posted Wednesday 27 June 2012 @ 6:31 pm PST
Here are comments, presented anonymously and in random order, submitted by voters in this year’s Locus Poll and Survey. Results of the poll will be published in the magazine’s July issue; survey responses will appear in August.
I especially enjoy the People & Publishing section of Locus. It is a great way to track of what favorite authors are up to in terms of new projects and/or ongoing series. Oddly enough I enjoy the ads in Locus as they are a great way to learn about forthcoming books. I would enjoy seeing Locus pay more attention to action and adventure based SF.
I was concerned about the death of SF for a while, but with Jonathan Strahan and Ian McDonald (to name a few), I am less worried now.
Question RE: Highest Education: Attended business college and completed a secretarial certificate.
🙁 Ten Years until I can retire. Maybe I will catch up on my reading then. Still on Sabbatical. Getting closer – Granddaughter is 2-1/2 and grandson 6 months old. The other day my daughter said she would buy a baseball glove for Isaac, but it was to early to tell if he was right or left handed.
Re: question “Does SF form the major part of your pleasure reading?” – depends how you define SF (Vonnegut? Murakami? De Lillo? Atwood? Lessing?)
Having to rank titles gives me a rash. Or is it makes me feel rash? I get those two confused.
Filling this out made me feel cheap. FWIW, I have bought Locus in print many times in my life!
Where is Apex Magazine in the list of online magazines? And Apex Publications, among book publishers?
I’d like to mention David Anthony Durham’s “Acacia” trilogy which seems to have gone unnoticed in the fantasy field. Marvelous characters, marvelous concepts, heroic fantasy at its finest.
Retired, can’t afford anything other than library.
Not sure when I let my Locus subscription lapse, will renew soon as our family budget is balanced again.
Many of my votes are write-ins that ended up on the Stoker Preliminary Ballot, almost none reviewed in Locus, which unfortunately still ignores most dark fantasy/horror for adults. On April 14, Fantasy author Richard Bowes came into the independent store Bookman/Bookwoman where I work part-time, visiting Nashville from New York, and we both hoped that the demand for young adult dystopias and horror leads the readers–and writers and publishing–into more adult books soon, rather than back to the multi-plex theaters.
Thanks for moving the poll date back to April 15th; keep up the good work–
It’s always interesting to see the pendulum swing. Wonder what the genre will be up to next year?
Keep up the great work! As an international subscriber, I really appreciate getting the digital edition ahead of the print version.
For the question about how much I’m online, I only counted pleasure time. I’m online all day for work. Love ya, Locus! Especially appreciate the book reviews.
e-book buying (SF&F) runs at about 8 per month, 20 including all e-books. I now buy paper books only if the electronic edition is not available.
Thanks for all your years of dedicated coverage!!
Good year for fiction. Again, for me, the Novella is the best category of the year.
Here I am again, though I don’t know why I bother, as I read less and less from the year in review. I’m still catching up on stuff I missed from three or four years ago. Apart from short fiction online or in print magazines, I’ve read one book from 2012 in more than three months. I read less SF, fantasy and horror each year. The cost of buying new is largely prohibitive at this point. By the time I find something used, in many cases, the year is over If and when I get an e-reader, that may well change slightly, particularly with HCs. On the bright side, the stuff I liked, I like a lot. On a side note, I’m reading volume 1 of the complete Autobiography of Mark Twain online at the Mark Twain Project website. It’s easier on my shoulders than trying to hold a book with enough heft to flatten a Chihuahua if dropped. The Twain is the best thing I’ve read thus far this year.
Most of my reading of is of library books.
Very sorry to see Graham Sleight stopping his column, as it was interesting to read about the classics I’d missed out on. (Get him back!) Other than that, Locus is still doing a really good job of driving my purchases and discovery of new work, although I’m buying a lot of books based on being pleased by an author’s previous work and some based on authors’ recommendations on their websites.
Time to widen your net out from the same usual suspects every year, guys. Some of the best SF and fantasy is being generated in the tie-in/shared world sphere and you just have got to stop ignoring it. It’s rank snobbery.
Love Locus – Great job, thanks!
Thanks for all your help I hope it works.
Thanks, both for the survey and the magazine!
I love Locus. Like having a chance to weigh in. I am a librarian who buys books for young people. Your reviews are very helpful to me and for them.
Locus reviewer most ignores or blows off Analog. Analog published some of the best short SF in the field and deserves, but does not get, respect from Locus.
