Thursday, June 23, 2011

Locus Awards

The Locus awards are this weekend, and the finalists in the collection category are:

Though I dearly love Peter Beagle (and Fritz Leiber for that matter), I'm of course pulling for Chris Kovacs and the rest of the team who put the Collected Stories together. Fingers crossed for them this weekend!


  1. Ah, crappy. Per the Tor website, the award went to Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories.

  2. Leiber was a wonderful writer, but this particular collection is not noteworthy in any way -- it's pretty much a representative collection of his stories; nice, but not essential. All the stories are readily available elsewhere. The book probably took about 5 minutes to put together.

    The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny, by contrast, is a massive, monumental undertaking; it's a definitive collection of Zelazny's short fiction and poetry, including unpublished material, Zelazny's nonfiction, outlines, notes, and other interesting oddities. In a word, it's essential. The fact that science fiction doesn't value this sort of thing is sad . . . but not surprising.

    By the way, the Karen Joy Fowler book is a wonderful collection of good to brilliant stories by a beautiful writer. Check it out.

    --Chris DeVito

  3. In reviews here I try to make a distinction between works I think are good but which I just don't enjoy (like A Rose for Ecclesiastes) and works that aren't top tier Zelazny, but which I enjoy for sentimental reasons (*cough* Donnerjack). Sometimes I find a concordance of these traits where absolutely everything comes together. I think that's present in THE COLLECTED STORIES. It must have been a truly monumental undertaking to assemble and annotate everything there, and while I haven't read the Leiber collection in question, Chris's comments make it sound like an unremarkable collection that just happens to pull together Leiber's best short works. And, of course I have a bias, but I can't help but think of the Leiber work is a very pleasant read but I doubt it's an achievement on the level of the COLLECTED STORIES.

  4. The Collected Stories as a whole finished #2 last year in the Locus Awards. Not sure yet what the final position of Volume Five and Volume Six are in this year's poll. I wasn't disappointed because I hadn't expected Volume Five would win; I was just delighted to be there once again as a finalist. Ann Crimmins and Dave Grubbs were also present, and we three signed copies of the books for the university bookstore in Seattle.

    The banquet and awards ceremony were a lot of fun. Our table was right next to the one where Neil Gaiman sat, and I was able to get him to sign some things. Later went to the Hall of Fame ceremony where Gaiman inducted Harlan Ellison in absentia.

    Maybe the Ides of Octember will be a finalist next year, who knows?

    If this collection has come out from a bigger publisher such as Tor, it would have received more notice and perhaps more votes for awards. But it also wouldn't have been possible for Tor to do a collection like this, as editor David Hartwell has publicly admitted. The amount of research and other work on it makes it unaffordable without volunteer effort.

    I think the Locus Awards may be the only one that honors a collection. But I didn't do the extensive work on this collection to be nominated for awards; I did it because I wanted to and because I think Zelazny deserved this sort of treatment with a multi-volume definitive collection. Seeing it published and well received has been all the reward I needed.


  5. Right on!

    --Chris DeVito

  6. CK: I think the Locus Awards may be the only one that honors a collection. But I didn't do the extensive work on this collection to be nominated for awards; I did it because I wanted to and because I think Zelazny deserved this sort of treatment with a multi-volume definitive collection. Seeing it published and well received has been all the reward I needed.

    I've been reading Lord of the Fantastic again and it's caused me to arrive at similar conclusions. This blog is pretty small potatoes compared to THE COLLECTED STORIES (and indeed, wouldn't exist in anything like its current form without them), but it's also a tribute of a sort, and I think the very act of creating a tribute is an end in itself.

  7. Josh: Don't think of your blog as small potatoes, man! This is one of only two Zelazny communities I've come across online (the other is the Zelazny group), and even if I don't comment a whole lot, I check every day to see what kind of discussion your articles have inspired.

    Chris K: Bummer that volume 5 didn't win this year, but I agree that the more important thing is that you got the work out there and got it published. I mean, seriously--the Collected Stories are a "change your life" type of reading experience. Of course, Zelazny himself deserves a lot of credit for that by providing the base material, but it was really all your extra work on the notes and biography that takes the series to a whole new level of awesome.

    I can't remember what life was like before these books and this blog, but I'm pretty sure it sucked. Thanks for all the hard work, guys!

  8. Thanks Zach, that's really nice to hear.

    I don't pretend that this blog is any kind of accomplishment on the order of what Chris and his colleagues achieved with the COLLECTED STORIES, but I am happy that you guys enjoy it, and I'm pleased that we've got a little community growing here.

  9. Thanks everyone for all the kind words and don't belittle your own effort, Josh.

    I now know that the final results in the Locus Awards were this:

    Nine Black Doves (Volume 5) finished #4
    The Road to Amber (Volume 6) finished #6.

  10. Ditto, ditto, and ditto to all the above -- obviously no one does something like the Collected Stories for fame or fortune or awards. (And if by some mischance someone whose goal WAS fame fortune or awards were to undertake such a work, they'd fuck it up beyond repair.)

    But as a fan, I reserve the right to get pissed when superior work is not given its due. Granted, awards always have the potential to become complete bullshit (the Nebula-winning novelette this year barely qualified as fan fiction, for example); yet there they are . . . and every once in a while I just have to say something.

    For me, both the Collected Stories and this blog have not only inspired me to start reading Zelazny again, they've helped inspire me to get back into writing fiction. This is not a momentous event in the grand universal scheme, certainly, but it's important to this one individual, floating around on this ridiculous planet a little over two millennia after the birth of a mythical being who's still vaguely and erratically promising to come 'round again and straighten things out once and for all.

    So, anyway:

    I hereby unilaterally and enthusiastically award the Collected Stories and Josh's blog the very first 2011 VideoChrist Award for Best Preemptive Strike Against Cultural Decay and Dipshittism in the Early Third Millennium. Physical manifestation of such award to be a round of drinks purchased by VideoChrist and/or Chris DeVito (if one of us isn't around, the other always is), at the earliest reasonable opportunity, for the editors of the Collected Stories and the Josh blogger.

    --Chris DeVito