Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!
Today we’re joined by Lou Anders, Hugo Award winning editorial director of Pyr Books, as well as the WFC award nominated editor of many critically-acclaimed anthologies. Lou’s first novel, Frostborn, book one in a three-book middle grade fantasy adventure series called Thrones and Bones, is available now from Crown Books for Young Readers.
Benedict Cumberbatch might have a bone or two to pick with Lou after our interview…
Describe your favorite place to read or write.
My favorite place to read is in a black leather chair in my bedroom that my mother gave to me when I lived in San Francisco in 2000. But if the kids are home and noisy, then that changes to any chair at Starbucks. But my favorite place to write is at the bar in our kitchen. I’ve found that having separate spaces for my separate jobs is important, and working and playing on different devices is a part of that. So art direction is done on the big desktop, writing on the laptop, reading on the iPad, and gaming on the consoles (and never on the computers).
Battle to the death, which weapon do you choose: A) Phaser, B) Lightsaber, or C) Wand?
What, no longsword? No ax? No bow?
Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.
Smaug from The Hobbit. And with apologies to Benedict Cumberbatch, it was Richard Boone in the 1977 animated film that forever cemented in my mind what a dragon should sound like. In writing Orm, the dragon of Frosborn, I was trying to capture that same sense of danger, dark majesty, and power that Smaug invoked in me as a child.
If you had to choose one band or artist to provide the official soundtrack to your new book, who would it be?
If the Frostborn film was in development right now, I’d be very gratified to have it scored by any of these three amazing composers, no preference between them: Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings), Jeremy Soule (Skyrim), John Powell (How to Train Your Dragon 2).
What’s your favorite sandwich?
What literary or film science fiction technology do you wish existed in our world right now?
I wish I could run multiple parallel instantiations of my brain and assign them different tasks. I’d have one version of me that read all the time, one that researched constantly, one that managed social media, and several that wrote novels. Each would be slightly edited against the possibility fatigue and boredom. We’d all sync up at the end of each day and share memories. Yes, I have thought about this way too much. Really this is probably born of the fear of knowing I have far more ideas for novels set in the world of Thrones and Bones than I will ever have time to write.
If you could design a line of clothing/accessories based on your favorite fictional character, what would it look like?
Not sure, but there’d be no horns on the helmets!
What was your gateway to SF/Fantasy, as a child or young adult?
When I was young, my father took me in a B. Dalton Booksellers and handed me a copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs A Princess of Mars. He ordered me to read it. I didn’t want to do anything my father said without argument, so I objected, “But it has a naked woman on the cover!” He replied, “I know it has a naked woman on the cover, but it’s still a good book, and you are going to read it.” I ended up reading everything that ERB had on the shelf over the next year. Around the same time, I found some battered copies of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame anthologies in my grandparent’s basement (Volumes 1 and 3, actually). I read those over and over. From there it was on to Michael Moorcock and Fritz Leiber. I still have ALL of those books. But equally important was a hardcover volume called Batman: From the 30s to the 70s that an uncle gifted me. Looking at the way that comic art changed from Bob Kane’s original to Neal Adams’ anatomically correct representations taught me a lot about how art evolved over decades, and was probably the beginning of my appreciation for art.
What would your Patronus/familiar be?
Name your three favorite fictional villains of all time.
The Joker. Khan Noonien Singh (the Ricardo Montalbán version, with another apology to Cumberbatch). Ernst Stavro Blofeld. I would include Lex Luthor in the list except I sympathize with his views on Superman too closely.
Which language, real or fictional, would you like the ability to speak fluently? Who would you talk to?
Chinese. My in-laws.