Friday, February 10, 2006

Category Inflation 

I hadn't noticed until I was reading my copy of the February issue of Locus thoroughly that for purposes of the Locus poll (390 ballot received and counting) the definition of the fiction categories have been changed, the break between novella and novel now occurring at 59,000 words, rather than the traditional 40,000. This seems entirely reasonable, considering how huge most genre novels are these days, compared to those slender paperback originals of 40 and 50 years ago. The change allows a short book like James Patrick Kelly's Burn, for example, to count among novellas, rather than novels. (By the same token, if it were up to me, I might edge the novelette/novella break up from 15,000 to 20,000 words, though I'd leave the short story/novelette break at 7500 words, considering how many ss's are published every year.)

I've been flu-bug-bitten the past few days, which is why the relative lack of posting on the site. I have a backlog of emails and book listings to post, maybe this weekend.

PS There was a problem with my archive links in the right column, and so I fixed it, I thought, but now the links are arranged from earliest to latest, rather than latest to earliest. Any Blogger experts know how to fix this?
I'm not an expert, but I was able to reorder my archives by cut-n-pasting from Blogger's article at
Hi Mark,

I was obtuse enough not to have noticed that we shifted our categories. (Though I did notice that The Cosmology of the Wider World, which is at least 50,000 words long, was in the novella list, which should have been a clue. Burn (as well as Vera Nazarian's story) are both just the tiniest bit under 40,000 words.)

Interesting. I think it makes sense, though it does complicate thing with regard to Hugo/Nebula rules.
And I see that as usual I forgot to sign that post!

Rich Horton
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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