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The Lodestar Award

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3 hours ago, kuenjato said:

This is seriously .... fucking stupid bullshit. I feel your frustration. Do you think underlying snobbery to YA is a factor? I know it does exist in some parts, particularly among older, hard Sci-Fi (to say nothing of hardcore Lit fans). Which sucks. I like all of it, but YA is so valuable in creating life-long readers who then support and enrich more adult-genres.

It should be noted that Barkley was a long time advocate for a YA Hugo, and at the 2016 business meeting spoke up in favor of, and voted for the present award (which is not a Hugo).

So it is not snobbery or anything like it from his part. He is not trying to undermine the award, which is ratified and being voted on even now, at least so far as I can see.

His behavior, seeing his responses, suggests a sad degree of narcisissim combined with just plain bad planning. I can absolutely see that there is a point to be raised about whether Lodestar is really the name that best represents what fans want, given the result of the survey, but his approach to this has been hamfisted. He shouldn't have announced anything if the reason he can't say Le Guin's name is (as he claims) because the estate asked him to keep it quiet. For that matter, as someone on File770 noted, it's entirely possible he failed to inform the estate of the long, complicated history of getting the award approved and finding a name. Given that he misled several of the people he claimed were co-signers, it seems reasonable to suspect it.

Edited by Ran

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19 hours ago, Ran said:

There is no name at all that will do something 30 years later.

With rare exceptions, I'd agree. 

19 hours ago, Ran said:

I agree, but the actual target audience for any book award aimed at children are librarians, purchasers for school systems and booksellers, and parents.

But the Lodestar award is not aimed at children. 

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1 hour ago, mormont said:

But the Lodestar award is not aimed at children. 

So far as I know there's no clear evidence that book awards sway young adult readers any more substantially than they sway children, and that their primary role isn't to get more exposure to those who put books in front of young adults rather than directly to the young adults. I'd need to see research that says otherwise.

 

Huh. According to Nielsen's figures, 80% of YA book purchasers are adults. Which mean either a whole lot of adults reading them, or a whole lot of adults buying them for younger people. Are adults swayed somewhat by awards? Yes, to varying degrees, depending on the award. But if the idea is that these adults are buying books for kids, rather than YA is really primarily a genre being consumed by adults, then my point stands that the Lodestar Award is not really going to be something that has direct meaning to young readers, it's instead going to be about the people who pick the books that young people are exposed to -- whether at bookstore displays, online displays and recommendation lists, libraries, etc.

 

ETA: Actually, further down at PW there's a fascinating report on a panel with teenagers about their reading habits. Per the report:

Quote

The teens had insightful things to say about how little the designation of “YA” does to tell them about what a book is and whether it would appeal to them...

... The teens said they are definitely influenced by movie releases when choosing to read books. They cited the Internet, particularly Amazon’s suggested books feature and Wattpad, as a place they find out about new books, and many stated that the recommendations of friends largely inspired their reading choices, as well as those from teachers and librarians.

Now, given that the friends were just as likely to be influenced by teachers and librarians, and we know teachers and librarians do pay some attention to credible awards, I feel even more confident in saying that the main possible impact of the WSFS handing out a YA Award is that it will influence adults who will in turn influence young adults.

Which is absolutely fine. It would be great if it was very effective at doing this! But I think it's important to understand the actual role of the award, since there's no question in anyone's mind that the primary voters for the award are adults, not young adults, and that the writers being honored are pretty uniformly adults as well. 

Edited by Ran

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Well, there are those better placed than I to comment on the actual role of the award - people on this board who took a very active role in creating it. 

But what I can say is that personally, my hope for the award's role is not that it will influence sales, but that it will signal to younger fans that WorldCon is inclusive and responsive to them. 

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33 minutes ago, mormont said:

But what I can say is that personally, my hope for the award's role is not that it will influence sales, but that it will signal to younger fans that WorldCon is inclusive and responsive to them. 

I would hope the existence of the award would do this, yes. I am less convinced that naming it for a person like Le Guin would in any way impede that effort.


This sort of thing is what, I think, would do most to make young people included and represented -- Mock Awards Toolkit from the ALSC for the Newbery and Caldecott awards. I can imagine putting together a program around the YA award that asks for space at several conventions leading up to Worldcon, hoping to somehow  link it all together and keep it in the conversation.

I briefly also wondered at the possibility of Retro YA Award, but given what everyone says, young adults don't read anything written before they hit puberty. :P

Edited by Ran

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I'll buy into Retro YA Award if anyone here can name a Retro Hugo winner without looking it up. ;)

Edited by mormont

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22 minutes ago, mormont said:

I'll buy into Retro YA Award if anyone here can name a Retro Hugo winner without looking it up. ;)

T.H. White, The Sword in the Stone. I just remember it because it’s so rare to see fantasy winning. Mostly though I just thought of the possibility of engaging with young adults on older YA... but I sense some hostility towards anything that can be construed as backwards looking from some of the rhetoric I’ve seen online.

