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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Juice Boxes - Best SFF Editor (2011)

Winner: Jeremy Lassen
Editor-in-Chief


Last week, I gave the Best SFF Press for Ebooks (2011) Juice Box Award to Pyr.  At the time, I said something like -- I can't award the best imprint because it's too big.  How could I possibly pick and what criteria would I use?  This is also true when it comes to picking the best editor.  In a typical year, I doubt I would be doing this award.  I only read a tiny scope of what the genre has to offer each year, and it should be impossible, and unfair, to judge based on only one or two pieces of work.

This year though, I thought someone stood out.  Not necessarily because of his physical editing, although I'm sure it's quite good, but for his editorial decisions that brought about a program Night Shade Books calls, "New Voices".  That person is Night Shade Books Editor-in-Chief, Jeremy Lassen (and his editorial team).  In his own words:
"Brad Beaulieu's The Winds of Khalakovo IS related to Mazarkis Williams' The Emperor's Knife, which is related to Courtney Schafer's White Fire Crossing, which is related to Teresa Frohock's Miserere... These are all examples of what we think Fantasy Fiction can and should aspire to in the 21st century.  
Likewise, Paolo's The Windup Girl is related to Will Macintosh's Soft Apocolpyse, which is related Revolution World by Katy Stauber, which is related to Rob Ziegler's Seed. These are Night Shade's vision of what Science fiction can be in the 21st century -- painful, and painfully relevant.  
New Voices exists to draw a circle around, and bring attention to this exciting new generation of writers."
I read eight "New Voices" novels this year and loved (or really liked) every one of them.  Later this month, when my best books lists come out, several Night Shade titles will make that list.  While other editors put out equally dynamic debuts (Anne Sowards coming to mind), no one committed more than Lassen to bringing new blood into the field.  These aren't just new writers.  They're writers bringing new traditions to fantasy and science fiction.  Night Shade takes a risk every time they publish something no one has seen.  I'm overjoyed they continue to do it.

It should be noted that in addition to the "New Voices", Lassen continues to publish titles like JM McDermott's Never Knew Another and reams of outstanding anthologies like Marty Halpern's Alien Contact and collections by Fritz Lieber and Clark Ashton Smith.  These books aren't best sellers, and never will be, but it demonstrates a commitment to publishing the best speculative fiction possible.  Throw out sales and hype and on-line presence, looking at just the value brought to market by Lassen's team this year, I can't think of another editor more worthy of this recognition.

Below are the list Night Shade's 2011 New Voices:

The Winds of Khalakovo, Bradley P. Beaulieu (Review)
Necropolis, Michael Dempsey (Review)
Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Teresa Frohock (Review)
God's War/Infidel, Kameron Hurley (Review)
Southern Gods, John Horner Jacobs
Of Blood and Honey, Stina Leicht
Soft Apocalypse, Will McIntosh
The Panama Laugh, Thomas Roche
The Whitefire Crossing, Courtney Schafer (Review)
Revolution World, Katy Stauber
The Emperor's Knife, Mazarkis Williams (Review)
No Hero, Jonathan Wood
Seed, Rob Ziegler (Review)




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If you missed my Thanksgiving post, I explained that I'm doing a series of awards. I'm going to call them the Juice Boxes. See if you can keep up here... so there are the Hugos. My name is Justin. Put those two words together and you get Jugos. Jugo in Spanish means Juice. The Juice Awards sounds like something O.J. Simpson would bestow on someone, so I added the box. After all, who doesn't like Juice Boxes?

I'll be doing a separate post for each category with a goal of having them all done before Christmas (we'll see). My award categories are as follows:

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2 Comments:

At December 13, 2011 at 7:54 AM , Anonymous odo said...

I wholeheartedly agree :)

 
At December 13, 2011 at 6:28 PM , Blogger martyhalpern said...

Justin,

Indeed, Night Shade Books has released some amazing, edgy, and very fine first novels, and follow-up novels this year -- and are to be commended. And thanks, too, for the shout-out on my Alien Contact anthology.

Cheers,
Marty Halpern

 

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