- - November 28th, 2008
BBC Radio Drama producer Gemma Jenkins has been in touch to let us know about a brand new radio play, written by Orbit’s own Mike Carey, that will be aired on BBC Radio 7 in January.
The half-hour drama, entitled ‘Hide and Seek’, will be broadcast on Sunday January 25th as part of a weekly series of dark, unsettling pieces narrated by writer, actor and the BBC’s new ‘Man in Black’, Mark Gatiss (League of Gentlemen, Doctor Who).
The ‘Man in Black’ first appeared on BBC radio in the 1940s, delivering his chilling tales to spellbound listeners in ‘Appointment With Fear’. He returned in ‘Fear on 4′ in the ’70s and again in the late ’80s / early ’90s. Mark Gatiss takes up the dark mantle to tell five new stories, including Mike Carey’s.
Here’s how the BBC press release describes ‘Hide and Seek':
Amelia Stowe lies confined to a bed, her eyes bandaged, while she recovers from an operation to remove a tumour from the visual cortex of her brain. With long days of recuperation stretching before her, she agrees to take part in an experiment conducted by one of the hospital psychiatrists, Dr Bewlay. He’s developed a method of unlocking and recording memories from very early childhood.
It’s the first night of the experiment and Amelia is sent into a deep hypnotic trance – conversations drift in and out of focus; fragments of long-forgotten nursery rhymes float to the surface but who does that voice belong to which keeps whispering through her mind, claiming to have found her and which, more frighteningly, is still there in the room when she wakes up?
I’m looking forward to that one. Sounds like ideal entertainment for a long, dark Sunday evening in January. Spread the word, fright fans, and we’ll put a reminder out on the site nearer the time.
- November 27th, 2008
The Night Angel Trilogy by debut author Brent Weeks is continuing to create a bit of a buzz-storm around the genre-blogs as the amount of online coverage of his first two books – The Way of Shadows [US | UK | AUS] and Shadow’s Edge [US | UK | AUS] – continues to build up. And with the official publication date of the series-concluder Beyond the Shadows [US | UK | AUS] right around the corner, we’ve already seen an early review for that one as well…
Here’s the latest batch of content we’ve spotted in our RSS readers, to be added to our first round-up item, posted a few weeks ago.
A couple of interviews to tell you about first: Brent talks to Gav over at NextRead.co.uk about big fantasy and his approach to writing the Night Angel Trilogy. And he’s on the spot at BookSpotCentral.com as Damon asks Brent about everything from world-building to characterisation to cover art.
Reviews now, and we’ll start with a plethora of new ones for The Way of Shadows: Rob Bedford covered the book for SFFWorld.com and declared it “the most impressive debut novel [he's] read this year”. Graeme Flory says The Way of Shadows “will grip you with its intrigue and swashbuckling exploits” at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review. Mark at My Favourite Books says that Weeks’ debut is “deft and clever story, skillfully delivered”. Jessica from Toronto’s World’s Biggest Bookstores writes, at Sci-Fi Fan Letter that this one of those kind of books: “You know the kind – that book you can’t put down even though you have to eat, sleep or work.” And Hagelrat, posting at Un:Bound was full of high praise, concluding: “It’s a wonderfully rich traditional fantasy and it’s a delight to finally read a novel of this sort that not only stands alone as a story whilst leading on to a trilogy, but actually delivers that extra finesse of handling and realism of character and motive that lacks in a lot of books.”
Shadow’s Edge is up next, with Jeff C at Fantasy Book News & Reviews finding it not quite as hot as the first instalment, but still one that left him excited to read the conclusion. Rob Bedford is back with a second review at SFFWorld.com and concludes that volume two is perhaps more of an introspective look at the character development of Weeks’ protagonist than the first, hence the contrast. But Paul Stotts, writing for Blood of the Muse declares it to be a terrific middle-trilogy instalment, with an ending that offers an “unforgettable conclusion” as well as “intriguing new directions for the next book to explore”.
So far, we’ve seen a couple of mentions for Beyond the Shadows, both of them from the same reviewer: Jeff C at Fantasy Book News & Reviews dropped an early mention, saying it was… well, the second word he used was “excellent”. He then came back later on with a full review, in which he concluded that The Night Angel Trilogy was “probably [his] favorite series of the year”.