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Now I'm wondering about whether there's an argument that YA is inherently an area where nostalgia is considered a bad thing, and where the 'classics' perhaps are less important, or whether it should be viewed as an area where introduction to the 'classics' is particularly important, and basically I think I have an idea for a panel, so that was actually a pretty productive digression. :P 

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Hah. Excellent.

Isn't there something nostalgic to the whole boarding school thing of Harry Potter? Maybe it's more romantic than nostalgic.

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I would LOVE to go to a panel to hear young people discuss YA.  I'd go with romantic rather than nostalgic on boarding schools.  For me, the whole theme of British YA where kids / teenagers are essentially ON THEIR OWN and have to solve problems without help from adults is a theme that I still find very compelling.  Boarding school is one way to do it, but there's also Narnia, homelessness (a very real problem for young people), accidental time travel, alien abduction and a million other things that I am in too big of a hurry to think of.  Don't want to derail the thread, but some of my excitement over the Lodestar DEFINITELY has to do with hopes that young people and YA in general will get more attention at Lit Cons.  <3

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21 hours ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

Retro Hugos are bullshit.

Mileage varies. I think it pretty meaningless, but it can be fun to dig into the dusty bins of SF/F history. And it might be a fairly controversy-free way to do a sort of mock Retro YA thing at a Worldcon, maybe? Don't know.

Circling back to the issue at hand, I decided to check in on what Kevin Standlee had on his LJ about the matter, if anything, and found that he posted this musing over the idea of introducing a rule change that would make it harder (but not impossible) to rename the award. Rather than a simple majority being able to change the name, it'd take a 2/3rds majority to first suspend the rules and then a separate vote to amend.

Don't know enough WSFS meeting to see whether there would be unexpected negative side effects of this, but certainly, an amendment that passed in one BM should maybe have a bit more attention focused on it at the following convention such that opposition would have to be quite strong. It'd basically make it easier, I think, to get amendments through in the long-run. Or maybe I'm being an optimist, and in reality it'll just make people fight harder to pass any amendments at all. :P

 

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On 3/11/2018 at 4:44 PM, Ran said:

Mileage varies. I think it pretty meaningless, but it can be fun to dig into the dusty bins of SF/F history. And it might be a fairly controversy-free way to do a sort of mock Retro YA thing at a Worldcon, maybe? Don't know.

Circling back to the issue at hand, I decided to check in on what Kevin Standlee had on his LJ about the matter, if anything, and found that he posted this musing over the idea of introducing a rule change that would make it harder (but not impossible) to rename the award. Rather than a simple majority being able to change the name, it'd take a 2/3rds majority to first suspend the rules and then a separate vote to amend.

Don't know enough WSFS meeting to see whether there would be unexpected negative side effects of this, but certainly, an amendment that passed in one BM should maybe have a bit more attention focused on it at the following convention such that opposition would have to be quite strong. It'd basically make it easier, I think, to get amendments through in the long-run. Or maybe I'm being an optimist, and in reality it'll just make people fight harder to pass any amendments at all. :P

 

Oh God, PLEASE NO!  Hasn't everyone who cares about this award spent enough time in the Business Meeting?  It still appears that it's up to the chair to rule whether or not the changes are "scope-changing".  I'm in the middle of midterm grading right now and Robert's Rules + policy polishing nonsense are giving me a headache.  This is going on the back burner for the time being.  After midterm grades are in, I need to finish this year's Hugo ballot and give the Retro a swipe.

 

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Billy and I are kind of Worldcon Business Meeting junkies, so we're very likely to be at the Dublin business meeting and will be available to support the YA award, if this issue is yet unresolved.

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12 minutes ago, Lil Red Head said:

Billy and I are kind of Worldcon Business Meeting junkies, so we're very likely to be at the Dublin business meeting and will be available to support the YA award, if this issue is yet unresolved.

Passed yesterday as the Lodestar Award, so it seems official. Don't know how long before anyone decides to try and change something or remove it, of course, but I expect it would take at least a fewof years of people being underwhelmed by the results of the awards before it would happen.

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3 minutes ago, Ran said:

Passed yesterday as the Lodestar Award, so it seems official. Don't know how long before anyone decides to try and change something or remove it, of course, but I expect it would take at least a fewof years of people being underwhelmed by the results of the awards before it would happen.

Hurray that it passed! And serious, major kudos to all the people who put so much work into it.

I've been in Europe for a week (we live here now!) and I sometimes forget that there's a whole day of things happening  still in the US when I'm winding down for bed, so I wasn't sure what the status was on Lodestar and the meeting, etc.

Thanks for the update, Ran!

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Oh man, I am loving the idea of a Retro YA thing for Twitter. It would be fun as a general game, but I imagine it would be rather difficult to get a representative short list. And if you threw it out there to get nominations you'd probably just end up with a lot of Heinlein juveniles and nothing else.

