Lou Anders is an American editor, author and journalist, primarily of science fiction/fantasy novels, articles and short stories.
Biography and journalism
Lou Anders is originally from Birmingham, Alabama, but has lived in multiple cities in several states. In 2003, he returned to Birmingham, Alabama having moved there from Los Angeles via San Francisco.
He describes his route through the science fiction and writings businesses as broadly beginning with "theatre in college lead[ing] to a partial scholarship to study acting in Oxford and London". This in turn got him into
- "..directing plays in Chicago, which lead [sic] to working on sets in Los Angeles, which lead [sic] to journalism & screenwriting, the former being "scifi" based, which lead [sic] to internet publishing, which lead [sic] to publishing."
Anders' break came in 1994, when he become involved with the UK's Titan Publishing when they were about to launch the first Star Trek magazine, Star Trek Monthly (launched in March 1995). Recommended to Titan by Jean-Marc Lofficier, Anders became Titan Publishing Group's 'Los Angeles liaison', "churning out about 30 articles a month on average and living on the Star Trek and Babylon 5 sets". Anders was writing scripts and pitches on the side with a writing partner, and in 1996, was asked to wrote The Making of Star Trek: First Contact for Titan.
Between 1994 and 1999, Anders wrote around 500 articles, which have appeared in multiple magazines on a variety of - primarily science fiction-related - subjects, and Babylon 5 in particular. His articles have appeared in Babylon 5 Magazine, Doctor Who Magazine, Dreamwatch, Manga Max, Sci Fi Universe, Star Trek Monthly and Star Wars Monthly, and been translated into several languages. Much of his work has also appeared online at sites including Believermag.com, SFSite.com, RevolutionSF.com and InfinityPlus.co.uk, while many of his Star Trek and Babylon 5 articles and interviews "have been illegally transcribed and are scattered throughout [web]sites the world over".
In late 1999/early 2000, and shortly after two of Anders' then-main journalistic subjects - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5 spin-off Crusade - were cancelled, he was invited to fly from West Hollywood to San Francisco, to become Executive Editor of Bookface.com, an online company providing non-downloadable and non-printable books and short stories for free online reading.
In June 2000, Bookface, Inc. launched the (now defunct) website www.Bookface.com, a "Read on Demand" service precipitated both by the concurrent print on demand boom, and launching during the hype surrounding Stephen King's online-only novella The Plant, which had been launched in July, 1999. Bookface delivered "whole books and excerpts to readers directly", with publishers including HarperCollins, Penguin Puttnam, Random House and Time Warner Trade Publishing lined up to provide Bookface with content. CEO and co-Founder Tammy Deuster described Bookface as:
- "..essentially providing an ever-present and convenient way to find a book without a special hardware device, without a download, and without even requiring a credit card. A user simply logs on to our website and starts to read."
The idea behind Bookface.com was to provide books for free, "while paying authors and publishers for each page read", through revenue derived from advertising.
Unfortunately, Bookface's launch coincided with the bursting of the "dot-com bubble," while its success was tied closely to interest in online "Read on Demand" content (not to be confused with the similar but separate electronic medium, eBooks) becoming widespread. Arguably the highest-profile online-published title of the time was Stephen King's The Plant, whose initial success was cited by Bookface's co-founder and CEO Tammy Deuster as "proof that readers want to explore exciting books, whether those books are delivered in printed or electronic mediums." Despite initial success, however, actual sales of King's novella fell once the media circus had died down, with the ratio of paying readers to total readers falling to less than half by the fourth part of the serial. The Plant serialization came to a halt in late 2000, and Bookface itself followed suit, ceasing trading in early 2001.
In January 2001, Anders edited an anthology entitled Outside the Box: The Best Short Fiction from Bookface.com (right), which was published by Wildside Press.
Argosy, anthologies, Pyr, and awards
In 2003, Anders launched Argosy Magazine in collaboration with publisher James A. Owen, serving from 2003 to 2004 as senior editor on the bimonthly title. It was named after Argosy (a title that dates back to the 19th century), because (as Anders describes in an interview with John C. Snider):
- "..we thought taking a name that harkened back to its spirit was a good launching point from which to found a new magazine, one that sought to set trends for the 21st century, the way Munsey’s magazines did for the 19th and 20th."
