2016 Best Editor (Long Form)

Well, my posts didn’t go up – sorry. I will roll them out the next couple days.

But here are the long form editors for 2016! This is always a tricky one since it’s not always clear who edited what. I was hoping the packet would be available now, but even if we don’t know their specific works yet, all of them are well known.

But a couple potential misconceptions to clear up first,many see “editor” and simply think of someone editing the text. In which case, it’s kinda impossible to know who did the best job unless we try counting typos or compare against first drafts. But that isn’t really the most important part of these editor’s jobs (and in many or all cases, it might not even be part of their job at all – those are proofers/copyeditors/etc.) The concept, at least for me, is clearer in the newspaper world – these people are the J. Jonah Jamesons, the Perry Whites. They aren’t necessarily going through a stack of papers with a red pen (especially since it’s electronic, but you get the point), they are deciding what stories should or shouldn’t be published. They are taking the fledgling ideas for stories from writers and saying “What about coming at it form this angle?” or “Isn’t this really person X’s story and not person Y’s?” or “Nice background, but the real story starts in chapter 5, delete the rest.”

So judging best Editor Long Form even without a listing in the voter packet, is to look at their publishers and see if they were putting out interesting stories last year. Were they enjoyable? Original? Whatever-works-for-you-able? That’s at least a good starting point for consideration, but if anyone has some solid lists of which works they were specifically responsible for last year, that’d be awesome. I know George R.R. Martin had a series of posts a while back listing editors and their works. Haven’t dug back into those yet.

  • Vox Day (Castalia House)
  • Sheila E. Gilbert (DAW)
  • Liz Gorinsky (Tor)
  • Jim Minz (Baen)
  • Toni Weisskopf (Baen)

So, who is at the top of your list?

As always, keep in mind the Comment Rules, and let’s discuss the Hugo finalists!

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3 thoughts on “2016 Best Editor (Long Form)”

  1. Sheila Gilbert is the main one I am familar with mostly because she’s Jim Hines’s editor, and I’m a fan of his. So she was likely responsible at least for Unbound, the 3rd book (of 4) in his Magic Ex Libris series which was great.

    But, this is one I definitely need to do some research on. Personally, my three biggest criteria for this category will likely be:
    – Were their books enjoyable (if I read) or look like they likely are? (from descriptions, reviews, etc. since I obviously don’t have time to do even *more* reading). This is more of a minimal threshold thing than necessarily deciding between top choices. Basically – were their books any good? If yes, then continue. If no, then below No Award.

    So assuming more than 1 crosses my above threshold (which I presume they would even from a glance at their work), then I am deciding based on:

    – Did they edit a variety of books? Although knowing a particular subgenre really well is certainly useful, the skills needed to be more flexible and have interesting works across subgenres seems more award-worthy to me, at least.
    – Were their books original? This one for more is more important, but also harder to quantify. Are the stories they choose to publish and help bring to life things we haven’t necessarily seen before or seen presented that way? Are there now more interesting and new stories in the world because of their work as opposed to enjoyable but largely derivative books?

    What about you? Any favorite editors among these? What criteria are you using (if you care to share)?

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  2. Last year Sheila Gilbert put together a really nice sampler of works she’d edited for the Hugo Packet. She also included a letter explaining a little about her background and what she does along with a list of all works edited.

    When Liz Gorinsky was nominated in 2014, she provided links to online excerpts of works she’d edited and gave a list of her duties at Tor.

    Hopefully they’ve both done something similar this year. None of the rest submitted anything last year, and I’d be surprised if they did this year. We’ll see.

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  3. The packet has submissions from Minz, Gorinsky, and Gilbert.

    For VD, isfdb gives the 2015 Castalia output that he may have edited as being JCW’s Somewither, and the Aramini Gene Wolfe book which he apparently did some work on despite it having a different named editor. Even leaving aside how he got himself on the ballot, that’s not much material when stacked up against 4 professional editors.
    Weisskopf has nothing in the packet; presumably her work is everything by Baen. With no way to judge what she’s done as an _editor_ rather than as a _publisher_ I have to place her below the remaining three.

    Minz lists several books, none of which I’ve read but represent a solid body of work. Gorinsky and Gilbert list a substantial amount of work, which I’ve read some of. If catering to my personal taste is a valid criteria, then I guess that makes Gorinsky and Gilbert my front two.

    I quite like Ken’s suggestion of originality as a criteria, which makes Gorinsky bringing Cat Valente’s Radiance to market a point in her favour.

    I need to give this category more thought, to be honest.

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