Phil Athans leaving WotC

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My editor at Wizards of the Coast, Phil Athans, had his position eliminated yesterday.  You can read his announcement here.

Phil does not seem angry about this, so I suppose I  shouldn’t get angry either.  But I am.  From the outside, this looks to me like another dimwitted, short-sighted decision by corporate flunkies.  That’s all I want to say about that.

The point of this post is to say that I’ve been lucky to work with Phil.  A great editor  is priceless to a writer, and Phil is a great editor.  He gave me my first break in publishing and has edited my novels for ten years.  In the process, he made all of them better.  He also steered me clear of a couple ill-advised  decisions I might otherwise have made, and he stood up for my work when its tone seemed to some to sit uncomfortably within the Forgotten Realms.  I’m grateful to Phil for all of those things.

I hate seeing bad things happen to friends and colleagues, but I’m sure Phil will land on his  feet.  Talented people always do.

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7 Comments

  1. Yeah, it’s tragic news. I hope he ends up on his feet somewhere. I just bought his book recently “The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction”. It is an exellent guide for anyone who cares to pick it up!

  2. I was caught completely flat-footed at this news. I’ve been reading Realms books for over a decade and associated Phil Athens name with the books. I simply assumed he’d be there ’till the end of time.

    Still, he sounds ready for another step forward, so i look forward to seeing where he’ll pop-up next.

  3. This news sucks. I know that Phil will find work quickly (since he is amazing), but know I wonder what this does to the Realms in terms of release schedule and who know takes over as editor…

  4. Its always sad when someone is laid off. Especially with the economy today.

    “Still, he sounds ready for another step forward, so i look forward to seeing where he’ll pop-up next.”
    Same here

  5. Wow…this is horrible. Phil is amazing. He was the first professional to ever tell me that my writing had potential. I still have the letter from him that earned me my spot in RotDII. This is sad news and, unless I miss my guess, WotC will be much the poorer for this decision down the road.

  6. Sad news indeed…

    I am not a fan of the books he wrote (save Annihilation), but most of the books he edited are my favorites, like yours and Richard’s. As my friend/editor once told me, “Behind the success and brilliance of a book is a great editor.”

    Best of luck to Phil.

    So, Paul, who’s editing your new trilogy (which by the way I am looking forward to)?

  7. That news makes me sad even if Phil seems to be taking it in stride. He was always helpful to me when I was freelancing. I would happily work with him again, so I am certain his WotC colleagues will miss him and whoever works with him in the future will be lucky.

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