Wednesday, February 14, 2018

2018 Hugo Recommendations: Best Editor, Campbell

Best Editor

Short Form

I suppose I am in a rut in this category, but I think that’s the nature of things. I will happily list the usual suspects – and I really do think they are the worthiest choices. These are, then Sheila Williams at Asimov’s, Jonathan Strahan with the Infinity series and other anthologies (including a Best of the Year series), plus stories for, John Joseph Adams (Lightspeed, numerous anthologies, a Best of the Year series), C. C. Finlay at F&SF, Trevor Quachri at Analog, Andy Cox at Interzone and Black Static, Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace of Clarkesworld (with Neil is also editing a Best of the Year book, and Sean also co-editor of The Dark), Scott H. Andrews at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Lynne and Michael Damian Thomas at Uncanny

And, of course, the two most decorated contemporary editors, Ellen Datlow and Gardner Dozois. Ellen, in addition to a couple of strong horror anthologies, and some acquisitions for, returned to her post as Fiction Editor at Omni, with one very strong issue.  Gardner, besides his long-running Best of the Year series, and his work as reprint editor at Clarkesworld, edited an excellent original anthology, The Book of Swords. Each of the above is wholly worthy of a Hugo (and there are others worth consideration as well).

My choice is complicated by the fact that I consider almost every one of these people a friend, in many case of long standing. (There are one or two I haven’t met, but I’m sure I would get along with them as well!) In addition, I have professional relationships with John Joseph Adams (as I am Reprint Editor for Lightspeed) and Sean Wallace (publisher of my Best of the Year book).

So this year I’m doing something a bit different – and perhaps unfair! I’m going to choose the editors whose publications featured the most stories in my Best of the Year book. That leaves me with C. C. Finlay (four stories from F&SF), Sheila Williams (four from Asimov’s), John Joseph Adams (three from Lightspeed), Scott Andrews (three from BCS), and Lynne and Michael Damian Thomas (three from Uncanny). (I don’t know how to separate Lynne and Michael, and of course I don’t want to!) One of the things that means a lot to me in an editor is championing new writers, and all of these editors to a great job in this area, but one who stands out to me this year is C. C. Finlay, for such writers publishing their first or second stories as G. V. Anderson, R. S. Benedict, and J. R. Dawson. (I guess with Charlie using his initials, his writers feel they need to do the same! 😊)

Long Form

I am deciding on my nominees for Best Editor, Long Form on two criteria: first, involvement with some of the best novels of the year; and second, associations (especially as a leader) with new and exciting and perhaps different book lines. These criteria are obviously pretty subjective, and I have to add, my true knowledge of the real editing work done by book editors is pretty limited.

One name stands out. This is Joe Monti at Saga Press. First of all, Joe edited two of the clear cut, no fuzz, best novels of the year: Ka, by John Crowley; and The Moon and The Other, by John Kessel. Secondly, Joe is the lead editor at Saga, a fairly new imprint that has quickly made a mark, with first rate novels and anthologies. (They also produce very attractive books.)  Two more choices are there partly because of their role in establishing either a new imprint, or an imprint that I feel deserves special notice. But also, in each case they have been responsible for one of the best novels of the year. These are Gavin Grant* at Small Beer Press, and John Joseph Adams, who has his own line (at Mariner Books of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and, no, I don’t know how to untangle that string of names). Each is responsible for at least one of the year’s top novels: The River Bank, by Kij Johnson (Small Beer) and Bannerless, by Carrie Vaughn (Mariner). (I know for a fact that John has some more really impressive books coming out in 2018 – I’ve read at least one of them already!) Another strong book from Saga Press is The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, by Theodora Goss. The editor is Navah Wolfe. And Tor Books puts out some of the best SF every year, and I think Liz Gorinsky deserves a nod (she was the editor for Annalee Newitz’ Autonomous among other books). (Once again, some extra credit might be given for publishing first-time novelists: as with Theodora Goss and Annalee Newitz.)

(*Of course Kelly Link is also a major player at Small Beer Press, and she probably deserves as much credit as Gavin.)

I will emphasize again that my knowledge of the real work of novel editors is limited, and there are many more editors worthy of notice, most of whom are probably all but invisible to the average nominator. I could mention at least Tim O’Connell at Knopf, who edited Daryl Gregory’s Spoonbenders, Jonathan Oliver at Solaris, who edited Yoon Ha Lee’s Raven Stratagem, and Phil Jourdan at Angry Robot, who edited Tim Pratt’s The Wrong Stars.


Finally, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. This is given to the best writer whose first professional publication in the SF or Fantasy field appeared in the past two years (2016 or 2017). Writertopia has a page, not guaranteed to be complete, with a list of eligible authors: .

I went through that list and came up with the following writers who have done something that impressed me:

G. V. Anderson (who already has a World Fantasy Award!)
R. S. Benedict
J. R. Dawson
Giovanni  di Feo
Tonya Liburd
Benjamin C. Kinney
Finbarr O’Reilly
Vina Jie-Min Prasad
Rebecca Roanhorse
D. A. Xiaolin Spires

Interestingly, I don’t think any of these have published novels, and in fact I didn’t recognize a novelist among all the eligible writers listed. (Probably there were some, but I hadn’t seen their novels.) Typically novelists have an advantage. Maybe this year will be different.

Three of these writers have stories in my Best of the Year book this year: J. R. Dawson (“Marley and Marley), Giovanni di Feo (“Ugo”), and Vina Jie-Min Prasad (“Fandom for Robots”, not to mention “A Series of Steaks”). I will certainly happily nominate them. I will also add R. S. Benedict, whose “My English Name” is very impressive, and was definitely on my short list of stories to consider for my book this year, and G. V. Anderson, whose “I Am Not I” was also on my short list, and who should be remembered for other strong work, including last year’s World Fantasy Award winner for Short Fiction, “Das Steingeschöpf”.

My Recommendation Posts:
Best Novel, Series, YA
Best Editor, Campbell Award

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