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Descent by Ken MacLeod

DESCENT Ken MacLeod

Author of 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award-nominated Intrusion tells a science fiction story for the twenty-first century – what happens when conspiracy theorists meet Big Brother?
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THE LASCAR’S DAGGERGlenda Larke

The start of a brand new epic fantasy trilogy from the author of the Stormlord series – full of scheming, spying, action and adventure.
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How Victorious is the Victorious Parasol?

SoullessGail Carriger’s debut novel SOULLESS (the first volume in The Parasol Protectorate) went on sale last week. Readers have been awaiting this one since the buzz began this past spring. Publishers Weekly called it ‘intoxicatingly witty.” Romantic Times gave it four and a half stars. Time’s Lev Grossman, blurbing the book, called it “ravishing” and said that it has “all the delicate charm of a Victorian parasol, and all the wicked force of a Victorian parasol secretly weighted with brass shot and expertly wielded.”

Pretty good for a start. Now that it’s out in the stores, what are people saying?

io9.com:“A character-driven romp with great worldbuilding and delicious rapier wit that recalls Austen and P.G.Wodehouse.”

Fresh Fiction:: “There are not many books I can recommend that will make you want to drop everything you are doing and run out to your nearest bookstore to buy. SOULLESS is one of them.”

SFRevu : “I was enchanted from start to finish.”

Falcata Times:“It’s a corker and definitely something that’s new in the field that I suspect will win Gail fans by the bucketload.”

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Photo by Robert Andruszko

The verdict. Extremely victorious, and getting more so every day.

Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a piece of treacle tart on your way back from the bookstore.

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Silly Fantasies

My first addition to the official Orbit blog page.  This is serious.  This is important.  This is something to think about.  So I’m going to just leap into the fray and admit something.

Fantasy is silly.

It just is.  There’s no way around this, and to think otherwise is an unnecessary strain on your justification cortex.  (I don’t know if there’s such a thing but seems like there should be if there isn’t.)

Science Fiction is (mostly) silly, too.  It’s all absurd, ridiculous, nonsensical stuff.  It’s whimsy.  It’s make-believe.  It’s escapist.  It’s childish.  It’s all these wonderful things and more. Read the rest of this entry »

“It Somehow Always Involved an Assassin with Extraordinary Powers And A Love of Espressos”

TransitionTime‘s Lev Grossman has posted his interview with Iain M.Banks regarding his new novel TRANSITION, wherein they discuss influences, what the M stands for, the hotness of one of the novel’s central characters, and balcony-clambering at the 1987 Worldcon.

In Their Own Words: K.J. Parker on The Company

K.J. says: COMPANY_B.indd

The Company started with an old friend of mine. He’s nothing like General Kunessin, but he used to have an old Air Force greatcoat with the rank and unit insignia cut off (he was a pacifist; military greatcoats are amazingly warm; we lived in a cold place)

The image of a tall man in just such a coat coming home stayed with me for thirty years. During that time, I figured he must be coming home from the war; which in turn begged the question, what war? My spasmodic studies of history during that time led me to the unavoidable truth that there’s only ever one war, and it’s never over.

All of the veterans I’ve met over the years brought the war home with them. They came back dressed in it, like a coat. Some of them put the coat neatly away in a cupboard. Some of them hid it in the attic, lagging the hot water tank. Some of them, usually the ones who didn’t do so well in peacetime, carried on wearing it because they had nothing else to wear, and they lived in a cold place.

It’s sad that war never seems to go out of style. The veterans I’ve talked to all said the same thing; it was the comradeship, the friends, that made it bearable, even joyful. Do you still see your old army buddies, I ask? None of them do. I conclude that my original mental image was deceptive; nobody comes home from the war, because everybody who fights in the war stays there, for ever and ever, and somebody else comes home, wearing their coat.

The Company [UK|US] is K.J. Parker’s first stand alone novel and is available in paperback this month from all good booksellers.

Free Podcast of TRANSITION by Iain M. Banks

Apparently I am what is known as an Unreliable Narrator, though of course if you believe everything you’re told you deserve whatever you get.’

