For a while now, Philip Palmer has been asking various SF/F luminaries what their choice for best science fiction or fantasy song is. I, for one, have been constantly surprised by the never-ending back-catalog of SFF-themed songs. This week, Philip returns to the well with Brian Ruckley who called our attentions to the inestimable Queen a few months back.
NPR ran a listener contest to determine the best 100 thriller novels of all time and we are absolutely delighted to announce that our own Mira Grant made it on the list at a very respectable #74! When your competition is Stephen King, Dashiell Hammett, and Stieg Larsson, #74 is killer indeed…
Out this month is the gun-blazing, throat-slitting, hover-riding, brain-augmenting THE TERMINAL STATE (UK/ US/ ANZ), the fourth book in Jeff Somers’ near-future thriller series, the Avery Cates sequence.
To celebrate its release, you might remember that Jeff Somers ran a competition to give his readers the chance to act out the roles of their favourite characters, by providing voiceovers for several videos based on the book. Jeff obviously managed to get people’s creative juices flowing, and received some highly inspired entries. The winners have now been chosen and they are the following:
Canny Orel – read by Ben Linford
Wa Belling – read by Tyrel Devlin from Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
The Poet – read by Jeffrey Lamar from Chandler, Arizona
Mara - read by Patty Blount from Framingville, New York
The videos, with readers’ voices added, are now up on the site right here: www.theterminalstate.com (roll over the images to find the hidden footage).
If you haven’t checked out the Avery Cates novels and want to find out why SFX has called them ‘brash, brutal, [and] brilliant’, and the Guardian ‘an exhilarating example of powerful and entertaining storytelling’ then you can read an extract from the first book here.
Brent Weeks kicks off a video blog tour today — answering questions from John at graspingforthewind.com about his forthcoming book, THE BLACK PRISM. Find out how THE BLACK PRISM is different from the Night Angel Trilogy, where the inspiration for the color magic system came from, and why Kip isn’t your typical fantasy hero.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks for more video interviews from some of your favorite sff sites!
THE BLACK PRISM is coming out August 25, (US | UK | AUS) and to help introduce you to the amazing new world Brent has created we’ve just launched the “What Color is Your Magic?” quiz on www.brentweeks.com. Take the quiz and find out what kind of drafter you’d be.
Fitch writes, “The more observant [your protagonist] can be, the more vivid will be the world you’re creating.” This is no doubt true, but it’s not what leaps to my mind when I think about smart protagonists. Read the rest of this entry »
‘This is one of the great ironies of contemporary literature: the books that ask the deepest and most profound questions tend to be situated in the most marginalised of genres . . . Ken MacLeod’s The Restoration Game, like his previous novels The Execution Channeland The Night Sessions, are works of science fiction so worryingly close to reality that he may well be hailed as a prophet . . .’
So says Scotland on Sunday and I’m hardly inclined to argue. As you can see, Ken MacLeod‘s latest novel, The Restoration Game, published earlier this month, is already garnering high praise from the critics:
As ever, MacLeod’s grasp of political intrigue is first rate, and in Lucy he’s created a complex heroine forever in doubt as to the true nature of events’ Guardian
This is a writer at the peak of his powers’ SFX
Hear! Hear! And to celebrate publication, we are delighted to present this small but perfectly formed interview that Ken did on a recent trip to Orbit Towers.
What, exactly, is the hitherto undisclosed secret of Ken MacLeod? Watch closely and learn. The answer may shock you . . .
When the manuscript that eventually became THE UNIT landed on my desk, I was a little skeptical. I’m a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction but after having recently read The Road and playing Fallout 3 more than was strictly healthy, I wasn’t sure I was ready for the grueling, depressing grind of another story about the end of times. Oh, how wrong I was…
THE UNIT is the post-apocalyptic story I hadn’t realized I was waiting for. Unflinching, honest, brutal, tender, and, above all, humane– Terry DeHart’s debut floored me on the first read. It’s not that it’s not dark. It’s not that horrible things don’t happen to good people. But it does what so many post-apocalyptic stories fail to do, it reminds us of the essential humanity of every player in the story.
One of my colleagues instantly pegged it as, “hey, it’s like The Road if they ever fought back” which, moving beyond the glib, was exactly what I thought was missing from Cormac McCarthy’s excellent, soul-crushing, tale.
Anyhow, you don’t have to take my word for it:
a striking picture of human vulnerability and strength.” — Publisher’s Weekly
Like a crowbar to the skull, the lethal narrative intensity of this novel comes from its brutal realism and all-too plausible story line.” –Explorations
And io9.com picked it as one of their July picks with a description that trumps any copy I’ve ever come up with:
You’ve got a zombie plan, I assume. How’s your fallout preparedness? Vacationing in the Sierra Nevadas, the Sharpe family survives a nuclear strike, but anyone who’s ever read Alas, Babylon! knows that’s the easy part. Now they’ve got to deal with radioactive snowstorms and killer teenagers. Jerry, a badass ex-Marine, just wants to get his family home to Sacramento, while his wife, Susan, does her level best to keep nurturing the kids. Their daughter, Melanie, tries to maintain her pacifist convictions, while her brother, Scotty, goes totally Red Dawn on the people chasing them. Worst family trip ever.” — io9.com
THE UNIT is out in stores now. Read the first chapter here and go download a wallpaper for your computer or mobile device here.
Here is a brand new wallpaper for a brand new Orbit release: The Unit by Terry DeHart. This after-the-bomb novel is a fascinating look at the lengths a family will go to survive a disaster. Plus, the author is a former Marine, and a security analyst for NASA, so the book is terrifyingly plausible.
With a fresh new look for its paperback debut, here’s Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett. If you’ve been reading along with these cover posts you know I love to take an opportunity to revisit the art when there’s a change of format…it’s especially fun to take a fresh look at a book and art that you like already, and just shake it up a bit.
If you caught Mr. Shivers in hardcover, you will recognize the hobo symbol for Mr. Shivers himself now taking front and center on the cover. You can also see more about the book and the hobo symbols at www.mistershivers.com.
Mr. Shivers is a great read kind of straddling historical fiction, suspense, and horror. and my favorite review (Publisher’s Weekly starred review) of the book says it all for me: “…Like a collaboration between Steven King and John Stienbeck.” Um, how does that not sound awesome? Read the rest of this entry »