Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy Birthday Pyr

March 8, 2006

CONTACT: Jill Maxick, 800-853-7545

One Year Into the Future
Young SF&F Imprint Celebrates Its First Anniversary

Amherst, NY--One year ago today, Prometheus Books launched a science fiction and fantasy imprint, Pyr, with the publication of John Meaney’s Paradox: Book One of the Nulapeiron Sequence.

Entertainment Weekly compared it to Dune.

With that auspicious opener, Prometheus Books—the leading independent publisher in popular science, philosophy, and critical thinking, and a specialist in intelligent nonfiction since 1969—launched an imprint dedicated to speculative fiction, marking a fresh direction for the press. With more than 1,500 books in print, Prometheus Books produces about 100 new titles a year. Until Pyr, less than two percent had been fiction.

But there exists a natural connection between science nonfiction and science fiction and fantasy, and a long and distinguished history of both fields trading inspiration back and forth. By way of a recent example, two months after Prometheus Books launched Pyr, it also published the nonfiction Nanofuture by J. Storrs Hall—a scientist whose concept of utility fog has been employed by many a science fiction writer.

On Pyr’s first anniversary, we reflect on some of the imprint’s milestones and achievements:

  • Genre legends Robert Silverberg, Michael Moorcock, Mike Resnick, Gardner Dozois, George Zebrowski joined hot up-and-comers like Chris Roberson and Justina Robson in the Pyr author stable.
  • John Meaney’s Paradox was compared to Frank Herbert’s Dune by review media, and remains one of Pyr’s best-selling, best-reviewed titles.
  • Science Fiction Weekly said Pyr was “destined to become a leading imprint in the field.”
  • Publishers Weekly published Pyr editorial director Lou Anders’s article on the state and future of the genre as part of an SF feature in the April 4, 2005 issue.
  • Author Chris Roberson was nominated for John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award.
  • Book Expo America 2005 featured a well-attended Pyr launch party and hugely successful Chris Roberson Here, There & Everywhere book signing.
  • Charles Coleman Finlay’s The Prodigal Troll made the Locus 2005 Recommended Reading List for “Best First Novel.”
  • The Locus 2005 Recommended Reading List for “Best Anthology” included Galileo's Children, edited by Gardner Dozois.
  • Two artists working with Pyr, John Picacio and Caniglia, were both nominated for Best Artist in the World Fantasy Awards 2005; John Picacio won the World Fantasy Award and was also nominated for the Best Professional Artist Hugo®.
  • Justina Robson's Silver Screen has been nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award.
  • Silver Screen received a starred review in Kirkus Reviews and was also chosen for their Best SF&F Books of 2005 list.
  • Barnes & Noble's SF&F “Editor's Choice: Top Ten Novels of 2005” ranked Paradox #2.
  • Genetopia by Keith Brooke received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly, was called a “minor masterpiece” by Locus, and became the third Pyr title in a year to be reviewed by the huge, mainstream, consumer magazine Entertainment Weekly.
  • River of Gods by Ian McDonald received a starred review in Library Journal.
  • In a rare if not totally unprecedented event, the entire ‘On Books’ section of the April/May 2006 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction was dedicated to books published by a single press, Pyr, with five Pyr books reviewed including a positive assessment of the imprint itself.

Pyr editorial director Lou Anders reflects, “From its inception, science fiction has always been the genre concerned with change. As the 21st century promises even greater change than the 20th, fueled by the ever-accelerating pace of technological development, science fiction in general—and Pyr in specific—is poised to imagine the brave new world, in all its wonders and perils, and in so doing, to help usher tomorrow into today.”

Prometheus Books took its name from the courageous Greek titan who gave fire to humans, lighting the way to reason and independence. Pyr, the Greek word for fire, continues this connection to intelligent imagination. In its exciting first year, Pyr has set the bar high for creativity, intelligence, and quality. Prometheus Books is proud of this addition to our legacy.


Patrick Nielsen Hayden said...

Pyr is publishing some terrific books and Lou Anders deserves all sorts of credit, but exact where is it that "Lou Anders was included on the Locus 2005 Recommended Reading List for 'Best Editor'"? The Locus "Recommended Reading List", published every year in their February issue, doesn't have a "Best Editor" category.

Lou came it at #15 in the Locus Poll for "Best Editor" later in 2005. Personally, I would have rated him higher. But it's simply untrue to say that he was "included on the Locus 2005 Recommended Reading List".

Pyr's achievements are real enough; its publicists don't need to resort to this kind of stretch.

Anonymous said...

Congrats with first year Pyr SF&F Imprint anniversary, Lou.

Keep up the good work!


Tim Akers said...

Happy damn birthday. I'd bake you a cake, but it would be the sort of horribly executed culinary disaster that would get me accosted by Rachael Ray and her photogenic posse.

Lou Anders said...

Mea culpa.
Our publicist, who is nonetheless tremendous, misstated the Locus "Best Editor" ranking. It is, indeed, from a Locus poll, not the recommended reading list, as PNH points out. I should have caught this. Also, equally importantly, it should have been pointed out that Picacio WON his WFC award and was not merely nominated. I have amended the release as it appears on the blog. Apologies for the mistake, and thanks for the love.

Vera Nazarian said...


Rocking awesome congratulations to you and Pyr! :-)

Alex Wilson said...

Congrats! It's pronounced the same as "pyre," yes?


Lou Anders said...

Technically, if you were to pronounce it in correct Greek, it would be "peer," but we prefer to say pyr as in fire (which is what it means). Since its not an English word to begin with, and it's usually written, not spoken, I think it's okay to err in favor of the cooler pronounciation.

Alex Wilson said...

Thanks. I guess as long as you don't pronounce it "Purr..."


RobB said...

Congratulations on very impressive year Lou, you guys really came out of the gate with all guns a' blazing.

M.R.M. said...

Late to the party, but congrats Lou! Totally agree with everyone about the quality of Pyr, and may we have several decades more of it!