Shelf Life: an editor's perspective
My involvement in Shelf Life began with Adrian’s plea to bring in a third editor to help shepherd the book to completion. As I recall it, he was asking for someone with experience in these sort of books. As one of the very select group of people who’d done this (going back to helping out with the first Perfect Timing volume, co-editing the second and following that with the revised second edition of volume 1, and then culminating with Walking in Eternity), it felt as though Adrian was pretty much singling me out.
I had become friends with Craig Hinton after I put together WinE, and so he hadn’t been included in the contents of that book. And boy, did he never let me forget it: “Of course, *I* wasn’t good enough to be asked to contribute to WinE!” he told me again and again, mostly because he knew it would wind me up. With that in mind, I felt that I could rebalance my karma somewhat by helping with Shelf Life. I suggested the title, designed the logo, commissioned the artwork to accompany each story, and invited a few writers to submit story pitches for consideration, but didn’t intend to get too involved in the editing of the book. In the end, it grew into such a monstrous undertaking that I did edit some of the stories and copy-edited the whole package once I’d assembled the book ready for printing. Where I’d initially thought: “How much work could it be, split between three editors?”, it soon became clear that three editors meant three times the work, as each of us duplicated work, waited for the others to do their part before doing our own, and on and on…
Specifically about Dale’s story, I remember enjoying it a lot. As a fan of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I got all the references from the word go. In terms of editing, I can’t call to mind any details seven years on, but as with other stories I’ve worked on for Dale, I have no horror stories to tell. I was able to get one of my favourite artists: D’Israeli to provide an illustration to accompany the story, and I think both story and illustration stand up among the highlights of the collection.