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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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Jennifer Rardin talks to Brian Ruckley

Bloodheir by Brian RuckleyOver at Jennifer Rardin‘s website, she’s posted the latest in her ongoing series of blog-interviews with fellow authors.

In her latest post, Jennifer talks to fellow Orbit author Brian Ruckley – to mark the occasion of the publication of his second novel, Bloodheir [UK/US] – about the villains in his Godless World series, the main themes that run through the books, his world-building techniques, travel preferences… all sorts of things.

Read the full interview at


Read an excerpt from Ken MacLeod’s ‘The Night Sessions’

The Night Sessions UK HardbackAugust 2008 sees the UK publication of Ken MacLeod‘s brand new novel, The Night Sessions.

With a near(-ish) future setting that will definitely appeal to fans of both Ken’s last novel, The Execution Channel and Charles Stross’ recent Orbit title, Halting State, The Night Sessions tells the story of the apparent resurgence of anti-religious terrorism, fifteen years after ‘The Faith Wars’ (or ‘The Oil Wars’, depending on your point of view) and the Second Enlightenment that followed have radically altered the political and philosophical outlook of the world we know.

It’s packed full of Ken MacLeod trademarks: a mystery to unravel; one that’s wrapped in a slant-wise look at where the world might end up if the current tide of religious fundamentalism continues. And all laced with the sort of dry, laconic wit that regular MacLeod fans will know well and new readers will warm to immediately.

We’re publishing in hardback at £18.99, but if you’d like to get an early free sample, head on over to, where you’ll find an excerpt from the first chapter: meet Edinburgh-based Detective Inspector Adam Ferguson and his leki-partner. Leki? Read it and see…

Plenty more from Ken MacLeod over at his blog: The Early Days of a Better Nation.

Brian Ruckley Interview Over at A Dribble of Ink

Brian Ruckley is over at A Dribble of Ink talking to Aidan about his new book Bloodheir:

Alright Brian, let’s get the easy question out of the way. Why should readers give a damn about your upcoming release Bloodheir?

Well I imagine those predisposed to give a damn (to whom I am, of course, inordinately grateful) already do so, and don’t need me to tell them why they should. As far as everyone else is concerned … what can I say? Although perfection remains, unsurprisingly, out of reach, I think I’m improving as a writer, bit by little bit. It’s got one or two plot developments that I really don’t believe many reasonable readers will have seen coming (plus, of course, one or two that they probably will…). And it’s got another lovely cover, just like Winterbirth did, so it’ll look grand on your bookshelf. Come to that, it’ll look great anywhere, so even if you’re only in the market for a cool-looking doorstop, it should fit the bill nicely.

Bloodheir (UK/US) is available at all good bookshops now. Check out our Facebook competition for a chance to win a free copy!

i09 at the Beach

Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross UK hbCharles Stross’ upcoming Saturn’s Children makes’s list of the Twelve Books You Should Read at the Beach This Summer. Though we say why limit yourself to the beach? It’s just as good on the train to and from the office!

Saturn’s Children is available from all good bookshops this July. You can read an advance excerpt here now.

Iain [M] Banks Q&A session – send us your questions!

Iain Banks author portraitIn a few weeks’ time, the one and only Iain [M] Banks will be participating in an email QandA session, which will be conducted via the official Iain Banks website at We’re therefore looking for a selection of interesting, intelligent questions to put to him.

So if you’ve got a burning issue that you’d like Iain to address, or if there’s something that’s intrigued you about his recent work, or a question that’s been lurking in the back of your mind ever since you read one of his earliest novels that you’d now like to bring into the light of day, then this is your chance.

Send your best question (just one per correspondent, please), by email, to, with the subject line ‘Iain [M] Banks QandA Suggestion’. The deadline for submissions for this first session is July 9th. After that date, the half-dozen or so queries that – in the collective opinion of the team here at Orbit / Abacus – are the most interesting and / or intriguing will be put to Mr Banks for consideration. The resulting answers will then be posted to in due course.