Despite this, Argosy Magazine, however was stated to have
- "..no connection to the original Frank A. Munsey magazine, or any other incarnation of Argosy... [it] is a completely new magazine... a new entity."
The new magazine, "devoted to publishing quality fiction in a wide range of genres and styles, from science fiction and fantasy to mystery to mainstream," and including a smattering of non-fiction essays and interviews, launched in November, 2003, and featured in its first eclectic issue an interview by Adam Roberts with Samuel R. Delany. Argosy format complimented its eclectic nature, accompanying its digest-sized magazine with a "separate trade-paperback novella... [both] presented in an attractive slipcase."(See left for Argosy #2's cover & slipcase. Reviewed here.) The uniqueness of its design proved confusing to retailers, however, leading to subsequent issues being published in two formats: "Connoisseur" (two-volume, available through Argosy, to subscribers and via certain comic shops and independent bookshops) and "Proletarian" (single magazine, available at newsstands).
Having overseen the first two issues (and preparatory work on a third), mounting "creative differences" and concerns caused Anders to resign as editor in early July, 2004 to focus on his work with Pyr while Argosy itself went on hiatus.
Anders has edited a number of anthologies from several different publishers, helped in no small part by having been able to forge links and contacts with sci-fi authors during his time at Bookface. Anders' anthologies include Outside the Box(above) (a 'Print on Demand' collection of short stories that first appeared on Bookface.com) from Wildside Press, Live Without a Net from Roc (although originally planned for a small press, which was going under at the time) and Projections from MonkeyBrain (initially two separate books, "one on literature and one on cinema", co-published by Chris Roberson, who Anders had met through Live Without a Net).
Anders is seen as a particular mentor to Roberson, whom he met at the World Fantasy Convention in Montreal, where he invited Roberson to submit to Live Without a Net. Roberson's work subsequently appeared in Argosy magazine, Anders' FutureShocks and his novels Here, There & Everywhere and Paragaea: A Planetary Romance have both been published by Pyr. Roberson was also featured in the Anders-edited anthology Sideways in Crime (2008).
Anders notes that his anthology Live Without a Net was a direct reaction against a certain type of science fiction. He says, in interview with Rick Kleffel:
- "I was reacting to what I felt was a preponderance of post-cyberpunk in American science fiction in the year 2000. The anthology was a deliberate attempt to counter that trend in some small and useful way."
Having been encouraged to apply to Prometheus Books' advert for "someone to help them launch a new SF line", Anders has been editorial director of Prometheus Books' science fiction imprint Pyr, since its launch in March, 2005. Pyr is an imprint of Prometheus Books, and its titles under Anders have been nominated for multiple awards. Anders hopes that the imprint will help regain science fiction's "grounding in science," while making sure to note that that is not the be-all and end-all. He is adamant that the imprint not be so
- "..narrow as to confine our authors to one agenda, so that while I am selecting books that mesh broadly with their overall aesthetic, I'm not limiting us to just one mode or sub-genre or philosophical position... [however] I'm hoping Pyr will stay slanted towards science fiction over fantasy, while publishing engaging and intelligent offerings from both genres. I have a real need for hard science fiction."
He states that it is the core concept that is important, that:
- "If a story can survive without the speculative element and is only using the science fiction as backdrop, then I'm not interested."
Pyr's launch titles in its "first season" comprised eight titles - "four original novels, two North American debuts, one classic reprint, and one anthology". The authors (and anthologist Gardner Dozois) were all recipients of multiple industry awards and/or nominations, and were:
- "..weighted towards hard SF, but contain two fantasies (one secondary world, one historical), one sci-fantasy or soft SF, and an anthology of stories examining the very Promethean struggle of science vs. superstition."
Those, Anders stated, were "highly reflective" of his subsequent intentions as editor, which he says are similar to those of Robert Silverberg, effectively "pruning" science fiction to its relevant core.
