- - July 14th, 2015
It was great seeing so many of you at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend. For those of you who couldn’t make it this year, we brought you back a souvenir!
Check out DRIVE by James S. A. Corey on Syfy.com. This free short story is set 150 before the events of LEVIATHAN WAKES (US | UK | AUS) and concerns the invention of the Epstein Drive.
We also brought back pictures of Syfy’s Expanse Cafe, which you can check out on the James S. A. Corey Facebook fan page.
The main event of the weekend was The Expanse panel where the first episode was screened in its entirety. While you’ll have to wait until December to see it on television, you can check out some of the panel highlights and reviews by io9 and B&N’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog right now!
Last but certainly not least, Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive on a new extended trailer. Go. Now. Watch. Is it December yet?
- - July 13th, 2015
We are delighted to share our cover for DAUGHTER OF BLOOD, the third instalment in Helen Lowe’s David Gemmell Award-winning series, the Wall of Night.
This much-anticipated and thrilling epic fantasy will be released on 26th January 2016, but you can preorder it today!
A failing wall, a broken shield, and an enemy that will exploit every weakness . . .
Malian and Kalan have recovered two of the three legendary weapons of the Derai, but already it may be too late. The Wall of Night, fractured by centuries of blood feud and civil strife, is on the verge of falling.
Meanwhile, among Grayharbor backstreets, an orphan boy falls foul of dark forces. A daughter of the House of Blood must be married to the Earl of Night, a pawn in the web of her family’s ambition, and Kalan is caught in a political web he may not be able to escape.
While even as Malian dodges Darkswarm pursuers in her search for the Shield of Heaven, rumour whispers that it may be broken beyond repair – and she herself may be the blade the ancient enemy will drive into the heart of the Derai Alliance.
- - July 9th, 2015
The Orbit team has arrived in San Diego, and we have an action-packed weekend planned for those of you who will be attending the convention.
Be sure to check out the Hard Rock Cafe, which Syfy has decked out Expanse-style for the occasion. We’re also giving away an exclusive short story by James S. A. Corey at the Orbit booth.
Here is our schedule of events and signings. We hope you’ll stop by and say hello at the booth #1116. (We’re listed as Hachette Book Group in the guide in case you get lost.) See you at the show!
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM: Authors of Epic Fantasy with Kate Elliott in Room 24ABC
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Kate Elliott signing in Autograph Area 09
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Sleeping with the Lights On with Mira Grant Room 25ABC
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM: Mira Grant signing in Autograph Area 09
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Romantic Adventure with Sam Sykes in Room 32AB
11:00 AM: Kate Elliott signing at the Orbit booth (#1116)
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Sam Sykes signing in Autograph Area 09
3:00 PM: Mira Grant signing at the Orbit booth (#1116)
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Book to Screen with James S.A. Corey in Room 7AB (
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM: James S. A. Corey signing in Autograph Area 09
2:00 PM: James S.A. Corey signing at the Orbit Booth (#1116)
All Expanse books will be available for purchase during the signing.
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Syfy’s The Expanse with James S.A. Corey in the Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
4:00 PM: Sam Sykes signing at the Orbit booth (#1116)
- - July 8th, 2015
This summer, Orbit is launching an online fantasy writing workshop, hosted on OrbitBooks.net. It will be led by Karen Miller – the million-copy bestselling author who rose to fame with her debut The Innocent Mage, and whose most recent release is the critically acclaimed epic fantasy The Falcon Throne (UK | US | ANZ).
The free week-long event, which starts on 27th July 2015, will invite aspiring authors to take part in a communal online “write-along” challenge, during which they will each be encouraged to pen their own sample of a new fantasy novel. They will also be invited to submit this sample into a competition at the end of the week.
Miller will be kicking off the writing workshop by setting a writing challenge for aspiring fantasy authors on 27th July, and will be providing advice and words of encouragement throughout the week. She will also taking part in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session on 29th July, during which time participants will be able to put their own questions on writing to her.
Miller said: “One of the hardest things about starting a writing career is the feeling that you’re alone, that nobody understands what you’re going through, and that it’s really hard to figure out how to do it right! That’s why I’m so excited to share a little of what I’ve learned since I wrote my first fantasy novel. It’s been a wild ride, these past few years, and if a new writer can be helped by something I’ve said, it will make all the hard work worthwhile.”
Any aspiring authors interested in taking part should follow @OrbitBooks on Twitter and look for the hashtag #OrbitFantasyWorkshop for updates, or sign up to the Orbit newsletter here.
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- - July 6th, 2015
Who said that in space, no one can hear you scream?
