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Cover Launch: Mystery Cover Revealed!

Hey remember this picture? Way back in August I was working on a photo shoot with photographer Laura Hanifin for a cover, and I had to share a picture of one of the crazy props we were using that day. Yes, it was a real live—well, actually, dead—octopus, which Laura had dyed with food coloring in a ziplock bag in her fridge. Yes, I am the one holding it, and yes, it was really really slimy.

I got a lot of questions about it, especially after I made the shot my facebook profile pic, but I just couldn’t tell you guys what the images were for until we were ready to launch the cover, just in case it didn’t work out. But luckily it worked out even better than we had hoped, and launch day is finally here, and I actually have not one but two covers to show you. The shoot went so well that we’ve already used photos on two covers, and we’ve still got more good images left. I’m hoping that will make it up to Laura that her apartment stunk like dead fish for at least a month afterwards. (Sorry!)

A few people DID guess that the octopus was standing in for some kind of intergalactic space creature, and I can finally say that you are correct…and the mind that thought up that creature is none other than Philip Palmer, author of Debatable Space, Red Claw, Version 43, and now…Hell Ship! Read the rest of this entry »

Best in Class for N. K. Jemisin!

N.K. Jemisin is blowing up in 2010! Her debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was released to widespread acclaim.

“The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms… is an impressive debut, which revitalizes the trope of empires whose rulers have gods at their fingertips.— io9.com

“The very best kind of sequel: as lush and evocative and true as the first, with all the same sense of mystery, giving us the world and characters we already love, and yet with a new story and a wonderfully new perspective on the whole dazzling world and pantheon the author has built.”
— Naomi Novik on The Broken Kingoms

Now, the best of lists are coming in and it seems the critical attention was well deserved!

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is #5 on the Amazon’s Top 10 Science Fiction and Fantasy list!

And both The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and the sequel, The Broken Kingdoms, are on  Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2010 list!

Check out both at bookstores or online retailers near you. . .

Publishers Weekly: Three Orbit Titles in 2010’s SF/F Top Five

We’re very happy to announce that in a remarkable showing, three of the five books selected by Publishers Weekly as the best science fiction/fantasy titles of 2010 are published by Orbit — THE BONE PALACE by Amanda Downum, FEED by Mira Grant, and THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS/THE BROKEN KINGDOMS (a two-for-one deal!) by N.K. Jemisin.

Congratulations to our authors!! And if you haven’t yet gotten around to these books — happy reading!

Author post

The Walking Dead 1.02 with Jesse Petersen

Jesse Petersen is the author of MARRIED WITH ZOMBIES and the forthcoming FLIP THIS ZOMBIE. Like many of us here at Orbit HQ, she’s also a fan of The Walking Dead on AMC. She’ll be offering recaps of each week’s episode here every Monday. This post will contain SPOILERS (also zombies) after the jump. For previous recaps see 1.01 Read the rest of this entry »

Greg Bear on How Videogames Affect Writing

Greg Bear, author of the upcoming Hull Zero Three, talks about the relationship between videogames and writing over on kotaku.com. And, he settles the age old debate (that age being about five years ago) “are games art?”

Roger Ebert has said that video games cannot be art. Similar judgments have been made over the decades and centuries about novels, plays, movies, television, comic books, and of course science fiction.Now, videogames are up in front of the Supreme Court. Once again a new and innovative form of art and entertainment is being put through an almost ritualized process of legal justification.

My take? The Supreme Court will decide video games are protected speech. And video games are definitely capable of being art.

It’s definitely worth the read and includes some interesting tidbits about the upcoming book. Check it out!

Hull Zero Three will be available on November 22.

Parasol Protectorate: “Alexia” weighs in

photo by Jeffery Scott

Parasol Protectorate fans, I have a special treat for you today. I have the face of Alexia Tarabotti herself, Donna Ricci, here to give some critiques and comments on the Parasol Protectorate cover finalists. We’ve talked about Donna’s role in the covers before, but I love talking about what a great team-up these covers have been. Donna is the proprietress of Clockwork Couture, which, in my opinion, has the best selection of Steampunk clothing and accessories on the web. She’s also a professional model, a writer on Steampunk fashion, and a champion of beasts great and small. I can’t think of a more fitting person to be our Alexia. And as an extra treat, I’m going to post the images below that became our Parasol Protectorate covers, before and after I did all the photoshop magic to them. You’ll see Donna needs very little retouching!

