- - July 23rd, 2014
Charlie Stross is a genius. If you ever get the chance to talk to him, you’ll find the ideas flying so thick and fast that you have to shift your brain into a higher gear just to keep up. You’ll also come away from the conversation with several new ideas about how you’re going to change the world and an armful of science fiction reading recommendations (for other writers’ work, not his own, because he’s just that kind of guy).
You know those moving walkways you get in airports? Where you’re walking down them, but the ground is also moving underneath your feet so that when you jump off at the end just walking at normal speed is like hitting a wall, smack, bang, and everything is moving at normal speed again, too slow?
Talking to Charlie, or reading his books, is like running down that walkway.
Now his books might not be for everyone – I understand some people (not us) prefer life in the slow lane, that some readers just can’t handle this much raw plot, character and awesome things happening, that they want something a bit more sedate. I imagine these are also the kind of people who prefer to cook without spices, who like bland TV and even blander books, because anything else might be a bit too much excitement.
But that’s why I’m so pleased by Charlie’s continued success at the Hugo awards. You love Charlie’s work, you’ve supported him at these awards again and again. This is an author who has broken records for the number of consecutive times one can be shortlisted for the Hugo Best Novel. His sixth shortlisting broke the record. NEPTUNE’S BROOD, in the 2014 awards, is his seventh.
NEPTUNE’S BROOD has mermaids, communist squid, roving gangs of accountant-privateers, zombies, spacefaring clergymembers, superhuman assassins, murder, backstabbing, family feuds and an incredibly intricate and utterly unprecedented financial con that could only occur in a universe with no faster-than-light travel.
If you’d told me before I edited NEPTUNE’S BROOD that something including all those elements would become one of my favourite novels, I might have laughed. How could one book fit so much in it? Now, I would tell you that ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that every interstellar colony in search of good fortune must be in need of a banker.’
On top of the squid and the mermaids and the banking, NEPTUNE’S BROOD is also a genuinely moving story about a woman searching for her lost sister. The fact that that sister is actually a copy of her grown in a vat, and both characters are metahumans – the race artificially grown to replace humans when we proved too fragile for the trials of space travel – is by the by.
NEPTUNE’S BROOD is, according to io9, ‘the perfect book for our times’.
SFX call it ‘a thoroughly entertaining sci-fi mind-expander from one of the genre’s most reliable imaginations’, and SF legend Alastair Reynolds says ‘NEPTUNE’S BROOD is fast-paced and imaginative, with fascinating ideas about the economics of an interstellar society constrained by real physics. Above all else, though, it’s just terrific fun’.
But don’t listen to them. Read it yourself, and find out how a space opera with no faster-than-light travel can be the fastest, wildest ride of your life.
NEPTUNE’S BROOD, along with our other Hugo nominees, is currently available at a celebratory price of just £1.99 in the UK. Go, read, enjoy.
- - July 22nd, 2014
Epic fantasy fans exult! Today we are thrilled to release John Gwynne’s Valor, the sequel to his acclaimed debut Malice, winner of the David Gemmell Morningstar Award.
If you love fantasy teaming with rich characters, riveting battles and a vivid world, this is a series that will enthrall you. If you’re going through Game of Thrones withdrawal there is no better cure.
Here’s a selection of amazing praise for Malice:
“A series that promises the same degree of complexity and depth found in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time books and George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series.” – Library Journal (Starred Review)
“Influenced by Gemmell’s Rigante and George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones….Hell of a debut.” – Conn Iggulden
“Middle Earth–ish extravaganza with all the usual thrills, chills, spills and frills….there’s plenty of action.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Three-dimensional characters, a gripping plot, and a world that became real to me….this is the type of fantasy I love to read and I truly can’t wait to read the next volume in The Faith and the Fallen!” – Fantasy Book Critic
“John Gwynne hits all the right spots in his epic tale of good versus evil….there’s a lot of pleasure to be had in is debut novel; Gwynne is definitely one to watch.” – SFX
“Warring clans, sleeping giants, Banished Lands and omens and portents… a strong contender for ‘if you like Game of Thrones, why not try this?’ award.” – Independent (UK)
- - July 18th, 2014
Going to San Diego Comic-Con next week? Here are some things you should definitely put on your schedule.
