July 4, 2017

Hugo Voting: Best Editor, Long/Short Form (or, "So the Writer Who Breeds More Words Than He Needs, is Making a Chore For the Reader Who Reads")

(FYI, the above quote is by Dr. Seuss.)

The nominees for Best Editor, Short Form:

John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Ellen Datlow
Jonathan Strahan
Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
Sheila Williams

These are all legitimate nominees, thankfully. That will not be true in the next category.

My ballot:

6) Sheila Williams

Unfortunately, Sheila's sample in the packet--the Oct/Nov double issue of Asimov's Science Fiction--didn't particularly impress me.

5) Ellen Datlow

Ellen Datlow edits for Tor.com, as well as original and reprint horror anthologies. Unfortunately, the list she provided in the packet included several stories I'd read previously and didn't care for very much.

4) Neil Clarke

Neil Clarke edits Clarkesworld, which I support via its Patreon. His entry in the packet included the Clarkesworld 10th Anniversary Issue, along with a list of works edited in 2016, and works in anthologies/nominated for other awards/on the Locus Recommended Reading List. He picks some good stories, but I didn't like them as well as the top three.

3) Jonathan Strahan

Strahan edited one of my favorite novellas from last year, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe. His listings in the packet also include The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 10, which featured quite a few stories I've read and liked.

2) John Joseph Adams

I don't know when this man sleeps. He seems to have his fingers in just about every pie you can name. When I opened his folder in the Hugo packet, I nearly choked--there was five hundred pages of stories he edited for Lightspeed Magazine, as well as a list of twenty-nine anthologies he has edited or co-edited. (Several of which I already own.) Obviously I couldn't read all five hundred pages, but I recognized several stories I'd read previously and really liked. Sampling a few others confirmed that I like his editing style and choice of material.

1) Lynne M. Thomas/Michael Damian Thomas

The Thomases edit Uncanny Magazine, winner of last year's Hugo for Best Semiprozine. I subscribe to this magazine and know its quality well, but in going through their packet I was particularly impressed by their nonfiction articles. Their editing makes Uncanny a tremendous, well-rounded magazine.

The nominees for Best Editor, Long Form:

Vox Day (aka Theodore Beale)
Sheila Gilbert
Liz Gorinsky
Devi Pillai
Miriam Weinberg
Navah Wolfe

My ballot:

One name (can you guess who?) is going to be left off entirely. It's not only that he's an all-around nasty person--that is true, but it has nothing to do with his editing ability. (Such as it is, or rather isn't.) But everything edited by him I've ever read, including his own work, has pretty much melted my eyeballs with its sheer incompetence. (Also, as has been the case for the past two years, he used his "minions" to game himself onto the Hugo ballot. One would think he'd eventually get tired of finishing below No Award.)

I also must comment on the material included in the packet. Sheila Gilbert and Navah Wolfe included sample chapters from novels they edited, which gave a better basis for comparison as opposed to simple lists. Now, I realize copyright issues and/or publishing house policies may play into this. And goodness knows this year's Hugo packet has my computer bulging at the seams already. Nevertheless, this should be something for other nominated LF editors to consider in the future.

5) Miriam Weinberg

Same dilemma here as for Pillai (see next slot), with the only book of hers I've read I liked okay,  but not in orbiting sock territory.

4) Devi Pillai

She edited one of the best books I read last year, N.K. Jemisin's The Obelisk Gate. I've heard good things about Lila Bowen's Wake of Vultures as well, but when you've only read one example of an editor's output (and you're swamped for time to read everything before the voting deadline as it is) that editor is bound to suffer in the final rankings. (hinthint *sample chapters* hinthint)

3) Liz Gorinsky

Gorinsky has the unenviable distinction of having edited two books I really didn't like, Cixin Liu's The Dark Forest and Death's End. I'm afraid that had I been in her shoes, I wouldn't have been able to stop myself from beating Mr. Liu over the head with his pages upon pages of infodumps. Still, I suppose she deserves credit for shaping the latter mess into something that could be nominated for a Hugo (even though sure as hell am not voting for it) and win the Locus Award for Best SF Novel.

2) Sheila Gilbert

Sheila Gilbert has edited several of my favorite authors, including Jim Hines, Julie E. Czerneda, and Seanan McGuire. She's equally at home with lighthearted fantasy, space opera, and steampunk.

1) Navah Wolfe

I like Saga Press; they publish quality books that seem to fly a little under the radar. (This opinion is in large part due to their having published Kameron Hurley's The Stars Are Legion, a book I will rave about to anyone who asks, or doesn't ask.) Wolfe's samples reveal several books that seem right up my alley. (Looks at Mount TBR, teetering haphazardly next to the ceiling. Sighs. Clicks over to Amazon.)

Next up: Best Fan/Professional Artist

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