The hour is late as I reach the bottom of this exhaustive (and exhausting) survey. My thoughts are unlikely to be coherent. Since I was last in this little comment box one year ago I’ve rolled, roiled, jostled and flummoxed by a changing world. In response, I can’t think of a better place to be than within the imaginative literatures, especially science fiction. Good writers are doing good work. Good new writers. Good older writers. The breadth of work being done “in the field” is breath-taking (or breadth-taking, perhaps). The only ones who are crabbing and anxious are the ones who’ve presumed a certain status quo exists somewhere out there in the dark woods and all things must fall into their places (with them, the crabbing and anxious, naturally, somewhere near the top). They’re looking for trailmarks that were wiped clean years ago. Conventional wisdom has lost much of its provenance and is worth about as much as a BFA from an online university. That’s turns out to be a good thing. It’s liberating, and liberty is exhilarating, and exhilaration is good for literature. And if this planet goes into a version of Dark Ages Lite, literature may be the only sanity we’ll have left.
Locus is still the best source of information on what is happening in the SF field and, in my opinion, has the best book reviews. Readers of SF have an interest in the future of scientific advancement and in social development marking them as a strong source of leaders in these fields.
Just keep up the good work. I haven’t been disappointed in all the years I’ve subscribed.
You might want to add “How many ebooks do you buy each month, each year” I have switched permanently to ebooks and no longer buy print books. So in this survey I had to put zero for “how many books do you buy” but then I put “online bookseller” for where I buy books. That’s a seeming contradiction, but I do buy ebooks online. I’ll bet in 10 years time you’ll have to add something like: “Do you buy full price ebooks or bargain ebooks” instead of the hardcover, trade paperback, or mass market paperback question. With ebooks the line between hardcover and paperback is blurred. The only way to tell is by price. Also might want to break down which devices people own, such as Kindle, Nook, Sony, etc. As for the quality of fiction in 2011, I have to say science fiction was mostly crap last year, fantasy was really strong, but YA was awesome! I never really cared for YA much in the past but now I have several series on my “Can’t wait til the next books comes out” list. Well, that’s my 2 cents. I would like to add that I am so appreciative of what you guys do at Locus and to keep up the good work!
Some of these questions are rather difficult to answer for non-US readers, like education or frequented stores. Also, my address label does not look like the one presented above. It has only one 8-digit number.
This poll doesn’t leave enough room to ask about e books…I now pay for most of my fiction as ebooks, F&SF through Kindle, Analog and Asimov’s through Zinio. Lots of novels and collections via Kindle…all happily read on my iPad. I’m very happy not to have physical books piling up. This is a significant revolution in the reading experience. I am discovering and accessing fiction like never before
I’ve said this before, but Locus is invaluable for the reviews, information, and rants–since there is too much going on, even in just the SF fields I’m interested in, for me to keep up without it.
Do not read as much F/SF as before, but cannot be without your magazine. Thanks.
Keep up the good work! I like the new cover concepts (Feb, Mar, Apr)!
I wish I could have read more this last year–we moved, and that took all of my energy and time. Maybe this year, I will do better.
Your questions on how many books I buy needs to include e-books, since I prefer to buy hardcover books in e form now. Really, paperbacks too, unless I’m collecting a series. I probably buy over 100 books a year, and your numbers won’t reflect that.
I now have a Kindle and seem to do the majority of my reading there other than authors that I have collected for years. Since most of my favorite authors seem to be my age or older, there isn’t much new available from them. I didn’t realize until I tried to fill out the poll how little SF & Fantasy I had read.
With the number of e-book clearly making significant inroads into publishing, Locus needs to review them. It makes much more sense to review e-books rather than audio books as that is clearly a distant third in the number of sales.
I read a lot but don’t buy (other than maybe a couple of titles a year) as get more than I can read as review copies. I am involved in running 2 websites (and even do the html coding for some of these pages) but I do not have an internet connection (the ultimate firewall). I browse at local library cybercafe and download pages of interest to memory stick for reviewing later. I mention all this otherwise my survey form may not make much sense. Also, having got my own house paid and 35 years of pension credit, I am semi-retired.
The magazine continues to evolve and shine. Keep up the great work…it is appreciated by this reader!
As usual, I will point out that a high percentage of the books I buy are “remainders”, and I never know whether I should count them as new or used.
Next year, why not add “How many E-books do you buy per month?”
Subscription is in my wife’s name, but I am always that one that fills out the survey.
