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How a Story Works

Stories are interesting things. Trying to figure out how they work has been one of the more pleasant obsessions of my recent (and so far, brief) life.

I used to think that a story was just a chain of events, arranged and presented in a manner meant to be interesting to the reader. This was back when my thinking process was pretty rudimentary. I still thought No Fear shirts were cool, for example. My concept of stories was limited mostly to “How does A get from point B to point C?” I pretty much thought of them as a math problem, but with interesting setpieces and maybe, if I was lucky, some sex.

But at some point in time this changed. Read the rest of this entry »

Available now, your extract of Ian Irvine’s THE DESTINY OF THE DEAD

Ian Irvine has been impressing with his latest mighty trilogy, as you can see from SFX’s review for The Destiny of the Dead, the fabulous conclusion to The Song of the Tears books:

‘Thanks to Irvine’s light prose and insane sense of entertainment the story fairly flies off the page … Even the ending doesn’t let up — the series of dastardly twists leave you frazzled and you’re grateful for the warm fuzzy feeling on the last page. For sheer excitement there’s just no one else like Irvine around at the moment’

But Ian Irvine is no stranger to great reviews, as these comments on previous books show:
‘ Epic, non-stop action adventure’ — Starburst
‘An intense story … a worldbuilding labour of love with some truly original touches’ — Locus
‘A page-turner of the highest order … Irvine can now consider himself comfortably ranked next to the works of Robert Jordan and David Eddings. Formidable’ — SFX

And to find out what all the fuss is about, click HERE for your Destiny of the Dead extract.

      

An extract from BEYOND THE WALL OF TIME

There’s more extracty goodness coming up for you right HERE, in the form of a chapter 1 excerpt from Beyond the Wall of Time (UK/US), the stunning conclusion to Russell Kirkpatrick‘s Broken Man trilogy.

See our previous post if you’d like to find out more.

Get your extract of Jim Butcher’s PRINCEPS’ FURY here

So now that we all have a bit more time in our diaries to do things that don’t revolve around eating, buying presents and fitting in drinks with everyone you’ve ever known into a two week period, how about a spot of reading???

And to start you off, please click HERE for an extract for Princeps’ Fury (UK I ANZ), the fifth instalment of the Codex Alera, Jim Butcher’s powerful Romanesque fantasy. Praise for the series has been tremendous, and here are a couple more quotes for Princeps’ Fury to tempt you further:

The rousing fifth instalment of Butcher’s military fantasy cycle finds the land of Alera recovering from Lord Kalaruss’ rebellion, an invasion by the wolven Canim and a bloody slave revolt … No less powerful than his intense battle scenes, Butchers vivid characterizations, based on ancient Roman Republican ideals, range from duty-honor-country austerity in battle to brilliant peacemaking’
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Once again, Jim Butcher has created a masterpiece of high fantasy. The many battlefronts create an atmosphere of adventure that will sweep you up in the excitement that is Codex Alera’
SFSite.com

The last book, First Lord’s Fury (UK I ANZ) will be out in May this year so you won’t have long to wait for the next one!

Books are for Life, Not Just for Christmas

As we settle in to the New Year, and start looking ahead to some of the fantastic books 2010 is sure to bring us, it behooves us to remember that all of the books cramming the shelves before 25th December are still available. Owing to a warehouse move, our January titles won’t be published until the 21st of the month, so while we wait for the extraordinary array of new releases and exciting new editions of existing favourites, let us remind you of the wonderful titles we published in December 2009.  

In alphabetical order (for who would dare choose among them?!), Orbit’s December stars were:  

Jim Butcher, with Princeps’ Fury, the fifth volume of his bestselling Roman-influenced fantasy, The Codex Alera. (UK / ANZ)
After bitter fighting, Tavi of Calderon has eventually forged an alliance with Alera’s oldest foes, the savage Canim, and he must escort them on their long sea-voyage home. This will strain their fragile accord – but the worst is yet to come . . .  


‘Absorbing fantasy…an abundance of convincing detail’ Publishers Weekly
  


Full Circle, the final volume of Pamela Freeman’s wonderful Castings Trilogy. (UK / ANZ / US)
Saker has devoted himself to dark enchantments and desires nothing but vengeance. And vengeance he has in abundance. His ghost army is slaughtering those of the new blood, fuelled by an ancient wrong. But while Saker had thought revenge would be simple, he’s now plagued by voices foreshadowing a calamity beyond his comprehension . . .  

‘An impressively different fantasy novel’ Sydney Morning Herald
 
  
The conclusion to Charlie Huston’s acclaimed Joe Pitt sequence, My Dead Body. (UK / ANZ)
Manhattan’s Vampyre clans have at last abandoned any claims on civility and have finally sprung fully for each others’ throats. The carefully maintained peace is forgotten. When the stakes are this high, there can be no neutrality – only winners and losers. But when the blood stops flowing, what side will Joe Pitt be on . . . ?  

‘One of the most remarkable prose stylists to emerge from the noir tradition in this century’ Stephen King

 
Ian Irvine’s triumphant conclusion to the climactic Song of the Tears trilogy, Destiny of the Dead. (UK)
Nish and his remaining allies are trapped on the Range of Ruin, surrounded by the relentless army of his father, the God-Emperor. And Nish’s choices seem limited: a humiliating surrender, or a suicidal fight to the death . . .   

