have home(s), mother (a bit), friends, job; city & infrastructure more or less in working order; will have contact with friends. Facing same age birthday as Glenn Gould died (and Douglas Adams?). Kinda big life landmark - think this could be characterised as "mid-life crisis" developing on the base of all the illness and death recently, with this disruption putting the icing on top.

Reading here about other peoples difficulties has also been fortifying. Is good because it's not a dedicated self-help or support group, but a community of interest in several things of interest that can "take you out of yourself", but with other positive effects too.

#23 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2005, 08:17 AM:

I like the fact that their poll asks for the "Subscriber Number" and gives careful instructions on how to find it on the mailing label. Of course, they mail their magazine in an envelope, which barely makes it inside the house before being ripped open and discarded, so I don't actually have access to the mailing labels...

It's also striking to see the huge number of categories of things that I just have no information about. I wrote in Heat of Fusion for "Best Single-Author Collection," but I think it may have been the only single-author collection I read last year. I didn't even look at the short fiction lists (I don't read any SF magazines, so the chances that I read any of the stories are slim), and beyond a couple of people at Tor, I have no idea who any of the editors are, or what they've edited.

Locus has a real gift for making me feel like a bad fan...

#24 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2005, 10:03 AM:

Marilee, that's Greg Bear's _Darwin's Radio_, and if you find yourself not liking it--trust me, it doesn't get better.

#25 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2005, 12:48 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz:

"Marilee, that's Greg Bear's _Darwin's Radio_..."

Thanks. I was afraid that I'd slipped into an alternature universe. One where Greg Egan, Greg Bear, and Greg Benford had been cyclically permuted. It almost made sense. Bear and Benford team with Brin, afer all, as the "killer Bs." Benford and Brin did coauthor "Heart of the Comet" -- which correctly predicted the diameter of the nucleus of Halley's comet.

Greg Bear is unique in starting as a magazine cover artists and mutating into a Hard Science Fiction author. Greg Egan is on the extreme event horizon of Hard SF, in a way which tickles my Math lobes. If Greg Benford wrote Greg Egan, the fiction would be more cinematic, with Physics displacing Math at the core of the ontology. If Greg Egan wrote Greg Bear fiction, I'd really like to see his take on "Blood Music." It would probably be publishable at a Mathematical Nanotechnology conference.

This all reminds me of those wonder days in early Mad Magazine where they would have a daisy chain of poetry pastiches, as if famous poet A wrote famous poem B, the author of famous poem B wrote famous poem C, and amazingly back to author of famous poet F writing poem A. I know those influenced me. Was John Ford similarly warped?

#26 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2005, 03:59 PM:

Oh yeah. You know, the weird thing is I looked at that to make sure I had the right Greg and *still* got it wrong. Actually, I like it pretty well. The "science" has a fair bit of possibility.

When we picked books for the next year, last SF discussion group, we picked Diaspora for Greg Egan and I had to remind people that it would be a hard book to read for some, so it should get placed between two easier reads.

We had a new guy at that meeting, typical geek look, and he joined right in, which is nice.

#27 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2005, 07:54 PM:


"decide what to do with the ... hundreds of DVDs"?

The son of a co-worker has just been deployed to Afghanistan. She's been collecting unwanted DVDs--according to her, "They don't have room for much, but they enjoy DVDs."

May your friend go and do likewise.

#28 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2005, 06:51 AM:

Since we're on Locus here, did anyone see Paula Guran's interesting article on Locus' attitude to POD at DarchEcho?

It's here.

As Teresa is all over the less savory exploiters of POD, I thought you'd find it interesting....

#29 ::: Piscusfiche ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2005, 07:13 PM:

OT to Epacris: Oooo, that does sound painful. I myself have to fight the hoarding genes and work on regularly throwing out (or giving away) things I haven't used. I had a moment shortly after we moved in--a little old lady in the house next to ours just died, and instead of selling or cleaning her house, her family just got a giant dumpster and put in front of our house, and we had people rummaging through it all week. (It was like having giant rats. We could hear them at night.) Anyway, I had to tell myself over and over that I couldn't and really shouldn't go dumpster diving until we had our stuff back from the movers and knew where we were going to put stuff anyway.

