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OJCade
01-11-2016, 04:10 AM
Well this is interesting... Lois Tilton, who does the short fiction SFF reviews over at Locus Online has just resigned. From her statement:


I wish to announce that, after 205 columns, Iíve resigned as reviewer of short fiction for Locus Online. Without consulting or informing me, they had begun deleting material they considered negative from my reviews. To me, this is censorship and completely unacceptable. If a publication includes stories of no merit or interest, this is something a review should mention.

Yeah. That sounds dodgy to me. I've had good and average reviews from her for my short sci-fi/fantasy, but even if she'd called them all stinkers I wouldn't support that. What's the point of a reviewer if they can't say what they think?

Original statement on SFF.Net (https://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=read&group=sff.people.loist&artnum=8420). Discussion at File 770 (http://file770.com/?p=26987).

amergina
01-11-2016, 04:40 AM
That's...not right.

I mean, if you have an issue with how a reviewer is reviewing things for your magazine, let them go. Don't edit the negative out of their reviews without telling them.

zanzjan
01-11-2016, 04:56 AM
It seems to me there's a lot more going on here; waiting for Locus to respond and more info to shake out. Regardless, I'll miss her occasional hatin' on my stories, because sometimes there was really valuable insight in there, and she paid diligent and genuine attention to short SFF which is otherwise frequently neglected by reviewers.

Still entirely too proud of the time she dinged me for "gratuitous use of tentacles".

OJCade
01-11-2016, 05:08 AM
I suppose it depends what they're editing out. If it's negative comments about the stories then that seems to undercut the whole point of having reviews in the first place. If it's negative comments about the authors of said stories, well... why would you keep on a reviewer who makes such remarks in the first place?

I'm not sure there's any explanation that'll leave everyone involved looking like professionals here...

zanzjan
01-11-2016, 05:26 AM
I really don't know, though. I read a review of hers where she started off by stating that she absolutely hated the horror genre, then reviewed a *horror* magazine and hated all the stories in it specifically for their horror-ness. That's a honest review, yes, but is it useful and/or objective and fair to the works being reviewed?

There's a lot of unknowns here and we've only heard one side of it, is all I'm saying. Way too soon to judge.

Roxxsmom
01-11-2016, 05:29 AM
Well this is interesting... Lois Tilton, who does the short fiction SFF reviews over at Locus Online has just resigned. From her statement:



Yeah. That sounds dodgy to me. I've had good and average reviews from her for my short sci-fi/fantasy, but even if she'd called them all stinkers I wouldn't support that. What's the point of a reviewer if they can't say what they think?

Original statement on SFF.Net (https://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=read&group=sff.people.loist&artnum=8420). Discussion at File 770 (http://file770.com/?p=26987).


Maybe I won't be renewing my subscription with Locus. I can't think of a reason for having reviews if they don't include the bad with the good. How can I even trust them then?

Now I can see talking to a reviewer who has written something you think is disrespectful or specious (like lambasting a horror story for being a horror story after admitting you hate horror) and telling them you don't feel you can publish it. But going in and changing or deleting things in a review without even even discussing it with the reviewer? That seems pretty dodgy.

I guess more details need to be forthcoming.

RedRajah
01-11-2016, 05:39 AM
Is Locus doing this to all her reviews or just for specific stories/authors?

Haggis
01-11-2016, 05:46 AM
I really don't know, though. I read a review of hers where she started off by stating that she absolutely hated the horror genre, then reviewed a *horror* magazine and hated all the stories in it specifically for their horror-ness. That's a honest review, yes, but is it useful and/or objective and fair to the works being reviewed?

There's a lot of unknowns here and we've only heard one side of it, is all I'm saying. Way too soon to judge.

I think I might take issue with that myself.

