posted by Mark R. Kelly at Thursday 1 November 2012 @ 3:50 am BST
Update 8 December: Editing of votes is going more slowly than I’d hoped; yes I finished first pass of novel names on Tuesday, but second pass is taking longer, so I’m not done with the novel votes yet, and have yet to even begin looking at the short fiction votes (of which I expect there will be more). Possibly I’ll have novel results in the next few days, but can’t promise short fiction results before the end of the month. This is all due to the avalanche of votes that came in during the last few days of the month! Great to have more votes, but the nature of the write-in voting process is that results can’t be compiled as quickly as a results of a seeded ballot where most of the votes are checks to preformatted options.
Update 4 December: Editing votes. Some 6900 distinct vote strings in novel categories. First step: load them all in an Access db table, sort, and prepend each by author’s name where not already present. Every few titles I have to Google. Fun facts: someone voted for Mark S. Geston’s Lords of the Starship! Someone voted for Heinlein’s The Number of the Beast ! Should finish this part tonight.
Update 1 Dec: And there was also a post on io9, thank you very much. 790 email submissions — over 600 in the last four days. After discounting those with no names or emails (you were warned), and the accidental early submissions, 627 are left. Will be editing votes and compiling them in the next few days. Hope to have extremely detailed results by next weekend.
Update 30 Nov: Just about to delink the online ballot, by 10.30pm PST. In contrast to last update, the reminders sent out by Locus, or more likely the post about the poll by John Scalzi, and perhaps other public posts I’m not aware of, have generated a flood of new ballot submissions in the past four days — over 600 email submissions. There seems to have been more of a problem with voters accidentally hitting ‘enter’ and submitting premature ballots than in past years’ annual Locus Polls, so the 600+ may represent somewhat fewer actual voters. Still, glancing through every 10th or 20th email, the quality of the ballots seems high, in that the majority are voting for a diverse range of novels and stories, not just recent popular items, not partisan toward any particular author. So I’m optimistic that the results will reflect the consensus of a wide range of well-read voters.
It will take a week at least to edit and compile the results. Seeing some of the ballots, which list only titles and not authors, especially in short fiction categories, make me wish I had insisted more strongly that voters provide both author and title. I will do the best I can to identify what people have voted for. And…it occurred to me that there’s no reason (compared to Locus Poll results listed in the print magazine), not to post *complete* results, in each category, all the way down to the twosies and onesies. Though this will require trying to identify correct author/title for every vote. Will status progress on this front by mid-next week. –MRK
Update 26 Nov: Just 133 unique ballots received thus far; OK, but not as broad a participation as I’d hoped for. (By the way, don’t worry about hitting ‘enter’ and accidentally submitting a premature ballot; I examine all email submissions in reverse order and keep only the latest from any one voter for tallying.) Most ballots appear well-considered, with only a few seeming partisan in any way. There is one ballot that voted only for novels and stories by Philip Jose Farmer; but that’s ok; as long as you include your name and email — and *don’t vote for the same work twice*, in the same category or across categories, which I’ve seen — your votes will be counted. Four days left.
As promised in the previous post, a ballot for our ‘all-centuries’ poll is now online, open to voting through the end of November. These are not ‘all-time’ polls since the categories are divided by century; five categories for 20th century fiction, 1901 through 2000, and five categories for the first decade of the 21st century, 2001-2010. Also as previously described, we’ve posted several ‘reference lists’ of eligible titles in the four category groups, not to influence voting but to provide ‘memory-jogger’ lists of titles for inspection and inspiration. We’ll see how this goes; if OK, we may well do similar polls in the future.
UPDATE Friday 9 November:
The poll is going well, with about 100 ballots received so far, in 9 days. I’ve read the comments submitted with those ballots, and the comments to the posts here about the poll, and will mention these issues:
Yes, there may be some category indications of stories on the reference lists that don’t match categories that stories were nominated for in awards. Mostly this is because the reference lists rely on categorizations from Bill Contento’s Locus Index, where he presumably eyeballs page counts as he compiles tables of contents from magazines and anthologies, while frankly the awards administrators are probably more exact in determining correct word counts for proper categorization. For reference, the traditional categories are:
short story: up to 7500 words; that’s up to 20 pages in a book with largish type, as few as 14 pages in a ‘zine like Asimov’s with small type and lots of words per page;
novelette: 7500-17500 words; in a book, 20-50 pages, fewer in a magazine;
novella: 17500-40000 words; in a book, 50-100 pages or so. More than that is a novel.
Locus has been relaxing upward the limit for novellas, since everything has gotten longer in recent years; some ‘novellas’ published in book form are nearly 200 pages long. (Since too many novels are 900 pages long.)
Go with what seems appropriate, and as I compile votes, I’ll check out lengths of stories voted across categories and then aggregate them in whatever the correct category is.
For those voters who don’t feel ‘qualified’ somehow, because they haven’t read everything — please go ahead and vote anyway. You’re not a judge; you’re a typical reader, and you can think of this poll as taking the pulse of what typical readers regard as their favorite novels and stories of the past century or so.
And yes, we may well do future polls with different scopes — 19th century, particular decades of the 20th century and so on. The polls are easy enough to set up; the work is compiling votes that are write-ins… this poll, so far, has 3300 votes for particular novels or stories, from the 100 or so ballots….