Talk:List of science fiction editors

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Deletions and cleanup[edit]

I've deleted a number of entries because of no source, no info, or not known to be an editor. Also did minor cleanup. See history page for details.

Cheers, Pete Tillman 05:31, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I restored a few, but you've been a little over-agressive with deletions of European editors who mostly don't show up in ISFDB.

I knew off the top of my head that David Garnett at times was a major editor. (The line he laid on me when I was a World Fantasy Aard nominee in 1987 was "By the time I was your age, my career was over!") His credentials were easy to verify.

Simply Googling the names of others along with the word "editor" was enough to show credentials. I only got as far as the Es restoring. --Pleasantville 15:12, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I didn't delete Garnett, did I? [looks] Nope, mispelled as "Garrett" in orig.
Anyway, my apologies for over-eager deletions. Perhaps someone will do Wiki
profiles of these editors sometime. Cheers, Pete Tillman 18:51, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Queries of Notability . . .[edit]

. . . should be here on the talk page, not on the list. --Pleasantville 11:32, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Descriptions of editors[edit]

I've noticed that some editors on the list have terse descriptions, and some verbose. Should we try to set a standard, for consistency?

For instance,

  • Malcolm Edwards, a science fiction fan turned sf editor, who rose to become one of the most powerful figures in British publishing.

is almost certainly too long, and too unspecific.


  • Groff Conklin, (1904-1968) noted anthologist

could be more specific.

I'd suggest holding the descriptions to one line in most cases, as the reader can click through to the article for more detail.

Comments? Pete Tillman 19:53, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

If they get long, the Wikipedia Enforcers will make us footnote everything.

Also, now that I've added the Big Players who were missing from the list, plus people who really edited sf books in 2006, one can see that really a lot of sf editors who have Real Jobs editing sf don't have Wikipedia entries. --Pleasantville 21:26, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I've noticed that, too, and added a couple. Maybe you can add some too? Hopefully, Pete Tillman 06:42, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

"acquisitions editor"[edit]

While some editors may have the actual title of "acquisitions editor" the general sense of that description is someone who aquires titles for a publisher, but doesn't actually edit the books, farming that out to an underling or freelancer. I don't think it's being used correctly in this list. I removed this descriptor from Melissa Singer. While I don't know what she does book by book, my impression is that she has an excellent reputation as a line editor and does indeed edit her own books for he most part. --Pleasantville 11:38, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

The current players[edit]

Interestingly, a lot of those who actually hold current positions as editors at major publishing houses, of have in the past, weren't on the list, so I'm adding a bunch. Onc useful resource for this is the LOCUS list of who edited what for 2006. Pleasantville 20:58, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Kathryn, thanks for this. The list is starting to shape up nicely. Good work!
I suppose the next step is to start writing articles on some of the editors who don't yet have Wikipedia articles. Are you going to take some of these on?
I see a few I know enough about to write up. I did flesh out the Garnett article a bit. Cheers, Pete Tillman 00:34, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

"Notability" should be made more specific for criteria for inclusion here[edit]

An editor who is in an acquisition position at a major publishing house should be decalred "notable" for the purpose of this list no matter how lacking in notability otherwise. I can explain this point in more deatil if needed. Pleasantville 22:14, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

That seems reasonable to me. Other notability criteria would include editors of notable anthology series, editors nominated for the Hugo award, and, well, editors well-known to well-read science-fiction readers <G>
I don't actually think that notability is going to be a big problem here, as this list isn't likely to get really big, compared to, forex, the List of science fiction authors. Cheers, Pete Tillman 00:44, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I just added a couple of editors of an Afrofuturist anthology that came out in 2013. The anthology includes 40 writers, and includes work by Junot Diaz and other major authors. Afrofuturism as a movement has been around for 20-some years and has influenced mainstream American culture, and imo it benefits Wikipedia to include it and to reference the people making it happen. (I do not know these editors personally, nor am I a part of this movement.) I have read over the discussion here on notability, and I am conscious of folks' concern. However, the concept of "notability" weighs heavily toward the dominant culture's point of view and drowns out significant voices from minority cultures. I decided to add these editors (who are also writers) and speak up for the significance of their work to the African-American avant-garde. Other people can weigh their Wikipedia notability. Cheers, [[Furfish (talk) 01:34, 11 December 2013 (UTC)]]

