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Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 12:05 pm:   

How about it? A Special edition where JJA picks all the stories? I think this is a great idea. Give him the February issue, it's a short month. Make it a special additional release. I'd love to see his choices.

Who is with me? This is the start of the online petition for a Editor JJA issue.

-Pat M.
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ET
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 03:12 pm:   

Heh, that'd be cool. It will give me the opportunity to get rejected by him. But aren't you worried that it'd go to his head and he'd start thinking of editing his own zine?
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JJA
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 04:05 pm:   

Gordon -- I swear I didn't post that under a pseudonym.

Heh. Um, thanks for the thought. Pat, would you like to be the president of my fan club? While you're at it, start a petition to get me on the Hugo ballot next year as best fan writer (Any person whose writing has appeared in semiprozines or fanzines or in generally available electronic media during the previous calendar year). Dave Langford always wins, but as they say it's an honor to be nominated.
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Tribeless
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 04:10 pm:   

As I've never got a story past JJA, I would be more for an issue of stories chosen by Gordon straight from the slush pile after cutting JJA out of the loop :-)
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Gregory Bernard Banks
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 05:06 pm:   

I'd settle for actually figuring out what it takes to get a story by JJA. :-)
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MaryRobinette
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 05:22 pm:   

I figure all the stories we're reading ARE selected by JJA. It might actually be torturing the man to make him narrow his selections down to the few that go into a single issue.
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Pat M.
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 05:51 pm:   

ET - It must be rough having your stories go straight to Gordon. I feel for you...

It occurred to me after I posted the suggestion that this might be an insult to Gordon suggesting that his slush reader might put together a great issue. I hope he doesn't though. It was suggested in good fun. Actually, I would hope that he believes JJA would put together a great issue.

JJA -- I liked your recommendation of Starplex, so I figure you have tastes that would coincide with mine.

President of the Fan Club? well, it's an honor to be nominated. Really, you haven't caught on to the fact that I am buttering you up for when I finally submit something? :-)

tribeless -- you could start a petition for a random, blind, selections from the slush pile issue. :-)

-Pat M.
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Matt Jarpe
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 06:09 pm:   

How about every month a webzine of stories JJA picked that didn't grab Gordon. Call it F&SF Alternatives. Of course if the webzine starts winning more awards than the dead tree version, the publisher is going to have to take a long hard look at who's editing his magazine.

"Van Gelder, get in here!"

[Gordon yanks off his publisher hat and slaps on his editor hat.]

"Yes, sir? A problem?"

"Why am I paying me good money to select stories when I should fire me and bring this J. Jonah ... no John Joseph Jingleheimer ... Oh, never mind. You're fired! Pack up my desk."
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John Thiel
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 06:26 pm:   

You'll get an answer from Gordon Lightfoot.
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TCO
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 06:39 pm:   

I know that JJA has talked a lot about his selection process and how it intersects with Gordon, but I wonder a little bit more:

JJA, when you pass a story on, does that mean it is a story you would buy if you were the editor? Or do you set the wicket a little lower to avoid screening something that Gordon might want? And do you try to select as Gordon would? I.e. do you look at what he selects out of what you pass up and use that info to refine how you pick stories?
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JJA
Posted on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 09:03 pm:   

JJA, when you pass a story on, does that mean it is a story you would buy if you were the editor?

No, the bar isn't set quite that high. I often set aside stories that I think show promise or progress, but are somehow flawed, in the hopes that Gordon might see how it might be fixed, or that a rejection from Gordon might encourage the writer.

Also, lots of times there are stories I'm not sure about; I read it, and think it's pretty good, but I can't say for sure whether or not I would have bought it if I were editor. These sorts of stories I would probably put in a maybe pile and read again at a later time, when I'm considering which acquisitions to make for the month.

And do you try to select as Gordon would? I.e. do you look at what he selects out of what you pass up and use that info to refine how you pick stories?

I try not to let past successes or failures alter my judgement too much. Basically, I try to stick with my gut reaction to a story and not let outside factors influence my decision on whether or not to show it to Gordon. In fact, there have been times when I've read something and thought it was good, yet also thought "Gordon's probably going to hate this," but I set it aside anyway, because you never know.

Actually, when I read "Shutdown/Retrovival" by Aaron Reed, I thought it was brilliant, but I wasn't at all sure Gordon would like it (but he did, so good thing I showed it to him, eh?). I don't recall wavering at all in my decision to set that one aside because of how strongly I felt about its merit.
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Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 11:53 am:   

JJA - Do reviews count to get you on the ballot? I don't see where you have produced any fiction. As President, will I have to maintain a website or something? Doesn't your Blog cover most of it? I'll have to look into how to petition to get you on the Hugo ballot. ET brings up a good question. Do you aspire to run your own zine?

Also, Why not publish one story free for download each month? If it was one of the stories in the Mag, makes for great promotion with little additional costs. If it is the Almost ran, then you end up spending money on an additional story per month. This thought being inspired by MJarpe, but independent of the JJA Issue. Just a promotional thought for Gordon.

