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Descent by Ken MacLeod


Author of 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award-nominated Intrusion tells a science fiction story for the twenty-first century – what happens when conspiracy theorists meet Big Brother?
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The start of a brand new epic fantasy trilogy from the author of the Stormlord series – full of scheming, spying, action and adventure.
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Orbit Links for July 25 2008

Welcome to our regular Friday links round-up. Plenty to get through this week, so without further ado:

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…)


Marie Brennan talks to’s Omnivoracious

Jeff VanderMeer put six questions to Marie Brennan, author of Midnight Never Come [UK/US], for a piece on the blog, Omnivoracious.

Marie answers questions on her academic background in archaeology and folklore and how that helps her writing to develop and maintain a sense of perspective and separation from twenty-first century modes of thought and belief, as well as explaining her fascination for exploring the under-city of London. She even comes up with a survival plan for being stranded beneath the city with no hope of rescue.

Check out the piece at

Orbit’s 300th Post! And our Top 30 items to-date…

According to our content-management system (and we have no reason to believe that it would lie to us) this is the 300th post to go out on the Orbit website since we launched it back in March last year.

To celebrate, we thought we’d take the opportunity to consult with our traffic analytics software and run off a list of our Top 30 content items to-date. Looks like you folks really like your extracts! Well, we hear you, and we’ll make sure we keep them coming.

We’d also love to hear which articles you, our readers, have particularly enjoyed. Any hidden gems or more recent pieces that didn’t quite make the Top 30, for instance? Please feel free to use the comments below to let us know what sort of content you’d like to see more of (or less of – we can take it!) on the site.

And now, without further ado, here are those Top 30 items since March 2007:

  1. Read an extract from Matter by Iain M Banks
  2. Read an extract from Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley
  3. Read an extract from Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin
  4. Read an extract from Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross
  5. Priestess of the Write: An Interview with Trudi Canavan
  6. Read an extract from The Electric Church by Jeff Somers
  7. Read an extract from The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
  8. The Wheel of Time Continues to Turn
  9. Announcement of Robert Jordan‘s passing
  10. Read an extract from Black Ships by Jo Graham
  11. Read an extract from Debatable Space by Philip Palmer
  12. Read an extract from Empress by Karen Miller
  13. Read an extract from The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller
  14. Orbit announces plans to expand in the US and UK
  15. Mike Carey on camera
  16. Introducing The Last Wish
  17. Tom Holt Talks Time Travel
  18. The Escapement arrives
  19. Read an extract from The Devil’s Right Hand by Lilith Saintcrow
  20. Introducing Matter
  21. Urban Fantasy come true
  22. Orbit acquires Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
  23. Just another day at the office… IN HELL!
  24. Standing Out or Fitting In? Tim Holman on Orbit cover art
  25. The bestselling debut of 2007 – The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller
  26. Devi Pillai reports from World Fantasy 2007
  27. Orbit in Australia
  28. Fiona MacIntosh‘s video-intro for Odalisque
  29. Orbit acquires two more books in Jim Butcher‘s Dresden Files series
  30. Best Summer SF Reads in The Times

New-look website goes live

We’ve just re-launched the UK website of mega-bestselling author Stephenie Meyer, whose Twilight saga is published in the UK by Orbit’s sister-imprint, Atom.

It looks a lot like this: Screenshot

The fourth book of the saga, Breaking Dawn, will be published in the UK on August 4th and there are launch-day events taking place right across the UK – see this news item on the site for details of events taking place at bookstores in your area.

Second Iain [M] Banks Q&A session – questions wanted!

Iain [M] Banks enjoyed providing answers for his first email Q&A session so much that he’s asked us to set up another one right away.

And so, without further ado, we hereby call for all you Banks-fans and readers to send in your questions for Iain. Visit the official Iain Banks website for more information, general guidelines etc.

A Case for ARGs

Hello. May I take your order?