Non-notable editors?[edit]

I'm questioning the notability of Jeff Berkwits, editor of Amazing Stories, October 2004-March 2005. Comments? Pete Tillman 03:58, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Berkwits was the editor who "presided" over the final issues of Amazing Stories. Shsilver 08:37, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
From a bit of Googling, this 6 mos. job appears to be Berkwits only SF editing experience. Here's a mini-CV, from

"Berkwits comes to [Amazing] from Wolfson Public Relations where he was Senior Staff Writer. Berkwits previously worked as a freelance correspondent covering the music and entertainment industries for such publications as Cinescape, SCI FI (the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel), The X-Files Official Magazine, Science Fiction Weekly, and Amazing Stories among others, and served as Entertainment Editor at Galaxy Online."

Based on this, Berkwits doesn't appear to me to be a notable SF editor. Cheers, Pete Tillman 23:52, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm questioning the inclusion of Caitlin Blasdell, USA, formerly an editor with HarperCollins, now a literary agent. Is she a notable SF editor?

And I propose deleting Stacy Boyd, romance editor, Harlequin Luna 2001-present. She would seem better put in the fantasy editor list, if there is one.

Comments? Pete Tillman 06:01, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

What is the list supposed to be for? For literary historical purposes, anyone who has acquired books for a major publisher for 1 year+ is notable. For the purposes of someone trying to understand the market now, all currently acquring editors are notable. In terms of anthologists, the relative important of the books they edit comes into play. Not every last collaborator of Martin Harry Greenberg is notable. Caitlin, on the other hand, was John Silbersack's second in command for 5 years+.

Do they all need Wikipedia entries? Some don't. But in terms of recent editors, the list was heavily biased towards who makes award ballots rather than who exerts actual power. I added people like Lou Aronica and Susan Allison and John SIlbersack. The more corporately loyal the editor, the less likely they were to appear on th list.

Writing bios for these people is hard because company names shift like dunes in the desert and publishing jobs often last less than five years, so there is a constant game of musical chairs in play. Some of who was/is where is documented in Locus and Publishers Weekly, but much of this info is tracked by publishing word of mouth which, say, literary agents are supposed to keep track of. Some of it is documented in older issues of the Literary Market Place, a book everyone throws away like an old phone book when a new one comes in.

I had a crack at writing a bio on Malcolm Edwards, a major force in British publishing, and though I know quite a lot about him, its mostly va word of mouth. Bios even for the important ones are very difficult.

Regarding the editors for the Luna line, they are a borderline case. They are acquring books by science fiction writers writing something very like sf, but to be published for a crossover romance/sf readership. I included them because they acquired books by such sf writers as Catherine Asaro. I have no problem dropping them.

Where it is important to drw the line of exclusion is with editors of non-notable publications and presses. Pleasantville 11:18, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

All good points, Kathryn. One idea would be to list outstandingly notable/influential editors (eg Dozois, Campbell) in boldface?
I'm probably not going to be able to spend time on this in the near future, regardless, due to other committments. Regards, Pete Tillman 18:42, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I like the boldface idea. I also have other fish to fry. --Pleasantville 22:08, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Include fantasy and horror editors?[edit]

In practice, we're already doing this, especially for fantasy, and the SF, fantasy and (to some extent) horror genres are so entwined that it's probably pointless to try to make a separate list for, eg, fantasy editors. I'm thinking we should make this explicit, in the introduction. And what about paranormal romance? Thoughts?

Cheers -- Pete Tillman 21:03, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

Outstandingly notable/influential editors[edit]

I took a first cut at this, listing the following editors in boldface:

I've deliberately tried to keep this list short and noncontroversial. To my mind, these are all firm candidates, but the weaker "giants" are Datlow, Hartwell & Schmidt. Possibly Baen as well. The "supergiants" are Campbell & Dozois. Thoughts? Pete Tillman 01:27, 13 June 2007 (UTC), list edited to reflect SHSilver's nominations.

