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A Rocket For The Editor, Part Two

For all those who have been waiting for the t'other shoe to drop... I talked about some worthy choices for the Hugo for Best Professional Editor (Long Form) down below, so it behooves me to say a few words about Best Professional Editor (Short Form) as well.

This is the second category that was created when "Best Editor" was split in 2007, but in some ways it feels more like a continuation of the older category. Magazine editors almost always won Best Editor before the split, and of course magazine editors have dominated the new Short Form category as well... though not to the same extent. Anthologists, who were always eligible even before the split but almost never won, have been holding their own in recent years, mostly in the person of the redoubtable Ellen Datlow. Datlow has won Short Form three times since the split. Sheila Williams of ASIMOV'S has won twice, Gordon Van Gelder of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION has won twice, and Stanley Schmidt of ANALOG has won once... in his final year of eligibility, after his retirement was announced.

The "usual suspects" syndrome is strong in this category. Since the division, a whole new phalanx of bridesmaids has come forth. Jonathan Strahan, Neil Clarke, and John Joseph Adams have all been nominated multiple times, but none of them has ever taken home a rocket. Unlike Long Form, which has become a de facto lifetime achievement award thanks in large part to the example set by David G. Hartwell, none of the Short Form winners have ever retired themselves from the competition. Of course, some have been retired by, well, retirement... Stan Schmidt and Gordon Van Gelder, for instance, no longer edit ANALOG and F&SF, respectively, and are no longer eligible.

Last year, this was another category completely dominated by the Puppies. All five of the finalists were first-time nominees... which was good. But all five were from the slates, which was not so good. Four of the five were nonetheless legitimate nominees worthy of serious consideration: anthologists Jennifer Brozek and Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Edmund R. Schubert of ORSON SCOTT CARD'S INTERGALACTIC MEDICINE SHOW, and Mike Resnick of GALAXY'S EDGE. (Schubert subsequently withdrew his name from consideration, which was commendable, but he did it too late to be replaced on the ballot).

Conspicuous by their absence from the ballot were a number of past winners and runners-up, including Datlow, Strahan, Adams, Clarke, Williams, Anne Vandermeer, Gardner Dozois, and others, all of them pushed off the ballot by the Puppies. Which made the final ballot a bit of a joke. You're going to give a Best Editor, Short Form award, but you're going to exclude the most prominent and distinguished short fiction editors in the field? Sure. That's like starting the NFL Playoffs by excluding the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks on the grounds that they've won too much lately. Hey, maybe those teams get eliminated along the way... as they did this year... but you have to at least let them in the tournament. To be the champ, you need to beat the champ... and in our field, the champion short fiction editors are folks named Datlow, Williams, Dozois, etc.

All that being said... the slates, by whatever means, did throw up some legitimate Hugo-worthy nominees in this category last year, though not as many as in Long Form. One of those stood well above the others, IMNSHO. The Hugo really should have gone to MIKE RESNICK. Resnick has a long and distinguished career as an anthologist, one stretching back decades, and while he has plenty of rockets on his mantle at home, and even more crashed upside down rockets on the shirts he wears at worldcon, he had never been recognized for his work as an editor before. In addition, Resnick had founded a new SF magazine, GALAXY'S EDGE; in an age when the older magazines are struggling just to keep going, starting up a new one is a bold act (maybe a little insane) that deserves applause. But even more than that, Resnick has been a mentor to generations of new young writers, featuring them in his anthologies and now his magazine, advising them, nurturing them, teaching them, even collaborating with them. His "writer babies," I have heard them called. In a way, Resnick is a one-man Clarion. Finding and nurturing new talent is one of an editor's most important tasks, and Resnick has been doing it, and doing it well, for decades. He got my Hugo vote.

He got a lot of other Hugo votes as well. But not enough to win. As with Long Form, this category went to No Award. The work that the Sad and Rabid Puppies began to wreck this Hugo category was completed by Steve Davidson of AMAZING, Deirdre Saoirse Moen, and the rest of the Nuclear Fans. Resnick was never part of the slates, fwiw. He took no part in the Puppy Wars on either side, preferring to stay above the fray. And he did deserve a Hugo. But guilt by association prevailed, and he was voted down with the rest. A real pity.

((FWIW, at my Hugo Losers Party at Sasquan, I presented an Alfie Award to John Joseph Adams, who had the highest number of nominations of all those pushed off the ballot by the Puppies. And some other folks, whose identity has yet to be revealed, later sent Mike Resnick something called a 'Jovian Award,' for having the most votes of those who lost to No Award. Both Adams and Resnick were robbed last year; the former by the Pups, the latter by the Nukes.))

Which brings us to this year. When I hope we do not make the same mistakes. Let us hope that we won't need more Alfies or Jovians. Let's give a Hugo to the best short fiction editor in our field.

There's certainly no lack of worthy candidates. Starting with the magazine editors. SHEILA WILLIAMS is still at ASIMOV'S. At ANALOG we have a new editor, Stan Schmidt's successor, TREVOR QUACHRI. There's no new editor at F&SF as well: CHARLES COLEMAN FINLAY. Beyond the Big Three, we have the newer magazines and their editors: NEIL CLARKE of CLARKESWORLD, EDMUND SCHUBERT of ORSON SCOTT CARD'S INTERGALACTIC MEDICINE SHOW, WILLIAM SCHAFER of SUBTERREANEAN, and, yes, MIKE RESNICK of GALAXY'S EDGE.

