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Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule

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Brian's Scale, First Iteration
Brian's Scale as it stands, for your use at ConFusion!

Base unit of writerly fame = the Trout. One trout is roughly equal to any non-self published publication up to pro-paying publications, which are worth two Trouts. (Sorry, the problem with solely self-published authors is that they are by definition unlikely to be known by a non-fan, so maybe we could call them Salmon?)

A MegaTrout is someone with 1-3 novels/short story collections published by medium to large presses (medium as defined by Subterranean, Night Shade, etc).

A GigaTrout has more than three novels published in such fashion.

After Giga Trout, we enter the Scalzis, since Brian knows Scalzi personally, this was the easiest way to explain to him. (He did not in fact recognize the name Rowling, which threw of four scale entirely.)

Keeping in mind that two Scalzis make a half Gaiman, and at least two Gaimans are required to enter the next level, the Legend scale, which included canonical authors like Ursula LeGuin, Jane Yolen, and Ray Bradbury, this should allow us to pretty well pinpoint most authors.

Now, in addtion, we have the Doctorow Effect and the Sagan Factor.

The Doctorow Effect is a unit of internet fame. It can make the perceived rating of an author much greater than their actual literary rating, due to internet renown. Hence: "Author X would be a GigaTrout, but the Doctorow Effect bumps her up to a half Scalzi."

The Sagan Factor is very important in Science Fiction. It kicks in when the actual scientific renown, academic cache, and/or accomplishments of the author dovetails with their literary output to make them very hardcore indeed. Geoff Landis, Rudy Rucker, and David Brin are good examples of these.

Any additions? Leave them in the comments. We go forth!

Excellent. Of course, as a math major, I'm prone to measure things and geek out about it.

This has me giggling. But couldn't we name the Legend level after LeGuin, since we have males represented in Scalzi and Gaiman?

So is Scalzi actually two Scalzis thanks to the Doctorow Effect? :-)

hmmm ... i don't think this comes close to being useful. "you're a giga and a half trout"?

better to award points for things and have a scale.

1 pt for published short stories, 100 for novels, 80 for television appearances, 300 for biographies published about you, 130 for hugos, 10 for nominations, or whatever.

then you'd be able to say "Oh, he scored higher than 2,700 on the Valente Scale of notoriety, you should definitely get his autograph."

rank them like chess grandmasters.

I definitely prefer saying that I am a Trout.

I like it.

I like it a lot. :-D

Thre is clearly something in the collective unconscious:UK writer Jaine Fenn has a similar fishy scale, starting with plnakton , progressing via spiny fish all the way up to whales.

I think you need to make it clearer that this is for SF/F only. I'm a non-fiction writer, so I can't put myself anywhere on this scale - pun intended.

Also, what about people who have only short story publications - but they have lots of them? What about people whose publications are non-fiction but related, book reviewers and the like? What about editors, for that matter? Teresa Nielsen Hayden is certainly equal to Doctorow, except she's not a fiction writer. Goodness, if it weren't for her and Patrick, many of these people might never have seen print.

I know, I know, I'm nitpicking.

Certainly this is not for editors--the original post makes it clear it's SFF, and if you have a very lot of short stories, it's almost certain you have a collection, which would count as a book.

Perfect. I'm on a panel at ConFusion on Legends. Now I know the numerical value of that. My inner Physicist is satisfied.


Dr. Phil

but ... Isn't Scalzi himself already a half-Gaiman, with a doctrow effect that makes him a full Gaiman?

But Gaiman, too, has a Doctorow effect, surely, so ...

I'm a romantica double trout! Whooooooooooooooooo! Onto MegaTrout!

Umm.. but this is a positive scale only? It measures fame but what about infamy?

I mean, what are the negative values?

I don't think anyone wants to catalogue those - but if we DID, I don't think there'd any debate that it should be called the Harlan.

Base unit of writerly fame = the Trout

the Kilgore Trout, where you include a fictional book in a book that takes on a greater life of its own.. (see Necronomicon which takes lives other than its own)

I was waiting to see if someone mentioned Kilgore. Thank you so much.

Here's my official request that D. shall provide a visual representation of the scale. (Unless, of course, the scale is instantly taken up by the fannish populace at large and XKCD beats him to it ;)

I hope you're having a good time in Detroit!