I remember old comics used to run an Assistant Editor Month issue.

So far, I can see ET is with me.



-Pat M.
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JJA
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 12:05 pm:   

I was just kidding about the Hugo award thing, but as far as I know, most of those nominated for "fan writer" write primarily non-fiction for fanzines. I never even realized semipro stuff counted for "fan writer" until someone had pointed it out to me. I don't know that it's spelled out anywhere, but I think this category is primarily for non-fiction, but I could be wrong. But like I said, that was just a joke; I don't want to be accused of campaigning for an award.

If by zine you mean professional magazine, sure, doesn't every assistant dream of someday being the top dog? That said, I don't have any plans to launch my own or anything. That way lies madness... or something like that.

If by zine you mean anything less than that, then no, I have no aspirations in that direction.
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Jer
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 04:49 pm:   

"Also, Why not publish one story free for download each month?"

This is so the wrong thread, but if leveraged *properly*, couldn't that help the exposure and possibly circulation of F&SF? I like the idea.
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Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 05:38 pm:   

JJA - I pretty much knew that you were kidding but thought it would be fun to get you on the Ballot anyway. After a little research, I've come to realize that it involves voting and other things I don't like.

The aspiration question is mostly about understanding the career path of a slush reader. Is this pretty much a standard path one takes to becoming an editor, whether magazine or novel? Do you write fiction or just articles? I know you have been at this a couple of years, you have posted your start date somewhere. What does the future hold for the slush god? Are you content for the next 2-5 years?(Ok, that's a silly question...'No I can't stand working for Gordon...Wha? I'm fired???') Do you see your role at F&SF increasing?

-Pat M.
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Pat M.
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 05:41 pm:   

Jer - I knew there was a thread somewhere about boosting circulation and realized I was posting off topic as well, but no one has accused me of being true to the topics...

I like the idea as well. The most cost effective being the posting of a story from the current month. More interesting is the Additional story or completely seperate online/download version only.

-Pat M.
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JJA
Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 06:24 pm:   

Is this pretty much a standard path one takes to becoming an editor, whether magazine or novel?

I don't know if this is a standard path, but generally you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. There have probably been people who achieved success as writers first, then sold anthologies based on their writerly success and then have gone on to edit books or magazines (and thus skipped over the junior editor steps along the way).

Do you write fiction or just articles?

My interest in editing grew out of my interest in writing fiction. For now I'm just writing non-fiction. I've never published any fiction, though a screenplay I wrote was optioned by a production company (alas, it was not picked up).

What does the future hold for the slush god?

I don't know. For now I'm just working on selling some freelance writing in order to supplement my F&SF income. If I stick around long enough, maybe someday Gordon will decide to launch a second magazine and hand me the reins to it (hey, a guy can dream, can't he?).
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Pat M.
Posted on Monday, July 12, 2004 - 11:29 am:   

maybe someday Gordon will decide to launch a second magazine and hand me the reins to it

Wouldn't your very own issue be a great start? :-)

-Pat M.
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Pat M.
Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 10:38 am:   

Gordon - He's on vacation. You can comment now. :-)
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 09:00 pm:   

Actually, I meant to reply to this earlier, but I've been too busy to do much on the message board.

While I'm not averse to the idea of a guest-edited issue, John works so closely with me on the magazine that it seems almost redundant to have him guest-edit one.

Also, this thread suggests to me that one of the main reasons you're asking for a JJA issue is so you can get a handle on his taste and thus figure out the best way to get stories past him and on to me. The fact is, most readers don't care whose name is on the masthead as long as they like the stories.
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Jer
Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 10:35 pm:   

Obviously the solution to this is to use your contacts in the publishing world to have JJA guest edit an issue of RoF, or Asimov's, or something of the sort. That way, it would be neat. Instead of redundant.

Right? Right. :-)
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Pat M.
Posted on Thursday, July 29, 2004 - 04:09 pm:   

For me the idea really came from Assistant Editors month from comics I used to read. Since I am only a subscriber it has nothing to do with getting a story past JJA.

I'm somewhat of a slush reader champion. Not sure why, I guess I just don't like seeing someone who is doing their job get beat up for it. I've worked thankless jobs before myself. When John passes something along, no one will ever say "Thanks SlushGod!"

Of course after making the suggestion, I noticed that Robin is the Assistant editor, not John.

As far as being redundant, I think he posted that there are slight differences in taste that he recognizes but is pretty close. I think you are right though, it wouldn't change anything. I would guess that there are some generational differences? I suspect that John is younger and certain things appeal differently, for example, Seargant Chip has a Vietnam feel to it. Great story, but I don't think the younger generations have that same sense of betrayal by ones own military. I'm not saying younger people wouldn't like that story, I think the voice is what makes it great not the story itself. At the end, I wondered how long it took the girl to write the note.

Anyway, It wasn't really a promotional suggestion or to promote my own career(as a reader). It was just a fun idea that popped into my head.

How about Guest-Editor Matthew Hughes? :-)

Of course, I have no problem with 11 issues editted by GVG. :-)

What about the monthly web-published story as an idea?

-Pat M.

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