- - July 28th, 2009
It’s winter down here and most of the Orbit Antipodean’s are in writing hibernation.
Sean Williams , however, stepped out of his cave to accept the Peter McNamara Award for Excellence at The Australian National Convention in Adelaide. The Peter Mac is awarded at the discretion of the convenors for a particular achievement in speculative fiction or related areas. This award may take into account a body of work or achievements over a number of years; it can also be for a work of non-fiction, artwork, electronic or multimedia work, film or TV, or that which brings credit or attention to the speculative fiction genres. The award was originally known as the Convenors’ Award for Excellence and was renamed in 2002 after Peter McNamara (d 2004), publisher, editor and the original Aurealis Awards convenor, shortly after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Ian Irvine is working furiously on the first book of his new fantasy trilogy for Orbit, which he will be delivering later this year. The first book of his Well of Echoes quartet, Die Geomantin, is now out in Germany with the others to appear at four-month intervals. And The Destiny of the Dead, the final in Ian’s Song of the Tears trilogy and in his 11-book Three Worlds sequence (for now) has been well received. This from SFX: “Unbelievably, Ian Irvine has managed to increase the pace in this final volume in the Song of the Tears series… For sheer excitement, there’s just no one else like Ian Irvine around at the moment.” Read the rest of this entry »
- - July 23rd, 2009
Orbit is pleased to note that this September, you’ll be able to hear as well as read Iain M. Banks’ forthcoming novel TRANSITION. Little, Brown UK announced today that the audio version will be simultaneously released as a free serialized podcast, starting on publication day, September 3.
After the first installment, there will be 23 further 15-minute episodes released on iTunes in the US and UK, every Thursday and Saturday for 12 weeks, until the entire novel is available.
Maja Thomas, vice president of digital publishing for Hachette Livre said “Hachette Digital is very pleased to participate in this collaborative marketing on an author we’re publishing internationally, and to bring Iain Banks to new listeners through iTunes.”
And, what does Mr. Banks have to say? “I had barely caught up with the later half of the Twentieth Century when here I am being ensnarled by gizmology from the Twenty-First. I am left breathless by the pace of technology.”
- - July 23rd, 2009
We are happy to note that Orbit publisher Tim Holman has launched a new blog, The Publisher Files. His latest post regards the digital market, including USA Today’s decision to begin including Kindle e-book sales in its weekly bestseller lists. He will try, he notes, “to pass on occasional words of publishing wisdom.”
Understatement, we’d call that; fix your bookmarks now.
- - July 21st, 2009
We asked for your help coming up with the worst title for the most awesomely bad cover ever, and you responded with over 350 entries! There are some truly inspired offerings that didn’t make the cut, but cut we must, and so without further ado we present, in no particular order, the best of the worst.
- The Thing with the Glass Buttock
- Rise of the Fallen, Book Seven, The Pre-Antepenultimate Battle
- A Stain Upon The Vastness
- Across a Trembling Sea the Cyborg Fairies Dance
- An Old Dragon, A Dead Witch, and a Fat Guy: The Third Book of Stories that Go Nowhere.
Click here to vote for your favorite using our woefully unscientific poll.
Read the rest of this entry »
- - July 21st, 2009
In a literary feud certain to divide the genre, Joe Abercrombie, author of Best Served Cold (US) and Brent Weeks, author of the Night Angel Trilogy (US|UK|AUS) , have thrown down the gauntlets, stomped their boots threateningly, and now meet in the gladiatorial arena of Babel Clash.
Their first disagreement involves blogging, naturally.
Says Brent: “J.R.R. didn’t blog; George R. R. does. William Shakespeare didn’t; Joe Abercrombie does. Need I say more?”
Responds Joe: “J.R.R. would definitely have blogged had he had the technology available, but he was totally a console guy, played way too much Halo, and wouldn’t allow a PC in his home. Shakespeare? Have you read the sonnets? Obviously primitive blogs. Some of them he even printed out from his Sinclair ZX80, they have some of the original silvery whorls of printer tape in a glass case in the foyer of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford. FACT.”
Be sure to tune in over the next two weeks as these two new stars of fantasy put the CLASH in Babel Clash.
- - July 20th, 2009
George R. R. Martin weighs in:
Joe Abercrombie’s BEST SERVED COLD is a bloody and relentless epic of vengeance and obsession in the grand tradition, a kind of splatterpunk sword ‘n sorcery COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, Dumas by way of Moorcock. His cast features tyrants and torturers, a pair of poisoners, a serial killer, a treacherous drunk, a red-handed warrior and a blood-soaked mercenary captain. And those are the good guys. Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, could teach even Gully Foyle and Kirth Gersen a few things about revenge. The battles are vivid and visceral, the action brutal, the pace headlong, and Abercrombie piles the betrayals, reversals, and plot twists one atop another to keep us guessing how it will all come out. This is his best book yet. All that’s missing is a map.