I don't think there is any question about any of those, but I would suggest that Ellen Asher actually be added to the list. Her role in the SFBC meant that while she didn't necessarily influenced what was published or written, she had an enormous influence in what was actually purchased and read.
Donald Wollheim should also be listed as a giant given his role at both Ace and DAW books and getting them started, and possibly Moorcock for his role in England's new wave. I'd certainly list those last two as giants before listing Aldiss. Shsilver 14:46, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
All good points. I'm somewhat allergic to Moorcock, but he was undeniably influential. I put Aldiss in largely for his hugely influential (for me anyway) 70s anthologies _Galactic Empires_, _Space Opera_, _Evil Earths_, _Perilous Planets_ et al, which started the rehabilitation of pulp-based (but good) SF, culminating in the New Widescreen Baroque Space Operas that we all know & love (OK, me anyway). Plus his major influence as a critic in _Billion/Trillion Year Spree_. I just overlooked Wollheim. Thanks for your help. I'll add all these. Cheers -- Pete Tillman 01:12, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
PS: Would you want to write an article about Asher? It would seem a bit odd to list her as a giant, with no Wiki bio. Pete Tillman 01:16, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
And lo, I have created a stub for Ellen Asher.Shsilver 16:36, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! I'll add her as a giant -- if you haven't already. Pete Tillman 17:33, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
What standards determine who counts as a "giant"? Is it just "I think this person is a giant"? If so, isn't that original research? I would have expected that labeling someone as a giant would require a citation, no? (I'm arguably biased here, being an editor myself, but I know that I'm not a giant; I'm just questioning the "giant"ness of at least one of the currently bolded names (though I actually would agree with most of them), and, more to the point, questioning whether Wikipedia's standards are being upheld here.) --Elysdir (talk) 07:17, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

On another subject: I'm adding Judith Merril as a candidate for giant -- based largely on Jonathan Strahan's paen to her "Best of" series of the 50s & 60s. Again, I'm kinda allergic to Merril, but Strahan knows the field, and I respect his opinions. This is in the intro to his newish Best F&SF of the Year #1, which looks like quite a nice effort. Comments? Pete Tillman 17:33, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes to Merril.Shsilver 17:52, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I really don't see Dozois as a supergiant of Campbellian stature. I also fear the historical figures like Gold and Carr are getting shorter shrift than they should. --Orange Mike 20:07, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

I see that another editor (User:Netmouse) has already demoted Dozois. There's no doubt in my mind that Dozois is the second-most influential editor in SF. Do we have a consensus for holding the SUPERGIANT moniker solely for Campbell?
Both Gold and Carr are listed here as Giants. Do you think they were more influential than Dozois? Cheers, Pete Tillman 22:11, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Arguments could certainly be made that Gold was more influential than Dozois, but in part that may be because, although Dozois started editing Asimov's in the 80s, his retirement was only relatively recently and so his entire tenure doesn't have historical perspective. I also think that Dozois's manner of working with authors may have been more subtle and less overt than Campbell's or Gold's. How's that for a non-answer? Shsilver 22:35, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
One of the striking things about Dozois' editorial style is his skill as a "story doctor", which I've seen attested to by a number of writers who've gotten stuck on a story, only to have Dozois show them what went wrong -- and how to fix it. The specific author who told me this was Michael Swanwick, but I'v seen similar observations in print from other Dozois-edited writers.
Which of course is one of the things that made Campbell a great editor. To my mind, Dozois is in his class, but, as you say, it may be too soon to make a fair judgement. Not that that needs to stop us... <GG> Cheers, Pete Tillman 01:22, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
There is a general question of whom and what was influenced. This is a hard call to make. My thought, reading over this is that the indiviudual entries of the editors should be filled out more, rather than trying to sort this out on this discussion page.
Also, there is the manner of influence. Judy-Lynn del Rey arguably was more influential than Dozios, but the comparison is hard to make since their infleunce was very different. Roger Elwood had a huge influence, though not a good one. Etc. Also, the inflence of book editors takes a different track than that of magazine editors. Lou Aronica exerted a very large influence for years at a time, but one needs to unpack what he did and what its affect was in order to see that. Assessing the influence of Ellen Asher is also complex. since there are no comparable figures in SF. --Pleasantville 12:21, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Retitle article?[edit]

