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The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

THE WATER KNIFE Paolo Bacigalupi

The electrifying new thriller from multi-award winning author of The Windup Girl

NEMESIS GAMESJames S. A. Corey

The exhilarating fifth novel in James S. A. Corey’s New York Times bestselling Expanse space opera series.
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Category: New Titles

Welcome to Night Vale: Waterstones Exclusive Edition, Guest Stars and More…

If you’re looking forward to October’s release of WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: A NOVEL as much as we are, you can listen to an audio excerpt from the book in the latest episode of this international no. 1 hit podcast! Listen at Youtube, iTunes, Soundcloud or Podbay.

We can confirm that the audiobook will be read by Welcome to Night Vale star Cecil Baldwin, with guest stars from the podcast including Retta and Dylan Marron, the voices of ‘Old Woman Josie’ and ‘Carlos’.

Remember you can preorder the audiobook as well as the hardback and ebook right now. What are you waiting for? As Cecil might say, the stars are aligned and now is your moment. Tomorrow may be too late…

In this latest episode the authors also announced our Waterstones Exclusive Edition, which contains exclusive bonus material and the chance to win a limited edition Night Vale print on preorder!

Cover Launch for WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: A NOVEL

From the creators of the wildly popular WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves – no matter where we live. WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: A NOVEL will be released on 20th October in hardback, audio and ebook, but you can preorder your copy now.

We’re delighted to launch the UK and Australian cover today, wonderfully illustrated by Rob Wilson, designer of the original Night Vale logo. We asked Rob to tell us a little about the project:

“I’ve been involved with WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE since its inception, when Jeffrey Cranor asked me to design the original icon for the podcast. The writers and I worked together to create a simple, mysterious image that would convey the atmosphere of the show, without giving away any of its secrets. Years later, I’m amazed how the graphic has taken on a life of its own, with the hundreds—if not thousands—of creative interpretations of fan art it inspired. And now I’m thrilled to have been asked to design the cover of the new WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE novel and expand upon the art of the original graphic—just as the book broadens the world of the podcast. Like the original icon, the new book cover has secrets of its own.”

Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel by Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink

Find out more about Rob Wilson and his designs at RobWilsonWork.com.

Find out more about the novel and preorder today: commonplacebooks.com/novel.

New Acquisition: THE WAKING FIRE by Anthony Ryan

Drum roll please! We’re delighted to announce the acquisition of a spectacular new series from Anthony Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of the Raven’s Shadow trilogy.

What do you do when you’ve written three of the most popular epic fantasy novels in recent years? Well, if you’re Anthony Ryan, you write something even more epic – and throw lots of dragons in for good measure. Not to mention an extremely liberal dose of exploration and adventure, agents and espionage, ingenious weapons and explosive magic…and an ancient myth that might prove decisive in the furious battle for empire. Sounds good, right?

THE WAKING FIRE, the first book in the Draconis Memoria series, has all of this and much, much more.

Anthony has always created memorable characters, and the protagonists of his latest tale are his finest creations yet. Clayton Torcreek is a straight-talking small-time criminal, while Lizanne Lethridge is a formidable spy and assassin. Both of them are ‘Blood-blessed’ – able to consume the blood of wild drakes, which grants them spectacular abilities.

As the Ironship Protectorate and the Corvantine Empire prepare for war, these two individuals will both find themselves embroiled in the ongoing hostilities. Clay must venture into the uncharted wilds in search of an expedition that disappeared under mysterious circumstances, while Lizanne must go undercover in enemy territory in order to locate an ancient artefact that may just swing the balance of the war – but only if she can reach it first.

THE WAKING FIRE is, quite simply, an absolute blast. Existing fans and new readers alike will find a huge amount to love about this fantastic new series.

Orbit acquired UK & Commonwealth rights to the Draconis Memoria series from Paul Lucas at Janklow & Nesbit, in a three-book deal. THE WAKING FIRE will be published in July 2016, in hardback, trade format, ebook and audio editions.