Locus is my bible, the only thing missing is a few more pages for more reviews 🙂
Locus rocks — in particular the “Forthcoming Books” section, with which I plan my purchases during the year.
Keep up the good work!
Finally dropped my long-time subscription to Locus after much agonizing for many years. For the most part, I don’t feel very connected to what’s happening in the field. I still check the website regularly. And – sorry! – I do hope you find the time and energy to do another ‘all-time’ poll in the coming years. C
Still getting used to using a Kindle, but it sure helps cut down the need for more shelf space. For research, it would be even more useful if it were easier to transfer selected paragraphs or quotes to my laptop. Every time I pick up my Kindle, I tell myself, “I’m living in the future, right now!”
Keep up the good work!
Locus maintains its high quality. I like the new cover art. I also especially appreciate the special topic issues. The new printer seems to get my copy to me a little faster than the old one did overall. It would not hurt my feelings if you cut back on the number of issues you devote to upcoming books and added even more reviews. SF still remains strong and viable, but as usual there are more lumps of coal than diamonds.
Love your magazine and I wish you all the very best for many more years to come. I’ll always be indebted to and remember Charles N Brown (1937-2009) for his vision and hard work. Please do well by his magazine in his honor… PS Along with Star Trek, I’m also interested in Outer Limits and (you’d probably never guess!) Twilight Zone. Thanx! again…
My reading, business and pleasure, occurs 100% on my iPad. The first book I read on the iPad felt (literally) odd; even odder when I completed it. But now it is just a fact of life, and a method I prefer; certainly, I never thought I would embrace it. (I, like many, loved the smell and feel of books, and their digital version seemed somehow sacrilegious.) And yet their cost (ebooks) startles me: without the cost of printing and distribution, their prices should be substantively less. Go figure. That so many people behave as I do – read digital versions of books and stories – opens the universe of readers to writers. Publishers, for too long and even today, perceive their customers to be bookstores, CostCo/WalMart, Amazon etc, not the readers. This notion opens, as I said, an opportunity for writers to sell books or stories – whether originals or elided portions of books – directly to readers, and keep more of the proceeds. Publishers had better be diligent for their walled garden is in peril. Most of my pleasure reading is not SF, as the genre no longer excites me as it once did. What does that say about me that I lost the sense of wonder I once enjoyed when reading SF? Or perhaps what does it say about the state of published SF today?
Mostly reading paperbacks, so not many on your list that I’ve read, sorry the yes/no questions are hard (‘sometimes’ might be an alternative answer there).
Nice job taking after Charles Brown – very seamless. Your magazine is still one of the few I read cover to cover.
I read significantly less SF/F these days – I don’t know if my tastes have changed, or if there is just less of what I enjoy being published. I now read/listen to mostly mysteries. I’ve also switched to mostly e-books – I don’t have room for many more dead-tree books, and am saving that space for real favorites.
I want to thank Locus again for being the NY Times of Fantasy.
I STILL seriously enjoy the magazine. I can’t begin to imagine the amount of work you all dedicate to “Locus“….I’ve got to tell you that the product as it arrives in my mailbox is always incredibly enjoyable and professional in every way. Special recognition to the editor, Ms. Groen-Trombi, for her dedication in carrying the torch forward, and to ALL your reviewers. (Best wished also to the Lady in the basement).
Charlie’s legacy is being well served! Thanks and good luck continuing Locus.
Looks like your “How to find your Locus subscription number” image is out of date. I no longer see any 10 digit number on the first class mail in which you send my plastic wrapped issues.
Need more representation of digital media…
The percentage of fiction that I buy for my Kindle has increased again this year, wiping out the purchase of mass market paperbacks and greatly reducing the number of hardcovers I buy. (I’m still doggedly buying hardcover copies of books in series that I began in that form–a completest tendency that’s a little funny, since I sometimes have difficulty locating all the paper volumes. Currently, I am desperately seeking “Queen of Candesce” which must have crawled away into an obscure corner. The other volumes of the Virga series are all neatly next to each other on a shelf.) The question about price range of ebooks was a little difficult to answer. I really prefer prices between $7 and $10. I buy ebooks that I really want at prices between $11 and $15, but I strictly limit the number of those that I’ll buy in any month. Over $15 (or if the ebook is priced above the paper), I’ll frequently opt for a paper format. Apparently prices below $3 do not process through my cerebral cortex. Oddly, $1 and $2 purchases still add up over time. (Who’d have thought it?) Nonetheless, they neatly bypass logical thought processes until after I’ve bought them. So the question isn’t really (for me) what price do I consider appropriate for an ebook, it’s more like “at what price will you buy an ebook without deliberately considering the relative ranking of everything you want this month?” So, if you want me to try a fat fantasy series by an author who’s new to me, deeply discounting the first volume is highly likely to work. I’m happy enough to pay $11 or $12 for most novels. I’m willing to pay $13 for something I’m pretty sure to like. $15 for an ebook makes me dig in my heels. Like much consumer behavior, it’s pretty irrational, but there you have it.
