Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Nepotism in SF?

Carol Pinchefsky thinks so. (Or at least is willing to entertain the idea long enough to write an article on it.)

The money quote: "one editor of a major publication house gave his girlfriend, an author, a large advance and bragged to his colleagues about making his next house payment."

Since Antick Musings is all about uncomfortable questions and making connections between things that should be left separate, we're going to tackle the important question -- who the heck is that mysterious editor?

Who could he be? According to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Editor Wiki, the current male SF/Fantasy editors are:

  • Lou Anders, who is married
  • Gardner Dozois -- has he bought anything from Susan Casper on the house-payment level? (I seriously doubt it.)
  • Russell B. Farr of Ticonderoga Publications -- of whom I have no knowledge, but he's Australian, and the Australian SFF Cabal invited me to their wild party before World Fantasy, so I'll give him the element of the doubt.
  • James Frenkel -- is he Joan Vinge's editor? That would be odd, but not unknown. (cf. the late James Rigney) On the other hand, they're married, so she's not his "girlfriend."
  • David G. Hartwell -- is married
  • John Klima -- is married, and I doubt he has that kind of budget to begin with
  • Peter Lavery -- I know nothing about his home life
  • James Minz -- is married
  • Darren Nash -- another one I don't know
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden -- is married, to a fellow editor at the same house
  • William Schaefer -- owns his company, so who would care?
  • Stanley Schmidt -- is married
  • Paul Stevens -- nah, don't think so
  • Gordon Van Gelder -- is married
  • Sean Wallace -- also married
  • Jacob Weisman -- similarly married
  • Sean Wright of Crowswing Books -- no idea, but I don't think he has a house-payment sized budget
Wikipedia has a longer list, also including many among the dead and inactive. If this is an old and hoary anecdote, it could be about one of them.

I'll also note that I have essentially assumed that a married man could not have a "girlfriend" as well -- an assumption belied by the actual history of the SF field, and I know that -- to simplify things. I also am concentrating on men, even though female editors could also have "girlfriends," simply because it seems ruder to pick on women in this way. (Is that sexist of me?)

I don't see any good candidates here. Closely reading the quote, "house" implies book publishing, which limits the list. "Colleagues" also implies that this person works in the company of other editors, also limiting the possibilities. (Knowing salacious gossip about who is sleeping with who would help, but I'm usually out of the loop about that. Anyone who wants to cure my ignorance is reminded my e-mail is acwheele at optonline dot net.)

Anyone want to make guesses? (If so, please be cognizant of the libel laws in your locality...)


Cheryl said...

I suspect the technical term for this is something like a "no smoke without fire" quote. The idea being that you drop in a fabricated "real" story about corruption in order to make the denials of the people you have interviewed seem less plausible.

Mike G. said...

I've met Carol a few times, and I don't agree with Cheryl's suspicion.

If the paragraph wasn't substantiated, I'm sure it would have been presented as "There's a story in SF circles that...", and the article wouldn't have suffered.

Andrew Wheeler said...

Well, then, if this is a specific, real person, who is it?

Or is it just a story told to make wanna-be writers feel better about their failures?

Mike G. said...

No clue. But the quote is in the past tense, so it's not unlikely it's someone in the "dead or inactive" category.

Kathryn Cramer said...

You're in the wrong decade.

Kathryn Cramer said...

(Oh, and the girlfriend in question wasn't me. I never owned real estate until 2007.)

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