Anthony Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of BLOOD SONG [UK/ANZ], TOWER LORD [UK/ANZ] and QUEEN OF FIRE [UK/ANZ]. He lives in London and is a full time writer. He can be found on Twitter as @writer_anthony

SWORDS AND SCOUNDRELS…Introducing the Duellists series by Julia Knight!

En garde! We have something very exciting in store for fantasy fans this Autumn . . .

Announcing the Duellists trilogy – a brand new adventure fantasy series from the hugely talented British author Julia Knight.

This year we’ll be releasing not just one, but all three books in this fast and furious series – full of ruffians, scoundrels and rogues . . . and more action than you can shake a very pointy stick at!

The three books are as follows:

SWORDS AND SCOUNDRELS (UK | US | ANZ) – October 2015

LEGENDS AND LIARS (UK | US | ANZ) – November 2015

WARLORDS AND WASTRELS (UK | US | ANZ) – December 2015

So what’s the series about? Well, it follows two former champion duellists, a brother and sister named Kacha and Vocho. They’re down on their luck – and have been forced to become reluctant highwaymen. But when they pick the wrong carriage to rob, their simple plan to win back fame and notoriety go south fast . . . and they’ll find themselves mixed up in a plan to reclaim a stolen throne.

Covers for the Duellists books by Julia Knight - Swords and Scoundrels, Legends and Liars and Warlords and Wastrels

The world-building in this series really draws you in and the dynamic between the characters is superb – I can’t wait for you guys to meet Kacha and Vocho. If you’re into the likes of Douglas Hulick, Scott Lynch and Brandon Sanderson then this will be right up your street. And what’s great is, you’ll be able to get your hands on the whole series fast!

Look below for more details and to see the covers in full. You can follow Julia on Twitter as @Knight_Julia and her series is available for pre-order now . . .
Read the rest of this entry »

Helen Lowe’s DAUGHTER OF BLOOD: Announcing Release Date and Cover!

We are delighted to share our cover for DAUGHTER OF BLOOD, the third instalment in Helen Lowe’s David Gemmell Award-winning series, the Wall of Night.

This much-anticipated and thrilling epic fantasy will be released on 26th January 2016, but you can preorder it today!

Daughter of Blood by Helen Lowe

A failing wall, a broken shield, and an enemy that will exploit every weakness . . .

Malian and Kalan have recovered two of the three legendary weapons of the Derai, but already it may be too late. The Wall of Night, fractured by centuries of blood feud and civil strife, is on the verge of falling.

Meanwhile, among Grayharbor backstreets, an orphan boy falls foul of dark forces. A daughter of the House of Blood must be married to the Earl of Night, a pawn in the web of her family’s ambition, and Kalan is caught in a political web he may not be able to escape.

While even as Malian dodges Darkswarm pursuers in her search for the Shield of Heaven, rumour whispers that it may be broken beyond repair – and she herself may be the blade the ancient enemy will drive into the heart of the Derai Alliance.

Orbit launches a Fantasy Writing Workshop with Karen Miller

This summer, Orbit is launching an online fantasy writing workshop, hosted on OrbitBooks.net. It will be led by Karen Miller – the million-copy bestselling author who rose to fame with her debut The Innocent Mage, and whose most recent release is the critically acclaimed epic fantasy The Falcon Throne (UK | US | ANZ).

The free week-long event, which starts on 27th July 2015, will invite aspiring authors to take part in a communal online “write-along” challenge, during which they will each be encouraged to pen their own sample of a new fantasy novel. They will also be invited to submit this sample into a competition at the end of the week.

Miller will be kicking off the writing workshop by setting a writing challenge for aspiring fantasy authors on 27th July, and will be providing advice and words of encouragement throughout the week. She will also taking part in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session on 29th July, during which time participants will be able to put their own questions on writing to her.

Miller said: “One of the hardest things about starting a writing career is the feeling that you’re alone, that nobody understands what you’re going through, and that it’s really hard to figure out how to do it right! That’s why I’m so excited to share a little of what I’ve learned since I wrote my first fantasy novel. It’s been a wild ride, these past few years, and if a new writer can be helped by something I’ve said, it will make all the hard work worthwhile.”

