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Congrats to our Gemmell Award Nominees!

The David Gemmell Award nominees have been revealed and we are pleased to announce that Orbit titles have received a total of 5 nominations across the three categories!

The Legend Award

  • The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
  • The War of the Dwarves by Markus Heitz
  • Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

The Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer

  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

The Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Book Jacket

  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, art by Cliff Nielsen


Congrats to all of our nominees!

Side Jobs: Unlocking the hidden Dresden Files

Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files is the perfect intro to the world of Jim Butcher’s P.I. protagonist Harry Dresden (think Indiana Jones meets Dirty Harry with a generous helping of Sam Spade) since no previous knowledge is required to enjoy these bite-sized tales.

For Dresden Files fans, this collection will unveil the hidden stories between the full-length novels … Expect new revelations on Harry Dresden’s half brother, Harry’s love life and don’t forget — one short story takes place an hour or so after the climactic ending of Changes!

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be bringing you Jim’s own introductions to some of these short stories that will begin to unlock the secrets between the files.  Uncovering the rest will be up to you.

Hugo Nominees Announced!

Over the weekend at Eastercon, the Hugo Award nominees were announced. Both Mira Grant’s FEED and N.K. Jemisin’s THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS were nominated for best novel!

You can read the first three chapters of THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS here, and the first chapter of FEED here.

To see the full list of nominees, visit the Renovation website.

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Why Fantasy?

I am sometimes asked – why fantasy?  Of all the genres out there, why one that is often regarded as frivolous, clichéd, superficial and occasionally pornographic in a slightly weird way.  And let’s face it, fantasy has had its off days.  Glowing swords, ancient quests, and wizards who feel the need to talk in rhyme have traipsed across landscapes with more than a certain Tolkein-esque something about them, while, perhaps, lustful vampires deflower roaming princesses who curiously enough do wear white, even when mud is going to be a problem.

And I’m not here to defend this, particularly.  I mean, the defences are obvious – escapism, powerful storytelling, worlds full of could be and should be and all that jazz.  But for me, personally, it’s not why I love fantasy. Read the rest of this entry »

Coming Soon: Perfect Shadow, by Brent Weeks

Brent Weeks burst onto the fantasy scene in 2008 with the launch of his internationally bestselling Night Angel Trilogy, which has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.  Now, he’s returning to the world of The Night Angel Trilogy with Perfect Shadow, a novella that tells the origin story of the legendary assassin Durzo Blint.

The ebook edition of Perfect Shadow will be available in the US and the UK in June, 2011. It will be simultaneously released as an unabridged audiobook for digital download, online where books and music are sold.

In the official press release, Brent explains: “When I wrote Perfect Shadow, I was afraid it was going to fall into a publishing no-man’s land: too short to be distributed as a novel, too long to be sold as a short story. Orbit’s digital publishing has given me a way to get this story out. More than that, it’s given me the artistic freedom to write a story exactly as long as it needs to be.”
We’re glad he did! You can find the novella’s description after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reviewing the Reviewers

When Ginia Bellafante at the New York Times and Troy Patterson at Slate condemn “Game of Thrones,” they are expressing something that genre writers and readers have experienced often with people who consider themselves the guardians of high culture.  They condescend eloquently, but without convincing arguments.  The disdain they have for the show is less for the execution or artistry of the production than for the genre it comes from.  Ms. Bellafante manages to alienate women who read fantasy (who, in fairness she does agree exist).  Mr. Patterson indulges in a couple opening paragraphs of his own fiction, padding out his wordcount with descriptions of his mail.  Neither of them make a convincing case, and cover up the fact with biting but unfunny wit.

This happens all the time.