THURSDAY, JULY 24
11:00 AM: Mira Grant signing in the Orbit booth (#1116)
3:00 PM: Seanan McGuire (a.k.a. Mira Grant) on the “When Magic & Myth Meet Main Street” panel, Room 25ABC
4:00 PM: Brent Weeks, Joe Abercrombie, and Sam Sykes on the “Putting the Epic in Epic Fantasy” panel, Room 25ABC
SATURDAY, JULY 26
11:00 AM: Joe Abercrombie signing in the Orbit booth (#1116)
2:00 PM: Brent Weeks signing in the Orbit booth (#1116)
2:30 PM: Mira Grant on the “The Art of Fear” panel, Room 8
4:15 PM: Joe Abercrombie on the “Rules of the Realm” panel, Room 6A
We’ll have giveaways and books for sale in the booth (#1116) all weekend! Stop by and say hi.
- - July 16th, 2014
When I first read Ancillary Justice I was overcome with two sensations, one was of familiarity. It triggered a warm nostalgia that set off a parade of novels in my mind that I first encountered when I was young and that blew my fledgling mind: Dune, Tiger! Tiger!, Cat’s Cradle, Ubik, The Left Hand of Darkness, Brave New World, The Forever War, A Canticle for Leibowitz and Rendezvous with Rama (among many, many others). And like all of those novels, the second impression I had was that I had never read anything quite like this.
It drew from past works, but it was undoubtedly its own, the product of a singular mind that had been ignited by the same ambitious, imaginative fire of those masterworks. Like these classics it seemed to come from a extraordinary voice whispering in your ear. A voice that eased you into a world and story that was intelligent, original, and multifarious.
It’s a novel you finish and immediately have to share with those like-minded people who search out books that can open little doors inside our heads. So if you’re one of those readers, I won’t delay you any longer: READ IT.
ANCILLARY JUSTICE is currently available for $1.99 in the US and £1.99 in the UK in ebook for a limited time. Read an excerpt here.
- - July 15th, 2014
Dust off your lunch box, pencil case, three-ring binder, and zombie survival skills.
THE DAY THE DEAD CAME TO SHOW AND TELL is an all new digital Newsflesh novella by Mira Grant, but this time we’re experiencing the early days of the Rising from a place that is supposed to be safe: elementary school.
Outside the classroom walls the Rising was spreading, but inside was a carefully protected sanctuary against the growing threat.
Or so the teachers and students thought.
THE DAY THE DEAD CAME TO SHOW AND TELL is available now in the US and UK.
- - July 15th, 2014
Tom Holt’s latest comic fantasy, THE OUTSORCERER’S APPRENTICE, is now available in paperback and digital! This new novel – from an author many compare to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams – tells the story of a wizard who’s seen the profit in ancient prophecies and the investment value in a dragon’s hoard . . .
It’s a novel of overlords, underlings and inhuman resources. It’s THE OUTSORCERER’S APPRENTICE.
A happy workforce, it is said, is a productive workforce.
Try telling that to an army of belligerent goblins. Or the Big Bad Wolf. Or a professional dragon slayer. Who is looking after their well-being? Who gives a damn about their intolerable working conditions, lack of adequate health insurance, and terrible coffee in the canteen?
Thankfully, with access to an astonishingly diverse workforce and limitless natural resources, maximizing revenue and improving operating profit has never really been an issue for the one they call “the Wizard.” Until now.
Because now a perfectly good business model – based on sound fiscal planning, entrepreneurial flair, and only one or two of the infinite parallel worlds that make up our universe – is about to be disrupted by a young man not entirely aware of what’s going on.
There’s also a slight risk that the fabric of reality will be torn to shreds. You really do have to be awfully careful with these things.