Brent Weeks has been collecting reviews over at his own website as well, so do double-check there in case there are a couple we haven’t spotted ourselves. And do drop us a line if you’ve covered these, or any other Orbit titles, on your own blog or website so we can give your piece a mention in a future coverage or links round-up.
- - November 21st, 2008
Is it Friday already? This week has just flown by. Must be time for another round-up of Orbit Author online activity (try saying that ten times fast with a mouth full of toffee…)
- - November 19th, 2008
With Dark Space (Book One of the Sentients of Orion series), I began small. Most of the narrative focused on one planet with tantalizing glimpses (I hoped!) of a much grander storyline. In Chaos Space I step firmly into that wider landscape, delving deeper into the psyches of the less-developed characters and increasing the stakes for the heroine.
It was a planned seduction of the reader; become intimate with a couple of the players and perhaps, maybe … a little intrigued by the lesser known ones. For me then, the most satisfying and challenging thing about Chaos Space was bringing all those disparate strands together. Kind of like a dance.
Not so much a space opera as an interplanetary mambo…
Sentients of Orions book two: Chaos Space is out now from Orbit in the UK and Australia, as is the first part of the series, Dark Space [UK | AUS].
Marianne de Pierres is also the author of the Parrish Plessis novels, and you can find out all about her work at her official website, www.mariannedepierres.com as well as catching up with all her latest developments via her regularly updated blog.
- - November 19th, 2008
It looks like we’ve been having some trouble with our contact forms since the end of last week, after we moved the site to the new server (which is somewhat galling as they were working perfectly when they were tested immediately after the move…)
Our webguy is looking into the issue and hopes to have the forms back up and running before too long, but in the meantime the Contact Us and email newsletter pages have been re-established with old-school lists of email addresses.
Sincere apologies for the inconvenience, but if you’ve tried to send an email to us since last Wednesday evening, or have asked to subscribe to or unsubscribe from any of our ebulletin lists, then please do visit the relevant page and try again!
- November 14th, 2008
Hello again and welcome to another weekly Orbit Author links round-up. Quite a lot to tell you about this week, so here we go:
- Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist presents an exclusive extract from the new R. Scott Bakker book The Judging Eye and is running an email sweepstake to win one of three copies as well.
- Patricia Briggs‘ US fans will be pleased to know that she will be on tour in February 2009.
- Robert Buettner marks Veterans’ Day / Armistice Day with a look at C.S. Lewis’ 1946 essay, ‘Talking About Bicycles’, on the subject writers who write about war.
- Blood of the Muse reviews Mike Carey‘s Vicious Circle and likes it a lot.
- Jo Graham takes part in the latest SFSignal Mind Meld article, on the subject of ‘Speculative Fiction Books Worth Reading Twice’.
- Pamela Freeman‘s Deep Water has been reviewed most favourably by both Liviu C Siciu at Fantasy Book Critic and by Iain Wear at The Bookbag.
- Charlie Huston is the guest of Cover to Cover podcast 334a from Dragonpage.com. And Charlie has submitted his latest Joe Pitt novel, Every Last Drop to the Page 99 Test.
- Subterranean Press have announced that they’ll be publishing a novella by K. J. Parker, entitled Purple and Black.
- Marianne de Pierres‘ Chaos Space gets an enthusiastic review from Mark at Walker of Worlds.
- Jeffrey Somers is a multi-talented fellow: not only a wordsmith, but a tunesmith as well… check out his MP3 downloads.
- Tricia Sullivan reveals her big ambition as a writer.
- Mark at Walker of Worlds has reviewed Saturn Returns by Sean Williams and had good things to say. Likewise, Gary Reynolds at ConceptSciFi declares the first part of the Astropolis series “a joy to read”.
- What’s the most impressive thing you did this week? Walter Jon Williams talked to space travelers. Seriously!
As always, if you see any online articles, reviews or interviews that feature an Orbit author, please feel free to drop us a line and let us know! We’ll happily name-check your website or blog with a heads-up credit in return (please remember to provide us with a link…)
- - November 14th, 2008
Fantasy author J. V. Jones is running a photo-competition via her website and journal to mark the paperback release of A Sword From Red Ice [UK], the latest instalment in her Sword of Shadows saga.
Here’s a bit of the old explanatory from J. V.:
Here it is, the chance to win all sorts of goodies: a complete set of signed J.V. Jones books (seven and counting), artwork, cover flats, collectible (and extremely rare) galley copies, etc. You get the idea: extremely cool prizes will be given.
