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Orbit Books

Descent by Ken MacLeod

DESCENT 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 LASCAR’S DAGGERGlenda Larke

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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Now available in paperback – WOLFHOUND CENTURY by Peter Higgins!

Citizens! WOLFHOUND CENTURY is out now in paperback with a brand new look for the new format. (Click here for a larger view.)  This brilliant debut will have you at the edge of your seat and waiting eagerly for more, so it’s a good thing that the next book in the series, TRUTH AND FEAR, will be available for purchase next month!

Higgins_WolfhoundCentury_TPG   Higgins_TruthandFear-HC

In WOLFHOUND CENTURY, Investigator Vissarion Lom is summoned to the Capital to catch a terrorist, and his task will not be an easy one. The flame of revolution burns brightly in Mirgorod, pulling Investigator Lom deeper into a war between the people and their corrupt totalitarian state. Meanwhile, in the forests beyond the Capital, a powerful archangel has fallen to Earth. Great and terrible changes are coming to the land.

As you can see below, the hardcover release received many fantastic words of praise, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Praise for WOLFHOUND CENTURY:

“Like vintage China Mieville, but with all the violent narrative thriller drive of Ian Fleming at his edgiest” RICHARD MORGAN

“An amazing, fast-paced story in a fantasy world poised dangerously on the edge of quantum probability, a world where angels war with reality” PETER F. HAMILTON

“I absolutely loved WOLFHOUND CENTURY. Higgins’s world is a truly original creation, Russian cosmism and Slavic mythology filtered through steampunk and le Carre. What really captured me was his beautiful style and language” HANNU RAJANIEMI

“An alternate history that will grab you by the lapels and snap you to attention.”— io9

“Sentient water, censored artists, mechanical constructs, old-fashioned detective work, and the secret police are all woven together in this rich and fascinating tapestry” — Publishers Weekly

“Wolfhound Century merits the attention of Miéville fans looking for something new.” — Far Beyond Reality

“Wolfhound Century is a strange, complex, earthy, sometimes violent read, and one of the best debuts I’ve gotten my hands on.” — My Bookish Ways

“This is a great, dark and fantastical thriller. It has the suspense of classic spy thrillers, mixed with the strange and the bizarre found in any number of critically-acclaimed fantasists.” — Civilian Reader

“Higgins doesn’t just build a world, he also thrusts the reader into it thanks to his incredibly adept use of an intense and stark atmosphere.” — Bookworm Blues

“Very dark, very gritty and very atmospheric. Wolfhound Century is also a book free of genre constraints, allowing for a great original and entertaining read. Top Notch stuff by Peter Higgins.” — The Founding Fields

“Fans of dystopian fiction, noir, and science fiction and fantasy (especially those weary of tired old world building that always seems to center on English history or Western European norms) will find much of interest in this book.” — Nerds of a Feather

Read the first two chapters for yourself, or check out this interview to find out more about Mirgorod and the world of WOLFHOUND CENTURY.

Our good friends at Gollancz are publishing the UK edition of WOLFHOUND CENTURY. Visit their website for more info.

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February Events

February 8
Mur Lafferty will be appearing at the Southwest Regional Library, Durham, NC, 3 PM

February 13
M.R. Carey will appear at Topping & Company Booksellers, Bath, 8 PM

February 14-16
Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) is Guest of Honor at Boskone in Boston, MA! Mur Lafferty will also be attending.

February 15
Simon Morden will be signing ARCANUM at Forbidden Planet Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, at 1 PM

February 17
Christopher Brookmyre will be discussing BEDLAM at Primavera Bistro, The Avenue at Newton Mearns, 7:30 PM

February 20
M.R. Carey will appear at Waterstones Liverpool One, Liverpool, at 6 PM

February 21-23
Gail Z. Martin will be attending MystiCon in Roanoke, VA.

Praise for SHAMAN by Kim Stanley Robinson

We’ve had some magnificent new praise Kim Stanley Robinson and his novel SHAMAN (US | UK | AUS). Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder had this to say:

“KSR has turned his formidable knowledge and imagination from outer space and future science onto the deep human past. He unfolds the rich and complex lives of our upper Paleolithic forebears: a lad with no family, called Loon, makes it from boyhood to a role in his small society as a Shaman, under the difficult, nutty, mentorship of an elder named Thorn. His trials, hungers, dangers, and skills remind us that our minds and tools are sophisticated and very ancient. A moment struck by watching the great beauty of a wild horse, a vision of two young women braiding each others’ hair by a stream, put us all in the same place. Wild food, vast landscapes, insight, logic, handiness, lovely and sometimes difficult sex, and talks by the fire – all under the sky – or on a long long walk – make up a world we are still in. I don’t think anyone but Kim Stanley Robinson could have brought this off.”

World-renowned artist Marina Abramović said simply that it was the “best book of the year.”

And finally the New Yorker added that “Robinson is one of our best, bravest, most moral, and most hopeful storytellers.”

You can read the full admiring piece on the author and his work here or read a sample from the novel.

BSFA Awards shortlisting for Ann Leckie!

Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY JUSTICE has just been shortlisted for the BSFA Award for Best Novel!

With shortlistings also announced for the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Kitschie Awards, Ann’s debut novel has so far been shortlisted for every single science fiction award it is eligible for. Wow!

Our biggest congratulations go to Ann and to all of the other finalists this year! The shortlists were as follows:

Best Novel

GOD’S WAR by Kameron Hurley (Del Rey)
ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
EVENING’S EMPIRES by Paul McAuley (Gollancz)
ACK-ACK MACAQUE by Gareth L. Powell (Solaris)
THE ADJACENT by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)

Best Short Fiction

SPIN by Nina Allan (TTA Press)
“Selkie Stories are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar (STRANGE HORIZONS)
“Saga’s Children” by E. J. Swift (THE LOWEST HEAVEN, Pandemonium)
“Boat in the Shadows Crossing” by Tori Truslow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Best Artwork

Cover for Tony Ballantyne’s DREAM LONDON by Joey Hi-fi (Solaris)
Poster for METROPOLIS by Kevin Tong (tragicsunshine.com)
“The Angel at the Heart of the Rain” by Richard Wagner (INTERZONE #246)

Best Non-Fiction

WONDERBOOK by Jeff VanderMeer (Abrams Image)
“Going Forth by Night” by John J. Johnston (UNEARTHED, Jurassic)
“Sleeps with Monsters” by Liz Bourke (Tor.com)

The winners will be announced in a ceremony at the Satellite4 Eastercon science fiction convention the Crown Plaza Hotel, Glasgow, where you can also meet Orbit authors such as Charles Stross and Ken MacLeod.

ARCANUM – epic fantasy with a spark of genius

Today we are proud to release ARCANUM (UK | US | ANZ), a majestic standalone epic fantasy from none other than the Philip K. Dick award-winning Simon Morden.

Having won the prestigious award for his science fiction series starring deliciously sociopathic Russian genius Samuil Petrovitch, Simon has now turned his considerable intellect to fantasy. And what’s resulted is rather mind-blowing . . .

Imagine that long ago, the Roman Empire was crushed by wild spell-casting shamen.

Imagine that a thousand years later, a mighty kingdom has been founded on this formidable power – with magic their tool and their ultimate weapon.

The secret to Carinthia’s dominion is the Order of the Hexmasters, whose magic can power cities, build bridges and exterminate whole armies.

But then imagine taking this power away . . .

When the age of magic dies, the world will be ignited. Some believe that any act, no matter how horrific, is justified to bring the magic back. But some believe that when the magic has gone, the age of science will be born anew.

The twelve-year old Felix will be thrust onto the throne after his father’s demise, the fiery Nikoleta must wield her power carefully as the last remaining hexmaster, and the librarian Thaler believes that salvation lies in the knowledge stored in the great library of Carinthia . . .

Chaos and order, future and past, technology and superstition – all will clash with violence in the magnificent ARCANUM, out today.

‘An enthralling read for aficionados of intelligent, impeccably rendered fantasy’ Kirkus

‘A captivating novel as well as an interesting commentary on fantasy as a genre’ Tor.com

‘A masterful foray into an alternate universe . . . An engrossing rollercoaster of a plot winds up with a solidly satisfying climax that leaves the reader craving more’ Publishers Weekly

If you’re based in the UK and would like to celebrate the release with Simon and get hold of a signed copy, there will be a signing held at the Newcastle branch of Forbidden Planet on Saturday 15th February from 1-2pm.

Simon-Morden-THUMB---credit-Simon-Morden

There’s a whole fantasy trope based around the protagonist of the story discovering that, after the initial skirmish with the forces of evil, he or she is the Chosen One, the one person who has all the skills – mental, physical and magical – to defeat the big bad and win the day.

And we love hearing about them because we can dream we are them. We’re no longer ordinary; quite the opposite. We become, for the length of the tale, extraordinary; possessing such skills, strength and stamina that no other mortal can command. The Chosen One is the archetypal super-hero story: think of Greek and Persian legends, and you’re halfway there already.

But when the story ends, the clouds come over, the sky darkens, and the world becomes colder, harsher and less caring. We’re not the Chosen One. We’re nothing unusual. Not only can we not take the battle to the forces of evil, we don’t even know where to start. We simply have to accept the way things are, with no hope of changing the slow grind of life.

But hang on. That’s not necessarily the case. We know through experience that we can claim small, if temporary, victories that bring life and light to us and ours. And we know that being inspired by our fictional heroes and heroines can make us better people – G. K. Chesterton spoke the truth when he said: ‘Fairy tales don’t tell children that dragons exist; children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY JUSTICE nominated for The Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award!

We’re thrilled to see Ann Leckie has been named a finalist for The Kitchies Golden Tentacle Award for her debut novel ANCILLARY JUSTICE (US | UK | AUS).

The Golden Tentacle is awarded annually to the debut novel that best fits the criteria of progressive, intelligent and entertaining.

Here are the rest of the nominees:

  • Stray by Monica Hesse (Hot Key)
  • A Calculated Life by Anne Charnock (47 North)
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • Nexus by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot)
  • Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloa

Congratulations to Ann and the rest of the nominees!

