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Editing New Worlds: a question

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  • #91
    Originally posted by Stapleater
    While I'm a populist democrat as far as politics are concerned, I think the best editor is a benign, possibly loony, dictator.
    There you go Perdix!
    'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

    Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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    • #92
      The trick is the "benign" part. The "dictator" and the "loony" part have been done by many sf editors of the past (cf. Campbell and H. L. Gold). They have gotten positive results when their judgement was good, but the absence of the "benign" dimension eventually did them in: writers stopped wanting to work with them, and no one could tell them much, if anything.

      Perdix is a good fellow, and I think he's got the "benign" and "loony" parts down cold. I don't think he's got much "dictator" in him.

      Sound judgement and forward-looking intentions might well be requirements here, too, but perhaps they were considered to be understood.

      LSN

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      • #93
        I will be sending out edicts on how you may discuss me in the near future. :twisted:

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        • #94
          Originally posted by Stapleater
          You do burn out. I always reckoned an editor had about five years in them before they burned out. I tended to retire at five or six year intervals!
          I used to wonder about that.

          Originally posted by Stapleater
          You also get a nose for talent and can generally spot it in the first page. However, I never trusted my nose after the first year or so and I always had another editor (Lang Jones in the early days, then Sallis, then Platt and others) read submissions, too.
          If you trust your collection of people to perform triage on the manuscripts submitted, divisa et impera sounds like a good way to do it.

          By the way, when can we expect more work from Langdon Jones? I know what Harrison and Sallis have been doing, but it has been a long time since I saw anything new from Langdon Jones. I really like his stuff, too.

          Originally posted by Stapleater
          I would also publish a story I didn't personally like if someone else was keen on it. At least two of the stories I didn't like went on to become perennial favourites.
          These are the hard ones, I'll bet. If I had to guess at the identity of the stories to which you allude, I'd say Delany's "Time Considered as a Helix of Semiprecious Stones" and perhaps Ellison's "A Boy and his Dog." I heard something to the effect that you considered those stories recidivist, or something like that. They're a little more traditional American sf than some things New Worlds published.

          Originally posted by Stapleater
          Towards the end of our large size issues, the magazine was effectively edited by a committee, each of whom was permitted to choose at least one story per issue. This was because I was pretty sure I'd burned out.
          Much of the fiction I liked by then wasn't even imaginative, let alone sf!
          We all go through cycles of what we like at any given time. If forced to read only sf, no matter how intelligent and challenging, anyone would burn out. As a reader, I'd read an sf book every now and then amid a lot of other, non-sf things; sf was only a fraction, because I like other things, and I liked sf as an occasional snack, as it were. I'm probably not as well read in sf from 1980-the present as some here, for that reason.

          An editor of an sf magazine has no such options. He is forced to read sf on a very regular basis. It would drive many of us off the rails, I expect.

          A committee approach, at least to triage, and a loose editorial policy that doesn't restrict the magazine to sf (Darren's procedure) would seem to work pretty well. The problems occur when one gets to that point where one just can't stand to read fiction! (I go through that one periodically, and I'm just a reader, not forced to read submissions.)

          Originally posted by Stapleater
          I wasn't altogether satisfied with those 'committee' issues. While I'm a populist democrat as far as politics are concerned, I think the best editor is a benign, possibly loony, dictator.
          A single autocrat of the editorial office has advantages in that it imposes a certain coherent vision on the publication. Problem is, how long can one person do the job well and retain his sanity or his interest? It sounds like a difficult proposition.

          LSN

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          • #95
            I...I...I...I think I'm burnin' out!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            :lol: 8O :? :oops: :lol:

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            • #96
              Not really...

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              • #97
                Yet.

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                • #98
                  Perdix doesn't need an editorial committee. His multiple personalities will staff all the available positions.

                  LSN

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                  • #99
                    Of course, we can't count on the cat personality to do very much. We might interfere with the 20 hours of napping it needs per day.

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                    • 'Monty' does the IT and negotiates cheap deals on toner cartridges...
                      Then he goes back to sleep.

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                      • It is indeed Langdon Jones. There's one place where he says on the site that he "used to be a writer." He mentioned The Eye of the Lens.

                        The expression "used to be a writer" is somewhat pathos-inducing, although I doubt he meant it that way. Perhaps he's just interested in doing something else. That's a pity, because the stories in The Eye of the Lens are excellent, and I can only wish there had been more.

                        Oh, well. He's got his own life and interests, no matter what anyone else might want from him. I should be happy with what we've got.

                        LSN

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                        • If we had a budget to pay him, I'd love to ask Langdon Jones for a new work of fiction. I've looked at his site extensively, and I went back and re-read his book The Eye of the Lens. I would gladly forego my own appearance in Darren's magazine for a new story from Mr. Jones.

                          A remarkable writer. And remarkably unappreciated! His list of published fiction is far too short for a writer of such talent.

                          I know, it would be idiotic to pester him for a story when there's no money in it for him. Better not to bother him. A pity he seems uninterested in writing these days.

                          I should stop daydreaming online. :-[

                          LSN

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                          • 'If' we had a budget? 'If'? I pay a good eighteen pee to writers!

                            Per 20,000 words.

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                            • What is that? The cost of one package of Tesco Value Swiss Rolls? I thought they were more like 21p. :lol:

                              LSN

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