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Finally, the sexy aliens

Well, I promised you sexy aliens, and here he is:

Pierson's Puppeteer

A Pierson’s Puppeteer in all his lithe glory…these cowardly geniuses are my 2nd favourite aliens in all of SF, together with all the other creatures in Larry Niven’s alien menagerie, like the Bandersnatchi, the Thrintun and the Kzinti. (Um, does anyone think that puppeteer’s necks are – dare I say it – phallic? Are they actually necks at all?)  [Sorta NSFW alien taxonomy ahead – Web Editor.) Read the rest of this entry »

The Week That Was, As It Was

While you’re making lists of all the marvelous Orbit books you can buy for your friends and family for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any other year’s end holiday of your choice (or any other time of the year, for that matter), let’s take a fast look back on what happened around these parts last week.

Our attention turned to the Southern Hemisphere last week as Marianne de Pierres reflected upon the good work done in the past year by our AUZ authors, and the nominees for the Aurealis Awards were announced.

Joe Abercrombie had a spirited interview at Patrick Rothfuss’s blog about fantasy, film editing, shameful self-promotion, Muppets, and the orbital seque sander he proposes as a useful tool for the writer’s kit.

Gail Carriger, in the persona of her character Alexia Tarabotti, presented tips for coping with the holidays Victorian-style (once the werewolf has the doily on his head, of course, all is lost).

And Orbit UK’s Rose Tremlett was pleased to report on the spectacular press in the UK that both Palmer’s Red Claw and Jesse Bullington’s The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart have received.

A Sad Tale and not for the faint of heart!

The Sad Tale of the Brothers GrossbartFollowing some great recent coverage (including an interview in SFX and a piece on the cover design in Sci-Fi Now), I thought I’d share some of the excellent reviews Jesse Bullington has been getting in the UK for his debut novel The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart.  I think the general consensus is: not for the faint of heart!

‘One glance at the minor artistic miracle that is the cover was all it took to convince me to escalate this one up the reading list – and I’m so glad I did … As debut novels go this is one of the best I’ve read… it is utterly absorbing and as fine a tale as you’ll read this year … absurd, bizarre, bawdy, laugh-out-loud funny in places and above all highly original … Jesse Bullington has a unique voice and a rare talent and his debut novel showcases both to terrific effect.’ – Sci-Fi-London, Robert Grant
Read the rest of this entry »

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A Very Alexia Christmas

Miss Tarabotti, as some of you may well know, is rather fond of comestibles. Thusly, the holiday season is one of great joy to her, from a food standpoint if nothing else. (The shopping, it must be admitted, she could very much do without. Her sisters are overly enthusiastic on the subject.) However, she has some tips for coping with the holidays Victorian-style. Read the rest of this entry »

Joe Abercrombie v. Patrick Rothfuss

Joe AbercrombieThere’s a wonderful conversation between Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss over at Rothfuss’ blog (and in support of his worthy charity, Worldbuilders).

Let’s start with an easy question, Mr. Abercrombie. If you were a tree, what sort of tree would you be?

An immense, thrusting, unconquerable English oak, starving the pitiful lesser saplings of other fantasy authors that crowd about its mighty trunk of all light and water, spreading its suffocating canopy across the fantasy landscape and making of it a blasted desert.

You really should just read the whole thing here >

Orbit’s Southern Lights Honored by Aurealis

Orbit would like to extend hearty congratulations to our finalists in the 2009 Aurealis Awards, the winners of which will be announced at the ceremony in Brisbane on Saturday 23 Jan 2010. They include:

In the category of Best Science Fiction Novel, Sean Williams for The Grand Conjunction; (UK/AUZ)

In the category of Best Fantasy Novel, a trifecta: Trudi Canavan for The Magician’s Apprentice (UK/US/AUZ); K.E. Mills for Witches, Incorporated. (UK/US); and Glenda Larke for The Last Stormlord ( UK/US).

We would also very much like to congratulate Sean Williams once again — this time for his nomination in the Best Young Adult Novel category; and Pamela Freeman for her nomination in the category of Best Children’s Illustrated Work.

Fingers crossed for our accomplished antipodean (the word of the week here at Orbit) authors!!

The praise for Red Claw continues!

 Red Claw cover image

Not only has Philip Palmer had a double recommendation in the Guardian recently, he’s also scored a hat-trick in SciFi Now with a competition running last month, an excellent review in the current issue and an interview to come in the next!  Here is just some of the incredible praise he’s received:

‘Palmer follows his much-praised debut, Debateable Space, with another riotous, wildly inventive space opera …crawling with over-the-top monsters and crazy biological dangers… Red Claw is that rare treat, an intelligent action adventure replete with intellectual rigour, human insight and superb storytelling.’ – Guardian

‘Philip Palmer is the kind of author that the science-fiction genre really needs at the moment; he is ambitious, imaginative, offbeat and varied in his style of storytelling … in flamboyant style Palmer has crafted a novel that is brimming with promise … offers science-fiction fans a refreshing and alternative read.’ – SciFi Now

