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Does size REALLY matter?

We thought we were more opened-minded than this, but lately here at Orbit when we’ve asked ourselves the timeless question– does size really matter? – we’ve found ourselves answering with a shocking ‘yes’.

We didn’t want to be swayed by the spine width of any given book. ‘Why should it matter how wide the spine is?’ we’d say. ‘All books should be treated equally, regardless of spine width’ had always been our mantra.  But we’ve recently found ourselves paying a bit more attention to these chunky titles and omnibuses.  We even went so far as to measure them:

(For those of you keeping score, it’s Pamela Freeman’s The Casting Trilogy for the win!)

Now that we’ve acknowledged our bias we’re hoping we can move past it, though we do wonder if readers are swayed by book width as well.

So what do you think? When it comes to buying books, does size matter?


Theories of Flight, Book 2 in Simon Morden’s explosive Metrozone series is now at large worldwide.

Prepare for more explosions. Prepare for more smart-ass foul-mouthing from Petrovitch. And prepare for more from the New Machine Jihad.

And just in case you’ve been wondering what people have been saying about the series . . .

‘A fast-paced thriller . . . an absorbing read’ TELEGRAPH

‘Speeds along with energetic panache’ THE TIMES

‘Morden keeps up a breathless breakneck pace that doesn’t sacrifice character depth or intelligence . . . promises to be a fast-paced thrill ride for the cynical urban space cowboy in all of us’ i09

‘Petrovitch is one of those characters you can’t help but warm to, and readers will be eager to experience more of his adventures and his relentless Russian swearing’ FINANCIAL TIMES

‘The action is relentless and Morden has a natural talent for a plot that keeps the reader guessing’ GUARDIAN

‘A fantastic piece of work – a roller-coaster ride through a post-plague hit London that made me think of Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon colliding head on with Gibson’s Neuromancer, whilst side-swiping Stephenson’s Snowcrash. I absolutely loved it!’ SFREVU

‘A heart-stopping onslaught of science and action for much of its perfectly judged duration, paced like a runaway train, and Morden handles the fireworks with a steady hand . . . truly exhilarating stuff’ THE SPECULATIVE SCOTSMAN

Read the rest of this entry »

GRAVE PERIL by Jim Butcher: a Dresden Files reread

Mark Yon has been a reviewer and web administrator at SFFWorld, one of the world’s biggest genre forum sites, for nearly ten years. He has also been on the David Gemmell Awards organisation committee for the last two years. In this series of rereads, Mark will guide us below through the whole of Jim Butcher’s fabulous Dresden Files series as we count down to the new hardback at the end of July.

In Grave Peril Harry now has a girlfriend, the sexy Susan Rodriguez of earlier novels, and this adds another level to the story. However, this does not mean that Harry is resting on his laurels in some sort of a love-fugue.

In fact, chapter one drops the reader straight into the action, with page one showing Harry and his colleague Michael having a rapid car drive through Chicago, off to deal with a ghost nanny who is taking the lives of babies in the Cook County Hospital.

You see, things have been hotting up recently in Chicago. Ghosts have been appearing with much more regularity than they should and have been keeping Harry very busy. This becomes even more worrying when it becomes noticeable that they have some sort of connection with Harry. As you might expect, as a result, Harry’s soon back to being thrown around, and dealing with his dark moods and his exaggerated sense of chivalry. But his main goal must be to figure out why Chicago’s ghosts have suddenly gone crazy, sometimes with deadly consequences, and put a stop to it – if he can. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fiction to Film

Film adaptations – love ‘em, hate ‘em, the truth of the matter is, they’re loud, they’re big, they’re successful and they’re probably coming to a screen near you.  The advent of CGI in the last few years has led to an explosion of science fiction and fantasy movies, spearheaded to a large degree by Lord of the Rings and the Marvel Comics lot deciding to cash in on a good thing… now when you think of summer blockbuster, you can fairly reliably count on not just running, jumping, chasing, but you can probably also hold out for the destruction of New York by alien ship or the fall of civilizations.

I’m not going to re-tread the old arguments of book vs. film here.  There are pros and cons either way and frankly the two mediums are so different in so many respects that it seems like a rather futile bit of ground to wander over.   For my part, I should declare that I actually prefer the film of Lord of the Rings to the book, love comic book adaptations… when they’re done well, that is… and am delighted to discover that the occasional CGI fuelled bit of science fiction movie making is in fact, slipping through the net and coming up on screen with the odd bit of an idea behind it. Read the rest of this entry »

2011 Locus Award Nominees!

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation have put up their list of nominees for the 2011 Locus Awards. Iain M. Banks (US/UK) has been nominated for Best SF Novel. Charles Stross (UK) has been nominated for Best Fantasy Novel. And N.K. Jemisin (US/UK) seems hellbent on getting on every major award list with a nod for Best First Novel. Congrats as well to Joe Abercrombie (US) for his nomination in the Novelette category.


And, finally, congrats to us for being nominated for Best Publisher!

Check out the whole list here!

USE OF WEAPONS voted The Best Sci-Fi Film Never Made

Tech news site The Register recently held a poll to ask readers which SF book most deserves to make it to the big screen, but has up until now been shamefully overlooked by the Hollywood bigwigs. An impressive 27,088 people voted, and the winner – with a stunning 10,032 votes – was Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks.

