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Old 08-22-2011, 01:16 PM   #31
Ralph Sir Edward
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
It's been there for as long as the awards have been given, I believe. Dividing things into only "short story" and "novel" would be more bizarre. "If it's less than 60,000 words, it's a short story." would get people expressing concerns about your sanity.

The odd man out actually tends to be the novella, and there has been squabbling about what it is.
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The tough part it to figuring he what is the max length. 50 pages/20,00words is the typical starting point. it fades out around 40,00 word +- 5000 words, depending on whose defining.

I consider a well written novella to be some of the best writing there is.

Some examples. Steinbeck's The Pearl and Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's

Science fiction ones include Jack Vance's The Last Castle and Sturgeon's And Baby Makes Three

Last edited by Ralph Sir Edward; 08-22-2011 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:05 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
But could we not also say that we have different expectations from a 200 page novel, and a 1200 page "block-buster"?
The current classifications work as follows: (from the WSFS Constitution - emphasis mine below)

3.3.1: Best Novel. A science fiction or fantasy story of forty thousand (40,000) words or more.

3.3.2: Best Novella. A science fiction or fantasy story of between seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) and forty thousand (40,000) words.

3.3.3: Best Novelette. A science fiction or fantasy story of between seven thousand five hundred (7,500) and seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) words.

3.3.4: Best Short Story. A science fiction or fantasy story of less than seven thousand five hundred (7,500) words.

The distinctions are largely historical, and derive from the SF magazines and earlier book publications. The magazines, for example, distinguished between short stories, novelettes, and chunks of a serialized novel on their contents pages. The length a novel might be has steadily increased. Things like the old Ace Doubles had word lengths in the 40,000 range because that was what would fit in the allotted page count. Advances in printing technology made progressively larger books feasible, though we may still really long books split into parts for mass market paperback publication.

Meanwhile, I think you have to draw arbitrary lines somewhere. A short story is a fundamentally different form than a novel, and not judged by the same criteria. You probably could make a case for omitting one of the intermediate formats, and leave just novelette or novella between short story and novelette., but I think you do need a category between short story and novel.

I don't have an issue with the current classifcations. Given that you need some form of classification, they do as well as anything else.

The Hugo categories are subject to continual refinement. One relatively recent change has been breaking Best Editor into Short-form and Long-form. Historically, the Best Editor award really meant "Best Magazine Editor", and tended to be accumulated by the editors of Analog, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Isaac Asimovs SF Magazine, Galaxy, Worlds of If and others. back when SF digest publication was healthy.

More recently, there has been recognition that the action has shifted increasingly to books. The folks who acquire SF for publishers tend to be unknown unless you are someone who pays attention to such things, and you often don't know who actually bought the book you're reading for the publisher that issued it. Tor Books is an exception here, and lists the editor of the volume in the colophon (though they had to work at convincing Editor in Chief Beth Meachum to allow herself to be listed - she felt it was the author's book.)

I'm all in favor. Any good book is a collaboration between author and editor, and every published author I know considers a good editor an essential part of making the book a success.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:14 PM   #33
DMcCunney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
The tough part it to figuring he what is the max length. 50 pages/20,00words is the typical starting point. it fades out around 40,00 word +- 5000 words, depending on whose defining.
Agreed, and the current definitions used by the Hugos have involved some squabbling.

Quote:
I consider a well written novella to be some best writing there is.
Agreed.

Quote:
Some examples. Steinbeck's The Pearl and Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's

Science fiction ones include Jack Vance's The Last Castle and Sturgeon's And Baby Makes Three
Indeed, and we could probably list others.

The fact that the distinctions are arbitrary leads to oddities, like Samuel R. Delany's "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-precious Stones" winning the 1969 Nebula Award for Best Novelette, and the 1970 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. SFWA and WSFS had slightly different ideas of where you drew the line.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:28 PM   #34
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And a sincere congratulations to Adam Whitehead (The Wertzone) for cracking the Best Fan Writer "longlist" and garnering 11 votes!

It's about time some of the leading genre bloggers out there get more attention in my opinion. No offense to the fan writers who seem to win on whatever sort of merry-go-round schedule they currently have going, but whoever they are, their body of work doesn't seem to be easily accessible in this digital age.
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Old 08-22-2011, 05:06 PM   #35
Ralph Sir Edward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
Agreed, and the current definitions used by the Hugos have involved some squabbling.


Agreed.


Indeed, and we could probably list others.

The fact that the distinctions are arbitrary leads to oddities, like Samuel R. Delany's "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-precious Stones" winning the 1969 Nebula Award for Best Novelette, and the 1970 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. SFWA and WSFS had slightly different ideas of where you drew the line.
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What's this month's Word?
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Old 08-22-2011, 05:33 PM   #36
Ralph Sir Edward
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To me, the definition is more structural that length, (I know, I know, organization and critics set their hard and fast rules - but I'm just talking about my own worldview...)

To me, a Novelette has close structural similarities to a short story. A single theme, a closure on that theme. More descriptive background, more narrative complexity that a short story, but a familial resemblance...

A novella, to me, is a novel writen with the terseness of a short story, where ever word counts... Mulitple themes, interweaving connections between them, complex character developement. All in a compact length.

They seem to be different animals, even if their length may overlap. So I consider, for example, Samuel R. Delany's "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-precious Stones" as a novella, whereas, Fritz Leiber's "Ship of Shadows" (the 1970 Hugo winner for Novella), to be an oversize novelette. <Shrug, you pays your money and makes your choice...>
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:39 AM   #37
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quote from kjk "Has anyone read Best New Writer Lev Grossman's Magician novels? I just know him from his tech articles at Time magazine. He wrote the best intro to an iPad review ever:"

There are only 2 Novels in the series so far, I think the 2nd one is due to be released or has been just released? I read the first one, it started out good, I liked the concept and idea but by the end of it I was very irritated IMHO of the lack of character/story development being carried through. It didn't deliver for me, so I probably will pass on the 2nd one unless I find out from others that a "miracle" of humanity enters into the main character that changes his attitude and gives the series a redeeming quality :P

Whewww. I'm not usually so vocal on the reads that I didn't enjoy. I think may be due to the fact this series keeps being hailed as the "adult HP" and I found it nowhere near the quality of story-telling of HP. A case of the last part cancelling out the good feelings I felt in the first part of the Magicians I guess.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:55 PM   #38
BenG
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I liked the Magician more often than not, but , yes, the main character does some despicable things, but there is some indication that he has changed somewhat by the end.

But if you want to read it because it's "Harry Potter for adults" you'll be disappointed.
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:38 PM   #39
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It's about time some of the leading genre bloggers out there get more attention in my opinion.
Hear, hear!
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:54 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
I consider a well written novella to be some of the best writing there is.

Some examples. Steinbeck's The Pearl and Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's

Science fiction ones include Jack Vance's The Last Castle and Sturgeon's And Baby Makes Three
I agree. I especially like Steinbeck. The Pearl was great but I till prefered Of Mice and Men. Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is another favorite. Nancy Kress's Beggars in Spain is also one of my favorites (although the expanded novel version is also really good).
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