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Kyell Gold withdraws from Ursa Majors to give others a go

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (5 votes)

Kyell GoldTwelve-times Ursa Major Award winner Kyell Gold has announced his withdrawal from the Best Novel and Best Short Story categories this year, and for "a few more going forwards", to ensure that other authors win:

There is precedent in other awards for frequent winners stepping back. One of the people on the Ursa Major committee told me that in a musical award, when someone wins three years in a row, they are retired from that category by the award. That's not how the Ursas work: they have been very hands-off and admirably resistant to public opinion. When Stan Sakai won the Best Comic award multiple years running, they assured people that in time, other comics would win, and they were right. In response to my multiple wins, they have assured people that, in time, other authors will win.

I have no doubt that they are correct, given the profusion of talent in the fandom. In fact, each of the last two years I have been convinced I would not win one of the two awards (perhaps neither). But I have also observed that it would probably be better for the writing scene if that day comes sooner rather than later.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is this: I've won a dozen awards over seven years. I know you guys love me and my books. :) But I'd like to help the fandom's literary scene mature, and part of that is showcasing more of the authors that are doing really good work. My name's already up there in the lists; let's see some of the other people.

In addition, this allows me to recommend other books in the fandom for you to read, other stories to look at, without being conflicted. I would really like you guys to keep reading and keep voting in the awards, because that's important to the fandom.

What this does not mean: It does not mean you should stop voting. It doesn't mean I'm stepping out of the fandom. I'm going to keep writing, keep going to conventions, keep posting to FA and answering mail and whatnot. You guys aren't going to get rid of me that easily.

Kyell has won Best Anthropomorphic Novel since the 2005 Ursa Major Awards (except for 2007), and Best Short Fiction since the 2006 Awards. His domination of these categories led some to dismiss the Awards:

Past UMA winners
2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006
Prior years - more coverage

cpam: Nominations for the 2012 Ursa Major Awards open today.
marmelmm: Cpam: Don't you mean the Kyell Gold awards? Pfui.

In 2008 he won four of six Short Fiction nominations. He became the most successful Ursa Major Award winner in 2010, topping Stan Sakai's six.

In an email to Ursa Major organizers posted to the UMA discussion list, Kyell was candid about his reasons for withdrawing:

[...] look, I've won a dozen of these, six for novel, six for short story. For the last two years I have been thinking about this, but I listen to what the ALAA Committee has said about the voting to people who've complained, that basically it will all even out in time. I've watched the field of furry lit mature--not that it IS mature yet, but it's heading in that direction--and despite other works that I thought were worthy, my loyal fans keep coming back. So I'm hoping to take on a slightly different role w/r/t to the Ursas now, one where I can wholeheartedly recommend and point people to other worthy works in the fandom.

Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association founder Fred Patten released a statement in response to Kyell's announcement:

Kyell Gold has notified the ALAA administrators that he wishes to withdraw his works from the Ursa Major Awards' consideration in the Best Novel and Best Short Fiction categories for at least the next three years, He has won twelve awards since 2005, six for Best Novel and six for Best Short Fiction, and he wants to give other worthy nominees a chance.

In this, he is following the precedent set by Phil Foglio and Neil Gaiman in withdrawing their works for consideration for the World Science Fiction Convention's Hugo Awards.

We will honor Mr. Gold's request. This withdrawal affects only Mr. Gold's own work. The cover artists of his books are still eligible in the Best Published Illustration category.

Anyone who wishes to change his or her nomination, for this or any other reason, may do so by logging in at http://www.ursamajorawards.org/nominations/ and amending their entries on the form before the February 28 deadline.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 2 (2 votes)

John Larroquette did the same thing after he won 4 consecutive Emmys for his performance as Dan Fielding on "Night Court".

Your rating: None Average: 2 (5 votes)

Seriously, the guy won one of the inaugural Coyotl Awards, too.

Fun Fact: Coyotl is actually pronounced "Anyone-But-Kyell-Fucking-Gold-Again."

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

I don't think that's quite fair. He's a member of the Furry Writer's Guild (though he didn't have to be) and was nominated for the award by his peers - in fact, his work was the only nomination in that category. One could argue that not enough authors are writing mature novellas good enough to qualify, but it's hardly his fault if nobody else shows up.

The fact that he didn't get nominated for Mature Novel or Short Story also suggests the FWG isn't just a Kyell fan club.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

I'm thinking more of Meryl Streep's Best Actress Oscar (her third Oscar) speech last year.

