« Boskone 2012 Schedule | Main | Lunacon 2012 Schedule »

March 07, 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

This is the first year where I read so many novels that had come out during the nomination year that I had more possible nominees than I could vote for.

Note that I don't nominate in Best Editor, Long Form, because I think the category is a travesty,


I like Jo Walton's Revisiting the Hugos for Best Related Work.



And yes, I know you said you can't read anything longer than a short story, but try to start it and see if you don't keep reading.

Thanks for the suggestions, folks! I did in fact expand my nomination list beyond what is listed above, thanks to suggestions here and elsewhere.

My problem with Best Editor Long Form is that the average voter does not have easy access to the information needed to make nominations intelligently. When the split was put it, there were plenty of airy assurances given that publishers would make a big effort to get information about who edited what book in front of the voting pool because they would want the Hugos. That has spectacularly not-happened. So there really is no body of work on which to judge, leaving it as a pure name-recognition and/or personal-popularity category.

I test this periodically with very well-read fans (better-read than I) by asking them who they voted for in the category, and then asking them to name three books that person edited during the relevant year. In general, they can't name a single one. Sometimes they can't name one even when one example is on the ballot in Best Novel. So what is the basis for their vote? Well, um.

Locus made an effort to get out helpful lists the first year of the category, but I don't think that's been repeated since. And the lists do need to be fairly comprehensive if we're meant to judge a body of work; what do you do when an editor edited both fabulous stuff and complete dreck? Averages out to mediocre.

A third concern is that editors at different levels in a publishing company do different things; I've been lectured before on how [editor] doesn't actually do a whole lot of what is commonly thought of as editing any more; he acquires books and acts as their advocate within the company and works on marketing them.

I've also been told by [editor] that he didn't actually do a damn thing regarding a book that appeared with his name listed as editor; the author came to the house as a deal and they had to assign him someone, but his deal included no editorial interference, so it's an "editor in name only" thing. (The book was a piece of crap, by the way; I'm surprised that [editor] was willing to put his name on it. That's what triggered the conversation. It could really have *used* some intelligent editing!]

And even if we had a list of all the books edited by each editor in a given year, how many people would read a large enough percentage of them to get a good grasp of the editor's overall body of work for the year?

So how the heck are supposed to make intelligent nominations or votes in the category?

A secondary issue is the people who've been winning and then withdrawing on the grounds that other people should have a turn. I don't think of Hugo awards as something to which everyone is entitled to an equal share as a matter of fairness. And were I a nominee for some reason, I wouldn't want to win because the top people in a category withdrew; I'd want to beat the best fair and square, not be the "best of the rest". The "we finally beat Locus!" thing.

I was willing to give the category a chance, and I worked hard when I posted about books here to find out who the editor was and include this information. But I think it's a failure as a category.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)