Any aspiring authors interested in taking part should follow @OrbitBooks on Twitter and look for the hashtag #OrbitFantasyWorkshop for updates, or sign up to the Orbit newsletter here.

For further information contact gemma.conley-smith@littlebrown.co.uk or anna.jackson@littlebrown.co.uk

Meet the author of SPEAK: Louisa Hall

Hi Louisa, and welcome to the Orbit team! Can you tell us a bit about SPEAK?

Sure! SPEAK is the story of five characters who are involved in creating an artificially intelligent doll. After these “babybots” are banned, gathered up, and shipped off to the desert, the children who loved them start to stutter and freeze. SPEAK tells the story of the babybots and their creators, from Alan Turing to a traumatized girl in the near future who gives her bot new language. These and other characters are all racing toward a world populated by lifelike machines, in which it’s difficult to decide who’s actually living, and who has real intelligence.

SPEAK has already been featured in Oprah magazine, raved about by Emily St. John Mandel, chosen by Wired and Huffington Post as one of their big books this summer, and is an IndieNext pick too. How does it feel for the book to be getting this much attention?

It seems to be an auspicious time for creative depictions of artificial intelligence. Just recently, all kinds of interesting books and films involving the topic have come out: Ex Machina, Chappie, Channel Four’s Humans, and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice. Technology has radically challenged the ways we understand ourselves as humans: we reveal our secret traumas to artificially intelligent therapists; we relinquish our most personal information to data-mining software; we’re developing robotic soldiers to fight wars in place of humans. Fiction that questions the differences between humans and machines seems particularly important in this historical moment.

At its heart, SPEAK is about the very human need to be listened to, about having a voice, with characters from different times, different places, united by a very singular narrator. How difficult was it to bring this variety of voices to the page?

I actually find it easier to write in many voices than to settle into a single character. I discover so much of my characters in what they don’t see, what they’re unaware of, what they miss about the world around them. Writing in different voices allows me to set up those misunderstandings, and to see characters from new perspectives other than their own.

Some of Alan Turing’s chapters are the most touching and interesting in the book – what sort of research did you do to bring Turing and the other characters to life?

I read five or six biographies of Alan Turing, including Andrew Hodges’ excellent The Enigma, which contains long excerpts from Turing’s letters. That was helpful to me in getting Turing’s voice—his grammar, his diction, etc. The most challenging part of wrapping my head around his character was understanding his theories of computing and mathematics, which were essential to understanding his approach to the world. He couldn’t fully believe in an abstract idea such as the soul unless he’d found a mathematical way to prove its existence, or at least the possibility that it might exist.

Your first novel, the Waterstones Book Club title THE CARRIAGE HOUSE, is a contemporary family drama inspired by your time as a professional squash player. What first got you thinking about artificial intelligence as a subject for your second book?

In THE CARRIAGE HOUSE, I wanted to create a world small enough to control. I limited the novel to a single neighbourhood that was claustrophobic in its self-containment. For my second novel, I wanted to go to the furthest frontiers I could imagine, from religious dissidents in the seventeenth-century to AI inventors in the near future. I wanted to find what was human in foreign situations: robot dolls dying in hangars, a scientist undergoing hormonal manipulation. In the end, most of the book isn’t that far-fetched. Many of the characters are based on real people, and most of the science is closely related to science that already exists. But the book sprang up on the edges of what I understand and what I’ve actually experienced. Sometimes I think that if THE CARRIAGE HOUSE was centripetal, SPEAK is centrifugal. It always seemed to spin a little out of my control.

Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking both recently discussed their anxiety about AI and superintelligent machines. What is turning such giants of the science and technology world against AI, and do you share their concerns?

I tend to be more optimistic about the future of AI, though I realize that Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking are more qualified to make predictions about computers than I am. But their concerns about the future of AI are equally valid when applied to the future of the human race. In reference to autonomous killing machines, for instance, this article asks the following questions: “how will they tell friend from foe? Combatant from civilian? Who will be held accountable?” But the same questions can be asked about human soldiers. Ideally, robots would be able to perform certain tasks better than we can because they won’t be programmed for fear, anger, or vengeance. And because we have those emotions, we’ll be able to perform other tasks better than robots. Of course it’s always possible that some evil empire could program a fleet of maniacal robots, but the same evil empire could also get its hands on nuclear weapons. Our primary anxiety, in my mind, should be less about preventing the development of robots and more about preventing the ascent of unchecked evil empires. That said, I do think it’s worth being hyper-vigilant about the effects AI will have on our economy and the uneven distribution of wealth.

