From the Archives: In Praise of . . . the Locus Guide to Science Fiction Awards

5 September 2014

You’ve probably noticed that we’ve published a lot of books over the year-and-a-half SF Gateway has been live. We’ve certainly noticed it – you don’t publish 1,800 books by more than 150 authors without becoming intimately aware of the scale of the task you’ve taken on!

This is not to say it’s a chore – it isn’t; we love what we’re doing and we’re very proud to be involved in making so much great work easily available once again – but it does present certain challenges that more traditional publishing models don’t. For instance, most editors might take on two or three new authors in a year (alongside negotiating new contracts for existing authors), which means that they have to originate a handful of author biographies – and many of those can be easily adapted from the authors’ CVs or their agents’ covering letters.

We’ve had to write 150. OK, we were able to put together a good number by updating existing biographies – if you can’t find something online for the likes of Robert Silverberg or Ursula LeGuin, you’re just not trying – but many have had to be written from scratch, using such sources as the venerable Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, the ubiquitous Wikipedia and . . .

. . . the extraordinary (and, to our mind, criminally under-appreciated) Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards. Curated by Mark R. Kelly, it’s clearly a labour of love and is an utterly invaluable resource for us when writing author biographies, putting together copy for SF Gateway eBooks and SF Masterworks and looking for candidates for future Masterworks just to name a few. It’s one of our first ports of call when collating information and we felt it was long past time to say ‘thank you’ to Mark and to recommend the fruits of his hard work to any and all who might be interested in the history of the field as told by the books we’ve seen fit to honour.

 

 

Ever wondered who won the Hugo Award in 1963? (Philip K. Dick‘s The Man in the High Castle) Or how many Nebula Awards Connie Willis has won? (Seven) Or whether Ursula K. LeGuin ever won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award? (Yes, in 1995 with novella ‘Forgiveness Day’) Then you need to visit the Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards. We do. Every week.

STOP PRESS: Having just finished writing this paean to the Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards, we’ve just taken a closer look at the home page and seen these words:

This site has been superseded by the Science Fiction Awards Database

We could have gone back and slightly re-written this post to reflect the change, but it’s the Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards incarnation that has been so helpful to us over the last couple of years, so we felt it important to pay tribute under it’s original name. We will of course be changing our browser’s bookmark to point to the SFADB for future reference, but for now: Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards, we salute you!

 

About Darren Nash

I’m Digital Publisher at Gollancz, responsible for the SF Gateway and SF Masterworks. Digitally, I can be found here, on Twitter at @SFGateway (officially) and @thenashmeister (unofficially). In meat space, I operate from a secret base inside a dormant volcano, on a remote pacific island that – mysteriously – doesn’t appear on any official maps. Possibly.

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