"I think I just heard over half of America going 'Her? Again?'" (Quoted from memory; probably misquoting her exact words.)

Both Meryl Streep and Kyell Gold probably deserve their multiple awards, and both recognize that deserve gots nothing to do with it. It still annoys the shit out everybody that they keep winning; hell, the fact that they do deserve it probably makes it more annnoying, because people hate being reminded too much that someone else is better at anything than them.

It's actually pretty amazing Gold hasn't suffered any backlash, though I still say his win streak was a factor in t.e formation of the Coyotl awards,

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Pushing someone off the dime to set up a juried award to go with the popular ones strikes me as a positive effect, and good for him.

Your rating: None

Point of Information: The Coyotl Awards are not a juried award (neither are the Nebulas, which they are modeled after). They are a popular award drawn from a smaller pool of participants. A juried award is an award in which a small panel of people, usually recognized experts in a field, are appointed to review each nominated work and choose a winner. The fact that the Coyotl requires its members to do a math problem before nominating does not mean that every voter has read every nominated work before voting.

It is possible to have a juried award with a large pool of entrants if there is an administrator ensuring that each nominee recieves equal evaluation before tallying the votes, but to my knowledge this is not part of the Coyotls' process.

Your rating: None

At least they're a popular award voted on by people who, I would presume, know what goes into good writing, instead of simply voting for the only writer most furries have ever heard of.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Well, I don't know. You can look at the qualifications for entry into the FWG and speculate on the ease of getting published in furry fiction--at one point I believe you could become a FWG member with two conbook publications and nothing more, and I've heard more than one conbook organizer state flatly that they would publish anything anyone sent them, because they get so few submissions. Many furry anthologies are not too far removed from that. I've talked to editors who said, "We had to accept a couple stories because we just didn't have enough submissions" for a project. And those stories' authors are eligible to be FWG members.

On the other hand, to take an extreme example, Fred Patten would not be eligible for FWG membership (barring a special dispensation), and I don't think anyone would argue that he doesn't know what goes into good writing. There are a lot of people out there who read avidly and DO know good writing even if they don't produce any themselves.

One Ursa committee member said to me off the record that his examination of the votes bears out that people vote for what they like. The process of voting is laborious enough that people don't just go to a webpage and click on a link. They have to take time to vote. They have to *care*. And most furries who take the time to vote have heard of more than one writer.

Point is, it's easy to buy into a stereotype of mindless zombies voting for Ursas and educated, refined writers voting for the Coyotls, but if you take the time to gather even a little bit of information, those stereotypes don't hold up.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (2 votes)

A lot of furries haven't heard of any writers at all, actually.

As for the FWG, I'm not a member despite having four short story sales and a novella out through furplanet, because I don't view them as what the name implies - some kind of semi-professional organization. The entry criteria aside, I view the Coyotls as having roughly the same validity as the award given by a regular (if large) writing circle. In short, I think the Coyotls are (by their very nature) a kind of limited clique thing at the moment. I don't think they're going to _stay_ that way, because the people involved in the FWG and the Coyotls at least have their hearts in the right place, but it is a long, long, long way away from being what it wants to be or what it presents itself as.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

"A lot of furries haven't heard of any writers at all, actually."

Yes. I am still miffed by the San Jose news coverage of Further Confusion 2013 that said, "While the costumes bring the most visual impact to the convention, traditional artists, sculptors, performers, singers, musicians, gamers, dancers, and general fans make up a much greater chunk of the attendee population." Not a word about literature, authors, or writers.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Or comics, even. I mean, obviously literature is one of the big things we want to see making more of an impact, but comics are comparitively low visibility and some of 'our' comics aren't just winning Ursa Majors, they're winning _Hugos_.

I think Kyell Gold's our superstar for two reasons: He's prolific, and he's capable of some absolutely magical writing when he's on his A-game. (Disclaimer: I occasionally help him refine his A-game. *EditorRat*) It's not the gay erotica that's driven his success. There are a crapton of people writing gay erotica in this fandom (just look at FA or Furplanet's listings). He's good. We should be proud of him. But instead he's been put under pressure to bow out of the Ursas for just about as long as I can remember.

Good writing, regardless of if it's gay erotica or psychohorror or children's stories, deserves recognition. But we're in the habit of thinking our home-grown literary greats aren't that great, and that's affecting every writer in this fandom, in my opinion. The 'cpam: Nominations for the 2012 Ursa Major Awards open today. / marmelmm: Cpam: Don't you mean the Kyell Gold awards? Pfui.' attitude is, I think, why that news coverage you've mentioned didn't mention a thing about our in-fandom literature. That attitude doesn't just pull Kyell down, it pulls every other writer trying to get somewhere down.

