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Busy publication week for Iain M. Banks

Mr Banks has had a busy publication week for Surface Detail – and he’s not going to be relaxing any time soon!  He spent last week being interviewed by all sorts of national and regional press – appropriately including the New Scientist and BBC TV filming him at the Science Museum.

Iain’s first event on the eve of publication at the Round House was a sell out, and he answered the audience’s questions for nearly 2 hours!  Then on Thursday he signed for a great crowd at Forbidden Planet.

If you haven’t managed to attend any of the events so far, Forbidden Planet, Blackwells in London and Foyles all have signed first editions of Surface Detail (though probably not for long!) Read the rest of this entry »

As a kid, I always loved armour and weapons. We lived in Singapore for some years, too, so in addition to western traditions including medieval armour, then cuirassiers, and later the long rifle, I was also aware of oriental armour and weaponry. I even had a Chinese sword—imitation, of course—and horse rider’s composite bow. From endless childhood games in which wars and battles were re-enacted, it is perhaps not surprising that I graduated to fencing during my high school and university years. As an adult, I trained first in tai chi and kung fu, and then the Japanese martial art aikido, which involves both “empty hand” training and weapons, including the Japanese sword, knife, and staff. Read the rest of this entry »

Version 43 is here

You’ve seen the new wallpaper and the dueling videos.

You’ve probably read the extract.

You may have seen the brand new and exclusive Amazon interview and article.

And you might even have heard when SFREVU called Philip Palmer’s work ‘relentlessly energetic, inventive and shamelessly ambitious.’

But if you don’t pick up a copy of Version 43 for yourself this month, or do any of the above actions for that matter, then… well, you should.  Or the cyborg will know.

Wallpaper: Version 43 by Philip Palmer!

New Wallpaper time! I know all your assorted screens and devices would love some new art, and I am happy to provide new visuals, this time from Version 43 by Philip Palmer.

I love how this series is shaping up (Red Claw, Version 43, and soon you’ll see the cover launch for Hell Ship), and I think the pulp-retro feel of the covers works for these books – if you’re looking for classic, in your face, action-packed scifi then Philip Palmer is your man.

The creepy-cool image was shot by Eric Westpheling, who I’m sure is still haunted by visions of the doll props taking over his apartment.


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The day’s arrived for The Heir of Night

If you’re in Australia and New Zealand, you’re definitely in the right place to get your hands on some exciting new fantasy as Helen Lowe’s Orbit debut, The Heir of Night, hits bookshelves today in all of its beautifully plotted and blazing red glory!

In case you missed it, the author has explained the world of The Heir of Night for us here, and the blogosphere has already weighed in favourably on this start to a new series:

‘The Heir of Night is a carefully plotted story in a complex world’ – fantasyliterature.com

‘Very promising and fast-paced new epic fantasy.’ – bookloons.com

‘A very rich and complex story with a perfect balance between action and character development that got me hooked from the first page.’ – fictionkingdom.blogspot.com

‘Helen Lowe’s prose flows effortlessly from the first pages to the last page and she uses magic in a good way.’ – risingshadow.net Read the rest of this entry »

Author post

Writing and Writer’s Workshops

The dog ate my homework.

The dog ate my homework.

I have a writer’s workshop coming up soon, so I’ve been going through my notes and reminding myself of what it is I wish to convey and how to best go about communicating it to my students. I can’t stand waffling and hot air, so I tend to give very short very concentrated workshops. They last a week maximum (sometimes in the case of workshops given to schools, the week is spread out in little pieces over a month or more) I don’t tend to focus on ‘voice’ or ‘finding your story’ or any of the other more esoteric subjects. My aim is simply to bring the participants back to the basics and to have them build themselves up from that base level, a piece at a time, until they’ve explored what it is they are writing and how they are writing it. Read the rest of this entry »

New York Comic Con: Joe Abercrombie and Mira Grant

If you’re in the Big Apple for New York Comic Con, be sure to stop by the Orbit booth (#2315) to meet authors Joe Abercrombie and Mira Grant.

Joe (BEST SERVED COLD) will be signing Friday 10/8 from 3-4 PM, and on Saturday 10/9 from 12-1 PM in the Orbit booth.  And, don’t miss the fantasy writer’s panel Friday night from 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm in Room 1A15.  Joining Joe Abercrombie on the panel will be Peter V. Brett (The Warded Man), Jim Butcher (Changes), Naomi Novik (His Majesty’s Dragon) Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings) and Deborah Harkness (A Discovery of Witches) – making this panel full of about as much awesome as the fire department will allow.

FEED fans! Mira Grant (a/k/a Seanan McGuire) will be signing on Saturday 10/9 from 3-4 pm in the Orbit booth. On Saturday night she’ll be on the panel “Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?”  from 7:45 pm – 8:45 pm in Room 1A23. Her fellow panelists will include  Alaya Dawn Johnson (contributor to Zombies Vs. Unicorns), Robin Becker (Brains: A Zombie Memoir), Alan Goldsher (Paul is Undead), and Richard Kadrey (Kill the Dead). Again, not a panel to be missed.

So unless of course while in attendance at NYCC you find yourself a) in the midst of an very, very blood-drenched sword battle, or b) in the midst of a ravenous gaggle of brain-chomping zombies — we’ll see you there!

Ask Iain M Banks your questions

Mr Iain M. Banks is stopping by the Orbit London offices this week, so if you have any questions email them our way today at publisher@iainbanks.net, or tweet them at @orbitbooks with #askBanks.

We’ll be posting a video response to some of your questions later in the week.

Steampunk Fun at NYCC

This Fri-Sat-Sun is the New York Comic-Con and there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on at Orbit’s booth (#2315). I’m here to tell you about a really fun art-department project that all you Parasol Protectorate fans and Steampunk experts can be a part of. I am always super impressed by the imagination and care that Gail’s Steampunk fans put into their wardrobe and to celebrate that, we’re going to induct you all into the Parasol Protectorate!

If you are showing off your best Steampunk finery Friday or Saturday, come by the Orbit booth and we’ll be taking pictures of you in your best Victorian action poses. Next week we will be turning those pictures into custom Parasol Protectorate covers of your very own! We’ll be uploading them here on the blog a batch at a time, and we’ll have our blog readers vote on their favorite covers. The winner may even get a prize! Read the rest of this entry »

Author post

The Writer’s Precious Workplace

Ask any writer what tools are invaluable to their trade and it’s likely they’ll answer mostly in abstracts. For example, a good memory, an ear for dialogue, and a familiarity with the beats of a well-constructed sentence could all be prized tools for any writer. Physical, concrete tools favored by writers are usually complicated pieces of technology that only a very slim margin of working writers can afford.

But it seems these days that fewer and fewer writers are giving thought to one of the most invaluable tools of all: their workplace. Any craft requires a station; the carpenter has his workshop, and the painter his studio, so the writer must also have a place of creation, a peaceful sanctuary that allows mental abilities the room for action.

My own workplace is a great example of what any writer needs to get through the day-to-day toil of attempting literature. Come with me, and I’ll guide you through its many components, detailing how each article lends itself to my work. Follow my advice, and perhaps you too can create your own literary asylum, one that will help you survive both in the writing world and the physical one, protecting you against the many foes your writing will doubtlessly enrage. Read the rest of this entry »

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