Are there any stories about artificial intelligence that really stand out to you, or inspired you in creating SPEAK?

There are so many recent stories about AI that inspire me. My friend just sent me a story about Aibos, robot dogs that people have adopted as pets. At one point, these robot pets could be repaired if they were damaged, but now they’ve been discontinued. Soon, their replacement parts will be nonexistent. Suddenly the owners of these robot dogs are facing the idea of robot dog mortality. I also recently heard a story about a computer scientist in Wyoming who’s teaching robots how to adjust to injuries by giving them ‘simulated childhoods,’ a period devoted to play in which they learn creative ways of using their bodies. We keep robots as pets; we give our robots childhoods. Stories such as these ones beg so many interesting questions about what it actually means to be living.

SPEAK is released in digital and ANZ export edition this July, with a UK paperback to follow in Feb 2016 – preorder your copy today.

Jim Butcher’s THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS: Cover Launch

Are you as excited about the launch of Jim Butcher’s new series as we are? THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS (UK|ANZ) comes out 29th September, but you can preorder it today!

Filled with swashbuckling adventure, daring airship chases and thrilling swordfights, plus all the magic, wisecracking and dazzling heroics that make the Dresden Files so spectacular, this is not a series to miss. We’re very excited today to release our cover, by the fantastic Chris McGrath.

The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher, the no.1 Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files and the Codex Alera novels, conjures up a new series set in a fantastic world of noble families, steam-powered technology, and magic-wielding warriors . . .

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the leaders of Albion – to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.

And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake . . .

Cover launch: Speak by Louisa Hall

Arriving at Orbit this summer from Waterstones Book Club author Louisa Hall comes SPEAK, a novel which will make readers everywhere question what it really means to be human.

Emily St. John Mandel, Arthur C. Clarke winner and author of STATION ELEVEN, calls SPEAK the ‘rarest of finds’, and it is already one of Huffington Post‘s Brilliant Books You Won’t Want to Miss this Summer.

She cannot run. She cannot walk. She cannot even blink. As her batteries run down for the final time, all she can do is speak. Will you listen?

From Alan Turing’s conviction in the 1950s to a Silicon Valley Wunderkind imprisoned in 2040 for creating illegally lifelike dolls. From a pilgrim girl writing her diary to a traumatised young girl exchanging messages with a software program, all these lives have shaped and changed a single artificial intelligence – MARY3. In Speak, she tells you their story, and her own. It the last story she will ever tell, spoken both in celebration and in warning.

When machines learn to speak, who decides what it means to be human?

[Cover design by Jack Smyth from the Little, Brown Book Group Design team.]

Announcing SNAKEWOOD, a Fantasy Twenty Years in the Making

adrian selby -- cr selfSNAKEWOOD tells the story of the Twenty, a band of mercenaries being hunted down one-by-one by an unknown killer. We’re so excited to have acquired this debut epic fantasy tale from British author Adrian Selby, coming in 2016 – almost twenty years after he first put pen to paper! Which, if you think about it, is one year for every dead mercenary. Or is it? Who’s killing them anyway, and why? You’ll have to wait until early next year to find out . . .

Adrian says: “SNAKEWOOD is set in a world where magic is in the plant-life, concoctions of which, known as ‘fightbrews’, radically transform the capabilities and appearance of warriors at a terrible cost. In conceiving of this all those years ago, I knew the story I wanted to tell was focused on these soldiers and the price they pay for their brews and their sins. I can’t describe how delighted I am to have my debut published by Orbit.  Their passion and their support for SNAKEWOOD make me very excited about sharing the world that’s been in my head for twenty odd years with this other world I live in the rest of the time.”

And no, you won’t have to wait twenty years for the next one!

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