Oh, and we must not forget the e-magazines. Especially not TOR.COM, which has become one of our field's most important venues for short fiction. Tor.com has a legion of editors, though, so it's a little harder to determine which one should be nominated.. if indeed you think the stories they've published are Hugo calibre. (Maybe someone from Tor will come and tell us?)

And then there are the anthologists. JOHN JOSEPH ADAMS, last year's Alfie winner, stands at the forefront of that group, together with ELLEN DATLOW, GARDNER DOZOIS, and JONATHAN STRAHAN. But, hey, there are lot of good anthologies published every year, so plenty of other editors are eligible. It is hard to know who to nominate in Long Form, as we've discussed, hard to know who edited what. It is easy in Short Form. What was your favorite magazine? What was the best anthology you read last year? The name of the editor is right there.

Oh... and it would disingenuous of me not to mention that I am eligible for nomination myself in this category, on the basis of OLD VENUS, the original anthology I co-edited with Gardner. Now, I'm very proud of OLD VENUS, and I think there are a number of wonderful stories therein worthy of Hugo recognition that I hope you'll remember when time comes... but I don't really regard myself as a serious contender in Short Form. Maybe some other year, when I've had several anthologies published... but there was no new Wild Cards book in 2015, so OLD VENUS was my only qualifying work, and I only did half of that. If you really really loved OLD VENUS and think it was worthy of Hugo recognition, well, nominate the stories, and nominate Gardner Dozois... he deserves just as much credit for the book as I do, and he did lots of OTHER editing besides, including his mammoth and long-running BEST OF THE YEAR anthology, the assembly of which is a task that would make lesser men weep.

Gardner Dozois will certainly be on my ballot. So will Mike Resnick, and... some others.

If you agree, you should nominate them as well. If not, nominate someone else.

But nominate.

Comments

writing_mombie
Feb. 10th, 2016 06:01 am (UTC)
Only members of the WSFS can vote...
Dear Mr. Martin,

I love the fact that you support the editors you have been working with and that you respect this job in general (since they work in the background, they can easily be "forgotten" when it comes to mentioning a good book).
I'd love to vote as much as I'd like to be on the Worldcon (cause that is the way to join the WSFS), but well, I am living in Germany and when I travel to the States again then only with my husband and our 4 kids - we have been saving money for it, but it will take another 2 or 3 years to pay for that many tickets ;) (we have family in TN and MS)

I wish your proposed editors all the best. They are doing an awesome job :)
grrm
Feb. 10th, 2016 07:30 am (UTC)
RE: Only members of the WSFS can vote...
Worldcon be in Helsinki, Finland in 2017. That's pretty close to Germany. But join soon -- the prices go up as we get closer to the con.
writing_mombie
Feb. 10th, 2016 08:18 am (UTC)
Re: Only members of the WSFS can vote...
Oh, I don't know why I read TExas then... I should have probably had a coffee before reading it. My kiddos tend to keep me awake half of the night ;)

Thanks so much for the advice!! I always wanted to see Finland, maybe I can convince my family to go there. Of course, I need to check the prices and the date first, but it would be an awesome adventure.

writing_mombie
Feb. 10th, 2016 08:43 am (UTC)
Re: Only members of the WSFS can vote...
http://www.worldcon.fi/

That is so exciting. I mean, it is still not too close (we live at the Luxemburgish border near the oldest city of Germany :) ) but definately closer than the US.

Will you be there (if I may ask)?
grrm
Feb. 10th, 2016 09:05 am (UTC)
RE: Re: Only members of the WSFS can vote...
I certainly plan to.
writing_mombie
Feb. 10th, 2016 09:11 am (UTC)
Re: RE: Re: Only members of the WSFS can vote...
Well, you just planned our vacation - I will blame it on you ;) Haha, just kidding. I am a huge fan, you have been inspiring me and gave me an entire world to hide in while my twins and me were in the hospital. I would be more than honored to meet you - I am already honored about your replies here on your blog. Thank you so much for being that close to your fans!! (Sorry, if that sounded cheezy.... But I mean it.)

Edited at 2016-02-10 09:13 am (UTC)
aulus_poliutos
Feb. 11th, 2016 04:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Only members of the WSFS can vote...
Yeah, my holiday planning involves Helsinki as well. Since I don't fly I'm looking up the various fun ways you can go there by train and ferry. The coolest - and probably most expensive - would be to take the DFDS ferry from Kiel to Klaipeda, then a lazy train trip through the Baltic States (I would really like to have some time for that), finally the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki. The cheaper version would be the ferry Travemünde/Trelleborg or the overnight train from Hamburg to Stockholm, and the ferry to Helsinki. But I've done both of those a few times when I lived in Stockholm. I really hope I can scrape together enough to cover the fun variant.
writing_mombie
Feb. 12th, 2016 06:18 am (UTC)
Re: Only members of the WSFS can vote...
So, you are from Germany too?
Your vacation sounds already awesome - maybe we should keep in touch and exchange travel plans etc. I have a blog here, so you can message me if you like :)
Michael O'Donnell
Feb. 10th, 2016 03:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Only members of the WSFS can vote...
You don’t actually have to attend Worldcon in order to vote for the Hugo Awards. You can still join this year’s con (or next year’s) as a supporting member (at a lower price than attending membership) and vote for the finalists when the shortlist is announced. Unfortunately you would not be able to nominate this year, as the cut-off date to qualify for nominating was January 31st.
mneme
Feb. 12th, 2016 07:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Only members of the WSFS can vote...
A supporting membership for this year is needed to vote for this year. But a supporting (or attending) membership to next year's con lets you vote and nominate for next year, and nominate in the following year (and yeah, if purchased before Jan 31 this year, would also let you nominate for this year).

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