- - December 9th, 2009
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!!
- - December 9th, 2009
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 »
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 »
- - December 7th, 2009
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.
- - December 5th, 2009
We were delighted to see not just one, but two fabulous Orbit books in the Guardian’s stylish Saturday supplement. The Gadgets Fiends piece presented us with a photograph of the bookshelf of the future, dripping with must-have gadgets, alcohol extraction devices (ahem, fancy bottleopeners) and e-items of various sorts. And although the futuristic bookshelf was rather short on books, we spotted Mike Cobley’s trailblazing Seeds of Earth at no.5 on the legend and Philip Palmer’s explosive Red Claw (UK | US) was a shelf or so below at position 8. Please see the image below for what our future holds …
… after a selected couple of quotes for those books:
For Seeds of Earth:
‘Proper galaxy-spanning Space Opera . . . a worthy addition to the genre’ Iain M. Banks
‘A tightly plotted, action packed epic that leaves you wanting more’ SciFi Now
For Red Claw:
‘Red Claw is that rare treat, an intelligent action adventure replete with intellectual rigour, human insight and superb storytelling’ – Guardian
‘Philip Palmer has crafted a novel that is brimming with promise… a refreshing and alternative read’ – SciFi Now
Click on the image for a larger and slightly more readable version:
Last year, I wrote a short story wherein I made a slightly inappropriate reference to a tribble*.
After I turned in said story, I received an email from someone who had the power to kill the story. She said she wasn’t sure anyone would get the tribble joke.
Now, here’s what went through my head in order of appearance:
1) Who doesn’t know what a tribble is?
2) OMG I hope she doesn’t make me take out that joke. It’s one of the funniest lines in the story.
3) Wait. Seriously? Who’s never heard of a tribble?
I’m fairly certain the majority of Orbit’s readers know exactly what I mean when I mention tribbles. Further, I’d expect anyone out there who doesn’t get the reference would Google it. Those of you who don’t understand both tribble and Google, well, welcome to 2009! We’ve been waiting for you.
Now, to my point. When I write, I tend to expect that most of my readers are reasonably intelligent.** So, if we can assume readers are smart, isn’t it also reasonable to assume that if they don’t know a cultural reference they’ll look it up? Or at worst, ignore it? Read the rest of this entry »
- - December 4th, 2009
Rather unbelievably, it’s the beginning of December, which means winter is here – for those of us in the northern hemisphere, at least. But regardless of whether it’s currently hot or cold where you live, if you’re a serious reader of science fiction, ‘winter’ should bring to mind the same much-loved book. Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel. Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel. A classic of modern literature. A book set on the planet Gethen – also known as Winter.
I’m delighted to draw your attention to the stunning 40th Anniversary edition of Ursula K. LeGuin‘s magnificent The Left Hand of Darkness, recently published by Orbit in the UK. Including background notes, map sketches and a new 40th anniversary letter from the author, as well as the related story ‘Coming of Age in Karhide’, this is a beautiful celebration of a wonderful book. Ursula K. LeGuin is a giant of modern literature and a tireless champion of our oft-maligned genre, and The Left Hand of Darkness is considered by many to be her finest work. I highly recommend it.
Nothing makes the chill winds of December seem hospitable like taking a trip to Winter.
- - December 3rd, 2009
The first week of December.
The days are getting darker, our in-trays are beginning to empty (we wish), the communal surfaces are beginning to grow fat with baked goods and illicit seasonal beverages . . .
As we hurtle towards the New Year (at FTL travel inducing velocity and with a blood-biscuit level that would make even Alexia Tarabotti proud) the Orbit UK Team has banded together to bring you a retrospective on what made 2009 another great year. The short answer of course is great authors, Global Vision, plenty of awards and um, you. But humour us, read on below the cut, you’ll like it (or at least learn something) we promise! Read the rest of this entry »