I got a comment recently at rec.arts.sf.written (Usenet) that the list should really be titled List of speculative fiction editors (or something similar), since we're explicitly including fantasy and horror editors. He has a good point, I think. Comments? Cheers, Pete Tillman 23:43, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I really don't think it's practical, given the realities of the industry. (Out of morbid curiosity: does the person at rasfw fear fantasy will contaminate his SF, or what?) How many non-academics ever use the term "speculative fiction"? --Orange Mike 20:04, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
I forget who it was, but I think his concern was that it's called List of science fiction editors-- most people don't think of fantasy and horror as part of science fiction.
Speculative fiction has been used for at least 50 years -- ims, Robert A. Heinlein was one who tried to popularize it, and the Wikipedia article is quite good -- ah, I see they have a cite for Heinlein, 1948.
I'm not sure what you mean by "realities of the industry"?
Happy reading-- Pete Tillman 22:00, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
In bookstores, in libraries, at SF conventions, you will find the fantasy and the SF cheerfully intermingled. I don't know of any major publisher which has separate SF and fantasy editors (although I'm more than willing to be corrected on this, if [say] User:Pleasantville or User:pnh knows different). Horror is an iffier issue; but how many horror editors are on this list who are not also part of the SF scene? (And the term "speculative fiction" remains caviar to the general.) --Orange Mike 13:24, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Anyway, there's no consensus for retitling, so let's leave it be for now? Cheers, Pete Tillman 14:18, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
Off hand, I can't think of anyone who was ever hired with the job title of "speculative fiction editor". (Surely there is someone somewhere!) There are on occasion separate editors for fantasy: Terri Windling, for example.--Pleasantville 11:58, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Cleanup completed[edit]

I've now been through the entire list, trying to get into a uniform format. Still a few rough spots, but looking pretty good, I'd say <G>.... Cheers, Pete Tillman 00:23, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Largest "minor" edit ever?[edit]

User:Malyctenar made a whole bunch of changes, some controversial, such as demoting John W. Campbell -- then tagged his edits "minor". I don't have time to go through all of his changes now, but this will serve as a reminder that it's courteous to discuss major changes, and gives a poor impression to tag same as "minor". Cheers, Pete Tillman 19:09, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

0. Here's the diff so everybody can see without having to dig it up in the history individually again and again. (Personally, I rather think that it gives poor impression – bordering with being discourteous, from the viewpoint of the revision history's usability/usefulness – to repeatedly edit a dozen different sections of such a long list within minutes with minimal summaries; but I'm anal-retentive.)
1. I find it much more practical to edit boldly when no one has before (giving a summary as detailed as can fit into the 200 characters assigned) and discuss only if there's a disagreement afterwards; it saves time that can be spent on main namespace edits, and doesn't generate discussions of the kind Wikipedia critics like to point to.
2. Sorry if my marking the edit made a wrong impression – I guess it is a borderline case. My reasoning was that I did primarily just formatting, not adding nor removing (and I agree that some cases the notability is dubious) anybody.
3. I mentioned my reasoning re JWC in the summary: I agree that for SF editors, it makes sense to separate ones generally considered very influential on the genre as a whole from those that, well, aren't. However AFAIK several levels of graphical highlighting aren't usual elsewhere on Wikipedia; and after Dozois was apparently demoted from supergiant status earlier (as discussed in #Outstandingly notable/influential editors), it remained a single-purpose bracket. If the list is to contain (and I can imagine arguments againts) claim "JWC was by far the giantest SF editor evah!", it can be done in a simpler manner without so many side effects and cruft.
Anyway, no offense was meant and none really taken and I hope that we can work together efficiently in a proper fannish manner. If you want to discuss anything else of my changes (all of which, I note, have been kept since – including a last-moment-change typo "editors of speculative fiction editors" – except for the further change of the links to Infinite Matrix and Infinity Plus, which I also agree with provided we suppose that the wiki redlinks are not to become blue, and I'm afraid the two really aren't big enough to warrant more than a stub even if they wouldn't - Ghu forbid! - come to the eyes of the Nota/verifiability Thought Police) you consider controversial, I'm at your disposal (though I can promise response time rather in days than minutes). All the best, --Malyctenar 11:22, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
No problem, and thanks for the effort. Your case for Campbell is certainly arguable, but I would argue that Campbell really is sui generis in Science fiction history. Upthread we argued about who else to designate a "supergiant" -- I initially designated Dozois one -- but ultimately left Campbell as a class of one. Other opinions on retaining the SUPERGIANT class? Cheers, Pete Tillman 14:24, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
It might be more useful to just note his "supergiantability" in the text at the top of the page.Shsilver 15:38, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Campbell held a particularly influential job for a very long time. It is hard to find comparisons. One could use Hugo-award winning or Hugo-nominated editors to sort which should be bold-faced. But that has its own probelms. (See discussions that lead to recent Hugo rules changes, splitting the editor category in two.) Perhaps it's best to leave it alone and not boldface any, since this is a list rather than an article. --Pleasantville 12:03, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I think the boldface serves a useful purpose (as you did, upthread, ims?). Campbell's entry here states that he is "considered the single most important and influential editor in the history of science fiction" -- and perhaps that's enough for our purposes. Cheers, Pete Tillman 16:03, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

