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Cover Launch: THE UNIT

OR-001 Unit cover artThe Unit by Terry DeHart has a pretty straightforward concept: it’s about a family fighting to survive the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse. It’s a very violent, gritty book, and it reads like an action movie, so we wanted to give the cover a very cinematic look. The “Unit” of the title is a bit of a play on words, as it’s a family unit that must turn itself into a military unit in order to survive. I could go on about the “nuclear” family having to face “nuclear” holocaust but then you’d all groan and go read someone else’s blog post here. (sorry, couldn’t resist)

The cover is a collaboration between the fabulous designer Chad Roberts and myself. He really gets all the credit for establishing the look and typography, but the original had more graphic, as opposed to photographic, figures of the family. After the final manuscript came in we realized the book was a little more gritty than the graphic look communicated, so yours truly took the template for the characters Chad had designed and found more realistic images we could then backlight and do fancy photoshop magic on to make them look like they were totally all standing together in front of a big fireball waiting to spring into action. (A.K.A. “Designer Magic”)

Read the rest of this entry »

Author post

The Alternates and the Thin Places

I woke up today to my wife shouting my name. Apparently my nose had begun bleeding in the night and my pillow was soaked through with it. It was all very upsetting and very messy. She wanted to drive to the doctor’s office in the morning, citing my previous maladies (all of which occurred so long ago that I couldn’t remember them), but I managed to talk her down.

My nose did not bleed again. But I thought I would talk to Dan about it, so I walked next door. Read the rest of this entry »

Gail Z. Martin’s Days of the Dead Blog Tour

Gail Z. Martin kicks off her annual Days of the Dead International Blog Tour this week! You can find her tour stops here.

Gail is writing a new series for Orbit that is set in the same world as the Chronicles of the Necromancer, so we caught up with her to find out what readers can expect next… Read the rest of this entry »

What Happens This Week? What Happened Last?

This week please look forward to a debut post by new Orbit author Gail Z. Martin on the eternal question of “And Then What Happened?” as well as new missives from A.Lee Rodriguez, ongoing updates by Robert Jackson Bennett on those strange doings in his neighborhood, and as much new Orbit info as we can bring you.

And in case you had your eye elsewhere last week, here’s our weekly roundup:

A. Lee Martinez, author of MONSTER on — monsters;

Robert Jackson Bennett, author of the forthcoming MR.SHIVERS (January), on what happens when the doors of perception open up a little too close to home;

Orbit Creative Director Lauren Panepinto presented the covers of THE GASLIGHT DOGS and FEED for your delectation;

Philip Palmer, author of RED CLAW (whose debut was noted at Sci-Fi London) made a strong case for why today and not yesterday is the Golden Age of Science Fiction;

And Nicole Peeler (TEMPEST RISING) gave you five reasons selkies are hotter than vampires. Her commenters wasted no time, contributing to the discussion.

Philip Palmer at Sci-Fi-London’s Oktoberfest tonight …

Sci-Fi-London are putting on a fascinating programme of events this weekend at their own special brand of Oktoberfest. And Philip Palmer will be adding to its fascinating-ness, as he is taking part in their keynote debate A Space of Waste tonight, along with other notable genre authors and experts.

The debate promises to be lively and will take the form of a panel discussion on whether science fiction authors are wasting their time writing about interplanetary travel, space colonisation and the spread of mankind across the universe (…certainly not, we bridle in indignation!) given everything science has taught us about the realities, possibilities and costs of doing so. They will discuss whether science fiction should be more concerned with what’s happening right here and now on Earth such climate change, global pandemics and population growth or is space-based science fiction always going to be relevant just because people love good stories.

As recently reported here, Philip Palmer’s fabulous Red Claw is out this month, so the subject will be particularly close to his heart right now!

Author post

Strange dream last night

Today has gotten off entirely on the wrong foot for me. I woke up and found that my wife had dyed her hair sometime yesterday, but I guess I didn’t notice? I remarked on it and she went off on me and my (admittedly) terrible attention span. Then work was completely incomprehensible to me. I had trouble logging into the blog, as well. I suppose they changed the URL and the password. I would’ve thought they’d tell me about something like that, though.