ANCILLARY JUSTICE was also recently nominated for the  Philip K. Dick Award.

Cover launch: UNFETTERED, Tales by Masters of Fantasy

We’re delighted to unveil our cover for UNFETTERED (UK), an anthology of original fiction from some of the biggest names in fantasy, to be released digitally this February.

It will include stories from Patrick Rothfuss, Peter V. Brett, Mark Lawrence, Terry Brooks, Naomi Novik, Michael J. Sullivan, and even deleted scenes from A MEMORY OF LIGHT, the final book in Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson’s Wheel of Time series.

Unfettered, Tales by Masters of fantasy including Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson's Wheel of Time, Patrick Rothfuss, Peter V. Brett, Mark Lawrence, Terry Brooks, Naomi Novik, Michale J Sullivan and Many others, edited by Shawn Speakman

This collection is not only a fantastic anthology in its own right, but it’s also a testament to the generosity found in the science fiction and fantasy community.

When author Shawn Speakman was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2011 and didn’t have health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, he incurred a huge medical debt that he was unable to pay. That’s when New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks offered to donate a short story that Shawn could sell to help cover those bills. He also recommended he ask the same of his other writer friends, and UNFETTERED is the impressive result.

The collection includes twenty-four tales, including an extra story for the UK edition from Speakman himself. As the title suggests, the writers were free to contribute whatever they wished, resulting in a truly unique selection from some of the brightest minds in fantasy fiction.

UNFETTERED will be released digitally in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and other territories on 20th February 2014. It is available for pre-order from online retailers now.

Get addicted to DIRTY MAGIC by Jaye Wells

USA Today bestselling author Jaye Wells is back with a new urban fantasy series, one as addictive as they come. DIRTY MAGIC, book one of the Prospero’s War series, is out today!. Here’s a bit about the story:

The Magical Enforcement Agency keeps dirty magic off the streets, but there’s a new blend out there that’s as deadly as it is elusive. When patrol cop Kate Prospero shoots the lead snitch in this crucial case, she’s brought in to explain herself. But the more she learns about the investigation, the more she realizes she must secure a spot on the MEA task force.

Especially when she discovers that their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier – on the same day she swore she’d given up dirty magic for good. Kate Prospero’s about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should never say never.

Library Journal called it “grim, gritty, and completely fascinating.” We’ve been comparing it to The Wire with wizards, and once you start reading, I think you’ll find that to be an apt description. It has us all thinking about our favorite cop shows and how things might have been different if the perps were bigger and badder and magic were real. Jaye has written up a list of her nine favorite crime shows that would have been better if magic existed. Check it out on Buzzfeed and let us know what your picks are.

Jaye has also written a list for the Huffington post of the the eight most powerful fictional drugs. Check out the rest of her blog tour over on her website.

Praise for DIRTY MAGIC:

“Wells works her own brand of magic by laying the foundation for a complex and gritty new mythos starring a damaged, yet resilient, heroine.” – RT Book Reviews

“DIRTY MAGIC brings wizardry to the violent power struggles and chemical dependencies of the city streets, through the eyes of a heroine who has lived on both sides of the law.” – All Things Urban Fantasy

“DIRTY MAGIC is a flat-out high-octane thrill ride in an alluring world. Kate Prospero will become a highly recognizable name in Urban Fantasy.” – Under the Covers Book Reviews

Should You Stop Playing Video Games?

Bedlam by Christopher BrookmyreRoss Baker, the star of Christopher Brookmyre’s high-octane science fiction thriller, BEDLAM (UK|ANZ), can’t stop playing computer games. That’s because he’s trapped inside one.

The BEDLAM paperback comes out today, and to celebrate, we’ve teamed up with RedBedlam and Alienware for a fantastic BEDLAM-themed giveaway.

You could win one of six pieces of signed concept art from the upcoming BEDLAM computer game, or the Alienware X51, a gamer’s dream piece of hardware. If you’re based in the UK, head over to Chris’s blog to see the concept art and find out how to enter.

Chris and Orbit have also compiled this handy list, so you know when you’ve played too many computer games:

1. When you spot a CCTV camera, you flinch in case it’s directing a gun turret.

2. You notice a discoloured carpet tile, so you stomp on it in case it’s a pressure pad for opening  a secret area.

3. You are at the supermarket. Someone gets to the last frozen pizza before you. You call them “a camping b*stard”.

4. At work, your boss asks why you’re not getting as good results as your colleague. You explain that this is only because he’s got a lower ping than you.

5. You visit the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. Staring up at Michelangelo’s handiwork on the ceiling, you are moved to remark: “Mmm. Nice textures.”

6. You’re watching Match of the Day. Man United notch up another bloody victory. You shout at the telly and accuse them of using bots.

7. Your date turns up wearing a new outfit. You say: “Hey, I dig the new skin.”

8. You’ve heard about a fantastic new novel called BEDLAM, so you know it’s time to put down the controller and pick up a paperback for a while. Now, where’s that save point?

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