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Okay, I've read back through this thread and now that the vote is over, I feel okay about posting. Just one quick request, for those who helped with the award and also post on the Board, please avoid specifically referring to their roles in order to avoid publicly compromising their Board handles :)

About the naming of the award.

1) It should have been named the Hugo Award for Best Young Adult Novel. There are many reasons that such did not happen. In my mind, the most significant reasons were: (a) many people at the Business Meeting honestly did not think people at Worldcon cared about YA, (b) the submission of the YA Hugo proposal at San Antonio was a hack job and (rightly, I think now) pissed off so many people that it created enormous bad blood and hostility to any award, and (c) there were some bureaucratic rules-y things that some people could not let go (to make it a Hugo).

The committee in their first active year was easily able to surmount (a) with some research and education at the Business Meeting.  Overcoming (b) would have been impossible without bowing to (c). I think (c) on its own could have been solved eventually, but because of (b), there was a mountainous road block from the beginning.

2) About naming the thing after a person. @Ran, we've talked about some of this before, but I'll say my piece here. The committee put out an open survey to collect award names with no qualifications, just to see what they'd get. They didn't say, "here's some of the issues that we have noticed in our discussions that you may want to think about." So, people got psyched and suggested all kinds of stuff without thinking about the larger issues (or even doing basic Google searches), but many who'd suggested person names on the survey were later convinced by the committee's report that  a person name wasn't a good idea. The only way to have percentage numbers to prove that would be do ANOTHER survey of people who had read the full report, and that wasn't possible.

I personally witnessed these conversations, for example:

"Yeah, I said on the survey I wanted it to be named Heinlein! Oh, you mean people under 50 don't think he's the best possibility? Oooh, yeah, I guess a lot of women really don't think he's the best option for good reason. Shoot, wish I  could rescind my suggestion."

"I suggested Octavia Butler on the survey! Oh crap, you're right, she does have a book where an 11-year old has sex repeatedly with a 24-year old and many other adults. Yikes, not a good name for a teen book award. Good thing you caught that."

I think the committee decided not to include all that stuff in their reports because they didn't want it to turn into a big free-for-all about why each author sucked as an option for reason X, Y, and Z; that would publicly draw an already-not-secure award into an ugly public discussion and would go a long way to NOT honoring the authors. So the reports phrased the objections very vaguely without naming names ("inappropriate teen-adult sexual relationships"). Having another survey of just authors, as Ran suggested, would still require those specific objections to be aired in order to achieve a balanced response ("Author A, whose books are beloved for x,y, and z reasons, and who fat-shames teen girls continuously"). 

As for the L'Engle discussion at the Business Meeting, it was pretty brief and maybe more discussion would have been better, but I'm not sure it would have changed much. I saw someone say to a committee person in the hall afterwards: "When the debate started I definitely wanted it to be L'Engle, no question, but once I heard the speaker explain that stuff about L'Engle's relationship to homosexuality, I changed my mind. Thank goodness they brought that up because we dodged a bullet there."

And just a reminder, the recent decision to change the World Fantasy Award's trophy from a a bust of white supremacist HP Lovecraft caused a firestorm of painful arguments and accusations. Just a few months ago, Laura Ingalls Wilder's name was removed from a major children's book award (for its racist and prejudiced representation of minorities and indigenous exploitation);  it was reported on by the New York Times, NPR, and others. So, (I personally think that for the good of the award) it's better to avoid that stuff from the get-go.

 

Edited by LugaJetboyGirl-irra
clarity

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On 8/19/2018 at 9:47 PM, Lil Red Head said:

Hurray that it passed! And serious, major kudos to all the people who put so much work into it.

I've been in Europe for a week (we live here now!) and I sometimes forget that there's a whole day of things happening  still in the US when I'm winding down for bed, so I wasn't sure what the status was on Lodestar and the meeting, etc.

Thanks for the update, Ran!

There is a sunset clause so it needs to be re-ratified in 2020 (IIRC), so we'll need warm bodies on deck in New Zealand. There may be some kind of BS pulled at Dublin though.

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On 8/30/2018 at 5:49 PM, Werthead said:

There is a sunset clause so it needs to be re-ratified in 2020 (IIRC), so we'll need warm bodies on deck in New Zealand. There may be some kind of BS pulled at Dublin though.

I was just re-watching the 2017 Business Meeting video (what, doesn't everyone do that?), and Kevin said 2021, but he could have been wrong then. Either way, yes, we should definitely make sure there are people at New Zealand and wherever 2021 goes (currently DC is unopposed). Billy and I will be at Dublin and plan to be at the Business Meeting each day (free ribbons and agendas, yo) so we can watch for shenanigans. We would love company. Bring your crafts.

And thank you anonymous committee member for your post. I really appreciated all of the specificity that was provided, like at the 2017 business meeting, about why naming it after a person is problematic. I think Lodestar is a fabulous name. It's unknown enough that it doesn't have a lot of baggage attached; people who complain that it doesn't have a bunch of imagination or whatever aren't *using their* imagination. It can be whatever we want it to be! And isn't that perfect for a YA award?

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