Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Best Editor, Long Form -- 2015 Hugo Award Nominees

Theodore Beale (Vox Day): Mr. Beale has generously provided numerous opportunities to evaluate his work in the Hugo Voters packet. Most notably this includes the nominated works of John C. Wright, and the anthology Riding the Red Horse. And as I have observed elsewhere, Mr. Wright needs an editor, which he apparently doesn't have in Mr. Beale, and Riding the Red Horse contains infelicities and pointless inflammatory comments which don't serve the writers' purposes in the non-fiction pieces. The pieces in that anthology that are excellent would appear to be excellent on the authors' unaided merits. They were not, apparently, much assisted by the editors.

Sheila Gilbert: Ms. Gilbert is, with Betsy Wollheim, Publisher at DAW. Ms. Gilbert did provide both a list of edited works, and sample chapters. Her writers include Seanan McGuire, Julie Czerneda, and Jacey Bedford, and the sample chapters include both science fiction and fantasy. Within the limits of my ability to assess her work as an editor, I'm very impressed. There are also some new works added to my To Be Read list.

Jim Minz: Mr. Minz has many years' experience as an editor in science fiction and fantasy, has been with Baen since 2007, and has been executive editor there for the past year. With neither sample works nor a list of works edited included in the Hugo Voters packet, I'm left with no way to evaluate his work as an editor for 2014 except the fact that Baen publishes a few things I really like, and a lot of things I have no interest in at all. That hardly seems an adequate basis for evaluating anyone nominated for Best Editor, Long Form. It's all I have though, and I'm at a loss. [Note: No one owes the voters any free samples in the Hugo Voters packet. We should all be grateful for what we do get, and Baen very generously included the complete The Baen Big Book of Monsters, which contained one nominated story, in the packet. Unfortunately, it was edited by Hank Davis, who is not among the Baen editors nominated this year.]

Anne Sowards: Ms. Sowards does provide a substantial list of works she edited in 2014. She's been with Penguin since 2007, and has been Executive Editor there since 2009. Her edited works for 2014 include Skin Game, by Jim Butcher, one of this year's Best Novel nominees, as well as other familiar titles. Skin Game doesn't work for me, but that's largely related to it being book fifteen in an ongoing series that I don't read, and it's not good enough to really draw me in despite that. That's not even much of a criticism of Jim Butcher as a writer, much less of Ms. Sowards' editing of it. To the extent that I can assess her work, she's a good, effective editor, and her writers are likely very pleased to have her.

Toni Wiesskopf: Ms. Weisskopf is Publisher at Baen, and has been since the death of Jim Baen in 2006, prior to which she had been executive editor there for years. As with  Jim Minz, there are no sample works and no list of works she edited in 2014 to assist in assessing her work as an editor for the year. This leaves me in the same position: I know Baen under her leadership publishes a few things I really like, and a great deal I have no interest in at all, and that's very weak tea on which to evaluate her for Best Editor, Long Form for 2014. [Note: No one owes the voters any free samples in the Hugo Voters packet. We should all be grateful for what we do get, and Baen very generously included the complete The Baen Big Book of Monsters, which contained one nominated story, in the packet. Unfortunately, it was edited by Hank Davis, who is not among the Baen editors nominated this year.]