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TOUCH by Claire North

TOUCH Claire North

The electrifying new thriller from the author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
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PRUDENCEGail Carriger

A new novel in the world of the Parasol Protectorate starring Prudence, the daughter of Alexia Tarabotti.
Read a sample.

The Most Awesomely Bad SFF Cover in the World II: The Worsening

The title suggestions keep rolling in, and you’ve come up with some beauties! but we’re still asking for your help coming up with the most ridiculously bad high-concept SFF cover in the universe.

So again: we look for titles that cause the reader to not merely gape in astonishment upon reading the words, but to feel suddenly thrust into a hallucinatory dream neither imagined nor desired. Or, close.

Orbit readers! Keep putting those vivid imaginations of yours to work. As we know, there are extremely high bars to meet in this particular competition and we know we won’t be disappointed.

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Winter in Australia…an ideal time for writing & reading fantasy

We are delighted to announce that we have signed with Trent Jamieson for a series of three loosely linked, edgy urban fantasy novels, set in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The books in his Death Works series will be released concurrently by Orbit in Australia, the UK and the US, starting with ‘Death Most Definite’ in August 2010. Sam Bowring’s first novel in his Broken Well Trilogy, ‘Prophecy’s Ruin’, will be in the ANZ bookshops in October and he is about to deliver the second manuscript this week. Look out for the striking cover on ‘Prophecy’s Ruin’. Pamela Freeman concludes the Castings Trilogy in September with the release of ‘Full Circle’, and Joel Shepherd is now writing the last book in his Trial of Blood and Steel quartet. That’s what we’re up to this winter.

The Most Awesomely Bad SFF Cover in the World

Here at Orbit we’re very proud that our books tend to be smart, sophisticated — dare we say, awesome? (yes, we dare) — but there’s still a part of all of us that loves the look and feel of a truly, epically bad SFF book cover. And since we don’t get a chance to publish books that fit that profile we thought we’d call on our readers to help us create one — or at least create the jacket for one.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be asking for your help coming up with the most ridiculously bad high-concept SFF book cover in the universe – think Wyvern II: The Wyverning, or Martian Under the Doormat. (We know you can do better) Once we’ve settled on the titles we’ll work out the reading line, the blurbs, and cover elements. And then, with your help, our fearless Orbit US Creative Director Lauren is going to design a cover for it that will present it in all its mad glory.

Think you can help? Leave your suggestions for titles below (*)

(*) As much as we appreciate good satire, the point of this exercise isn’t to riff on the titles of an older work, or to haze existing covers — we want to come up with new vistas of badness, so original titles only please.

The zombies aren’t coming… they’re already here.

I’m very pleased to announce that we have acquired a new science fiction trilogy from new author Seanan McGuire writing as Mira Grant. The first book in the series, called FEED, tells the story of a small group of journalists living in an America infested with zombies. Twenty years after The Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are invited to cover a rising political star in the race for the White House and find themselves on the trail of the biggest story of their lives. This is a delightful, action-packed read that presents a fully-realized dystopia—a future America ruled by fear where the people don’t leave their houses and the truth is harder to find than ever before.

Mira Grant is an amazing new talent and we are delighted to be publishing her. We’ve barely announced and already the buzz is rolling: Look for this in stores in the US and the UK in Summer 2010.

Did we mention it’s bloody?

Praise for Brian Ruckley’s Fall of Thanes continues to snowball (*) around the web.
Over at the Hotlist, Pat calls it :

Dark, bloody, depressing, uncompromising, with a poignant ending that should satisfy most fans and characters that stay true to themselves till the very end, Fall of Thanes is an impressive conclusion to what is definitely one of the best fantasy series of the new millennium.

At Grasping for the Wind, John writes:

“The story has a great sense of oppression about it, and readers will wonder if all will finally end well for the characters we have come to appreciate.”

And The Mad Hatter’s Book Reviews says:

Fall of Thanes is one of the bloodiest books I have read in the last few years save The First Law trilogy although the Godless series may have a higher body count.”

UPDATE: Simon over at BookGeeks gives it a great review as well:

Fall of Thanes was for me a strong conclusion to a very enjoyable trilogy, a sequence of books that embodies everything I enjoy about traditional epic fantasy, and I look forward to seeing what Brian Ruckley does next.”

Uncompromising. Bloody. Cold. Now that’s what we’d call a perfect beach read!

(*) This being The Godless World, that snowball is probably gritty and specked with blood and bits of mail.

The David Gemmell Awards

On Friday night, Orbit UK attended the inaugural David Gemmell Legend Award for Fantasy, and a thoroughly enjoyable night was had by all. We were particularly excited, with our Brent Weeks on the five-book shortlist for The Way of Shadows [UK/US/ANZ]. Brent didn’t actually carry off the final award, but to win his place on the shortlist he fought off a strong list of almost eighty nominees so no mean feat. Surely Kylar would be proud!

The black-tie event was rather appropriately held at the Magic Circle headquarters in London, and we had to scale a rune-encrusted spiral staircase to reach the intimate plushly-red theatre. Or take the lift. All very atmospheric. And we were then treated to a short piece from Druss’s call to arms, read by James Barclay, before the ceremony itself. Our Hachette sister company Gollancz published the winning title in the UK, Blood of Elves, by Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski. However, as already reported, this was published by Orbit in the US so we also had cause to celebrate this too.

