- - March 23rd, 2009
We’re delighted by the news that both Matter by Iain M Banks and Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross have both been shortlisted for the 2009 Prometheus Award.
This award is given by the Libertarian Futurist Society in recognition of the best pro-freedom novel published during the previous year. The award will be presented during Anticipation, the 67th World Science Fiction Convention, which takes place from August 6-10, 2009, in Montréal, Quebec, Canada.
Best of luck to both!
- March 20th, 2009
Hello and welcome to a few tid-bits of recent interweb activities:
Kate Elliott and Mike Cobley talk about ‘others’ in SF/F i.e. aliens etc. on bookgeeks. Both the science fiction and fantasy genres have a traditional reliance on ‘others’ – from extra-terrestrials and elves to angels and demons. How do you set out to create plausible ‘others’ (do they even need to be plausible?), and make sure that readers relate to them in the ways that you want?
And Sean Williams is interviewed by the Sydney Writers’ Centre, you can see (and then hear, presumably …) the podcast here.
Lastly, but no less interestingly, Jo Graham has posted on how to keep the story of Cleopatra fresh when it is well-known subject matter to many, and we’ve posted a taster extract of Hand of Isis (UK | US ) just out this month.
That’s it for now and have a good weekend with whatever Orbit book you happen to be reading!
- - March 20th, 2009
Ever since I read The Poison Throne I’ve been wanting to share my great enthusiasm for this book, so I’m delighted to pass on news of our deal for the Moorehawke trilogy. Betrayal, torture, murder, an emerging rebellion and a beautifully pitched emerging romance all make for a robust, absolutely compulsive and beautifully written fantasy adventure. Without doubt, this is an Absolutely Compelling Read and I finished it in almost one sitting. So I was pretty hungry when I’d finished, I don’t mind telling you.
And to the plot … we follow young Wynter Moorehawke as she returns to Court with her dying father, finding her old home shadowed with fear and riddled with dangerous secrets. King Jonathan has become a violent despot, terrorising those he once loved, and his son Alberon has fled into exile to plan a royal coup. Meanwhile, Wynter’s half-brother Razi has been elevated to heir, and struggles to meet King Jonathan’s increasingly untenable commands while retaining his sanity. And at the heart of matters lies a war machine so lethal that no one dares speak of it. The kingdom would belong to the machine’s master, yet the consequences of using it are too appalling to consider.
The talented Celine Kiernan trained as an animator and has spent most of her career in the film business. She’s also a freelance illustrator – and writer of course! We’ll be launching this series internationally in the States and Australia as well as in the UK and we’ll be going out in mass market paperback with book one being scheduled for April 2010. Can’t wait!
- - March 20th, 2009
Fantastic news just in: the final ballot for the 2009 Hugo Awards has been announced and we are absolutely delighted to congratulate Charles Stross, whose Saturn’s Children is nominated in the Best Novel category.
As if having a book shortlisted for the premier award in the SF world isn’t enough, the unfeasibly talented Mr Stross becomes the first author to have a novel on the Hugo shortlist in six consecutive years!
Trying to predict the future is fraught with peril, but I feel quite confident in saying that it will be quite some time before that amazing achievement is matched or bettered. Even the great Robert Silverberg only managed four-in-a-row.
Many congratulations to Charlie from all at Orbit, and if you are eligible to vote for the Hugos, remember:
*Actually, maybe you shouldn’t vote often. That would probably be bad.
- - March 19th, 2009
Two of Orbit’s legends of science fiction, Iain M Banks and Ken MacLeod have taken part in a round-robin discussion entitled How sci-fi moves with the times over on the BBC website.
Ken discusses the role that scientific theory plays within science fiction literature:
“Science fiction is the only form of literature that sets out to bring home to our imaginations the surprising universe that science has discovered. How well it does that job depends on its scientific accuracy – up to a point.”
And Iain talks about the degree of scientific reality that he tends to incorporate into his own science fiction writing:
“…in my science fiction, I merrily break as many laws as I can get my hands on. Especially faster than light travel – I have my starships going at unfeasibly high speeds. Sometimes I pay no attention whatsoever to what’s possible and realistic. It really depends on the novel.”
(Iain also lets slip some tantalising hints about his next novel, Transition…)
The piece also includes contributions from fellow UK SF stalwarts Paul Cornell and Ian Watson. Definitely worth a read-through.