- - July 17th, 2009
The first two Codex Alera novels were faced with with a considerable disadvantage–the main protagonist was a child.
Now granted, this is hardly anything new when it comes to fantasy protagonists, but it
does present a writer with a number of challenges which adult characters do not. Children have, generally speaking, much less ability to affect the environment about them, and are forced to go about the pursuit of their goals in very different ways.
Cursor’s Fury marks a turning point in the Codex Alera for two reasons. First, because the main protagonist, Tavi, has become a functioning adult–a young one, true, but he has earned a considerable amount of trust and responsibility through his actions in the first two books. Second, because all of the intrigue and covert planning that happen throughout the first two books begin to boil over into open conflict, not just for Tavi, but for all the realm of Alera.
Tavi finds himself forced to become an adult very rapidly, and must take upon himself far more serious (and dangerous) tasks than he or his instructors had ever imagined. This time, Tavi’s wits alone might not be enough to carry the day, and the young Cursor will find himself tested to his limits and beyond.
I *loved* writing this book. It was a tremendous amount of fun. I sincerely hope that you get half as much enjoyment out of reading this story as I did out of writing it.
The Rogue Agent series is my chance to combine two of my favourite genres — fantasy and mystery. I suppose it started with the question — what happens when the most ordinary and unassuming person discovers they have more power than anyone should ever possess? How does that change them? How do they stay sane, stay the same, when so many of the rules no longer apply to them? That was the driving question that got the series started, and it’s the answering and exploring of that question that gives the series its momentum.
But it’s not all deep and philosophically serious. The Rogue Agent series also allows me to have some out-and-out fun, introducing humorous elements to the story while still keeping it grounded in drama. Just as important, for me its characters are a family, and I love exploring the dynamics of family. I love throwing my characters in the deep end, too, and watching what happens as they try to swim before they sink.
In fact, I think it’s fair to say that the main reason I’m enjoying the series so much is because of these characters. Sometimes it feels like I’m a fly on the wall taking dictation. Someone starts talking, someone else chimes in, and the next thing I know it’s a dingdong free-for-all with Reg being sarcastic and Melissande taking her to task and Bibbie squabbling with her brother Monk and poor old Gerald stuck in the middle like the ringmaster of the craziest circus ever, trying to keep everyone and everything on track. And then prowling around the outside, the mysterious Sir Alec — who knows more than he’s telling about a great many things, and who has a few secrets of his own to protect.
At the end of the day, I love writing these books and it’s my hope that readers will love them a lot too.
Cursor’s Fury: the Codex Alera Book Three [UK] and Witches Incorporated: the Rogue Agent Book Two [UK|US] are both out this month, available from all good bookshops.
Australian fans of Jim Butcher – don’t miss Furies of Calderon, Codex Alera Book One coming September to Orbit Auz.
- - July 16th, 2009
Hand of Isis is the next book from Jo Graham that we are repackaging for the mass market version. If you’ll recall the cover launch for Black Ships, Mario Pulice and Debra Lill had designed lovely covers for the original trade paperback version, but we wanted to go with a more traditional fantasy look for the new versions and commissioned new artwork from the famous, and fabulous, John Jude Palencar.
Black Ships and Hand of Isis definitely go together, but I wouldn’t call them a series, exactly. You can read either first, but as you read more of the books (I am lucky enough to have already read the next book, Stealing Fire, which comes out in 2010) you will realize that while the characters are different, the souls of the characters appear again and again. But you don’t need to know anything about that to enjoy any of the books alone. They’re just fabulous historical fiction, with a fantasy leaning. If you like Mists of Avalon, this is definitely up your alley. Jo Graham’s great accomplishment on these is the very personal perspective her characters give you on famous events everyone already knows the story to. Read the rest of this entry »
- July 15th, 2009
This month sees the re-release of The Summoning (UK/ANZ), the first book in Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers series. It’s got a new cover to fall in line with the look we’ve given to its sequel The Awakening (UK/ ANZ), and we think it’s super-stylish. The reviewers have had some great things to say about what’s inside the covers too – here’s what Melissa Marr, author of Wicked Lovely has to say about the book:
Action, danger, supernatural secrets, and a hint of romance – Armstrong’s world is one in which trusting the wrong person can have dire consequences. You’ll be desperate for a sequel.
And DeathRay have been equally complimentary, calling it:
A punchy opening to the series, benefitting from strong characterisation and atmosphere.
The Summoning sees Kelley Armstrong returning to the Otherworld, but this time from a teenage perspective. Read the rest of this entry »
- - July 15th, 2009
We’d like to note the passing of and fondly remember Charles N. Brown, founder and longtime editor of Locus magazine, who died July 12. His numerous opinions regarding sf, fantasy, its practitioners, its critics, and its media spinoffs are well recalled, by both those with whom he agreed and with whom he disagreed. It is impossible to overstate his influence on the development of the field during the past forty years.
Charles passed away in his sleep, peacefully, on his way back from Readercon, having just seen many of his friends. Ave atque vale.