From the creative writing professor who won’t accept “that kind” of work to the friend who sneers at you for buying the latest Harry Dresden to the professional critic who will make grand generalizations instead of real arguments, people who are interested in high culture – and in gaining social status by what they read and who they look down on – have always found an easy target in fantasy and science fiction.  If they were strapped down and shown the importance and relevance of Ursula Le Guin, Philip K Dick, Octavia Butler, Stephen King, and the other giants in the field, it wouldn’t help. Be angry at the sun for setting if these things anger you, (he says, quoting Robinson Jeffers).

But they bring up what is, to me, a more interesting question.  The editors of Slate and the New York Times have selected these people and given them high-status venues from which to express their opinions.  They expect me and their other readers to appreciate these reviews and to care what the reviewers think.  My question is: why?
Read the rest of this entry »

“An Unapologetic Embrace of Sentiment”

In the April 11 issue of Publishers Weekly, out this week, there is an interview with Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who talk about their first collaborative novel, LEVIATHAN WAKES (called “a riveting interplanetary thriller” by PW in its starred review).

“We put two very recognizable characters in an almost nostalgic science fiction world, so respecting the internal lives of the characters was important. That real unapologetic embrace of sentiment is what makes the book work.”

Only part of the interview appears in the magazine. The rest (as informative, as entertaining) appears courtesy of Rose Fox at Genreville, where among other things Daniel & Ty discuss how to manage the joint writing of such an enormous project.

LEVIATHAN WAKES (called “relentlessly entertaining” by Kirkus) goes on sale June 17.

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The Enterprise of Art

Niklaus Manuel Deutsch is an artist all but forgotten in the modern age. I’m not claiming this is some great travesty, for his work, while quite good, is not necessarily outstanding, nor was he particularly prolific. In fact, Manuel abandoned painting and etching in the last decade of his life to focus on poetry, play writing, and one of the trickiest arts of all, politics. Had he stuck with one or two disciplines perhaps he might have produced a single work that endured through the ages, as opposed to creating many worthy but unexceptional pieces that have been swept away in the great flood of history, occasionally bobbing to the surface in this coffee table book or that academic tome on plays of the Swiss Renaissance.  Of course, that’s simple conjecture–it’s entirely possible that had Manuel lived an extra thirty years and painted every single day of every single one of them he may never have produced anything more memorable than what we already have of his work. It is possible, uncharitable an observation as it is to make about any artist, that the man was simply not a genius, not a savant, that he was as good an artist as he ever could have been. Read the rest of this entry »

The Company Man

From the acclaimed author of Mr. Shivers comes a gripping tale of murder and intrigue set in an America that never was. The Company Man, Robert Jackson Bennett’s second novel, takes place in an alternate early twentieth century America. Part steampunk, part murder mystery, part horror, Robert’s writing is truly unique and original. The Guardian recently had this to say about The Company Man:

“Bennett combines horror, science fiction and alternative history in a slow-burning novel which is both a superb character study of an alienated individual and a critique of heartless capitalism”

Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Launch (and Series Peek): BLOOD RIGHTS

Spring is in the air, and that means it’s about time to start launching some new Orbit book covers! First up we have a cover I’m very excited about, and even better, it’s part of an infamous Orbit 3-in-3-month trilogy. And here you have it, BLOOD RIGHTS by Kristen Painter, which is Book One of the House of Comarré.

Three covers at once is a lot to ask out of an illustrator, but damn, it looks so good all out together on the shelves. Luckily Nekro was up to the challenge. We definitely drove him through the ringer getting the perfect look for the series and for Chrysabelle, our heroine, but his signature black & red work just perfectly sets off her gold signum. Want to know more about that? You’re going to have to read the books! And they were definitely great fun for me to read and work on…the fast-paced adventure of an urban fantasy, mixed with the lush descriptions and gothic romance of an Anne Rice book. And that’s high compliments from me.

For today I’m only launching Book 1, but as soon as 2 & 3 Flesh and Blood and Bad Blood) are completely polished up, I’ll launch the whole trilogy. Finishing touches and all that. Very Exciting. And MAYBE I can show you a little sneak peak of each cover… Read the rest of this entry »

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