What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
Well, the grittier variety of epic fantasy will remain a trend as long as Game of Thrones remains on HBO, but that’s a no-brainer. Beyond that, I’m hopeful that we’ll see a burst of new space opera in the next year. Between this August’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie, the preliminary buzz that’s already building for the new Star Wars films, the Syfy channel’s forthcoming adaptation of James S.A. Corey’s Expanse novels (being billed, not surprisingly, as “Game of Thrones in space”) and Bungie’s forthcoming video game series Destiny, I think that the zeitgeist falls in favor of big, expansive, eye-popping space narratives.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
With the caveat that a compelling, well-written narrative trumps all topics or subgenres, I have a soft spot for epic fantasies. We’ve two hits on our hands right now with Jon Sprunk’s Blood and Iron and Mark Smylie’s The Barrow, both examples of the post–George R.R. Martin variety (and I’d go so far as to call the Smylie “post-HBO”). But after a few years of humans-only fantasy, I’d like to see a return to a more diverse milieu of magical beings. J.F. Lewis’ Grudgebearer brilliantly reimagines the classic races while adding some new ones. I’d like to see more work in this mode—“elven” doesn’t have to be a dirty word—as well as more examples of female-driven sword-and-sorcery fiction (along the lines of Ari Marmell’s Widdershins novels). I’d also like to see more female-penned epic fantasy (like K.V. Johansen’s phenomenal novel The Leopard).
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
Near-future techno-thrillers where politicians, prostitutes and religious leaders are mixed up with aliens and designer drugs. I don't know what the sub-subgenre is for this, but I don’t need to see it again. Ever.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
There’s a lot that’s unique about science fiction and fantasy, but I think that one of my favorite aspects is the long history of tremendous cover art. SF/F has over a century of working closely with artists in communicating the visions and sense of wonder that is unique to genre fiction. In my book, we don’t do enough to celebrate the tremendous artists working in our field. I think one of the greatest privileges my job affords is the chance to get to know and work closely with such talented individuals.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a mention of my own forthcoming middle-reader novel, Frostborn, a Norse-inspired fantasy out from Random House’s Crown Books for Young Readers on August 5. This is my debut novel, and being on the other side of the desk for the first time in my life has been a very interesting learning experience. I think 10 years of editing the Pyr imprint has certainly made me a better writer, and now, being edited for the first time is making me a better editor. Or maybe just a more sympathetic one!
Lou Anders is the Hugo Award–winning editorial director of the science-fiction and fantasy imprint Pyr, a Chesley Award–winning art director and the editor of nine anthologies. He has also been nominated for six additional Hugo Awards, five additional Chesley Awards, as well as the PKD, Locus, Shirley Jackson and three World Fantasy Awards. His first novel, Frostborn, Book 1 in a three-book middle-reader fantasy adventure series called Thrones and Bones, will be published in August 2014 by Random House’s Crown Books for Young Readers.