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Wednesday 23 August 2006

Comments from the 2006 Locus Poll & Survey

• 1) It's personally maddening NOT to recognize virtually all the novella/novellete/short-story entries. I'm an avid science fiction reader, love the shorter works, yet find no easy way to stay fresh. The market does not fit my consumer profile. Somebody might find a business in a combination e-book/podcast scenario, i.e. leverage the IPOD market (with the newest versions, the screen size is viable for a) text, b) audiostories, c) short video, e.g. author interviews. 2) Have you considered adding a category to the poll for audiobooks? I wonder how many people are like me, travel a lot for business or commute or are otherwise mobile, and leverage audible.com and itunes for new books. Keep up the great work on Locus.

• Add a monthly article about book collecting in your magazine. What is valuable, what is not, your picks of todayís SF that will be collectible tomorrow.

• After about 42 years I dropped my Analog subscription last year because they no longer publish SF which interests me. Also, I donated about 7,000+ books and magazines to the Popular Literature collection at Bowling Green State University (Ohio) when I retired. It was basically things I read over the years, not a "collection" as such.

• Also interested in related subjects: Twilight Zone Outer Limits.

• Although I read a lot of Sf/F I also read a lot of mainstream and crime fiction. I must say I deplore the increasing trend towards SF romances, media novels (Star Trek, etc.) and military SF. I would never touch a Baen book with a 10 ft pole. Their covers alone are off putting.

• Although I was not able to go to any cons last year for medical reasons, I usually go to 1 or 2 per year. This year I plan to attend MediaWest and World Fantasy.

• As an author, much of what I read is research, which is also pleasure. That means a lot of nonfiction in many different areas. My fiction reading is a pleasure, one in which I do not indulge when I'm actively writing.

• Being British some of these answers are subjective.

• Being that I am in Canada, I have access to the Space Network for my SF.

• Boy, twenty-four hundred books last year? Sheesh. I check my recommended reading list I have filed from the first time I subscribed, in 1993. Around fourteen hundred. And magazines are going down the tube. How many people actually read really good science fiction (ala Baxter, Simmons, Le Guin, Silverberg, McDevitt, etc. etc.)? Or, are most readers into media books (Buffy, Star Wars, Warhammer, etc.)? I love the TV shows (Buffy, the Star Trek and others) but I enjoy real, honest science fiction to read. And I see almost no one else reading this. I know I'm not alone, but where are the others? Sigh. . .

• Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you. May all of the above mentioned, become absolute winners someday.

• Even though I buy much my reading time is limited. Therefore any reading I've done this year are from books released in the past. Thus the reason why there is no votes, just the survey answers.

• Five votes per category is too much - I'd go top three only.

• Futurismic are publishing fantastic short sf online, and I believe deserve a mention. I would also add Postscripts to the list of magazines "read regularly", but perhaps at four issues a year it's too infrequent? I am currently with a partner (5 years) but not married nor really planning to. I guess that's "other", but to me it's equivalent to "married". Maybe another option? The occupations always confuse me. I've ticked more than one for "secondary" - sorry! But may I suggest the html is coded so that some "one-choice-only" options are radio buttons rather than separate tickboxes?

• Good survey

• Great magazine and website. Keep up the good work.

• hi i dont like your mag too much

• Hi, I know I only voted for a couple items in the Poll, so if you don't want to give me the extra issue, that's fine. As I've said before, and I'll probably say again, the reason I didn't vote for more is because virtually all of these books came out and are currently available only in hardback - and most of the ones that are otherwise available are only in trade paper. I don't buy hardbacks and I don't buy trade paper, which always leaves me, at best, a year behind. It's no accident that the book(s) I voted for are paperback originals, and I unfortunately doubt that Bear will keep doing that now that she's made a name for herself. And my second choice for best is the Traviss, also a paperback original. Hardback fiction is a rip-off, and trade paper is an horrendous rip-off. So, unfortunately, I'll never be able to vote much in the Locus Poll ever again :-(.