Over at Annalee Newitz has an interesting article on ARGs and pop culture marketing – The Argument Against ARGs. While she acknowledges that ARGs can be fun, she’s bothered by the ways that they blur marketing and entertainment.

“… what I’d like to see are ARGs for their own sakes — ARGs that involve fans not because they give away posters or free showings, but because they are genuinely compelling tales that you actually want to interact with.”

Jeff Somers has built small-scale ARGs for his books The Digital Plague and The Electric Church – both of which are extensions of the universe he’s created. For The Electric Church he scripted a story that involved a Monk and a hacker fighting for control of the “official” website of the Electric Church. The ARG was solved by the folks at Unfiction, and it’s still available for anyone willing to try and unlock its secrets. In solving the puzzle the player “wins” a resolution to the story the site is telling through its puzzles.
Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Carey review and interview at FantasyBookCritic

Vicious Circle by Mike Carey, UK PaperbackOver at FantasyBookCritic, blogger Robert Thompson has posted a hugely complimentary review of the second of Mike Carey‘s Felix Castor novels, Vicious Circle, which we published back in 2006 (and have since followed up with volume three in the series, Dead Men’s Boots).

Robert says:

Vicious Circle … makes a strong case for being one of the top urban fantasy novels released this year. Simply put, I think Mike Carey is one of the most exciting new authors in supernatural fiction today and I can’t recommend the Felix Castor series enough.”

He’s also added an email interview conducted with Mike, which includes an update on a number of writing projects (including a fifth Felix Castor novel), the progress on a couple of film projects, his many comics-related interests, and what Mike sees as the future of fiction in printed form.

Check out the full review an interview at

Lilith Saintcrow – Comicon and beyond!

Well, not beyond really, but Lilith Saintcrow will be at Comicon in San Diego! She’ll be on the “Looking at Our World: Eye on the Present” panel along with Kelley Armstrong, L. A. Banks, Kate Brallier, Marjorie M. Liu, C. E. Murphy, Justine Musk, and moderator Samantha Sommersby ( Room 3). That’s a veritable who’s who of urban fantasy stars, so if you’re a fan this is a can’t miss event.

And stop by the Orbit booth to get your books signed and to pick up a sweet Orcs pin, which will likely be handed to you by a bedraggled looking guy with a few days’ old beard (me). You can also get some great stuff from our friends at Grand Central Publishing, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, and Yen Press. For a complete listing of HBGUSA events at Comicon, including panels with Stephenie Meyer, Jacqueline Carey, Brad Meltzer, Method Man and more, download our event schedule here.

If you can’t make it to Comicon, you can still catch up with Lilith at her sparklingly redesigned site, – and stay tuned for a free, never before seen serialized novel coming very soon.

First Iain Banks Q&A posted at

We’ve just posted the write-up of the first email Q&A session with Iain [M] Banks, over at his official website,

In case you missed the announcement first time around, we invited readers of this site and to submit their questions for Iain – ideally something other than the usual sort of thing he tends to be asked at readings and convention appearances all the time – and then we selected a half-dozen question to put to Iain.

So, if you’d like to know which Culture character Iain would choose to write a novella on, or whether Iain would ever write a science-fiction novel that wasn’t filled with war and violence, or even which parts of Scotland Iain recommends for a visitor who’s also a fan of his books, then is the place to head to next.

Ken MacLeod podcast interview at

The Night Sessions UK HardbackKen MacLeod is the subject of the latest podcast interview at

The discussion ranges across a number of subjects, including Ken’s new novel, The Night Sessions, which we’re publishing in the UK next month, and his previous title, The Execution Channel, which we published in paperback back in March.

Interviewer John C Snider also discusses with Ken how it feels to be nominated for awards, his current thematic interest in writing near-future speculation with an alternate-history twist, Heim theory, Ken’s politics (and how his views affect his writing), new media, blogging, how The Night Sessions was (partly) inspired by a U2 video, and much more.

Download the full 40-minute podcast file by visiting

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