 I suppose it’s because I didn’t sleep well last night. I had the oddest dream. It was one of those dreams that starts so mundane and normal that you almost don’t realize you’re dreaming at all. Like when you keep dreaming that you can’t sleep, or that you keep waking up. But my dream was not quite like that. Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Launch: FEED

Grant_Feed (MM)Winner of officially the hardest cover of the season to nail: Feed by Mira Grant. I don’t want to give too much away on this one, because it’s one of those books that sounds a little odd in the describing, but then blows you away when you read it. There are a lot of layers going on in this book and it’s really smart. It’s an adventure, a political drama, a medical thriller, a character-driven almost first-person memoir style book that sucks you in and you literally cannot put down. And there’s zombies. Yes, a smart book about zombies. But don’t get hung up on the zombie thing. this book is not a joke, or a gimmick. Seriously people, I literally teared up at the end, I got so into the characters. I don’t do that for a lot of science fiction books. (Okay, I cried at the end of Endymion Rising. And Ender’s Game. but that’s it, I swear.)

As I have said before, liking a book a lot before you start designing is a bit of a curse, because you kind of put a lot of pressure on yourself to do a good job. That was definitely the case with Feed, but even worse it was a book that had to combine so many things into a smart package: zombies, politics, blogs, science fiction, horror, and a real world this-could-happen-to-you kind of impact. Tall order. Read the rest of this entry »

I recently read (I think it was in a blog by our revered leader Tim Holman) that the urban fantasy genre is now well and truly kicking the arse of traditional epic fantasy, in terms of sales and indeed media attention.  And fantasy books, as all SF writers keep being told, regularly outsell science fiction novels by a factor of, well, several.

(For American readers of this blog, I should point out that the word ‘arse’ is our quaint British spelling of the body part which you Yanks affectionately know as the toches.)

All this is very galling for those of us who write science fiction and not sword and sorcery, or vampire books, or werewolf stories.  We have intergalactic spaceships; these guys have freelance exorcists.  We have plasma guns; they have great big double-headed axes.  We have stories written with impeccable scientific rigour (okay, okay, sometimes I just make it all up); they have magic, and prophecies, and oracles.

In short, Science Fiction is the Cinderella genre.

(But actually, is that such a bad thing? I mean, when you think about it – who would want to be the Ugly Sister genre?) Read the rest of this entry »

Nicole Peeler here. I’m the author of TEMPEST RISING, a book that will introduce you to a whole slew of mythological creatures above and beyond your standard werewolf/vampire/zombie triad. Indeed, I’ve been getting a lot of attention for writing about selkies, which are seal-human shapeshifters. Overall, there’s been lots of positive interest, but every once and a while a skeptic comes along, who asks, “What the hell do selkies DO, anyway? And how can they be hotter than vampires?”

So to fire up the debate, and get all you landlubbers thinking, I’ve outlined the Top Five Reasons that Selkies are Hotter than Vampires:

1. Emo is so ’96 – Join the swim team! Marilyn Manson or Michael Phelps . . . You decide.

2. Never pay market price for seafood again! We catch ’em, you grill ’em.

3. Salt water is easier to get out of sheets than blood! Who pays the laundry bills? Let’s be practical, people.

4. Not everyone is into double penetration! Two big fangs. Such little veins. Owwie Zowwie.

5. Seals give good clap! There’s nothing like a round of applause for a job well done.

Any other reasons you can think of why selkies are hotter than vampires?

Author post

The things in the window

When I came home today I found an old stove and a few pieces of electronic equipment I didn’t recognize sitting in front of the side gate to Dan’s back yard. I got out of the car and looked over the fence and saw him working away beside the shed. He seemed to be pulling up power cables. I called to him and asked if he’d made those adjustments he’d been meaning to, and he stopped and looked at me and called, “No, no.”

I asked if maybe the equipment he’d found would help. He said he didn’t think so. I asked why, and he stopped, thought, and then waved me over and started to open the shed. As I walked over, he said he thought this had all gone well beyond simple hardware or software adjustments. I asked what he meant by that. He didn’t answer and we entered. Read the rest of this entry »

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