When Editorial Tastes Collide!

On the F&SF message board, someone asked if Gordon ever asks what I think of stories from his pile, and whether or not Gordon has ever published something I would have rejected. If you want to see the original thread, click here.

I thought my response might be interesting for others to read, so I’m cross-posting it here:

Gordon solicits my opinion on stories all the time. I read and react to pretty much everything Gordon buys (but most of the stuff he rejects I never see). I don’t know how much my opinion sways him either way; you’d have to ask him, but I’m sure it varies on story to story.

I don’t know that I’d say “Damn, I wouldn’t have published that,” but there have been times we have disagreed (which should be no surprise, as I don’t like every story Asimovs or Sci Fiction publishes either even though I do like a great majority of it). Though Gordon’s tastes and mine are pretty much in tune, there are inevitable differences of opinion.

It’s hard to say about seeing those same stories in the slush. Reading slush is different from reading for acquisition. When I read slush, I’m not only reading for my own editorial taste; I’m also reading for what I think Gordon will like. I also set aside stories that I think have potential (even though they might be flawed), because an encouraging rejection from Gordon (perhaps with helpful comments) can be of great use to a beginning writer trying to develop his/her craft.

So, I’d like to say that no, I wouldn’t have rejected them were I to come across them in the slush; I’d like to think that I would at least see the potential that Gordon saw in them, even if I disagreed on their overall merit, but it’s impossible to say for certain.