It seems Iain is a popular choice, with Consider Phlebas, Excession, The Player of Games and The Algebraist all also making it into the top 50. But Use of Weapons was the clear favourite.

So what more evidence does Hollywood need? It’ll be a sure fire hit – get it into production straight away!

You can see the results of ‘The Best Sci-Fi Film Never Made’ poll right here. But the question is: who should play the leading man Zakalwe…?

FOOL MOON by Jim Butcher: a Dresden Files reread

Mark Yon has been a reviewer and web administrator at SFFWorld, one of the world’s biggest genre forum sites, for nearly ten years. He has also been on the David Gemmell Awards organisation committee for the last two years. In this series of rereads, Mark will guide us below through the whole of Jim Butcher’s fabulous Dresden Files series as we count down to the new hardback at the end of July.

Fool Moon takes place six months after the events of Storm Front.

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is Chicago’s only professional ‘wizard for hire.’ But he’s not been employed by the Chicago Police Department’s Special Investigations Squad since the events of Storm Front, the previous novel. His friend, police chief Karrin Murphy, has been giving him the cold shoulder because of these events – and because it’s down to him that she’s now under the suspicious watch of Chicago Police’s Internal Affairs.

Then one October night, he gets a visit from Lieutenant Murphy about a murder – one that has been very, very messy and seems to be the latest in a series of gruesome events, which coincidentally happen at full moon. And there are more moonlit nights on the way…   Read the rest of this entry »

Trudi Canavan hits the Sunday Times top ten for THE ROGUE

Congratulations to Trudi Canavan for hitting the Sunday Times top ten fiction list last weekend – and we’ve just heard today that The Rogue will be in the Sunday Times top ten again this week too! To celebrate, here’s a round-up of her action-packed tour so far…

After a busy launch day and extended signing session in London’s Forbidden Planet last Thursday, Trudi was whisked away to sunny Dublin on Friday morning. First stop was Eason’s, who had this fantastic window in place…

…and a full house of over 80 fans for the evening event. Trudi read a passage from the book, did a Q&A, and then some signing:


On Saturday there was a quick run around some of the other stores, signing stock including pre-ordered dedications for her fans who couldn’t be there to meet her in person. After a lot more signings and interviews Trudi even managed to squeeze in a little sightseeing before flying back to London, where she has spent the afternoon today in the Orbit UK office doing a ‘twinterview’ with Waterstones – see #tcav on Twitter for the final list of questions and answers. Now our Marketing guys are making her answer yet another set of questions, after which we will be releasing her for a well-deserved evening off!

Thank you to all Trudi’s fans who have already been to an event or followed the interview on Twitter – and if you haven’t caught her yet, check the tour dates via the link on the right of this page to find out where she’ll be next.

Cover Launch: TIMELESS

It is with a mix of joy and sadness that I launch the cover for TIMELESS by Gail Carriger. Joy, because I have loved working on these covers so much, and I happen to be a nerd about things ancient Egyptian, so Alexia Tarabotti + Pyramids = Squee. However, it is sad because this is the final book in the adventures of Alexia Tarabotti!

Of course, that doesn’t mean the end of our Lady Maccon. Did you hear about the Yen Press manga Soulless adaptation being created as we speak? The artwork is amazing! I’ve seen the cover and first chapter, I just can’t wait to see more…Trust me, even if you’ve never thought manga was your thing, you have to keep tabs on this book as it develops. Stunning work, and bravo to our Yen Press brethren.

As usual, we have a fabulous image of The Lady Maccon, portrayed by Donna Ricci, the captain of the steamship we call ClockworkCouture.com. Alexia in her explorer’s gear was shot by Pixie Vision Productions, who was also responsible for documenting the awesome Afternoon Tea that Gail and Donna co-hosted recently in L.A. (There’s a great fan writeup of the event here). I so love collaborating with people active in the world of Steampunk when we’re doing steampunk and victorian titles (hmm, foreshadowing alert for next season perhaps?). Everyone already knows the lingo, they always catch my chronological aberrations, and even better, they always add things to the books that I would never have thought of on my own.

So without further ado, here’s a teaser for Timeless

Read the rest of this entry »

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A Tale of Two Cons

I was talking with my greengrocer about where I was disappearing off to over the Easter weekend, and he listened to the sort of stuff that goes on, raising a skeptical eyebrow. Then he said: “A few years ago, I would have said you were mad, but I caught myself looking at this advert in my tropical fish magazine for a Fish Fair in Germany and thinking whether I could afford to go.” Neon tetras or science fiction: a gathering of disparate people with a shared but niche interest, meeting together for a short but intense period of time to celebrate everything fishy/skiffy, and then go back home where no one understands you and you indulge in your passion either ignored or mocked.

Okay. Let’s talk about the paradigm-shifting elephant in the room from the outset. The internet. I’m pretty certain it’s been as revolutionary for the tropical fish community as it has been for fandom. I remember the first time as a baby scientist that I emailed someone whose paper I’d been reading, back in the early days of JANET, UNIX line commands and glowing green-screen terminals. I wanted some more technical information – before, it’d have been a letter, a formal barrier to communication, slow and time-consuming – now the answer came flashing back from half a world away. Anyone in my tiny specialisation was no further than a short walk down the corridor to the computer room. I was abruptly, immediately, not alone. Read the rest of this entry »

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