Lou Anders wears more hats than most. He is an accomplished author (The Making of Star Trek: First Contact) and journalist, with over 500 published articles in such magazines as The Believer, Publishers Weekly, Dreamwatch, Star Trek Monthly, Star Wars Monthly, Babylon 5 Magazine, Sci Fi Universe, Doctor Who Magazine, and Manga Max and on websites such as SF Site, Revolution SF and Infinity Plus as well as a recent string of essays for BenBella’s Smart Pop series. He is a successful anthologist with books such as Outside the Box (Wildside Press, 2001), Live Without a Net (Roc, 2003), Projections: Science Fiction in Literature & Film (MonkeyBrain, December 2004), FutureShocks (Roc, January 2006) and the upcoming Fast Forward (Pyr, February 2007). In 2000, he served as the Executive Editor of Bookface, and before that he worked as the Los Angeles Liaison for Titan Publishing Group. He also served as the senior editor for Argosy magazine in 2003 and 2004. Lou’s current role is as editorial director of Prometheus Books’ science fiction imprint Pyr.
SF Signal had the opportunity to ask Lou about the publishing, the appeal of the fantasy genre, the purpose of book cover art and the science fiction genre in general…
SF SIGNAL: Hi, Lou. In your anthology Live without a Net, you challenged big-name authors to imagine an unwired future. Where do you really see us headed in the future, particularly with regards to publishing?
LOU ANDERS: If you are asking a future of publishing question, then I’d say we are poised right now to see where new convergence technologies take us. Certainly both eBook and audio book content delivered to hand held devices, especially mobile phones, will play a much larger role in entertainment habits than ever conceived. The generation that is growing up with the phone as their primary means of net interaction – listening to music and podcasts, text messaging and picture taking all with their “communicator” – is only going to be reached by media as antiquated as “books” if we can find a way to deliver the content to where they are. The aggregator that figures out how best to get the book or at least the knowledge of the book into the palm device will have done something.
As to the future in general – I don’t think enough people stop and take stock of what a singularity we are living through. I still remember when, if I needed to know the answer to a question, I had to get in a car and travel physically to a library and then invest time in a search that might or might not answer my question. The paradigm shift from that, to being about to Google anything in the world and receive a plethora of answers within seconds, is unbelievable. My son, now 14 months, will never know what it means to say “What is the name of that? It’s on the tip of my tongue.” There has never been a shift in all of history so profound. The future then – the ubiquity of knowledge.
SFS: Are you saying, then, that electronic book formats are viable and if not, when do you think they might become so? Do current DRM efforts hurt or help this?
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