Not a Blog

What They Edited

February 10, 2016 at 5:45 pm
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My observations about the Best Editor (Long Form) Hugo, which you can read in full several posts down, have drawn some comments here and on FILE 770 from fans who object to my suggestion that this category has become a de facto lifetime achievement award, at least since David G. Hartwell set an example by withdrawing from future consideration after his third win.

The objections seem to take the form of stating emphatically that Best Editor (Long Form) is NOT a lifetime achievement award, it’s not, it’s not, it’s just NOT.

And quite right they are. According to the rules, that is. According to the rules, the award is only supposed to be for the previous year’s editing.

Which is great in theory, and completely wrong in fact. Maybe those who are objecting vote on that basis, but if so, they are a very tiny minority. Given the difficulty of actually knowing who edited what in any particular year, most fans are voting on the basis of lifetime achievement, whether the rules admit that possibility or not. Or are we really supposed to believe that Ginjer Buchanan finally won in 2014 solely on the basis of the books she edited in 2013, that Betsy Wollheim’s win in 2012 was entirely due to her wonderful editing in 2011? If you believe that, there’s a nice bridge in my hometown of Bayonne, New Jersey that you might want to buy. Ginjer and Betsy won their much-deserved rockets in recognition of their long and distinguished careers, careers that spanned decades, during which time they bought and published hundreds of novels, discovered and nurtured dozens of new writers, helped to shape their lines and by extension the field we all love. That’s what got them their rockets, not — as we must assume elsewise — a sudden one-year burst of editorial brilliance.

That being said, however, I do recognize that there are those out there who will never agree to this philosophy. The rules are the rules, they will say, so they will not take career contributions into account, just the previous year.

Okay. We aim to please. So I emailed some of the editors I’d recommended in my original post, and asked them what books they edited last year. And a couple of them have replied.

ANNE LESLEY GROELL of Bantam Spectra and Random House. Besides my own KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS and the GAME OF THRONES coloring book, Anne also edited FOOL’S QUEST by Robin Hobb, UPROOTED by Naomi Novik, GREEN EARTH by Kim Stanley Robinson (an abridged compilation of three books ALG had edited), BOMBS AWAY by Harry Turtledove, THE DARKLING CHILD by Terry Brooks, “plus a bunch of stuff that will be out this year.”

JANE JOHNSON of HarperCollins Voyager in the UK, in addition to my own releases, was also the editor on THE LIAR’S KEY by Mark Lawrence, FOOL’S QUEST by Robin Hobb (the British edition, obviously), and HALF A WORLD and HALF A WAR by Joe Abercrombie.

So that’s two, for those who want to consider only last year’s work.

So far only those two editors have responded, but if I get more replies, I will post the titles here. Whether you favor the “single year” or “lifetime achievement” approach to this award, I think we can all agree that having some information is to the good.