- - December 11th, 2008
Calling all Iain [M] Banks fans: we’ve just relaunched the Iain [M] Banks fan forum over at www.iainbanksforum.net.
It’s open for registration to former forum members and anyone new who’d like to hang out and talk about the many and varied works of Iain Banks (or Iain M Banks). Do head on over and open an account.
Please do be aware, though: new accounts have to be moderated by the Forum Admin – that’s me! – which means they’ll generally be approved during UK office hours (although I’ll be checking in at weekends as well, time permitting).
This new site replaces the old and largely defunct fan forum, which had been closed to new members for some time and is due to be discontinued at some point in the near future. For those who like to know these things, the new forum is running on Jelsoft’s vBulletin system, which includes all the forum features you’d expect to see on a modern bulletin board: everything from custom avatars and user-titles to user-generated polls.
If you have any questions about the new forum, then please feel free to send a PM (private message) to the Forum Admin account, or to one of the forum’s two volunteer moderators, ‘edash’ or ‘rac’.
Hope to see you there!
- - December 10th, 2008
Hello everybody, I’ve just started as the Creative Director of the newly-created Orbit and Yen Press Art Department in the US. Prior to this, Orbit’s covers have been handled by the fabulous Little Brown Art Department, and they did a great job. However, now that Orbit is technically a separate division from Little Brown (and growing in leaps and bounds), it’s time for Orbit to have its very own dedicated art team. I thought it would be a nice introduction to my personal and professional taste to review a few of my favorite Orbit covers so far. It’s only been a little over a year of publishing in the US, but Orbit has already been pushing the envelope in their cover designs. This is very exciting for me as a book designer, but also as a fan. I’ve been a sci-fi/fantasy reader all my life, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t know a lot of the genre’s covers were more of a punchline than a selling point. In the last ten years, not only has the genre stepped both feet into popular culture with the influx of genre-influenced movies & TV shows, but the public at large has become much more design-aware. I think that means there’s a world of room to have covers that are recognizable to traditional genre readers and be attractive, well-designed, visually exciting covers. That said, let’s get started!
Read the rest of this entry »
- - December 8th, 2008
A boy goes on a journey. This theme, or variations on it, has long dominated epic fantasy offerings. However, the Broken Man Trilogy, of which Dark Heart is the second volume, features as its main character a man who never leaves the building. Like a spider, he sits and waits for his prey to come to him.
Chief among his prey is a character I’ve had more email about than any other: Lenares the cosmographer. Readers love her quirkiness and the way she thinks and behaves, so different to standard fantasy characters. I was excited the day I thought of her, and I remain excited by what she’s becoming. Her gradual realisation of the web of danger ahead of her, and the ways she chooses to deal with it, earn this book its title. Dark Heart is, well, the darkest novel I’ve written.
Before the story is over each character has to answer the question: how many wrongs am I prepared to entertain in order to do what’s right? The various answers drive the book along at an ever-increasing pace; and as for the ending … ‘cruel’ is a fair description.
‘Middle’ novels of fantasy trilogies are supposed to be difficult to write. This one fair flew on to the screen. I’m delighted by Dark Heart and I’m sure you will be too.
Dark Heart by Russell Kirkpatrick is, as Russell says, the second part of the Broken Man Trilogy and is out now from Orbit in the UK and US. The first part of the trilogy is entitled Path of Revenge [UK | USA] and the conclusion, Beyond the Wall of Time is due for publication next year.
Find out more about Russell Kirkpatrick and his published work to date, over at www.russellkirkpatrick.com.
- - December 8th, 2008
Many congratulations to three of our Australian authors whose novels have been named on the shortlists for the 2008 Aurealis Awards – recognising the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers – as follows:
- Chaos Space by Marianne de Pierres for Best Science Fiction Novel
- Earth Ascendant by Sean Williams for Best Science Fiction Novel
- The Riven Kingdom by Karen Miller for Best Fantasy Novel
Sean Williams has also been shortlisted in three other categories: Best Collection (for Magic Dirt: The Best of Sean Williams from Ticonderoga Publications), Best Young Adult Novel (for The Changeling from Angus & Robertson) and Best Children’s 8-12 Years (for The Changeling sequel volume Dust Devils).