Filigree
01-11-2016, 07:33 AM
My initial reaction was on Tilton's side...and remains there, until I know more about what was cut and why.

jjdebenedictis
01-11-2016, 08:04 AM
Lois Tilton has made a clarifying remark on File 770 (http://file770.com/?p=26987&cpage=1#comment-388359). Not much new, other than to stress the parting of ways is amicable, the alterations were made due to a change in editorial policy she wasn't informed of, and she withdrew the piece before publication.

zanzjan
01-11-2016, 08:15 AM
Her clarification does seem to suggest some really important things: that this has *not* been an ongoing censorship of her work but is a singular instance, and that Locus *didn't* actually publish her work altered without her knowledge/consent. That there was poor/late communication around questions/problems with the content of the pending column is unfortunate, but we don't know what the substance of the disagreement was, and Lois's own words is that it was a peaceful split. Lacking more specifics, I'm strongly inclined to see this as a growing apart, rather than any sort of intentionally underhanded or outrageous behavior on either side.

amergina
01-11-2016, 08:36 AM
Yeah, that sounds reasonable. Sounds like Locus edited it and was waiting for her approval before publishing the piece.

She didn't give it, pulled it, and left because of editorial differences.

OJCade
01-11-2016, 09:10 AM
Well that's pleasantly undramatic, for a change!

Polenth
01-11-2016, 11:47 PM
She was prone to reviews that were hurtful to marginalised authors, in a way that only tended to be noticed by other people in those groups. My first thought on editing out negative comments is it might be those comments. But that may be a bit optimistic, given no one else outside appears to have noticed what was going on. Or they dismissed it as authors not being able to take bad reviews (even though some of the reviews in question weren't bad overall... the issue was certain comments in the reviews). It's why I didn't find her reviews useful, as stories about people like me were much more likely to get harsh reviews, simply due to character choice. So I'm not sad to see her go. My first reaction was relief.

amergina
01-11-2016, 11:56 PM
My first thought on editing out negative comments is it might be those comments. But that may be a bit optimistic, given no one else outside appears to have noticed what was going on.

Nothing that was published in Locus had anything negative edited out. She clarified at File 770 that the editing happened in a review column that had yet to be published. When she found out about the editing (I'm guessing because it was waiting her approval since she said the column was delayed?), she pulled the column.

So Locus actually never published anything edited without her knowledge.

amergina
01-12-2016, 12:04 AM
Here's Locus's statement:

http://file770.com/?p=26989


When Lois was told about the editorial process being applied to the website, she opted to resign. None of her columns affected by this decision have been posted online, and she was paid for the work even though it will not be published.

So, indeed, nothing published was edited without her approval.

Filigree
01-12-2016, 07:05 AM
That's actually a relief.

Roxxsmom
01-12-2016, 07:15 AM
Lacking more specifics, I'm strongly inclined to see this as a growing apart, rather than any sort of intentionally underhanded or outrageous behavior on either side.

That's what it feels like to me as well. I'll confess to not reading the Locus columns on short fiction, because I mostly read novels and only tend to read the shorts that grab my attention in the magazines I subscribe to. Though poring through the stack of Locus magazines I have sitting on the bookshelf from this year, it doesn't look like she's reviewed short fiction for them for quite some time. All the reviews for short fiction listed in the issues I have seem to be by Rich Horton; plus there's the column by Gardner Dozois.

amergina
01-12-2016, 07:31 AM
That's what it feels like to me as well. I'll confess to not reading the Locus columns on short fiction, because I mostly read novels and only tend to read the shorts that grab my attention in the magazines I subscribe to. Though poring through the stack of Locus magazines I have sitting on the bookshelf from this year, it doesn't look like she's reviewed short fiction for them for quite some time. All the reviews for short fiction listed in the issues I have seem to be by Rich Horton; plus there's the column by Gardner Dozois.

I think it was a web-only column?

eqb
01-12-2016, 04:17 PM
Yes, Lois's column was web-only. Until now, the website ran completely separate from the print magazine. Starting with the January column, the web content was going to follow the same editorial processes as the print one.

RedWombat
01-13-2016, 07:24 AM
Seems to have ultimately been a tempest in a teapot.