All you have to do is take a photo of yourself and A Sword From Red Ice. Mug it up for the camera, dress up, dress down, use experimental media, commandeer family and friends, get outside, stay inside, reenact a scene from the book, eat a sandwich, go on location to the bookstore or the woods. Whatever you do: Take a photo. Then send that photo [to J. V. - email address given in her Journal]. We’ll post it on the website, everyone can have their say, and may the best photo win.
Simple as that, folks, but please do visit JVJones.com (where a few early entries have been posted already) for full competition rules and the email address to send your photos to [N.B. Don't send your photos to us here at Orbit, in case we don't get a chance to send them on to J. V. before the deadline!]
- - November 13th, 2008
An easy thing to tell you about Orphan’s Alliance is that Jason Wander – high school dropout, accidental Major General, terminal wise ass and reluctant hero – returns, and so do the Slugs. But Alliance shows you things military SF usually doesn’t, like Paleozoic swamps and monsters, and Parisian sidewalk cafés. Alliance also shows you things military SF often does, like gravity-bending fighters, vast battles for galactic crossroads, and trench warfare.
A hard thing to tell you is that Jason is growing up, and growth hurts.
C.S. Lewis, gravely wounded in World War I, wrote about soldiers who write about war that “We know how much of the reality the romantic view left out. But we also know that heroism is a real thing, that all the plumes and flags and trumpets … were not there for nothing [but] to honour … what is truly honourable … precisely because everyone knew how horrible war is.”
Orphan’s Alliance is out now from Orbit US and will be published in January 2009 by Orbit UK and Orbit Australia. Orphan’s Alliance is the fourth of Robert’s Jason Wander novels, the first of which was Orphanage [UK | US | AUS].
You can find out more about Robert Buettner and Jason Wander at his website, www.robertbuettner.com and read his blog at robertbuettner.wordpress.com for all his latest news and developments.
- - November 13th, 2008
Who is the Numinator, the never-seen figure who has manipulated the world of Santhenar for more than a hundred and fifty years, for some unknown, terrible purpose?
That’s the most frequently asked question by my fans, and it’s why I’ve been dying to write The Curse on the Chosen. I too wanted to find out who he (or she, or it) really was, and the answer shocked me as much as it astonished our old friends Nish, Maelys and Flydd, who are in dire trouble once again.
I love storytelling. My chief pleasure in life is making my characters suffer until they can take no more – and then making things much, much worse for them, until they’re lining up to march out of the book, take the author by his scrawny throat and put a stop to their agony forever. But he’s thought of that one too – ha, ha! – and their suffering continues to the ultimate cliffhanger ending. This time, there really is no way out.
The author types on, laughing maniacally …
The Curse on the Chosen (UK) is out now from Orbit and is available from all good booksellers. The story is part two of Ian’s current series, The Song of the Tears and is part of his ongoing ‘Three Worlds’ story arc, which began with the View From the Mirror quartet – see Orbit Editor Bella Pagan’s overview of the entire saga for more information.
You can find out more about Ian Irvine and his Three Worlds books at his website, www.ian-irvine.com.
- - November 13th, 2008
From its conception, I pictured Astropolis as three fundamentally different books: Saturn Returns is about Imre putting the pieces of his mind and team back together; The Grand Conjunction is a chase novel ranging far and wide across the Milky Way. Earth Ascendant, then, is the “empire” section of Imre’s story, taking a long, hard look at how difficult it would be for someone like us to rule the galaxy, especially someone literally warring with another version of himself.
Like Saturn Returns, this draws inspiration from one of my favourite Gothic classics, this time: ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ by Edgar Allen Poe. The image of a fractured façade made it irresistible, along with many other wonderful aspects of that story. Astropolis is a Gothic tale, and a wildly anachronistic one, so it made sense to trawl for inspiration in the works of the masters. Any excuse.
The same goes with Render, Imre’s friend who speaks solely in Gary Numan lyrics. You won’t find much of me in the gender-bending sex scenes, but in the nerdy stuff, definitely.
Earth Ascendant (UK | AUS) is out now from Orbit and is available from all good booksellers. The first part of the Astropolis series, Saturn Returns, is also available from Orbit [UK | AUS].
You can find out more about Sean Williams‘ work at his website, www.seanwilliams.com, and keep up with his latest news and developments via his blog at ladnews.livejournal.com.