The Winners will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony in Brisbane on Saturday the 24th January 2009. For more information on the 13th annual awards, visit www.aurealisawards.com.
- - December 5th, 2008
Beyond the Shadows finishes the Night Angel Trilogy with a bang. There are revelations in this book that are going to send readers back to the beginning of the trilogy to read it all over again. Kylar comes into the fullness not just of his power, but of his identity, his purpose.
It’s a story of sacrifice and redemption, of the good and evil in each of us, of people who love each other so much they’ll give everything, of friends who will stand and be counted. It’s a story of looming catastrophe, and always – always – hard choices. There’s armies and war and magic and political brinkmanship. The stakes couldn’t be higher. It’s a story of friends who have to choose between loyalty and duty.
I’d love to be more specific, but when one’s strength is surprises, it behoves one not to drop spoilers…
Shadow’s Edge (UK | US | AUS) is out now and you can find it at all good high street and online booksellers.
Book one in the Night Angel Trilogy, The Way of Shadows, and book two, Shadow’s Edge are also available now. Check out our first chapter extract from the very beginning of the series and see what Brent had to say about The Way of Shadows and Shadow’s Edge in his previous In Their Own Words pieces for us.
- - December 3rd, 2008
Following an office re-shuffle here at Orbit Towers we’ve unearthed a batch of books that were put aside for a special occasion. December 25th or thereabouts is always pretty special for a variety of reasons, so we thought that we’d take the opportunity to spread a little joy with a seasonal Goodie-Bags Giveaway…
What’s in the bags? What’s in the bags?
A whole heap of good stuff! The number of Goodie-Bags will vary, as will their contents, but they could include some (although not necessarily all) of the following:
- - Proof (ARC) copies of Matter by Iain M. Banks (and possibly a signed hardback or two)
- - Proof (ARC) copies of Halting State by Charles Stross
- - Hardback copies of The Execution Channel by Ken MacLeod
…and all sorts of other assorted loot as well.
What do I have to do? What do I have to do?
The sweepstake is open to everyone who is a member of the Orbit UK e-bulletin list as of 5.00 p.m. (UK time) on Monday December 15th. If you’re already a member of the Orbit UK ebulletin list then you don’t have to do a thing; you’ll automatically be entered into the draw, as long as you don’t unsubscribe from the list before the sweepstake closing date.
On the other hand, if you’re not already receiving our regular eBulletins, then you’ll need to visit the ebulletin sign-up page and subscribe to the Orbit UK list to be in with a chance of winning a Goodie-Bag (and do feel free to subscribe to our US and Australian lists at the same time!)
When will I get my Goodie-Bag? Eh? Eh?
Well, if you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll do our best to get your Goodie-Bag sent out in time for delivery before December 25th, but depending on where you live, your books might arrive a little later…
Standard competition rules apply, Orbit’s decision as to the number and contents of the Goodie-Bags will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into, etc.
- - December 3rd, 2008
The Orbit UK Schedule page has been updated with details of the great new Orbit titles we’ll be bringing you in February 2009. The following Orbit books will be available from all good bookstores – high street and online alike – as of February 5th:
- The Magician’s Apprentice by Trudi Canavan – This brand new, stand-alone novel (perfect for readers new to the series as well as established fans) is a prequel to the Black Magician Trilogy, set hundreds of years before the action in The Black Magician.
- Matter by Iain M Banks – The paperback edition of the latest Culture novel, from the UK’s number-one bestselling science fiction author.
- Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong – A collection of four novellas set in the ‘Otherworld’ milieu, which tell the story of Clay Danvers, a very powerful – and very singular – werewolf.
- Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs – In the fourth book in the urban fantasy series about VW mechanic and shape-shifter Mercedes Thompson, our heroine prepares to defend her pack against the hostile queen of the local vampire seethe.