Praise for Tom Holt:
‘Uniquely twisted . . . cracking gags’
‘Gratifyingly clever and very amusing’
Mail on Sunday
- - July 14th, 2014
The exciting news broke over the weekend that MTV have ordered 10 episodes of a TV adaptation of Terry Brooks’ Shannara novels. After years of fans worldwide calling for this epic fantasy series to make it to the small screen, it’s fantastic to hear that it’s finally been green-lighted.
The first season will be based on The Elfstones of Shannara (UK | ANZ), which when first released spent 16 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Directing will be Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and the script is written by Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar. Terry Brooks himself will be taking an executive producer role, along with Jon Favreau and Dan Farah.
The casting is yet to begin – the question is: who would you all like to see starring?
To catch up on the latest in the Shannara world, check out Terry Brooks’ recently released The High Druid’s Blade (UK | ANZ) – a standalone novel which is a great entry-point into the Shannara world.
- - July 11th, 2014
We’re very happy to unveil our cover for an exciting new book coming from Patricia Briggs on 2nd September 2014! It’s called SHIFTING SHADOWS (UK | ANZ), and it’s a collection of fantastic short stories set in the world of Mercy Thompson.
Patricia Briggs is a number one New York Times bestseller and one of the most popular urban fantasy authors writing today. This anthology revolves around her much-loved character Mercy Thompson – mechanic, shapeshifter and fighter – and the people she calls friends. It includes numerous brand-new stories which you won’t have seen anywhere else.
Mercy fans – this is a must! And for anyone who hasn’t read Patricia Briggs yet, this might be a good time to check out why Kelley Armstrong calls the Mercy Thompson series ‘the best new urban fantasy series I’ve read in years’.
- - July 10th, 2014
There are few books that unsettle me like a Mira Grant novel, but no other books give me the chills as much while also drawing me in with raw humanity. In PARASITE you’re taken to a world where the inexorable march of corporate progress and medical advancement has designed a cure for the ailments that haunt all of us. Oh, and this miracle cure is tapeworms surgically implanted into our digestive system. But this remedy is revealing itself to have hidden and profound side effects.
In the era of “too big to fail” and the devastating effects we’re having on our environment it’s not difficult for me to imagine massive companies having devastating results, consequences we are all complicit in, but the author’s intelligence, in-depth research, and uncanny ability to raise suspense make the nightmare of this book all too believable.
But what makes the horror fully real is the main character Sal. In Sal I found the perfect protagonist to draw me into this world and behind the curtain of SymboGen, the corporation claiming to be our savior. Waking up from an accident Sal has to learn to start all over again. Walking, speaking, and everything else is new to her. She is a child, but not a child, and her raw innocence made me fully share in the same sense of defenselessness she feels as she learns the dark secrets of the world and finds monsters everywhere. Reading Parasite terrifyingly brought me back to the days when I looked for creatures under the bed, but this story shows that monsters are within us and all around.
PARASITE is currently available for $1.99 in the US and £1.99 in the UK for a limited time. Read an excerpt here.
- - July 9th, 2014
This week sees the release of THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE (UK | ANZ), a brand new stand-alone novel by Terry Brooks, set in the Legendary world of Shannara.
This exciting epic fantasy adventure tells the tale of Paxon Leah, a descendant of the royals and warriors who once waged war with magical weapons. But to Paxon, those days of legend are long gone now, and he leads a quiet life – until extraordinary circumstances will rewrite his destiny . . .
To celebrate the release, we’ve designed the beautiful Shannara family tree below (click to enlarge it!) showing the Ohmsford and Leah family lineage. It really demonstrates the richness of the Shannara world. But the great thing about the new book THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE is that it’s a stand-alone novel, so a great place to discover this world for the first time. You can read an extract here.
Readers in the UK now have the chance to win a beautiful A2 poster of this family tree.Check out our competition on the Orbit UK Facebook Page.
Click to see the full size