We’re hoping that this will be the first of a number of regular Q&A sessions with Iain, so don’t worry if you can’t think of something fascinating to ask him straight away; why not mull it over a bit and maybe submit it to us for the next round?

Six chances to win with

Marie Brennan - Midnight Never Come (UK)The sixth and final question in our Midnight Never Come themed prize quiz went live on Friday, on the Competition Gallery page over at

Correctly unravelling all six cryptic clues will grant you six entries to our email sweepstake. The competition will remain open for entries until midnight (GMT) on June 30, after which the over-all winner and runners-up will be drawn at random from the correct entries received.

So, you still have a week to puzzle out the answers and make sure you’re in the running for the £250 / $500 book voucher first prize..! What are you waiting for?!

[P.S. Don't forget, if you wish to gain entry to Invidiana's court, you'll need to look to the moon...]

Orbit Links for June 20 2008

Welcome to our weekly round-up of links of interest featuring Orbit authors that we’ve spotted elsewhere on the WWW (or have been pointed out to us) in the past seven days:

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…)

Iain M Banks and Ken MacLeod at EIBF 2008

Matter by Iain M BanksThe Edinburgh International Book Festival recently published its 2008 events schedule, which includes appearances by Orbit authors Iain M. Banks and Ken MacLeod.

Iain will be appearing on Wednesday August 13th, from 8.00 to 9.00 p.m. in a session billed as ‘The Biggart Bailey Event’, to talk about his latest novel, Matter [UK / US]. Tickets are £9 (£7 conc.) and are on-sale as of this morning; if you head on over to and run a search for ‘Iain Banks’ the details should pop right up*.

Ken will be taking part in a couple of EIBF events this year: at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday 17th August he’ll be appearing at Pepper’s Theatre in a ‘Fine Fiction’ talk about his latest Orbit title, The Execution Channel [UK]. Tickets for this event are £9 (£7 conc.) as well. And at 5.30 p.m. he’ll be part of the line-up for the ‘Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers Series’ event, the tickets for which are free and available from the festival box office on the day of the event.

*The EIBF schedule website is a bit sticky at the moment, with tickets having gone on sale today, but there’s a pdf copy of the full schedule at if you’d like more information on the events and are having trouble connecting.

[Thanks to DaveH of Iain Banks fanzine 'The Banksoniain' for the heads-up.]

Why Pamela Freeman hates the olden times…

Blood Ties by Pamela Freeman When Pamela Freeman was in the UK recently, we had a fascinating conversation about technology in fantasy (I felt quite awed at her knowledge!). And Pamela promised to write down some of her thoughts on the subject for our blog. So, in honour of Blood Ties (UK/US), her debut fantasy out this month, here it is:

Do you ever get the feeling that most epic fantasy is set in the same time? Olden times – vaguely pre-industrial, vaguely medieval, vaguely Dark Ages … often a bit of each. One example I read recently – a society which had tailored jackets but no socks!

So often, fantasy authors stick technologies from widely different times together as though every culture prior to the invention of the steam engine was the same. The point of history is that things change – and this includes technology.

Technology! I hear you exclaim. They didn’t have technology then!

But they did. It didn’t use electricity, but it was technology nonetheless.

Read the rest of this entry »

Laurell K Hamilton’s ‘Blood Noir’ storms UK book charts

Blood Noir by Laurell K HamiltonThis week’s official stats are in and we’re delighted to announce that Blood Noir [UK], the latest instalment in Laurell K. Hamilton‘s legendary Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, has just spent its third week at the top of the UK Hardback SF/Fantasy best-seller charts, according to figures produced by Nielsen Bookdata.

Hearty congratulations to Laurell on topping the UK SF&F charts yet again and proving that, when it comes to urban fantasy, Anita Blake – the original kick-ass heroine – is still number one!

For more information on Blood Noir, visit the catalogue page of the Little, Brown website. For more on Laurell K Hamilton, visit her official homepage at

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