• Hmm, "married, single, formerly married, other" -- OTHER? I'm sure such literate people can come up with something better than "OTHER".... ;-) I'm not sure if I'm interested in ST/SW/Buffy/etc. the way you mean it (how do you mean it? what's the purpose of that question?), but I checked them anyway. Love the magazine, of course. Thanks for all you do!

• How about some respect for R. Scott Bakker? The man has has just completed a fantasy trilogy for the ages, and he didn't even make the ballot. Shame on you, Locus.

• How could you not put OLD MAN'S WAR and VERY BAD DEATHS on your dropdown menu for best Novel?

• I always skim the short fiction reviews in Locus and read the author interviews.

• I am not voting since I can't remember the names of anything I've read. I enjoy LOCUS and knowing what is going in the the SciFi and publishing world. Thanks!

• I check Locus Online daily, for news. I made my first fiction sale recently, as a result of a contact I found in Locus.

• I didn't include all the manga I buy in the trade paperback category, because I thought it would throw off your totals. If manga is included then my total for the year would be about 50+ !!!

• I don't get the Sci-Fi channel as I live in Canada, but I do get SPACE: the Imagination Station.

• I don't know if the novels I list in each category above are best, they're just the only ones I've read. Much of my SF reading is from the local library, & usually not current unless I'm lucky enough to be the one to find it on the shelf first.

• I don't think I have ever been more dedicated to a magazine than I am to Locus. It is essentially the only source I have for the comings and goings of the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Because of Locus I have begun to read Sci-Fi and I thank you heartily for that because I truly enjoy the genre and without seeing writers like Jack McDevitt, Ken MacLeod and Scott Westerfeld in the pages of your magazine I never would have ventured into the pages of their books. I am surely the richer for it.

• I enjoy your magazine, though would still like the reviews to reveal fewer plot details. I would also like to see a regular column that focuses on fantasy/sci-fi/horror being published in the mainstream. Keep up the good work.

• I guess I didn't read all that much this year and what I did read was not new to 2005. Maybe I'll do better in 2006. Keep up the good work!

• I hate to sound the same tune over and over again, but I read less and less each year, as there seem to be fewer books of interest each year. When the price of a HC was still relatively affordable for me, I could take a chance on something I wasn't sure about, but at $23-25+ a pop, I can't do that any more. I mostly wait for books to come out in PB these days and, even then, I have to buy them used most of the time these days. I was smart enough to buy a Lifetime sub to CD Publications more than ten years ago. Other than that, most of my reading is short fiction in the magazines and in anthologies and collections, with perhaps 15-20 novels a year or thereabouts, unless I can buy them used. Oh, well.

• I have no idea why I'm doing this.

• I live in New Zealand, and can't keep up to date with much new fiction, so haven't given any nominations.

• I love Locus and Locus Online. Please keep up the wonderful work. As long as I get my Locus each month, I'm a happy man.

• I love the survey...but a few less questions would be nice. Filling it out took a while. Also, I'd like sections for other Hugo categories, like the Dramatic Forms.

• I love your website, and this was the most fun I've ever had taking a survey....

• I probably tried to pick up hardback SF books if they were going cheap many years ago because the physical production is so good. However in recent years shelf space has become a problem and I now go for paperbacks if given a choice. Heard of Locus question: SF club, by which I do not mean a commercial book club but our local SF (fan) group. Income. Was 37,000 two years ago. Had a good career for 2 decades but, having paid for the house, am now having a break. (Have just completed a 200,000 word climate change book though (my 2nd).)

• I read a lot, but I don't buy many new books since I get about 3 dozen a month free.

• I really enjoy reading Locus each month. I don't agree with your reviews or "best of" lists very often. I wouldn't read most of the books on your "best of" list unless someone paid me to read them.

• I really liked Sarah Micklem's book which I first saw in 2005 as a Trade Paperback. I realize the hardcover came out in 2004 but it appears to have been largely ignored. A difficult subject but terrific writing.

• I said I don't get the sci-fi channel. That's true. I get Space: the imagination station. I'm Canadian. Besides, I hear the sci-fi channel is pants anyway.

• I subscribe to Locus, but I do not have an issue at the location where I am typing this to retrieve any subscription information. I am hoping you can look it up. Since I tend to buy paperbacks (which tend to be reprints of hardcovers, these days), I am not too knowledgeable about the most current material. Thus, these days, for the Hugos, I tend to vote in the dramatic presentation categories more than anything else.