 

‘For sheer excitement, there’s just no-one else like Irvine around at the moment’ SFX

  
And finally, Beyond the Wall of Time, the shattering conclusion to Russell Kirkpatrick’s majestic second trilogy, The Broken Man. (UK /US)
The wall of time has fallen, leaving the Gods free to indulge their hunger for violence. Few know of their escape into mortal lands – and these few struggle against the control of the malevolent mage Husk and with their own problems.  

 
‘Not since Tolkien have I been so awed’ Trudi Canavan
 
 

 A fine way to see out the year, we’re sure you’ll agree. Stay tuned for some first chapter extracts.

Listen to N.K. Jemisin

This week the wonderful people at Podcastle, the audio fantasy fiction magazine, have brought us ‘Narcomancer’, a novelette from the very talented N.K. Jemisin. In the author’s own words,

“It’s set in a secondary world that consciously evokes ancient Egypt and Nubia. And the Jungian collective unconscious. And some other stuff.

Take a listen here, and if you like what you’re hearing, check out N. K. Jemisin’s debut fantasy novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (UK/US/ANZ), published next month.

Oh, and just a warning from the author about the podcast: ‘Rated R for smex and violence’. Now you’ll just have to check it out!

Deals and Deliveries: new dark fantasies by Tim Lebbon

We are delighted to report that Orbit UK has acquired two exciting new dark fantasy stand-alones from award-winning author Tim Lebbon. These are scheduled for UK and Commonwealth release in Summer 2011 and Spring 2012, in B-format paperback.

Tim Lebbon’s author’s credits include four British Fantasy Society Awards, the Bram Stoker Award for short fiction and a Scribe Award for the author’s novelisation of the movie 30 Days of Night. The latter was also a New York Times bestseller. So, as you can tell, we’re really looking forward to these! And we’ll start out with Echo City Falls, a richly gritty tale of a city in crisis…

It hides below Echo City, a threat that has been growing over generations deep beneath the streets. The corrupt wheels of commerce, the murky cycles of political rise and fall and the rivalries of religious and military sects have intersected efficiently over the ages, filling specialised niches in a rigidly organised society. But this is about to change. As darkness stirs in the depths, a stranger arrives from across the desert that isolates Echo City from the rest of the world. Watchers have long whispered of the destruction of their city and search for something that will keep them from it. Madmen and spirits of the dead have foretold disaster and looked for a saviour. But no one expected either in this lifetime.

Labyrinthine, steeped in violent history and hiding horrors far below, the city starts to unravel as the plot gathers momentum to reach a dramatic and compulsive conclusion.

Cover Launch: fabulous new visuals for Marjorie Liu’s urban fantasy

We’ve now had in the final finishing touches to some covers that have been lovingly tweaked and tended over the last few months, and here is the result:

Fabulous, I think you’ll find! And the Hunter Kiss series will be released rapidly over four months, starting with The Iron Hunt in May this year. So, here is a little something on that first book:

During the day, Maxine’s tattoos are her armour and she is invincible. At night they peel from her skin to take on forms of their own, leaving her human and vulnerable – and showing themselves as demons sleeping beneath her skin. But these demons are the best friends and bodyguards a woman could have. And Maxine needs bodyguards. She is the last in a line of woman with power in their blood, trained to keep the world safe from malignant beings who would do us harm.

But ten thousand years after its creation, the prison dimension that kept the worst of these from us is failing, and all the Wardens save Maxine are dead. She must bear the burden of her bloodline and join the last wild hunt against the enemy.

And here is some praise for Marjorie M. Liu and her Hunter Kiss sequence:

  • ‘Excellent … I look forward to reading the further adventures of Maxine Kiss’
    SFRevu.com
  • ‘From the imagination of one of today’s most talented authors comes a mesmerizing, darkly disturbing world on the brink of apocalypse’
    Romantic Times
  • ‘A stunning new urban fantasy series from an author who never ceases to amaze’
    Booklist
  • ‘High-speed action … creative and well-written’
    Darque Reviews

Deals and Deliveries: New Philip Palmer acquisition

We are tremendously excited to have acquired world rights in two new books by the talented Philip Palmer for Orbit, to be published on both sides of the Atlantic by Orbit UK and Orbit US. The first book, Hell Ship, will be a dramatic tale of pirates in space and will feature exploring, discovering, scouting and also killing, looting, and annihilating. Hell Ship will be appearing in a book store near you in Spring 2011, with the next book scheduled for Autumn 2011.

However, you don’t have to wait that long to enjoy more of Palmer’s larger-than-life characters, dark humour and cleverly sinister plotting. Version 43 is already on our schedules for Autumn 2010 and is an explosive adventure of death and robots on a violent frontier world.

Or read Red Claw (UK I US), out now, which is ‘hard not to warm to’ and ‘full of ideas’ according to the latest issue of SciFiNow. And we’d certainly agree with SciFiNow that Red Claw ‘deserves the plaudits it has received’ as there have indeed been many most glorious reviews for this book.

Author post

Sensual SF

Science fiction is the literature of ideas; it’s a genre where the concept is king.

But that’s not all there is to SF.  It’s a major element – all my favourite SF books are rich in great concepts that challenge the imagination, and make the reader think.   But science fiction can also be sensual.  It can make your skin prickle.  It can make your pulse race.  It can make you feel. Read the rest of this entry »

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