September 07: making sure to list editors from Category:Science fiction editors[edit]

I've gotten as far as the Ls in making this list and the list from Category:Science fiction editors more or less match. --Pleasantville 21:21, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Routine maintenance[edit]

I went through the list 11-19-07 & found nothing to fix! Happily, Pete Tillman 19:57, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

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Multiple issues tag?[edit]

A new editor, not previously active here, left a BIG tag of perceived problems here in early May. I left a note at his talk page in mid-May, asking for a note here as to what the problems are, but to date have received no reply. I'll delete the tag if no one spells out the problems soon. --Pete Tillman (talk) 22:21, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

The tags list several problems pretty specifically; I don't think deleting the tags will help the article much. I'd especially like to see some inclusion/exclusion criteria for this list. Are these all editors at publishing houses and magazines, or are freelance editors and anthology editors included? What sort of notability Is required? It's quite murky. - Gorthian (talk) 03:33, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
If you look above on this page, you'll find several discussions of inclusion/exclusion criteria, with comments by professionals in the field. Maybe these should be consolidated into a headnote for the list? But this hasn't been an actual problem in maintaining the list, in my experience anyway.
Otherwise, I don't see any other tags that would really help improve the list (imo, of course) -- except that more verification cites would be helpful. The parade of [citation needed] tags in the existing headnote just seem silly. Best, Pete Tillman (talk) 07:02, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
I ought to know better than try to do anything here when I'm tired. I took another look, and it does seem excessive. He kindly marked the dead and outdated links inline, so we don't need them in the header tag as well. I haven't looked into the global reach of the list, but my first impression is that it does seem US-centric. I'll leave that part alone, but I think I'll boldly remove most the rest. - Gorthian (talk) 22:33, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
No problem, and thanks! I took a crack at writing an inclusion-exclusion criteria statement -- see what you think. Also pulled the parade of [citation needed] tags in the lede. --Pete Tillman (talk) 00:09, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Looks good! And I've gone through the list a little more closely; there is some US/UK bias, but not everywhere. - Gorthian (talk) 02:48, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
I got carried away and fixed the dead links (there were two), removed all the [needs update] tags (all on red links—he thought that meant something similar to "dead link"), and finally removed the "multiple issues" tag. I did notice a couple of corrections needed, though: the refs are mostly plain URLs, and "USA" should really be "US", per WP:NOTUSA. And my browser shows the text from the Bs lying a bit on top of Charlie Brown's photo. Couldn't see anything wrong with the wiki code, so maybe just my browser. - Gorthian (talk) 03:26, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Cool. Brown looks fine on mine (Firefox/Mac). Added a few cites, and will do more.
Note that the Locus "Honors for editors and publishers" list (linked) is a good resource for notability checks. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 14:19, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Notabilty questioned: Edward Austin Hall[edit]

I'm questioning the notability for this list of:

  • Edward Austin Hall, USA, co-editor of Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond (2013) -- redlink, marginal co-editor of a single anthology. Recommend deletion from list. --Pete Tillman (talk) 06:36, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
I agree, for now. I have a feeling he'll be notable in a few years. He's almost notable enough now for his own article, but not as an editor—yet. - Gorthian (talk) 16:35, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Notabilty questioned: Laura Tisdell[edit]

No entry at ISFDB, no genre at Google. She's an active but non-genre editor at Little, Brown. Reco. delete as non-notable for here. --Pete Tillman (talk) 23:55, 16 June 2014 (UTC)