- - March 11th, 2009
We’ve just posted the US schedule for our Fall and Winter 09-10 season. It’s an exciting list, with debuts from Jesse Bullington, Gail Carriger, Robert Jackson Bennett, N.K. Jemison, and Nicole Peeler, plus brand-new novels from some of your favorite Orbit authors and series. Check out the list here.
- - March 11th, 2009
One of the best things about working for Orbit is having so many great new books to read each month. The one I’ve just finished reading is Thicker Than Water, Mike Carey’s excellent new Felix Castor novel. This is the first of his novels I’ve read, but I had no trouble getting instantly engrossed in the storyline, as Mike has a great way of subtly filling you in while keeping the action nail-bitingly fast and fresh.
Felix is a hard-nosed and sharp-tongued freelance exorcist who doesn’t take any bull, but still manages to get himself into the direst of demonic situations. When a man is found slashed up and unconscious in his own vehicle, detectives surmise that it may be linked to Castor somehow – not least because Castor’s name is smeared over the windscreen in blood … Whilst on a mission to clear his own name, Fix discovers that the victim’s home – a depressing South London council estate – seems to be a hotspot for an unusually high number of sickeningly inventive crimes … and it may be more than failing social systems that are inciting the inhabitants to violence. Darker forces are definitely at work, so with the help of Nicky, his un-dead informant, and Juliet, the succubus who is drop-dead gorgeous (literally – she’ll draw you in then eat you alive), Fix investigates what’s behind this most hellish of situations …
With deadpan humour and super-slick style, Mike Carey paints a gritty portrait of London in this noirest of noir urban fantasies. And Castor is the kind of fast-quipping narrator that makes you want to quit your day job and hit those mean demon-filled streets just for the hell of it! Thicker Than Water is out now – highly recommended!
You can read an extract here.
- - March 10th, 2009
Welcome to another week and another new cover! Sorry this post was delayed a bit by the Creative Director being a bit under the weather with a nasty cold. Anyway, on to…Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett.
There was already buzz about this book back when I started in November, and the cover design was already underway by Ms. Ploy Siripant, one of the fabulous designers upstairs at Little Brown (who, if you’ll recall, were handling the Orbit designs before I was brought in to be all-Orbit-all-the-time). I just finished reading it while in bed with the above-mentioned cold, and the cover is even better once you’ve read the book. It’s set in the Midwest during the Great Depression — an incredibly bleak landscape where hobos travel the rails and dust-storms cover the land. I think this cover perfectly evokes the feeling of the book, and the period, without looking too historical. Trust me, the screen doesn’t do the texture any justice. You’ll just have to wait to see it in print. Read the rest of this entry »
- - March 10th, 2009
Trudi Canavan is currently on tour in Australia promoting her fantastic new book The Magician’s Apprentice (UK/US/Aus) and has posted some great pieces about her trip.
Haven’t yet picked up a copy yourself? You can read the first chapter here.
- - March 9th, 2009
Jo Graham‘s fabulous Ancient Egyptian epic Hand of Isis is out this month, so to get in the mood she decided to make an actual Egyptian feast. Packed with all sorts of interesting historical tips on food and dining customs, this post is well-worth checking out here. And apparently only barbarians and Macedonians drink wine with the Propomata, or first course, so plan accordingly if you’re tempted to follow the recipes!
Hand of Isis itself is the story of Charmian, a handmaiden and sister to Cleopatra. It is a novel of lovers who transcend death, of gods who meddle in mortal affairs, and of women who guide empires. Against the rising power of Julius Caesar’s Rome, Egypt is the last and strongest bastion of the Eastern kingdoms. But a power struggle looms that will shape the world to come …
It’s a fascinating story, and Jo Graham clearly has a talent for this sort of thing as shown by her previous book Black Ships, which attracted some great review coverage:
‘Haunting and bittersweet, lush and vivid’ Naomi Novik
‘Fraught meaning and smoldering emotional resonance overlays her deceptively simple words’ Publishers Weekly
‘A refreshingly different approach to a legend we only thought we knew’ Locus
‘A dazzling debut novel’ Scifi.com
‘A first-class, very readable novel’ Booklist (starred review)
‘Graham re-creates a vivid picture of the ancient world, a mysterious place in which gods and goddesses speak to their chosen’ Library Journal (starred review)