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Pentapodichi

The Lodestar Award

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Posted (edited)
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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Posted (edited)
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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Posted (edited)
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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Posted (edited)

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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