• I think the drop-down list is cheating.

• I think your magazine needs far more female reviewers.

• I voted for several books/stories that were not on your pull-down lists. For instance, as the regular science fiction/fantasy book reviewer for the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, I selected Tom DeHaven's IT'S SUPERMAN as best book of the year. I'd be curious to know (when you publish the results) if any books/stories not on the pull down lists (write-ins) actually won.

• I wait for novels and collections to come out in paperback, and so can't make an informed vote on most of the book selections, which haven't yet come out in paperback.

• I wish I had more time to read, but as the single parent of a 6-year old, it's rather tough.

• I wish I'd read more last year. There are so many texts on the list that I've heard a ton about but haven't had a chance to read. The reason I don't subscribe to Locus is I move too often. I don't subscribe to any print magazines. I do buy it regularly though.

• I wish there was a graphic novel section in the ballot...it really is literature after all.

• I would love to see more on Robin Hobb and Isobelle Carmody in Locus. Thanks!

• I'm a reviewer so while I read 5 to 10 books per month, I do not buy them

• I'm engaged. I no longer purchase many books because my financial situation has changed significantly in the last few years, and I have moved to an area with a really superb library system. I still read fantasy, but I'm more interested in literary fiction. Most fantasy and SF that I read is only marginally well-written - there's nothing technically wrong with the prose, but there's nothing beautiful about it, either. I like Gene Wolfe, though I often don't know what he's on about. Carroll's "Glass Soup" had an interesting story, one which helped to make sense of its predecessor ("White Apples"), but the editing was really shockingly, egregiously rotten. Problems on the textual level really interfered with my enjoyment of the book.

• I'm sorry I won't be able to attend the Locus Awards this year, but hope to do so next year (assuming you make a habit of doing it in Seattle...).

• I'm surprised that Stross's The Hidden Family is classed as fantasy. It has no mythic elements that I can see, and no magic; the interworld travel is a trait inherited in classic Mendelian fashion and plausibly interpretable as "psionic," a classic sf trope, and takes people between straightforward alternate history timelines. And the theme of the novel is clearly hard science fiction, the science being economics. I can only suppose that it was classified as fantasy because its settings looked like "the past" and the classifier fell for the naive equation that future = sf and past = fantasy. I urge you to move it into the sf category and count whatever votes it receives in the fantasy category as entered into the category where it rightly belongs -- or else wipe out the entire current vote count and invite people to start over.

• In Canada; have access to Space Channel (roughly equivalent to Sci/Fi channel)

• In recent years I've been reading many more mysteries than sf/fantasy stories, and trying to catch up with "classic" literature as well. On the other hand, I actually ENJOY the smaller amount of sf/fantasy that I do read. Maybe it's because I get more of a "sense of wonder" charge from the stuff when varied with a diet of "mundane" fiction. (Or maybe it's just because JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL, which I read last year, was such a terrific novel!)

• In spite of all the dark predictions for the future of our field, each year I find it harder to keep up with good, interesting, even outstanding writing. If this is what "the end" looks like, bring it on! My only regret is that I know I'm missing good work simply because I can't humanly read it all.

• It has been 2 1/2 years since my son's Bone Marrow Transplant and he is doing great. He is 21 and has had a full time job for almost a year now. We work at the same place so I get to see him every day--not as fun as being together at ballgames but it's close. I did keep score at a friendís son's came last year so I can claim the job on this form :).

• It's about time you changed the categories for the number of books - it really doesn't make sense to have the categories for the number of books per month and per year to be the same. It's also really difficult to work out per month; I tend to buy in splurges!

• It's been a busy year with little time remaining for reading (sigh).

• It's hard every year to vote because I certainly cannot keep up with even the best that SF/F has to offer. More than ever some of my favorites were not even on your recommended reading list. But, I decided to read them because of good reviews in Locus. Gary K. Wolfe and Nick Gevers are brilliant. Jonathan Strahan has much of the same taste that I do - so if he edits something - I am almost bound to like it. Thanks to Mark R. Kelly for the excellent work on the webzine and as always Mr. Brown and crew, wonderful work on the magazine itself. I had a great year reading SF and Fantasy. Let's hope next year is just as good.