Red Claw confirms Philip Palmer’s position as one of the quirkiest authors working today … Palmer’s playful prose, vivid characters, deft world-building and constant in-jokes keep you turning the pages … certainly brings some fun and adrenaline to the genre.’ – SFX

Red Claw hooks the reader in right from the get-go and doesn’t let up until the final page.  The pace is relentless and the plot… is utterly compelling, twisting and turning and keeping you guessing till the very end … Red Claw is an utterly satisfying, fast and furious read, violent, sexy and laugh-out-loud funny in places it provokes thought but doesn’t preach and all the while it’s hugely entertaining.  Definitely recommended’ – Sci-Fi-London

‘It’s been a while since I’ve read a science fiction novel as invigoratingly original in approach and theme as this one … Palmer’s writing is refreshingly direct’ – Morning Star

‘The only thing that alerts you to the fact that this wasn’t written during the golden era of science fiction is the swearing … The plot is pure Asimov/Clarke … reminiscent of classic SF … Excellent.’ – Books Monthly.co.uk

‘Philip Palmer doesn’t hold back on extravagant plot twists, bizarre alien biology and larger-than-life characters… it’s a roller-coaster ride through destruction, intrigue, murder and chaos … It’s fun, it’s brutal and it’s exciting.’ – SFCrowsnest

‘A marvellous mix of the ridiculous and the sublime, mashing pulp sci-fi with a seedly Heinlein style utopian dystopia, and some pretty dark humour as well.  It’s The Lord of the Flies meets Starship Troopers.  A truly dark tale of betrayal, big guns, and monsters … The story twists and turns like a twisty turny thing … This is one of the best novels released this year. 10/10’ – Emotionally Fourteen

‘This is a sharply modern, darkly humorous tale of what happens when people are the opposite of green.  On the face of it you have a classic SF story of people exploring a planet filled with dangerous exotic creatures, but just below the surface is a seething satire of the dark side of human nature.  The cover echoes the charming naivety of a 50s B movie or pulp novel, but open it up and you have a tale for the Noughties … Mr Palmer does it all particularly well with attention paid to every satirical detail.’ – MyShelf.com

While you’re all hunkering down against the cold in the Northern Hem, we’re shedding clothes and lounging around under fans. As I write this xmas post, it’s 32 degrees C and humid at 9 am.

Seems like a good time of day to be reflecting on the Antipodean Year That Was, before I have to retire under the sun umbrella with a pink gin.

It’s been a good year South of the Border. January saw the  release of  HAMMER OF GOD by Karen Miller and DESTINY OF THE DEAD by the ever-popular Ian Irvine. Following this, in February, was the much-awaited THE MAGICIAN’S APPRENTICE by TRUDI CANAVAN (I had the great pleasure of launching this book at the Aurealis Awards). May saw the conclusion to SEAN WILLIAMS mindbending Astropolis series, with GRAND CONJUNCTION garnering rave reviews. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Touch of Evil

I love evil;  I embrace evil. And, on a daily basis, I earn a living out of evil.

However I am not, despite what you might suppose from the sinister photograph at the top of this blog, an evil man. 

If you asked those who know me, they would tend to describe me quite otherwise.  ‘Cuddly’ might be a word you’d hear.  ‘Half-soaked’ is an adjective that is frequently associated with me. And ‘absent-minded’ is a term my wife will often use, in conjunction with other less polite phrases, at around the date of our anniversary, whenever the hell that might be. 

And yet, in my professional life, I am both a student and  a master of evil. I write about murder and horror and genocide and atrocities so terrible that I  feel ashamed of my own dabbling in horror. And I’ve been doing this for many years. so my excursion into evil has become, amongst other things, a habit. Read the rest of this entry »

The Week That Was, As it Was

Red Claw author Philip Palmer has gotten this week off to a rousing start with his exploration of evil (and why evil is very, very good — sometimes); but before Monday turns into Tuesday, let’s look back at what happened here last week.

Robert Jackson Bennett, author of next month’s hotly awaited debut Mr. Shivers, wrote a story about how to write a story, and Jaye Wells, author of Red Headed Stepchild, discussed those who have trouble with tribbles, Google, and vaginae dentata.

Nicole Peeler’s character Jane True thought it a good idea to get some pointers on being an urban fantasy heroine from Gail Carriger’s character Alexia Tarabotti.

And Philip Palmer, before he moved on to the subject of evil, talked about space travel made easy.

We noted that Jesse Bullington, author of The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, began guest blogging at Omnivoracious.com.

Orbit editor Devi Pillai was pleased to announce that Lilith Saintcrow (author of the just-released Flesh Circus) hit the New York Times Children’s Paperback bestseller list at #5 with her YA novel Betrayals.

The Orbit UK team gave a great rundown of a great year; Darren Nash took note of Orbit UK’s 40th anniversary edition of Ursula LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness; and Bella Pagan observed that the Guardian was pleased to include from Orbit UK two books, Mike Cobley’s Seeds of Earth as well as Phil Palmer’s Red Claw among the must-have items on this years’ Gadget Fiends bookshelf.

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