I read a lot of books as audiobooks. I am a member of audible.com and buy a lot of books there to listen to on my iPod.
I love Locus and the information it provides. I hope it continues into the future.
Most of my reading is now e-book. Before, I bought several books a month (paperback and hardback). Some of the new SF writers who are self publishing e-books have entertaining stories.
Thank you for LOCUS!
I don’t read short fiction in magazines or online (and not much in book form), and I don’t buy hard backs or trade paper, so I haven’t read anything from last year, which is why I didn’t vote for anything. So if I don’t qualify for the free issue, that’s fine. Also, the only magazine wrapper/insert I have doesn’t have my sub number, so I can’t put it in.
I have a “lifetime” Locus subscription. I couldn’t find my subscription number as I remove the grey outer cover from the magazine when I receive it and toss it away. Sorry. I’m in your data base somewhere.
Sparkly vampires? What is this nonsense!? Also your poll should include some stuff about comic books and graphic novels.
I’ve been reading SF since the age of 13. Locus helps me sort out the garbage from the good stuff. Although I’m not a real big fan of fantasy there is an awful lot of it out there and with Locus book reviews I can find the occasional fantasy book that I do like. But I love SF and without Locus I would truly be lost.
I don’t think the poll captures how much the Kindle is changing how I buy and how I read. Esp. with the free e-books from Amazon or downloadable from my public library. I’m reading more particularly because it is easy to knit and Kindle-read at the same time. Also, the question about current state is ambiguous. I’m widowed – which can be thought of as single, formerly married and married, depending on how I’m feeling.
I am glad I finally subscribed.
Love Locus. No need to extend subscription for my thin survey.
For years I bought it off the newsstand but there isn’t a choice for that on the poll.
You should have a spec poetry category in next year’s awards. There’s a lot of great stuff coming out, especially nowadays, and I was sad not to be able to vote for some of my favorites.
Looking forward to seeing how many people have moved to reading magazines online only, vs books–for some reason, I remain very committed to print books, but I haven’t bought a print magazine in years and may never do so again (except for McSweeney’s which are more like books).
I’m really glad that you guys are doing this poll. Locus is an important part of the SFF community, and it’s good to have an award like this. Keep it up!
Keep up the great work. Glad to see a digital version of Locus at last!
Keep on keepin’ on, babies!
The selection of checklist items seems very arbitrary and designed to coral popular votes into a few pre-selected items.
I am glad that there seems to be a more inclusive trend within the SF/F/H publishing community. I’m interested in reading more fiction from a non-Western POV.
Over past 4-5 years the vast majority of my reading is done through audiobooks. It would be great to include a section regarding audiobooks in future surveys. These days I buy traditional books only if an audiobook version is not available or if the audiobook is so great that I wish to own a written version as well. Prior to my discovering audiobooks I bought primarily paperbacks.
I don’t purchase paper books any more, preferring to purchase NookBooks. You didn’t have a category for that, but I purchase anywhere from 2-10 ebooks a month.
I had to stop, this poll is too long. I would rather not subscribe than answer all this.
Keep up the good work in Locus. I enjoy several things about the magazine, but “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” is sometimes especially interesting (as a person who remembers some of those “yesterdays”). The non-Heinlein juveniles might be an interesting topic for a future one (or two). I’m thinking of Andre Norton, Allen E Nourse, and the Winston “series” of similar, but unrelated, juveniles. Also, the “New and Notable” section is always one of the first things I look at in each issue.
I have been reading Locus for over 30 years and have always enjoyed it. I hope you continue publishing Locus for many years to come.
For “Where do you buy SF [book]s” there ought to be a write-in. I buy most of mine at public library.