Anders is particularly proud to have brought John Meaney to American attention. Pyr's published authors also include Michael Moorcock, Alan Dean Foster, Adam Roberts, Mike Resnick, Justina Robson, Joe Abercrombie, and Ian McDonald.
Awards and nominations
Anders was nominated for a Hugo Award seven years in a row, in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 winning in 2011. He is a 2008 Philip K. Dick Award nominee for his anthology, Fast Forward 2, and a 2010 Locus Award, World Fantasy Award and Shirley Jackson Award nominee for his anthology, Swords & Dark Magic, edited with Jonathan Strahan. He was nominated for a Chesley Award for Best Art Director in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, winning in 2009. He is a 2006 and a 2011 World Fantasy Special Award: Professional nominee for editing at Pyr.
- Outside the Box: The Best Short Fiction from Bookface.com (ed.) (Wildside Press (2001)) Cover by John Picacio ISBN 1-58715-283-5
- Live Without a Net (ed.) (Roc Books (Jul, 2004)) Cover by John Picacio (US Trade) ISBN 0-451-45925-3 US MM Paperback ISBN 0-451-45945-8
- Projections: Science Fiction in Literature & Film (ed.) (MonkeyBrain (Dec, 2004)) Cover by John Picacio ISBN 1-932265-12-0
- Contributors include: Catherine Asaro • David Brin • John Clute • Paul Cornell • Mark Finn • James Gunn • John Grant • Howard V. Hendrix • Jonathan Lethem • Robert A. Metzger • Sean McMullen • Michael Moorcock • Adam Roberts • Mike Resnick • Robert J. Sawyer • Lucius Shepard • Robert Silverberg • Michael Swanwick
- FutureShocks (ed.) (Roc Books (Jan, 2006)) Cover by John Picacio ISBN 0-451-46065-0
- Fast Forward 1 (ed.) (Pyr (Feb, 2007)) Cover by John Picacio ISBN 1-59102-486-2
- Contributors include: Robert Charles Wilson • Justina Robson • Robyn Hitchcock • Tony Ballantyne • Elizabeth Bear • Stephen Baxter • Larry Niven • Ken MacLeod • Mike Resnick • Nancy Kress • Ian McDonald • Gene Wolfe • John Meaney • Paul Di Filippo • Paolo Bacigalupi • Kage Baker • A. M. Dellamonica • Louise Marley • Pamela Sargent • Mary A. Turzillo • George Zebrowski
- Sideways in Crime (ed.) (Solaris (June 2008)) Cover by Bob Eggleton ISBN 1-84416-566-3
- Fast Forward 2 (ed.) (Pyr (October 2008)) Cover by John Picacio ISBN 1-59102-692-X
- Contributors include: Paul Cornell • Kay Kenyon • Chris Nakashima-Brown • Nancy Kress • Jack Skillingstead • Cory Doctorow and Benjamin Rosenbaum • Jack McDevitt • Paul McAuley • Mike Resnick and Pat Cadigan • Ian McDonald • Kristine Kathryn Rusch • Karl Schroeder and Tobias S. Buckell • Jeff Carlson • Paolo Bacigalupi
- Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery (ed., with Jonathan Strahan) (Eos (June 2010)) Cover by Benjamin Carre ISBN 0-06-172381-9
- Masked (ed.) (Gallery Books (July 2010)) Cover by Trevor Hairsine ISBN 1-4391-6882-2
- "Crowd Control" in Strange Pleasures 2 by John Grant and Dave Hutchinson (ed.s) (Prime Books (June 2003)) ISBN 1-894815-08-4
- "The Woman on the Cross" in Strange Pleasures 3 by Dave Hutchinson (ed.) (Prime Books (Oct, 2005)) ISBN 0-8095-1160-6
- "The Mad Lands, Part 1: Death Wish" in Adventure, Vol. I by Chris Roberson (ed.) (MonkeyBrain (Nov, 2005)) ISBN 1-932265-13-9
- "Generation Gap" in the Doctor Who anthology Short Trips: Transmissions (2008)
- "And How His Audit Stands" in The Clockwork Jungle Book (Shimmer Magazine Issue #11) (2009)
- The Making of Star Trek: First Contact (Titan Books, 1996) ISBN 1-85286-779-5
- The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Themes, Works, and Wonders (3 vols.) by Gary Westfahl (ed.) (Greenwood Press (Sep, 2005)) ISBN 0-313-32950-8
