Friday, February 5, 2016

More on the Best Editor, Short Form, Hugo

I recently made a post on potential Hugo nominees in which I briefly discussed potential Best Editor nominations. I mentioned John Joseph Adams, Ellen Datlow, Gardner Dozois, Jonathan Strahan, Trevor Quachri, C. C. Finlay, Sheila Williams, Andy Cox, Neil Clarke, Sean Wallace, Scott H. Andrews and Brian Thomas Schmidt. And in all honesty, I think any of those people would be wholly worthy nominees. They have all done first-rate recent work.

But that said, let's be honest, I was being a bit timid. Who would I really vote for? I wanted to be a bit more forthright, and plump for a few folks I am really rooting for. Full disclosure, here -- this is a tightly linked field, and I know almost all of these people personally, and I work for several of them. I've had dinner on multiple occasions with Ellen Datlow and Bryan Thomas Schmidt. I've met most of the rest, excepting only, I think, Trevor Quachri and Andy Cox and, oddly enough, Jonathan Strahan. (But I've talked with Jonathan on the phone (or Skype) and had countless email exchanges with him, so I still consider us friends, even if we haven't met face to face -- and I trust we'll rectify that soon enough.)

So, to continue. As I said, each of these people would be good choices. But I'm rooting for two people in particular, this year, and promoting a third. The "rooting" is partly because they haven't yet won a Hugo in this category, and others on this list (not all of them, to be sure) have -- which isn't fair, no doubt, but there you are. But it's mostly because I really think they have done tremendous work -- and that's why the third person (already a multiple Hugo winner in the Editor category) is on this list.

And, of course, as already hinted, I need to disclose that I work for two of them. Jonathan Strahan is my editor at Locus. And John Joseph Adams is my editor at Lightspeed. Well, so be it. I think one way or another I am equally biased in favor of numerous other people I listed -- as I said, this is a tightly linked field -- most of us know each other, for good or ill (mostly good, if you ask me).

So, what are their credentials?

Jonathan Strahan's primary 2015 credential is as editor of likely the single best original anthology of the year, Meeting Infinity. This includes 8 stories on the Locus Recommended Reading List, two of them included in my upcoming Best of the Year anthology: "My Last Bringback" by John Barnes, and "Drones" by Simon Ings; and also "In Blue Lily's Wake", by Aliette de Bodard; "Rates of Change", by James S. A. Corey; "Emergence", by Gwyneth Jones; "The Falls", by Ian McDonald; and "Pictures From the Resurrection", by Bruce Sterling. Meeting Infinity is one of a series of pure SF original anthologies he's been doing that have been consistently excellent. Perhaps for 2015 they don't officially come into play, but consistency is important too. And of course Jonathan has edited numerous other brilliant anthologies, including the New Space Opera books (with Gardner Dozois), and the "Fearsome" set of Fantasy-oriented books, and well as the Eclipse original anthology series. Jonathan has also been editing Best of the Year anthologies since 2004, and this curatorial role is perhaps not as flashy as that of bringing us new fiction, but (not surprisingly!) I still think it's pretty important. His curatorial role also extends to bringing some outstanding single author collections to us, including Best Of''s for Bruce Sterling, Joe Haldeman, Kim Stanley Robinson, and (in 2015) Alastair Reynolds; and also a series of collections of Jack Vance's early stories (with Terry Dowling), including 2015's Grand Crusades.

In the case of John Joseph Adams, his first credential is obviously as editor of Lightspeed. I think the stories we publish are outstanding, and this year I am using four stories in my book: "The Astrakhan, the Homburg, and the Red, Red Coal", by Chaz Brenchley; "Time Bomb Time", by C. C. Finlay; "The Karen Joy Fowler Book Club", by Nike Sulway; and "You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead", by Brooke Bolander. But John is also a prolific produce of excellent original anthologies, three of which appeared in 2015: Operation Arcana (from which I'm using "The Graphology of Hemorrhage" by Yoon Ha Lee), The End Has Come (with Hugh Howey), and Press Start to Play (with Daniel Wilson). John also does reprint anthologies, represented in 2015 by Wastelands 2 (apocalypse stories) and by Loosed Upon the World (climate change stories). And finally, he too does a Best of the Year anthology, in his case the SF entry in the "Best American" series -- the first entry appeared in 2015, guest edited by Joe Hill.

Finally, it is incumbent on me to mention Sheila Williams, simply because I believe that her magazine, Asimov's Science Fiction, was the single best SF magazine of 2015. No fewer than 14 stories from Asimov's appear on the Locus list this year, and I am using three in my book: "Mutability", by Ray Nayler; "Twelve and Tag", by Gregory Norman Bossert; and "Acres of Perhaps", by Will Ludwigsen. I am abashed to confess that as I drafted this post I thought of her last -- only because she was won this award multiple times before. But that's unfair, wrong thinking -- the award should go to the Best Editor each year -- there should not be a sense of "taking turns".

So -- the three people above will be on my nomination ballot this year, along with two more from the long list of very worthy editors I mentioned in the first paragraph. And whoever wins will be very deserving.

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