(On-topic: I still haven't found my Locus box. Oh well.)

#30 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2005, 09:57 PM:

Is it ethical to vote when you haven't read every single entry? I skipped voting for the SAG awards this year because I saw so few films last year. But on the other hand I didn't see where it said you had to have read them all and the ones I did vote for I loved so much it's hard to imagine liking something else more.

Epacris that's a really hard situation. In my own experence it's harder to get rid of reminders of someone when the someone is no longer here to give you new memories. It's easy to get overwhelmed.

#31 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2005, 12:55 AM:

Ah, a chance to correct Tom W. How lovely.

"Locus" in the sense of "place" does turn neuter in the plural and become "loca"; however, it can also mean "a passage from literature" and in this sense it remains masculine and pluralizes as "loci".

#32 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2005, 10:24 AM:

Georgiana, if you had to read every single entry to vote, even Don D'Ammassa would have to recuse himself. We all do our voting in a state of imperfect knowledge.

#33 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2005, 01:01 PM:

Any poll that includes For Us the Living as recommended needn't be taken too seriously.

#34 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2005, 02:13 PM:

Clark E Myers:

"Any poll that includes For Us the Living..." is trying to nail down reader attitude on a book of historical significance in understanding the development of a vastly important author. In the same way, the multivolume publication of the complete short fiction of Theodore Sturgeon is wonderful, even if some of the early stories in the first volume are mere finger exercises by an author from before he found his voice, and became one of the best short story authors of the English language, transcending genre.

Isn't the worst book by a great writer worth being in the same lists as the best book by a poor writer?

#35 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2005, 03:01 PM:

And speaking of egregious errors...I wrote in Forge for best publisher. Ah well.

#36 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2005, 04:39 PM:

"Any poll that includes For Us the Living as recommended needn't be taken too seriously."

I would certainly have included For Us, The Living if I'd been compiling a large list of 2004 books of particular interest to SF readers, professionals, scholars, and fans. The annual Locus "Recommended Books" list (compiled by their reviewers) isn't called "Fun Skiffy Page-Turners". Quite the contrary, books are on the list for all kinds of reasons, and scholarly and biographical interest are among them.

For Us, the Living is a pretty bad book, but it's interesting in the context of a long and very influential career--enough so that thousands of people have read it despite its flaws. Rather than sneering at people for being interested in it, how about noticing that the SF field is a place where even people without academic backgrounds take a lively and engaged interest in literary history, biography, marginalia, criticism, and so forth? I think that's one of the most admirable and remarkable things about our subculture--we're not just engaged in a project of looking for fun "beach reads," we're also interested in making sense of our own history.

#37 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2005, 05:43 PM:

On the off chance that I am being accused of sneering at Mr. Heinlein I'll take exception.

On the other hand I'll stand by my point that selecting a small number of top picks - as distinguished from inclusion on a large list of 2004 books - from a disparate list without further explanation need not be taken seriously.

The disparate even incommensurate nature of the preliminary list - with occasional omissions - suggests the final tabulation will reflect many a different and unknown selection criterion. Myself I can't see the top picks as representing any particular criterion, not even name recognition nor popularity contest. Therefore I conclude the poll need not be taken too seriously.

I invite anybody here to tell me that the forthcoming tabulation from Locus should be taken seriously and why.

#38 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2005, 05:55 PM:

Isn't the worst book by a great writer worth being in the same lists as the best book by a poor writer?


That way lies a surfeit of anthologies filled with trunk stories.

#39 ::: Piscusfiche ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2005, 12:53 PM:

I finally found my Loca. (Too late to get more free Locus, but oh well.)

I think I broke down about fifteen or so boxes last night. Whee! The unpacking!

#40 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2005, 02:48 PM:

Clark E Myers:

"That way lies a surfeit of anthologies filled with trunk stories."

Ernest Hemingway famously lost his trunk of several year's manuscripts on a train. I'd pay to see the least of them.

On an earlier thread I said that there were two extreme types of anthologies: "Major Stories by Minor Authors," and "Minor Stories by Major Authors." Most actual anthologies are linear combinations of these extremes.

#41 ::: Earl sees tracking spam at 41 ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 04:21 AM:

Very similar to other recent spam.

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