- "A Tale of Two Orphans" in The Man from Krypton: A Closer Look at Superman by Glenn Yeffeth (ed.) (BenBella Books (May, 2006)) ISBN 1-932100-77-6
- "A Word Of Warning For Brandon Routh" in The Man from Krypton: A Closer Look at Superman by Glenn Yeffeth (ed.) (BenBella Books (May 2006)) ISBN 1-932100-77-6
- Counsel for the Prosection: "Star Wars novels are poor substitutes for real science fiction and are driving real SF off the shelves" in Star Wars on Trial by David Brin & Matthew Woodring Stover (ed.s) (BenBella Books (June, 2006)) ISBN 1-932100-89-X
- "The Natural and the Unnatural: Verisimilitude in Battlestar Galactica" in So Say We All: Collected Thoughts and Opinions on Battlestar Galactica by Richard Hatch (ed.) (BenBella Books (Oct, 2006)) ISBN 1-932100-94-6
- "The Tangled Web We Weave" in Webslinger: SF and Comic Writers on Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man by Glenn Yeffeth (ed.) (BenBella Books (Mar, 2007)) ISBN 1-933771-06-2
- "New Directions: Mind the Gap": an online essay on the different branches of Science fiction at RevolutionSF
- John Snider interviews Lou Anders about Argosy magazine. Accessed January 28, 2008
- Rick Kleffel interview with Lou Anders, April 18, 2004. Accessed January 28, 2008
- "New Directions: Mind the Gap" by Lou Anders at RevolutionSF. Accessed January 27, 2008
- Lou Anders' Bio on his webpage. Accessed January 27, 2008
- Lou Anders' Articles. Accessed January 27, 2008
- Stephen King Bio at Books & Writers. Accessed January 27, 2008
- Bookface.com Opens Books Online; Innovative Website Gives Readers Direct Access to Books; www.bookface.com to Launch With Involvement of Major Publishers, June 2, 2000. Accessed January 27, 2008
- Bookface.com Opens Books Online; Innovative Website Gives Readers Direct Access to Books; www.bookface.com to Launch With Involvement of Major Publishers, June 2, 2000. Accessed January 28, 2008
- Stephen King's Net Horror Story at Slashdot.org, December 4, 2000. Accessed January 27, 2008
- Mariano, Gwendolyn "Stephen King puts The Plant on ice", CNET New.com CNet, 29 Nov 2000. Accessed January 28, 2008
- WhatTheyThink - Printing Industry News, Commentary & Analysis' DOT COM WATCH. Accessed January 27, 2008
- John Snider interviews Lou Anders about Argosy magazine. Accessed January 27, 2008
- Argosy information on Anders' webpage. Accessed January 27, 2008
- The SFSite News, July 2004. Accessed January 28, 2008
- 'Sara' on The Short Mystery Fiction Society message board, August 2, 2004. Accessed January 28, 2008
- An Interview with Chris Roberson by Michael Colbert at Infinity Plus. Accessed January 28, 2008.
- Novels by Chris Roberson. Accessed January 28, 2008
- Short Stories by Chris Roberson. Accessed January 28, 2008
- "Award News" at Lou Anders' blog Bowing to the Future. Accessed January 27, 2008
- Lou Anders' blog Bowing to the Future. Accessed January 27, 2008
- Comics on Lou Anders' webpage. Accessed January 27, 2008
- Lou Anders' homepage
- Lou Anders' blog "Bowing to the Future"
- Lou Anders' Amazon blog
- Prometheus Books' science fiction/fantasy imprint Pyr Books's website
- David Alastair Hayden interviews Lou Anders for Redstone Science Fiction
- Rick Kleffel interviews Lou Anders
- John Snider interviews Lou Anders about Argosy Magazine
- Archived submission information for Argosy at Locus
- "New Directions: Mind the Gap" essay by Lou Anders at RevolutionSF
- Interview on the SciFiDimensions Podcast
- Lou Anders at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database