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Letters from Proxima Thule

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Brian's Scale
So earthgoat 's husband, who is not an SFF fan, was talking to me today about cons and meeting authors.

This followed:

Brian: "I feel like I need a scale whenever I meet someone, so I can know if this is a really big author that I should know, or if they are new, or were big in the 80s or what. I have no idea, usually. Like...this guy is two Scalzis, or something."

Me: "Oh, no, Scalzi is too big to be a base unit of measurement. You need a more average author who can multiply up and divide down more freely. Two Scalzis would be huge."

earthgoat : "Two Scalzis is like half a Gaiman."

So, let us invent a scale for Brian. We can even call it Brian's Scale, meant for people somewhat aware of the field but not huge fans. We need a base measurement, the authorial equivalents of inches--I think Scalzi works well enough for a foot-analogue measurement. Gaiman, obviously, is the epic yardstick. Other measurements could include awards: one Hugo win equals a fifth of a Resnick. I also think that though Gaiman is a good measure of contemporary mega-success, there has to be a Legend measurement, too. Like, a Gaiman is a half LeGuin, or how many Gibsons make an Asimov?

I open the floor. I will post the complete scale, hopefully, by the time ConFusion begins on Friday.

How many McGuires would make a King?

I assume you mean Seanan unless there's another McGuire I don't know. I'd probably say it's not a good pairing since she just started out and he's definitely legend status in horror. So, like 10, maybe? Maybe like three McGuires make a Harris, two Harrises and a Hamilton make half a King?

Is it a log scale? I think that would make the most sense.

Sheepish geek needs a definition.

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This reminds me of the sort of thing justbeast does his maps and graphs of.

Oh, I wish he would do that again.

Hee, I like.. what about authors on the negative end though, like John Norman with the Gor series, how many Scalzis do you need to balance out that or at least get back into positive figures?

This is not a measure of quality, though, just fame.

Ideas to have on the scale

Maybe a Clarke is an inch? (Susanna, not Arthur, but he'd need to be there, too. :))

DWJs- Diana Wynne Jones


Um...damn,I can't begin to figure out where to map everyone.

Re: Ideas to have on the scale

And where do Tolkiens go?
How many Gaimans in a Tolkien?

Edited at 2010-01-20 09:57 pm (UTC)

What's the ratio of Gaimans to Heinleins or Herberts? And do multi-genre authors still fit on the scale? I mean, where does Atwood stand?

Multi-genre can play, unless like Atwood they decline SF status. Then they have to go to bed without dinner.

I think the legends are like: Tolkien, Lewis, Heinlen, Bradbury, Asimov, LeGuin, Clarke. I may be forgetting some, but I think you have to at least double any author living today to get one of those.

Ursula Le Guin (Anonymous) Expand
And how would, say, Stephen King measure up against J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer?

And are there obsolete measurements... Anne Rice was once almost a Meyer, or something like that, but is now devalutated?

King > Rowling > Meyer, definitely.

And Anne Rice was never close to Meyer, fame-wise, in that the Lestat series was never close to Twilight popularity-wise. Twilight has sold about twice as well as Interview with the Vampire, and Interview was published over 30 years ago.

What about authors that are famous on the internet, but not for being authors necessarily? Is it overall fame, or just fame-because-of-your-books?

I would submit the John as the smallest unit. This could represent people who had a poem published in their local paper in high school, or who claim to have had a letter published in Penthouse.

From their we can work up to regular contributor in a fanzine, self published, actually paid for a story, paid an advance to write something, published more than one book, is a midlist author, bestseller author, famous enough to have awards named after them. There might be room for levels where the author is known outside of their most common genere, or the name is known by non-readers.

Sort of boy-centric though...

I think there might be too much motion in the writer fame to really attest to a scale. And who would be a constant? Should we go by 1950s standards and judge everyone on the basis of their Asimov standing or should we start now?

And Rowling and King seem to exponentially huge to really figure into it. Either one of them represents a GigaGaiman.

Damn. This is fun.

You do need to use authors Brian is familiar with.

The question of how many Scalzis are in a Gaiman is how author slash happens, you know.

Grandmasters need to be figured in there, if not for another validation of measure.

You got Hugos and Nebulas, plus the other awards named for Writers.

It makes it a higher form of computational math and validation.

"Like, a Gaiman is a half LeGuin, or how many Gibsons make an Asimov?"

You have now broken my brain.

One Orwell = 1,000 Meyers.

There. That's all you need. Just do everything in terms of Meyers.