Next month Orbit is very proud to be publishing TRACER, a heart-stopping science fiction thriller set in the claustrophobic world of Outer Earth – a space station containing the last surviving humans in the universe…
To launch his debut, Rob Boffard will be embarking on an out-of-this-world blog tour across twenty-six sites over six days, starting on the publication day of 16th July.
Rob will also be visiting the UK in July, so stay tuned for events in your area. Follow him on Twitter (@RobBoffard) for all the latest news on publication.
Read the rest of this entry »
- - July 1st, 2015
Hi Louisa, and welcome to the Orbit team! Can you tell us a bit about SPEAK?
Sure! SPEAK is the story of five characters who are involved in creating an artificially intelligent doll. After these “babybots” are banned, gathered up, and shipped off to the desert, the children who loved them start to stutter and freeze. SPEAK tells the story of the babybots and their creators, from Alan Turing to a traumatized girl in the near future who gives her bot new language. These and other characters are all racing toward a world populated by lifelike machines, in which it’s difficult to decide who’s actually living, and who has real intelligence.
SPEAK has already been featured in Oprah magazine, raved about by Emily St. John Mandel, chosen by Wired and Huffington Post as one of their big books this summer, and is an IndieNext pick too. How does it feel for the book to be getting this much attention?
It seems to be an auspicious time for creative depictions of artificial intelligence. Just recently, all kinds of interesting books and films involving the topic have come out: Ex Machina, Chappie, Channel Four’s Humans, and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice. Technology has radically challenged the ways we understand ourselves as humans: we reveal our secret traumas to artificially intelligent therapists; we relinquish our most personal information to data-mining software; we’re developing robotic soldiers to fight wars in place of humans. Fiction that questions the differences between humans and machines seems particularly important in this historical moment.
At its heart, SPEAK is about the very human need to be listened to, about having a voice, with characters from different times, different places, united by a very singular narrator. How difficult was it to bring this variety of voices to the page?
I actually find it easier to write in many voices than to settle into a single character. I discover so much of my characters in what they don’t see, what they’re unaware of, what they miss about the world around them. Writing in different voices allows me to set up those misunderstandings, and to see characters from new perspectives other than their own.
Some of Alan Turing’s chapters are the most touching and interesting in the book – what sort of research did you do to bring Turing and the other characters to life?
I read five or six biographies of Alan Turing, including Andrew Hodges’ excellent The Enigma, which contains long excerpts from Turing’s letters. That was helpful to me in getting Turing’s voice—his grammar, his diction, etc. The most challenging part of wrapping my head around his character was understanding his theories of computing and mathematics, which were essential to understanding his approach to the world. He couldn’t fully believe in an abstract idea such as the soul unless he’d found a mathematical way to prove its existence, or at least the possibility that it might exist.
Your first novel, the Waterstones Book Club title THE CARRIAGE HOUSE, is a contemporary family drama inspired by your time as a professional squash player. What first got you thinking about artificial intelligence as a subject for your second book?
In THE CARRIAGE HOUSE, I wanted to create a world small enough to control. I limited the novel to a single neighbourhood that was claustrophobic in its self-containment. For my second novel, I wanted to go to the furthest frontiers I could imagine, from religious dissidents in the seventeenth-century to AI inventors in the near future. I wanted to find what was human in foreign situations: robot dolls dying in hangars, a scientist undergoing hormonal manipulation. In the end, most of the book isn’t that far-fetched. Many of the characters are based on real people, and most of the science is closely related to science that already exists. But the book sprang up on the edges of what I understand and what I’ve actually experienced. Sometimes I think that if THE CARRIAGE HOUSE was centripetal, SPEAK is centrifugal. It always seemed to spin a little out of my control.
Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking both recently discussed their anxiety about AI and superintelligent machines. What is turning such giants of the science and technology world against AI, and do you share their concerns?
I tend to be more optimistic about the future of AI, though I realize that Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking are more qualified to make predictions about computers than I am. But their concerns about the future of AI are equally valid when applied to the future of the human race. In reference to autonomous killing machines, for instance, this article asks the following questions: “how will they tell friend from foe? Combatant from civilian? Who will be held accountable?” But the same questions can be asked about human soldiers. Ideally, robots would be able to perform certain tasks better than we can because they won’t be programmed for fear, anger, or vengeance. And because we have those emotions, we’ll be able to perform other tasks better than robots. Of course it’s always possible that some evil empire could program a fleet of maniacal robots, but the same evil empire could also get its hands on nuclear weapons. Our primary anxiety, in my mind, should be less about preventing the development of robots and more about preventing the ascent of unchecked evil empires. That said, I do think it’s worth being hyper-vigilant about the effects AI will have on our economy and the uneven distribution of wealth.