Jo Fletcher of Gollancz received the award itself – a huge great axe – on behalf of Andrzej Sapkowski courtesy of the Raven Armoury, but the short-listed authors also gained their very own mini-Snaga axes (to fight off the competition in future, no doubt …) We caught a few shots of Brent Weeks’ prize before putting it in the post to him, so see below for these. Other highlights included a charity auction, where prizes such as a rare first edition of Legend, use of a Jaguar for the weekend and the right to be written into Stan Nicholls’ next novel were up for grabs. Money raised went to Medecins Sans Frontieres. Here are some other comments, pictures, blogs etc. from the night from the British Fantasy Society, SFX and the MyFavouriteBooks blog.

The award itself is designed to honour the memory of David Gemmell and also to raise the profile of fantasy fiction in the UK. We don’t currently have a fantasy award to call our own, and organiser Deborah Miller and her team thought it was high time they did something about this, helped by French genre publishers Bragelonne, sponsoring this year’s event. Read more on Deborah’s mission here. Certainly the first event was a huge success and long may it continue! It’s great that fantasy talent can be recognised and rewarded in this way and if brings more people to enjoy the books, that’s great news too. And that’s not just from the Publisher’s point of view, honest.

There are plenty of fine things said about The Way of Shadows [UK/US/ANZ] on the Gemmell Award site and other reasons to read the book, if more are needed, are as follows:

‘A proper good yarn … Weeks tells his tale skilfully and tautly. And he dazzles with some jaw-dropping moments’ SFX
‘This unapologetically grim fantasy fable serves up a heady mix …. never wears out its 650-page welcome’ DeathRay
‘The most impressive debut novel I’ve read this year’ SFFworld.com

Read the rest of this entry »

Sapkowski wins Legend!

Blood of Elves US edition

Blood of Elves US edition

Andrzej Sapkowski’s Blood of Elves has won the inaugural David Gemmell Legend award! The announcement was made at the awards ceremony on Friday in London.

The award — chosen by popular vote — honors works “written in the ‘spirit’ of the late, great David Gemmell, a true Master of Heroic Fantasy.”

Blood of Elves is out now from Orbit in the US. ( print | ebook )

You can read an extract from the book here.

Rival nominee Joe Abercrombie was also in attendance, and reports:

“The validity of the David Gemmell Legend Award was called into serious question on Friday night when I didn’t win.”

Joe did get a chance to wield the axe though.

Philip Palmer’s ‘Art of Deception’ on BBC Radio 4 this week

Orbit author Philip Palmer is currently very excited indeed about the broadcast of his five-part radio serial ‘The Art of Deception’.

As he explains on his blog, the instalments will be broadcast on Radio 4 this week as part of the Woman’s Hour programme at 10.45, with a repeat at 19.45 GMT, Monday 22nd to Friday 26th June, before being made available via the BBC’s iPlayer.

In an earlier blog post, Philip introduces the play and talks about some of the background ideas and major themes:

“It’s not science fiction – it’s a straight thriller set in the world of art forgery and art theft. It stars Indira Varma and David Schofield, and is directed by my long-time collaborator and dashed nice chap Toby Swift.”

Check out those blog posts for more information and tune in for drama all this week!

An Interview with a Knight

Ever wonder where those fierce looking warriors on the front of fantasy covers come from? Brian Ruckley has a fascinating interview over at his blog now with the (real life!) knight pictured here.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at home when I got a text from a friend. It was a jpg, and I couldn’t quite make out the image. I handed my phone to my son, and he squinted at it saying, ‘It looks like YOU! Yeah, I think it is you, on a poster or maybe a book cover … Fall of Thrones? No, the Fall of THANES?’

Read more

Marianne de Pierres’ June update: The News From Oz

The Australasian installment kicks off this time with the news that Russell Kirkpatrick pulled off a neat coup d’etat at the New Zealand National Convention this month by hijacking his GoH speech by presenting Speculative Fiction in Popular Music. Russell then packed his bags and is headed to Conjecture where he’ll be hobnobbing with other Orbit authors Sean Williams, Trudi Canavan and Karen Miller. Of course Sean Williams in his role as Convention DJ and Ditmar nominee for Best Novel (Earth Ascendant) will not allow Russell to choose the music.

According to Ms Canavan, all work and no conventions makes for a dull Trudi, so after Conjecture she’ll be making plans to attend WorldCon in Montreal. Karen Miller will be back at home though, to put on her K E Mills hat, and start the 3rd Rogue Agent novel, in which events of the past come back to haunt our intrepid heroes in ways they certainly weren’t expecting!

While half the Orbit Antips are swanning at NatCon, the rest of us are at home working, including Glenda Larke has just handed in Book Two of The Stormlords: Stormlord Rising and is now taking a break from writing to catch up on housework (yuk!, says Glenda) before starting book 3. Pamela Freeman has finished Full Circle and has just put Otlee’s Story, a new short story set in the Domains, up on her website for those who can’t wait until the next book. Pamela says that the French edition of Blood Ties now available, s’il vous plait.

Here’s news from Joel Shepherd, author of The Trial of Blood & Steel Quartet: Well Sasha (book one) is being reprinted here with Orbit in Australia, and Petrodor (book two) comes out in mass market next month, Tracato (book three) will be released in trade paperback in August.

I’d like to introduce new Orbit Oz author Sam Bowring. Sam has more than a few strings to his bow. When he’s not scribing, he’s a writer for the Logie Award winning Rove writing team, and a stand up comedian. His first book in The Broken Well Trilogy, Prophecy’s Ruin, will be released in October this year, with the next two coming out during 2010.

You can catch my news at my website but the short version of the last month is that when I’m not working on Transformation Space, I’m deeply, deeply hooked by Battlestar Galactica season 3 (better late than never!). Oh, and there’s that film option for Nylon Angel that I have hanging around on my desk. Must get around to signing it…

So that’s about it.

‘Later

MDP

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