Celebrate Tachyon’s 20th anniversary with Sheila Williams


Sheila Williams, the Hugo Award-winning editor of ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION, delivers the first in a series of essays celebrating 20 years of Tachyon Publications.

I first met Jacob Weisman about twenty-nineyears ago, when he was a rail-thin college junior with jet-black
hair. Jacob showed up at Davis Publications in the spring of 1986 to
intern at ASIMOV’S.
I gave him some of the usual editorial-assistant type chores, like
filing and proofreading, but I also asked him for brief descriptions
of the purchased stories for the magazine’s art editor. A story’s
illustrator is expected to read the entire tale, but the editor would
use the intern’s synopsis to make sure the artist was on the right
track. Jacob was shy, but forthright. He enjoyed reading the material
but made candid and discerning comments about the stories. I quickly
realized that he was someone who truly loved science fiction and that
his tastes were not all that different from mine. 

When Jacob founded Tachyon, I was delighted to
help him reach out to his favorite authors. I passed along a few
addresses and put in a good word with authors who had never heard of
Jacob. I knew that he had an abiding passion for their work and would
ensure that his company would do well for them. Jacob was the only
publisher I turned to when it came time to edit
. Jacob had a few suggestions about authors whom
he wanted to see in the book, and all of them were on my own short
list. It was exhilarating to create the book with him and Jill [Roberts, Tachyon managing editor]. I
also had great fun assembling group author signings at the Tachyon
table to promote the anthology at conventions. Patient Jacob put up
with the raucous hilarity that develops when such authors as Michael
Swanwick, Nancy Kress, James Patrick Kelly, Connie Willis, and even
the ever-debonair Robert Silverberg are commandeered to sign books
together for an hour or two.

I won my first Hugo Award for Best Editor,
Short Form in 2011 at the World Con in Reno, Nevada. That evening was
one of the high points of my life, but it was also a little
lonely—unfortunately, the ceremony had conflicted with my oldest
daughter’s freshman move-in day at college. The next evening was
rescued by Jacob and his wife, Rina, who asked whether they could
take me to dinner to celebrate my achievement. That lovely meal also
ranks among my life’s happiest events.

friendship that has lasted nearly three decades contains many
wonderful moments of celebration. I’m very pleased that this time the
celebration is for twenty years of Jacob’s discerning vision at the
helm of Tachyon Publications.

For more info about ASIMOV’S SCIENCE FICTION, visit their site.


Cover by Michael Whelan.