- Small Favour by Jim Butcher – The latest book in the best-selling Dresden Files series sees our hero Harry land in trouble again, as the Queen of the Winter Court calls in the first of two ‘small’ favours…
- - November 28th, 2008
“Happy Thanksgiving / Black Friday shop-til-you-drop-fest!” to our US readers. “Chin-up, it’s nearly the weekend!” to our UK readers. “Smile, it’s the weekend already!” to our Australian readers. And to everyone else: hello, and welcome, whatever your timezone, to our regular round-up of Orbit Author links:
- Marie Brennan posts a selection of first lines from as-yet unwritten short stories.
- Sotheby’s are auctioning an incredibly rare manuscript by the late, great Arthur C Clarke in New York on December 11th.
- David Farland has been interviewed over at Suvudu.com where they ask him about writing, being published and what he’s got coming up on the horizon.
- Charlie Huston points the way to a free download of his crime novel Six Bad Things and subsequently sings the praises of giving away free e-books for promotional purposes.
- Ken MacLeod reveals that he has “a (commissioned and expert-advised) short story about what it might be like to be a space tourist in 2103 in the January 2009 issue of Focus, the BBC’s glossy magazine of science, technology and the future.”
- There’s an extensive and detailed interview with Karen Miller online at swbooks.co.uk, all about her experience of writing for the Star Wars universe.
- Hagelrat has posted a quick review of Christopher Moore‘s The Stupidest Angel on Un:Bound.
- Matt Staggs takes a quick look at Orcs by Stan Nicholls, over at Enter the Octopus.
- Free fiction from Jennifer Rardin this week as she unveils Jaz’s Roots and begins to tell the tale of the Daemon Wars, with Parts I and II.
- Brian Ruckley displays the cover of his next novel, Fall of Thanes “in all its beardy and mail-clad glory”.
- One from the archives, as Chris from Geek Monkey reviews Glasshouse by Charles Stross over at Un:Bound. And via Sci-Fi-London we learn that Charles will be signing books at Waterstone’s West End in Edinburgh on December 11th at 6.00 p.m.
- Sean Williams has posted a round-up of recent online coverage, including a set of extracts from all three Astropolis novels posted at ConceptSciFi. There’s also a new interview with Sean, talking about his Star Wars: The Force Unleashed novelisation, over at Tor.com.
- - November 28th, 2008
BBC Radio Drama producer Gemma Jenkins has been in touch to let us know about a brand new radio play, written by Orbit’s own Mike Carey, that will be aired on BBC Radio 7 in January.
The half-hour drama, entitled ‘Hide and Seek’, will be broadcast on Sunday January 25th as part of a weekly series of dark, unsettling pieces narrated by writer, actor and the BBC’s new ‘Man in Black’, Mark Gatiss (League of Gentlemen, Doctor Who).
The ‘Man in Black’ first appeared on BBC radio in the 1940s, delivering his chilling tales to spellbound listeners in ‘Appointment With Fear’. He returned in ‘Fear on 4′ in the ’70s and again in the late ’80s / early ’90s. Mark Gatiss takes up the dark mantle to tell five new stories, including Mike Carey’s.
Here’s how the BBC press release describes ‘Hide and Seek':
Amelia Stowe lies confined to a bed, her eyes bandaged, while she recovers from an operation to remove a tumour from the visual cortex of her brain. With long days of recuperation stretching before her, she agrees to take part in an experiment conducted by one of the hospital psychiatrists, Dr Bewlay. He’s developed a method of unlocking and recording memories from very early childhood.
It’s the first night of the experiment and Amelia is sent into a deep hypnotic trance – conversations drift in and out of focus; fragments of long-forgotten nursery rhymes float to the surface but who does that voice belong to which keeps whispering through her mind, claiming to have found her and which, more frighteningly, is still there in the room when she wakes up?
I’m looking forward to that one. Sounds like ideal entertainment for a long, dark Sunday evening in January. Spread the word, fright fans, and we’ll put a reminder out on the site nearer the time.