Before I hand it over, however, I just want to update you guys. We’re going to leave voting open over the whole weekend, and I’ll be tallying votes sometime Monday (after my first coffee, at least) and announcing the winner. N0w remember guys, one vote per email address please…that means you, mom-of-Doubtless! haha.

Ok, here’s the original images of Donna, next to the cover images of without the text, as a bit of a cover “evolution” shot:

original photo by Derek Caballero, background image from Getty Images

Read the rest of this entry »

November is the Cruelest Month…

It’s November, which means thousands of aspiring writers are telling their friends and family to go amuse themselves for a while. They’ve got a novel to write.

But, it’s been a bit of a rocky start for the NaNoWriMo crowd. For the uninitiated, National Novel Writing Month is that special time of year where anyone who likes makes a run at writing 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s like, 1700 words a day. Which is like, 3-4 pages. Every day. It’s a monumental task, especially when you consider that most of these people aren’t professional writers and mostly have day jobs, families, social obligations… It’s one thing for the pros who participate (who all seem to finish early) but your average aspiring writer is missing that most precious commodity… time.

Which is why Laura Miller’s post on Salon is so… puzzling. She basically goes after NaNoWriMo with both barrels– I’ll get to specifics of her argument in a moment. In addition to her high-profile attack, I get the sense that there’s a bit of push back in the air this year. Galleycat this morning went after first time fantasy novelists with a funny post about what not to do. It’s hard to argue with a lot of the points, but something about the principle just seemed off to me.
Read the rest of this entry »

Parasol Protectorate Covers: Experts Weigh In

Ay-leen's photo by Anna Fischer

The competition is fierce and the comments are flying over at the finalist round for the Parasol Protectorate cover contest, and I thought it would be fun to have some “Steampunk Experts” give us some professional opinions of the finalists ensembles and posing. First up is the Ay-leen the Peacemaker, mistress of the fabulous blog Beyond Victoriana, who also contributes to other blogs and projects on retro-futurism. Beyond Victoriana focuses on multiculturalism in Steampunk and retro-futurism, and just won a Last Drink Bird Head Award.

I really enjoy reading Ay-leen’s essays because it’s good to remember that although there is a huge Victorian Age element to Steampunk, that does not mean that it has to be solely Victorian England. I’m really into the idea that a lot of the fun of retro-futurism is that you can really make it personal in style, and that can include your own family and cultural heritage. For example, check out the costume in the Careless cover below, which kind of has an awesome eastern/turkish element to it.

Anyway, enough about what I think…on to Ayleen’s comments…

Read the rest of this entry »

Author post

The Walking Dead with Jesse Petersen

Jesse Petersen is the author of MARRIED WITH ZOMBIES and the forthcoming FLIP THIS ZOMBIE. Like many of us here at Orbit HQ, she’s also a fan of The Walking Dead on AMC. She’ll be offering recaps of each week’s episode here every Monday (she’s a few days late this week because she just returned from ZOMBCON, which takes a bit out of a girl, what with all the zombie action.) It should go without saying that this post has a giant SPOILER ALERT!

For months I’ve been salivating for the start of “The Walking Dead”, the new series on AMC that is based on the fantastic graphic novels by Robert Kirkman. So when Orbit asked me if I’d like to recap and review each episode here on the blog, the question hadn’t even been completely asked when I answered, “Yes… Yes… Yes… YES!!!”  There shall be spoilers,  so be aware. And my grade at the end, along with my comments. And so I give you, “The Walking Dead”:
Read the rest of this entry »


There are an awful lot of words on the internet, and a number of them have been used in the brilliant reviews for SURFACE DETAIL – the new Culture novel from Iain M. Banks, out everywhere now. Thanks to worldle.net, we’ve been able to squish them together!

Connect the words to start building your very own Iain M. Banks review:

“lavish horror weapons” – yes!

“fast-paced glory novel” – you bet!

“vast reader fans Banks” … eh?

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