Have been reading SF & Fantasy since age 11. Usually have my nose buried in a book. Very little discrimination, have everything – Pepys Diaries, Austen, Trollope, Dickens etc to latest YA vampire romance. Locus is a lifeline- lets me know what’s out there, polls indicate what other people like, leading me to try books I would not otherwise have noticed
I don’t vote because I am always one year behind in my reading, so books released in 2011 will be read in 2012
Two comments: First, I started reading Locus in 1996. In August, 2011, I read my first issue on my Kindle and in December, I received a Kindle Fire and started reading Locus on it. I LOVE IT. The next time my renewal comes around, I will probably go exclusively with the e-version, right now I get both. I wrote about two years ago asking if Locus would come out in a Kindle version. Someone was nice enough to respond, informing that you were looking into it, but it was a ways away. I’m glad you took your time, because you got it right. Second, I grew up reading Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke and now will read anything by Baxter, McDevitt, Niven, Sawyer, and Steele. I have come to hate all the 1000-page regurgitated high-fantasy, vampires, and zombies that have taken over book lists (George R. R. Martin excluded). But I read all Hugo nominees; so, last year I read Mira Grant’s FEED and was amazed that a “zombie” book could be so not-about-zombies. 2011’s DEADLINE was almost as compelling and I am looking forward to this year’s ALL CLEAR.
I have very little time to sit and read, so I tend to stick with authors whose work I know I like. Sharon and Steve’s work is probably more than half of what I read when I read.
I am disabled with migraines, so I actually buy my books primarily as Audiobooks from Audible – but you didn’t offer audiobooks as an option. If a book isn’t available on audio, I buy Kindle or Hardback from the University Bookstore.
Comments on the poll: 1) Re: “how much for e-books”, the price categories given don’t accurately capture how much I pay for most books — it caps at about $7, not $9.99. It makes sense to have high resolution at low price ranges for the question on short fiction, but not so for full-length books. 2) Re: “how many X do you buy…”, I see a potential issue with this block of questions, in that you do not explicitly address digital books. I don’t keep track of whether a book has been released in hardback, trade, or paper when it’s a digital copy I’m buying, and I doubt most other people do differently. I estimated my purchases on this survey, but I suggest that, next year, you include “how many ebooks do you buy” as well.
Great job…thanks. You’re my home page.
Not a normal year for us. With the books still in boxes, buying more doesn’t seem like a good idea.
I don’t buy many physical books at all now, the vast majority of my book purchases being for my iPad. Perhaps a new tick box to recognise this?
I buy lots of e-fiction. You don’t ask enough questions about that. (i.e., how many per month).
This is too much, this survey! sorry…
I still love Locus. Keep up the great work.
Locus is a good magazine to keep up to date on the latest in publications of all kinds and I would not like to do without it.
You need to add a question about how many ebooks people read per month/year.
Obviously intended for a US audience.
You listed “The Courier’s New Bicycle, Kim Westwood” in the Novels – SF? According to the Internet, I won’t be able to buy this book until after the middle of the year (2012)? And that’s if I can order it in Australia.
Thank you for putting such a good source of SF&F info online for those of us who can’t afford the magazine.
Needs more tie-in fiction on the poll! Some fantastic novels missed out.
Thanks for this survey!
I find the Locus Magazine quite informative and educational.
I have no comments to add at this time but thank you for asking.
Too many sissy vampires & lovey-dovey werewolves: supernatural fiction need BITE! Hopefully the tipping point will come and quality supernatural fiction will blossom again like it did after the 1990s boom & bust. There’s good stuff being printed but not always accessibly & affordably.
This is a seriously long poll.
Is Locus available for subscription via Kindle? If it is/will be, I will re-subscribe! I miss reading Locus, but let my subscription lapse when I found I wasn’t having time to read every issue and they were just piling up and creating more paper waste in my house.
Thank you for covering the field so well. Would have liked Bull Spec and Daily Science Fiction to be on the magazine poll.
Great survey – I learned a lot from it. I usually hate these things.
I have converted 100% to ebooks. I was surprised to see you ask how many hardcovers, how many trade paperback and how many paperback, but no category for how many ebooks! I had to answer 0 per month, when the answer is actually 2-4 per month BUT ONLY IN EBOOK FORMAT. Thanks.
Add video games to the awards already. You’re ignoring a VERY important part of the Scifi spectrum and it’s already dominating the book industry. I read a ton more media this year (Uncanny X-Force and Starcraft) than any year before.
As usual, I usually do not read fiction until it comes out in paperback and so cannot intelligently vote in the new fiction categories. Why not also have a poll on the fiction that came out 10 years ago (to see what has held up and passed the test of time)?