• I've been reading LOCUS a long time. I don't remember the single sheet issues but do remember the 4 pagers. I saw Ben Bova at a signing in Melbourne, Florida March, 18th. Didn't see him mentioned in the lists at all. Fallen into disfavor? Should have invited him to dinner, but afraid of rejection. Maybe I'll be more mature next time.

• I've pointed it out for years, but your education question still presumes that 100% of your readers have completed at least high school. I didn't, and I doubt I'm alone. Also, your subdivisions of "fantasy" are really out of date. Into which of them does ANANSI BOYS fall? JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL? Jonathan Carroll's WHITE APPLES? Come on, LOCUS.

• Keep up the good work!!!

• Keep up the good work, you're a wonderful source of information.

• Keep up the great work. Under "Highest Level of Educated Completed," though, you really need to add MFA as an option!

• Knowing how many books one purchases a month, by extrapolation, would yield approximately the number of books purchased per year. Thus are these three pairs of questions really necessary? Couldn't the questionnaire simply ask how many books are purchased each year, and use the available space from three less questions for more current/timely questions? More importantly, with the *over* abundance of Year's Best anthologies current and forthcoming, I think it necessary that the anthology category be broken down into reprint and new (with possibly a certain percentage of reprints; preferably less than 50%) anthology categories. I think it unfair to pit an anthology such as the Dozois's BEST OF THE BEST: 20 YEARS against an anthology that features all new (untested, obviously) stories.

• Locus needs more horror fiction coverage.

• Luckily for me, there is an amazing amount of information about science fiction and fantasy on the internet. I live in the middle of nowhere -- it's 45 minutes just to get to a physical bookstore, and that's a pretty small one. But you hardly need to leave your computer now to find out about all the new releases, small press books and forgotten gems -- and libraries and on-line bookstores make it so easy to get. There are dozens of books from 2005 that I would no doubt enjoy, but haven't gotten to yet. There is such a wealth of high-quality fiction out there. This is the golden age, and it keeps getting better all the time.

• Mark, I'm resubmitting because I believe I submitted during the period of time when things went wonky & disappeared. Apologize if I'm mistaken about this. Thanks for Locus Online -- I go to it every morning, usually even before eating breakfast.

• Most of the SF I read comes to be as review copies.

• Nice to be able to fill this out online using a PDA (HP iPAQ hx4705) with ease -- well-coded!

• Nicely set up survey. Bravo.

• No comments at this time.

• No Sci-Fi Channel here in Canada but we get Space, The Imagination Station.

• Number of conventions attended includes 8 board gaming cons and 4 SF cons, plus the Worldcon.

• Please add "no award" at the end of the drop-down lists. For some categories, I've read widely enough that I consider only two or three works "award-worthy."

• Please begin to list Comics and Graphic novels. This form of media is becoming well respected by the academic world, should we also not respect a medium that has done so much for our genre?

• Q : Which of the following related subjects are you interested in? I am surprised than you don't propose mangas (I own near 1200 mangas, 30 in Japanese) or anime (over 120 DVD or boxes). It's true the market appears less developed in the USA than France.

• Quite limited in the best novel categories. It's absurd for you to ignore R. Scott Bakker.

• Regarding the question "Does SF form the major part of your pleasure reading?" the answer varies from month to month. SF can be as little as 0% to 100% from month to month. Overall, it's about 25% to 25% on an annual basis. This question should be worded differently! How about, "Does SF form a substantial part of your pleasure reading on an annual basis?" Subjects I'm interested in: Please include nonfiction about the field of SF, and nonfiction history.

• Sad to say, my SF novel reading has dropped like a ton of bricks. It all got so very depressing for such a long time that I shied away from it and now I don't recognize half the names (and, of course, don't buy 95% of the books). I still buy a lot of science fiction but I've noticed that the authors tend to be dead or, like George Martin, have switched to fantasy. I chose & bought John Varley's & Joe Haldeman's books because they've always been reliable reads. Varley's, in particular, I enjoyed. I'm much more current on fantasy & young adult books than adult science fiction.