Your rating: None

Hard to say, I wouldn't doubt if Disney won as many Ursa Majors as Kyell did there'd be complaints about that, however the movie has literally been a back and fourth between Disney and Dreamworks almost coincidentally on a year to year basis.

The two other "Ursa clusters" (TM) I see are Blotch for Published Illustrations and Usagi Yojimbo for comics. I'm sure there was complaints about them as well at the time they had won multiples in a row, of course not as well known as the complaints about Kyell, but still.

If anything though, I wouldn't interpret the whining as "putting down" a particular author, but more a whine for something new and fresh. Furries tend to be pretty much creatures of habit and loyal, but even they like to see new things once in awhile. I would have rather had seen that new and fresh come from furries getting off their tails and trying to beat him legitimately, however. Now whoever happens to win it will win, but they will remind themselves and others as well that it may not be the 'actual' winner of the year. So Kyell freed himself from those complaining about him winning, and replaced it with those who'll complain that the current winners didn't win legitmately.

When it comes to spectators and competition what one must learn is, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

On a hopelessly optimistic note, maybe the reason the media and such don't see furry writing as "furry" is well, "furry" writing is pretty mainstream and certainly not unique to the fandom.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books

Watership Down has sold over 50 million, Berenstain Bears as a series 260 million, and looking through the list there are a good chunk considering how much a minority anthropomorphic protagonists are.

So maybe these caricatures in writing are so common place, even outside the fandom, that there is a disconnect that the people who write anthroporphic novels might be furry fans themselves.

Your rating: None

Anyway, nominations are open Right Now and the more people who nominate something the more likely it is to get onto the UM ballot, so those who want different, please go NOMINATE different (and while you're at it, while the first List won't go up for at least a month, I'm already taking entries for the 2013 Recommended Anthropomorphics list...) :)

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Kyell is a good guy for doing this. But it puts an asterisk beside the name of anyone else who _does_ win, which is also a Bad Thing. The real problem is that the poor man is caught in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation that was in no way of his own making. I for one both sympathize with Kyell and respect his attempt to make the best of the situation.

Your rating: None

I feel the same way. It almost feels like arrogance, although with the his list of wins it's really just being realistic, but it is nice for other people to have a chance. It would've been fun to see how much of a streak he could make though and then beating him would also really mean something.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

It's not the first time - I recall the Carspeckens requested Faux Pas sit out a year or so at one point because they were getting embarrassed by all the wins. (Mind you, 'tis an EXCELLENT comic strip.) People will always find something to kvetch about, something I suspect Kyell is already familiar with. He's in good company, heaven knows.

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

Honestly, it's just that you know, how many furry artists can you list off the top of your head. At least a dozen I'm sure. How many furry authors can you list off the top of your head? Unless you're somoene like Fred, I don't think that answer is nearly as high.

We live in a visual medium society where people who actually read books are hard to come by. There are too many ways to entertain oneself, and to top it off furry is a pretty visual medium. I mean, a picture may be worth a thousand words if humans are involved but try describing some (my sister has dubbed it) "rainbow puke" fursona with a thousand words you'd be using one for each color. So it's not the easiest genre to write for.

That aside while it won't effect me this year it does put a damper on me wanting to end the dynasty for myself. Kind of a selfish reason to write maybe, but so is making money and well, can always use more of that. A third main reason was to make something non-mature that might reach some staple of popularity, to kind of prove that we like good story, even if it's not reading with 'benefits'. Maybe (heavens forbid) have a fanbase that may not consider themselves furries along with those that do.

Aw well, guess it'd be much more interesting if a second person created their own dynasty and for the king to return and have a clash of the titans.

I'm slightly too competitive to be a writer. Should probably go back to gaming.

Your rating: None Average: 1.5 (8 votes)

Took him long enough.

Your rating: None

I think he wins much in the same way CoD 'wins' many videogamer awards, his works appeal to the base majority of the furry fandom, just as CoD appeals to the market share of videogamers.

A competent writer writing furry homoerotic dramas I wonder how successful he'll be.

I wonder how wet is water sometimes too.

Your rating: None

Here's a little secret.

Kyell's a competent writer. He's written plenty of things outside of furry, too. He may not throw his furry pen-name on everything , but he's most definitely a competent writer.

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GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a software developer and Norn from Irving, Texas, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.

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