Iain M. Banks is back with TRANSITION, an apocalyptic fable for terrible times.

And starting today we’re serializing the abridged audio edition of TRANSITION on iTunes. Each Tuesday and Friday you can download a new chapter of the abridged edition for free.

Transition on iTunes

“TRANSITION is a book that makes you think, one that makes you look at the world around you in a different light, and it’s also a properly thrilling read. If only more contemporary fiction was like it.” — The Independent

A Performance of Chapter One of SOULLESS

Artistic Whispers Productions has staged a wonderful full-cast reading of chapter one of Gail Carriger’s forthcoming SOULLESS. Listen to it here. And while you’re listening, explore the Victorian fashion of SOULLESS.

In Their Own Words: Terry Brooks on A Princess of Landover

Untitled-2 Terry says:

When you’ve been away from a series as long as I’ve been away from the Landover books, there is a certain amount of trepidation involved when you consider returning. Readers have asked for a new Magic Kingdom book ever since the last one in 1995, but I just didn’t have a good enough idea to justify the writing of one. And, besides, other projects kept interfering. So I dragged my feet on the project and kept hoping something would happen to inspire me.

Eventually, of course, it did. But it came from an unexpected source. The Landover books always have something to do with what happens to me in real life, but things have been going along pretty smoothly for some time and so nothing much occurred to me when thinking of Ben and Willow. Then I remembered that their daughter, Mistaya, would be in her teen years. Some sort of trauma is always happening where teens are involved. Sure enough, I remembered an incident of some years back when one of my kids – one who shall remain nameless – got tossed out of boarding school. Now there’s some trauma. But what to do with it? This resourceful child managed to talk their way back in, but that wouldn’t do for Mistaya.

So I decided to deal with what happens when going back isn’t an option the child cares to consider and growing up is very much at issue. Mistaya, sent away to a world she doesn’t like, suddenly finds herself forced to discover what it is she really wants to do. A journey ensues, and along the way she has to come to terms with what it means when you have set yourself against virtually everyone and don’t have a real plan for how to make things come out right.

When young, we all go through a period of leaving childhood and entering adulthood and finding the effort a big fat pain in the butt. But what if you are a Princess, privileged and beautiful and heir to a magic that surpasses anything anyone else commands? What if who you are and what you are is at the source of the problem, and your flailing about puts the people you love the most at risk? Throw in some nasty opponents, some clueless G’Home Gnomes, a mystery in a haunted library, add your favorite talking dragon, and you’ve got something to work with.

I wouldn’t say that by the end of the book Mistaya’s troubles are over – far from it – but I would say she’s done some growing up. Even more important, she’s come to an understanding with her parents that will help smooth out the road ahead and let her continue her journey to adulthood.

A Princess of Landover [UK| AUZ] is available this month from all good booksellers.

DEALS AND DELIVERIES: Gail Z. Martin– THE SWORN and THE DREAD

I’m pleased to announced that we will be publishing a new series from Gail Z. Martin! Set in the world of THE SUMMONER and THE BLOOD KING, this new series follows the fate of Summoner King Martris Drayke as he struggles to maintain the tenuous peace he has won for Margolan. Facing a new invasion from the north and tragedy at home, he must seek the aid of old friends and new allies, the guardians of an ancient power that watches the portals to the underworld, a nomadic fighting force known as The Sworn. Rumors have reached Tris’s ears that the dead The Sworn have vowed to protect are stirring uneasily in their burial mounds. The Dread are coming and Tris must do everything in his power to protect his home and his people.

We’re delighted to welcome Gail on board. THE CHRONICLES OF THE NECROMANCER has been a terrific series with the last installment coming out in December of this year—THE DARK LADY’S CHOSEN. Check it out at www.chroniclesofthenecromancer.com!

SOULLESS Victorian Fashion!

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Gail Carriger’s SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, so to help set the mood we’ve just launched the Soulless Victorian Dress-Up Doll, (the flash and illustration are by the very talented Sarah Vaughn.) SOULLESS will be in bookstores at the end of September. Enjoy the game!

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