Are there any stories about artificial intelligence that really stand out to you, or inspired you in creating SPEAK?
There are so many recent stories about AI that inspire me. My friend just sent me a story about Aibos, robot dogs that people have adopted as pets. At one point, these robot pets could be repaired if they were damaged, but now they’ve been discontinued. Soon, their replacement parts will be nonexistent. Suddenly the owners of these robot dogs are facing the idea of robot dog mortality. I also recently heard a story about a computer scientist in Wyoming who’s teaching robots how to adjust to injuries by giving them ‘simulated childhoods,’ a period devoted to play in which they learn creative ways of using their bodies. We keep robots as pets; we give our robots childhoods. Stories such as these ones beg so many interesting questions about what it actually means to be living.
SPEAK is released in digital and ANZ export edition this July, with a UK paperback to follow in Feb 2016 – preorder your copy today.
- - June 30th, 2015
Here’s some pretty cool news. Mark Zuckerberg has selected THE PLAYER OF GAMES (US | UK | AUS) for his bookclub!
If you’d like to join the conversation then head on over to Facebook and join the discussion on Zuckerberg’s page or on the official “Year of Books” fan page.
- - June 30th, 2015
THE FIRST LAW TRILOGY is being released this September from Orbit! This is the original grim dark trilogy that inspired a new generation of fantasy writers. We envy the readers who have yet to meet the infamous barbarian Logen Ninefingers, the dashing Captain Jezal dan Luthar, the wizard Bayaz and the sinister Inquisitor Glokta for the first time…
Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.
Ancient secrets will be uncovered. Bloody battles will be won and lost. Bitter enemies will be forgiven — but not before they are hanged.
The king lies on his deathbed, the peasants revolt, and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. Only the First of the Magi can save the world, but there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, than to break the First Law…
“Bloody and relentless.” – George R. R. Martin
“Delightfully twisted and evil.” – The Guardian
“Heroic fantasy without conventional heroes…Full of cynicism and wit.” – RT Book Reviews
“Bold and authentically original.” – Jeff VanderMeer
“Compelling characters, a complex plot, and style to burn.” – Strange Horizons
“There is a gritty edge to his world and an awareness of the human cost of violence that is very contemporary.” – The Times
“Truly wonderful.” – Forbes
Cover design by Laura Brett
- - June 30th, 2015
Mark Zuckerberg selects THE PLAYER OF GAMES (US | UK | AUS) by Iain M. Banks as his next Book of the Year.
The Evolution of a Space Epic: The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey via Barnes & Noble Scifi & Fantasy blog.
Relive the hilarity and the horror of Phoenix Comic Con’s annual Author Batsu Game hosted by Sam Sykes.
Anthony Ryan participated in an AMA on /r/Fantasy answering a ton of great questions about Blood Song, Tower Lord, and the upcoming Queen of Fire (out in July).
Also on /r/Fantasy, readers discussed who they think will be the next big name in epic fantasy.
New DLC content was released this month for the Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. If you’re a fan of the game then you should definitely check out the novels.
Forbes takes a look at the fantasy genre from a scientific perspective with a shout-out for Brian McClellans’s Powerder Mage novels.
Julius Thomas, Tight End for the Jacksonville Jaguars, gave a shoutout to A DANCE OF BLADES by David Dalglish.
- - June 29th, 2015
We pre-empted a manuscript a few months ago that we read and loved instantly. The reads were unanimous — it was perfect!! It reminded us of Brent Weeks’s original Night Angel Trilogy, mixed with a drop of Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora and the brilliant characterizations of Brandon Sanderson. But to be honest, we just fell in love with the characters, HOPE & RED. Red is a thief — and Hope is a trained warrior. Their meeting — and their adventures will become a legend. . .
So we are over the moon to introduce you to a new author in the adult world, Jon Skovron and his novel, HOPE & RED, which we will be publishing in the summer of 2016.
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two young people from different cultures find common purpose.
A nameless girl is the lone survivor when her village is massacred by biomancers, mystical servants of the emperor. Named after her lost village, Bleak Hope is secretly trained by a master Vinchen warrior as an instrument of vengeance.
A boy becomes an orphan on the squalid streets of New Laven after drugs and disease take the lives of his bohemian parents. He is adopted by one of the most notorious women of the criminal underworld, given the name Red, and trained as a thief and con artist.
When a ganglord named Deadface Drem strikes a bargain with the biomancers to consolidate and rule all the slums of New Laven, the worlds of Hope and Red come crashing together, and their unlikely alliance takes them further than either could have dreamed possible.