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How to Read a Book

When I was a young teenager I read T.H. White’s wonderful fantasy novel The Once and Future King, which was later remade as the Disney cartoon The Sword in the Stone (the film is not a patch on the book.)  And I vividly remember the sequence in which the young Arthur is taught by Merlin how to swim as a fish, and then to fly as a owl. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let’s Fight

After my mother read RED-HEADED STEPCHILD, she called to tell me how much she enjoyed it. Then she hesitated and asked, “But, honey, where on earth did you learn to write fight scenes?”  The subtext of this question was, “Where did I go wrong?”

It was actually a fair question. Despite the proliferation of violence in my fiction, I am, in the real world, a wimp. In fact, the only fight I’ve ever been in was a schoolyard slap fight with Christy Cates (no relation to Avery Cates) in the fourth grade. Instead of instilling a healthy blood lust in my young self, the experience resulted in a healthy dose of tears and mild psychological trauma. Read the rest of this entry »

Book Trailers: Love ’em? Hate ’em?

Author Marc Laidlaw has been giving thought to trailers for books lately. And he has some problems with the way they’ve been done. And, he has some ideas for how they could be done differently.

Accordingly, he tries his skills on Jesse Bullington’s THE SAD TALE OF THE BROTHERS GROSSBART. See what you think.

What would you want to see, in a book trailer? (Besides a refreshing absence of spoilers….)

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“You want to know WHAT?”

When I ask friends and acquaintances about their specialties  so I can get the details in books right, usually it’s simple stuff.   Ask the naval historian who commanded the Adriatic Squadron in the early days of WWI, and out pops “Ernest Troubridge.”  Ask the martial arts enthusiast to show me how to disarm the fellow with the blaster, and I’m soon flat on the ground.     Read the rest of this entry »

The Engineer trilogy reissues — get your free extracts here

As well as some tempting frontlist books, January also brings Orbit UK some very handsome reissues of K. J. Parker’s Engineer trilogy. And free extracts are available here for all three books: Devices and Desires (click here for extract), Evil for Evil (extract here) and The Escapement (extract here).  The reissues will also be available via Orbit Australia from March. It’s great to see this trilogy getting a new lease of life as it’s received so much critical acclaim since its first publication. SFX deservedly called it ‘One of the finest fantasy trilogies of recent years,’ and I’ll leave you with a quote from Locus to further whet the appetite:

‘I was hooked from the very first scene … The whole thing is brilliant – disturbingly so, since these fantasies (without a whit of magic) explore the human condition and reveal it all, brain, heart, guns and bowels, with a starting precision. Parker gets back to basics, the things that drive the oldest tales: love and war, hope and betrayal’

   

The Electric Church in One Minute

The date is drawing closer for the UK release of The Eternal Prison (UK/US/ANZ), the third novel in Jeff Somers’  fast and furious techno-thriller series, the Avery Cates sequence. By putting his genius video-making skills to use, Jeff has provided us with two handy bite-size films to remind you of the series so far in speedy fashion. Here we present the first: ‘The Electric Church in One Minute.’  (And for those poor misguided individuals who haven’t  sampled the sheer awesomeness of Avery Cates yet – no fear! Doesn’t feature too many spoilers…)

Stay tuned for ‘The Digital Plague in One Minute’!

Trudi Canavan wins Aurealis Award!

Fantastic news just in: The Magician’s Apprentice (AUS / UK / US) has won the 2010 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel!

Many congratulations to Trudi – and, indeed, to all of the shortlisted authors in what was a very strong field.

Click on the image above to read an extract.

Interview with Sharon Tancredi, Illustrator of Tempest Rising

I wanted to direct you art fans out there over to an interview that the blog DarkFaerieTales.com did with one of my favorite Orbit illustrators, Sharon Tancredi. You’ll recognize Sharon’s work immediately if you’ve seen Nicole Peeler’s Jane True series. I’ve just received the art from Sharon for Jane True #3 and it’s fantastic! We’ll be launching the cover here soon. But for now, check out the interview and some of Sharon’s other work. (I love her fine art pieces.) Read the rest of this entry »

Sony options Jeff Somers!

Fantastic news: Sony have optioned the movie rights to Jeff Somers’ Avery Cates novels. A very wise move in our opinion, as there’s no doubt that these books would make the most awesomely full-throttle, kick-ass movies ever.

Read all about it here, and if you haven’t been lucky enough to experience the explosive, pedal-to-the-metal action-fests that are the Avery Cates novels yet, check out the third instalment, The Eternal Prison (UK/US/ANZ), released in February in the UK and Austalia, and already available in US. And while you’re at it, why not take a peek at our very attractive reissues of The Electric Church (UK/US/ANZ) and The Digital Plague (UK/US/ANZ).

Mike Cobley’s SF news frenzy

To follow on from Darren’s post, Michael Cobley has started his year with a bit of a roar. The mass market of Seeds of Earth was out yesterday. Then book two of this trilogy, The Orphaned Worlds is out in April (see the amazing cover, right) and Michael’s not slowing down any time soon …

He has a short story, Black Fragmentia, out in the latest edition of PS Publishing’s Postscripts Quarterly (PS 20/21). Then The Maker’s Mark (set in the Seeds of Earth universe) is to appear in Newcon Press’s Conflicts short story anthology, due out in February/March 2010. March will also see Michael at  Glasgow’s Aye Write festival as one of their featured authors. Amongst other things, he’ll be participating in a panel entitled ‘The Early Days of a Better Future’, along with other genre authors Ken Macleod, Richard Morgan, Hal Duncan and Debbie Miller. Then, in April, Michael will be at this year’s annual SF/F Eastercon convention where he’ll be chairing a couple of panels.

And lastly, as a treat for his fans, Michael is running a little competition to give away copies of the Seeds of Earth mass market edn. On ruminating his test question, Michael says he swung ‘between absurdly easy (how many letters are there in Greg’s surname and can you chew gum and walk at the same time?) or arcanely obscure (what is the Irish Gaelic translation of the 5th word on the 9th line on page 156?)’ but ultimately he went for something inbetween, and see here for more details. The deadline is 28th Jan … unless he changes it.

Looks like Michael has a busy Spring season ahead, and we’ll be keeping an eye on his rather stellar trajectory. Go Mike!

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