In Search of Editors

Something else arising from my Coode Street appearance is Jonathan Strahan’s idea of giving a Hugo to the editor of the winner of the Best Novel, rather than having an Editor: Long Form category. That’s not going to happen any time soon, but it does give us a way of looking for Editor candidates. What I want to do is start compiling a list of Best Novel contenders, and find out who edited them. You can all help with this, both by suggesting suitable novels and tracking down who edited them. Here’s a start. Please let me know if I’ve got any of these wrong.

  • Embassytown (China Miéville) – Julie A Crisp
  • Among Others (Jo Walton) – Patrick Nielsen Hayden*
  • A Dance with Dragons (George RR Martin) – Anne Groell
  • The Islanders (Chris Priest) – Simon Spanton?
  • Fuzzy Nation (John Scalzi) – Patrick Nielsen Hayden*
  • Mechanique (Genevieve Valentine) – Paula Guran
  • God’s War (Kameron Hurley) – Jeremy Lassen, David Pomerico
  • Of Blood and Honey (Stina Leicht) – Jeremy Lassen
  • Planesrunner (Ian McDonald) – Lou Anders
  • The Kingdom of the Gods (NK Jemisin) – Devi Pillai
  • Deathless (Catherynne M. Valente) – Liz Gorinsky
  • Leviathan Wakes (James SA Corey) – Dongwon Song
  • This Shared Dream (Kathleen Ann Goonan) – David Hartwell*
  • Clockwork Rocket (Greg Egan) – Jeremy Lassen
  • Vortex (Robert Charles Wilson) – Teresa Nielsen Hayden
  • Rule 34 (Charles Stross) – Ginjer Buchanan?
  • Osama (Lavie Tidhar) – Peter Crowther?
  • The Quantum Thief (Hannu Rajaniemi) – Simon Spanton
  • Zoo City (Lauren Beukes) – Marc Gascoigne

* Patrick and David are both past winners who have since declined nomination. Patrick says in comments below that he’s happy to accept nomination again this time. David hasn’t been on the ballot for a while and I’m guessing he’d much rather win for NYRSF.

You might also want to consider Darren Nash for his work on the SF Encyclopedia and the Gollancz ebook project.

Update: Added Zoo City which, like The Quantum Thief, is eligible again under the first US publication rule.

10 thoughts on “In Search of Editors

  1. I’m def supporting Devi Pillai, among others.

    I haven’t been nominating Jeremy Lassen, but I should start.

  2. I said I would decline being nominated in last year’s Hugos; I didn’t say anything about subsequent years. I retain one personal ambition in the world of SF awards, which is to win a Hugo or something of similar weight when TNH is in the room. So far we’re batting .000 on that. Mind you, I don’t remotely expect the world to bend itself into cooperating with this private wish.

    On a more realistic note, allow me to also note the 2012 Hugo eligibility of Hannu Rajaniemi’s superb debut novel The Quantum Thief, edited by Simon Spanton. Published in the UK in 2010, it didn’t appear in North America until 2011. I believe the Business Meeting extended its eligibility.

    I note also that DAW has done some pretty interesting books lately and that it’s crazy that Betsy Wollheim has never even been nominated.

  3. I know Jeremy has to get credit because he was the acquiring editor for God’s War (for which I am quite grateful!), but just to make sure it’s known, the actual editing of God’s War was done by David Pomerico at Bantam.

    Aside from copyediting, the heavy lifting was already done by the time it arrived at NS.

    1. Thanks Kameron. I have updated the post to add David’s name.

      This does highlight a potential flaw in Jonathan’s idea. You don’t normally see a movie have a different director in a different territory unless that movie is totally re-made. But books can often have different editors even, in your case, in the same country. Patrick generously credited Simon Spanton with the editing work on The Quantum Thief even though the book is published by Tor in the US. Gollancz bought the book first and Tor bought it later. They may or may not have made changes. I know, for example, that Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London was edited for localization to the American market but that’s less necessary in a book set on Mars. In some cases an author with established deals on both sides of the Atlantic may work with editors in both countries in tandem. It can get very complicated.

      With the current Hugo rules for editors we are awarding a body of work rather than a single work, so in Jeremy’s case the argument for a nomination is on the basis of the many fine novels he has put out in 2011. That makes the fact that he didn’t do the main edits on God’s War less relevant.

  4. I think the biggest problem with Editor: Long Form is that nobody other than the author and editor themselves really know how much influence the editor had on any of the projects they worked on. For a first time author it might involve getting them to add, remove or rewrite large parts of the MS while an established author may just need to be told to tweak it here and there. The editor could be a guiding hand all the way through the process or they may just get the completed draft and work on that. For almost all of the people voting it will boil down to “do I like that person or the books that they worked on”.

    1. That is indeed true, but as it is impossible to know the answer to that the only alternative would be to not reward the editor at all. The category was created in the knowledge that this is exactly what would happen, because WSFS members felt that this was less unfair that ignoring book editors entirely.

      It was precisely the “books that they worked on” argument that led Jonathan to suggest giving the editor Hugo to the editor of the winner of Best Novel.

      1. By that criteria you might equally be giving a Hugo for the best agent or best publisher. An award where you can’t make an informed choice is of very little value, regardless of how much you might wish to recognise the group in question.

        1. I note that the Locus Awards, whose electorate is very similar to that of the Hugos, does have a Best Publisher category.

          I note also that people frequently complain that *none* of the categories in the Hugos are legitimate because, it might be argued, most fans wouldn’t know good writing if it punched them in the face.

          The nature of fan-voted awards is that fans decide that they want to reward things/people that they like.

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