• Since I don't read hard covers I very rarely read anything that was published in the previous year, so I have very little to vote for. On the other hand, since I can wait for Locus' recommended reading list I don't waste my time reading crap.... Keep up the great work on the magazine.

• So many good books, authors, stories not mentioned on the list, why bother to list?

• Some of the same names crop up a couple of times in the poll and, yes, some of them are my friends - but I can only vote for what I've read.

• Terry Pratchett's Where's My Cow? was an illustrated children's book based on the Discworld setting illustrated by the brilliant Paul Kidby. I didn't see an appropriate place to nominate this very funny book, so I put it under Best Art Book. I think there should be a category just for fantasy/sci fi children's books and best illustrator for such as the case may be due to books that qualify so well for the nominations like Where's My Cow? Which I purchased for my 32 yr old husband for Christmas last year.

• Thanks for another great year of the mag...in print and online.

• Thanks for the great work and the great magazine! I really also appreciate how fast you always get the new issue to Europe!

• Thanks to all the talented writers, editors, etc. that continue to broaden our horizons one page at a time!

• The fantasy subcategories in "do you like" do not reflect at all the subgenres of fantasy. I like none of what's mentioned, yet I read mostly fantasy. As a reviewer, I don't buy my books

• The Hugos and the Nebulas go off the rails surprisingly often. The Locus poll is more consistent in recommending quality fiction. Just an observation.

• The reason I'm online so much is that I am a librarian. It's part of my job. I read most of my SF from one of the local public libraries. Every year when you come out with your recommended list I find I've only read a few of those books and really have to scramble if I want to vote. A lot of the books listed simply do not become available before your deadline. Needless to say, I can't read them all -- even a fraction, or even a single category, which seems a bit unfair, but so it goes.

• There are a lot of categories that I haven't read anything in yet. This is my first year if getting LOCUS and I am already looking forward to reading more of the recommended reading list.

• Thud! wins over Anansi Boys because Terry Pratchett is SKILLED at humor. That's not to say that Neil Gaiman can't be funny, but I prefer Terry Pratchett's humor. It's more satirical.

• Too many books, not enough time...and my eyes get tired too fast!

• Under Best Non-Fiction #1 The Bomb: A Life by Gerald J. De Groot, First US Pub. 2005. Harvard University Press -- Please find and review this book -- its great!

• Under related subjects I'm interested in, I'd like to add Doctor Who. Thanks! I Love Locus!

• Very much like the recommended reading list! Don't nominate, because by the time I get around to reading something it's usually too late (-:

• We are, all of us, too fat.

• Web logs (blogs) are becoming more and more prevalent. They are not quite fanzines, though, so how about a separate category? You could start with Jim Kelly's "Digital Hugos" nominations from his Asimov's article last year.

• What happened to Best Horror Novel? Online Magazine deserves its own Best category. Best Editor/Artist need separate Pro/Fan categories.

• What, no weird question at the end of the survey? That used to be standard.

• When I filled out this pup last year, I didn't get an additional month's issue. Mind you, I'm not complaining, I'm pointing out a possible process problem (with magazine subscriptions falling off, I'd rather not get the additional issue if it keeps you folks in business longer). Also, your summary doesn't show any of my write-in entries - don't they count?

• Where's the love for Firefly?

• Why did you change the due date? April 15th has enough to keep us busy without having to rush to finish the poll.

• Wondering why so many small press editors are missing from the BEST EDITOR nomination list. Where's Sean Wallace? John Gregory Betancourt? Christopher M. Cevasco? William Schaeffer? You list their magazines in the "Best Magazines" section... seems odd to leave them out. Otherwise, superb job.

• Would be interesting to see the results of this questionnaire to see if there's any trends in gender, education or income levels.

• Yay, locus!

• You forgot Serenity.

• You guys should query to see how many used books people buy, because I, for one, rarely ever purchase books new due to the daunting expense. $8.99 for a pocket paperback? Please!

• You should recognize also popular fantasy fiction, not just literary works, which are usually dull for mainstream reader.

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