What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
No one can predict trends with absolute certainty, but you get a feel for the way the winds shift. Right now, with more flexible, digital shelves, I think (and hope) that books that challenge genre definitions will be big.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs made it big in challenging format, combining images with the novel, which continues in upcoming works like The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson, which uses clips of a comic as an emotional Geiger counter for the main character. Books with speculative elements in mainstream fiction are also gaining steam, like the split story of My Real Children by Jo Walton, the worldly fantasy of The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, the surreal alien encounters of Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor and The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord. Even those that take genre tropes and delve deeper are a part of this, like City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett, with its rich history, religion and politics, or the upcoming A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, which dissects portal fantasy as thoroughly as Howl’s Moving Castle did in 1986.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
Aside from the above, I want to see more books that go beyond modern, U.S. media. Like Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, an engrossing space-opera revenge tale where the protagonist knows only one gender and so refers to everyone as “she.” Or Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis, which has a complex dual narrative, a rich world, and nuanced looks at disability and bisexuality. Or any book like the beautiful and diverse stories in Long Hidden, edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older. I am enamored with The Black Count by Tom Reiss and want historical fiction that tackles such often ignored tales. I also love high fantasy that is not pseudo-European, like A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar and Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
Any otherworldly sci-fi/fantasy that unquestioningly reflects our modern biases. Other worlds need to be built on their own history, not ours.
What is unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
In SFFlandia, there have been serious conversations about inclusivity—on the page, on the jacket and behind the scenes—and I think things are shifting because of it. There is also more exploration of form; new markets for novellas and short stories, like Tor.com and Book Smugglers, are particularly exciting.
Amy Boggs is an agent and professional sci-fi/fantasy geek at the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York City. She has been with the agency since 2009, having previously worked at a psychiatry magazine, a college library and a children’s bookstore. She represents all things weird and wonderful in science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction, whether it’s adult, YA or middle-grade. She seeks and supports works and authors that are diverse in any and all respects, such as (but not limited to) gender, race, ethnicity, disability and sexuality. She can be found on Twitter (@notjustanyboggs) and blogging bimonthly at Pub Hub.