- - March 26th, 2013
In case you haven’t heard (. . . you’ve probably heard . . . ), there’s a film version of Orson Scott Card’s classic science fiction novel ENDER’S GAME coming out soon. It will be released in the UK on 25th October this year.
Very excitingly, a teaser poster has just been unveiled! It’s been posted on the official Ender’s Game film Tumblr.
Since the book almost always pops up in those “top 10 science fiction books of all time” lists, you can imagine how many people are eager to see how director Gavin Hood will present this tale of one boy and his destiny among the stars . . .
Things are at least looking promising, given that it’s starring the likes of Harrison Ford (STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES), Asa Butterfield (HUGO) and Ben Kingsley (SCHINDLER’S LIST, SHUTTER ISLAND and IRON MAN 3).
You should also check out the very cool battle school logos that got posted on io9 recently.
Anticipation is certainly building! So to celebrate the upcoming film release, we’re releasing new editions of all the books in the Ender Saga.
To the left you can see the new edition of ENDER’S GAME (UK | ANZ) we released recently. And please see the new look below for the exceptional and award-winning follow-ups: SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD (UK | ANZ), XENOCIDE (UK | ANZ) and CHILDREN OF THE MIND (UK | ANZ).
These new-look editions will be released on 2nd May this year. Look below to see them in their full glory!
And if you’re a big Ender fan, don’t forget that there’s also an omnibus edition of the parallel story to Ender’s Game, THE SHADOW SAGA (UK | ANZ) available now. Read the rest of this entry »
- - March 25th, 2013
Wednesday, April 3: Terry Brooks @ Forbidden Planet, London, UK
April 5-7: Gail Z. Martin @ Ravencon, Richmond, VA, USA
Jesse Bullington @ StarFest, Denver, CO, USA
Mira Grant @ JordanCon, Roswell, GA, USA
April 25-28: Glenda Larke and Karen Miller @ ConFlux, Canberra, Australia
- - March 25th, 2013
“We have fought battles that left more than a hundred corpses on the ground and not a word of it has ever been set down. The Order fights, but often it fights in shadow, without glory or reward. We have no banners.”
We’re delighted to announce the upcoming publication of BLOOD SONG [UK | ANZ] - the brilliant epic fantasy debut by British author and self-publishing sensation Anthony Ryan. If you’ve not heard of Anthony yet, you soon will – and you’ll be hearing his name a lot over the coming months.
Here’s the fantastic cover, courtesy of our in-house designer Nick Castle and freelancer Nik Keevil.
And here’s why you should be getting excited about this novel.
Vaelin Al Sorna’s life changes forever the day his father abandons him at the gates of the Sixth Order, a secretive military arm of the Faith. Together with his fellow initiates, Vaelin undertakes a brutal training regime – where the price of failure is often death. Under the tutelage of the Order’s masters, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds and kill a man quickly and quietly.
Now his new skills will be put to the test. War is coming. Vaelin is the Sixth Order’s deadliest weapon and the Realm’s only hope. He must draw upon the very essence of his strength and cunning if he is to survive the coming conflict. Yet as the world teeters on the edge of chaos, Vaelin will learn that the truth can cut deeper than any sword.
BLOOD SONG quite simply blew us away when we read it on submission. It’s a hugely accomplished debut novel that has everything you can ask for in an epic fantasy: memorable characters, a wonderfully vivid world, gripping action sequences and a razor-sharp sense of intrigue – not to mention some shocking twists.
Anthony Ryan’s writing, particularly his sense of purpose and absorbing action sequences, has strong echoes of the great David Gemmell. There’s certainly something very Gemmellian about his protagonist, Vaelin Al Sorna, a conflicted hero who must make terrible choices to balance his loyalty to his friends and his duty to the Crown and Faith. It’s just as well he’s unmatched with a blade . . .
A tremendous debut; it has a fast-paced, action-packed and character-driven story . . . Simply the best book I’ve read in this year by a long way and as far as debuts go, it stands proudly among those by Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss” – FANTASY BOOK CRITIC
“Anthony Ryan is a new fantasy author destined to make his mark on the genre. His debut novel, Blood Song, certainly has it all: great coming of age tale, compelling character, and a fast-paced plot . . . A new master storyteller has hit the scene” – Michael J. Sullivan, author of the bestselling Riyria Revelations
BLOOD SONG will be published in July 2013.
The war is lost. The stone mage wakes. One slave will defy him . . .
The second book in a trilogy is always tricky to write. Unless the author is very careful it can be the weakest of the three books, because it’s neither the beginning of the beginning nor the end of the end.
The way I solve this critical problem is to give each book its own driving storyline, with a powerful beginning and an even stronger ending, both of which dovetail neatly into the overarching story of the trilogy. It’s easy to say that, of course, but not so easy to do, and it takes a lot of planning and rewriting to get right.
What’s Rebellion about?
REBELLION (US | UK | AUS), book 2 of my epic fantasy trilogy The Tainted Realm, is set in an isolated island nation, once Cython but now called Hightspall, which is forever tainted by the brutal way it was colonised two thousand years ago. But now the conquered land is fighting back with one natural disaster after another, the Cythonians’ long-dead alchymist-king Lyf is rising again, and they know it’s time to take back their country.
Only one person can prevent Hightspall from running with blood – Tali, a slave in Cython who, as an eight-year-old girl, saw her mother murdered for the magical ebony pearl secretly cultured inside her head. Tali, now 18, is determined to bring the killers to justice, but discovers that she too bears an ebony pearl – the master pearl, in fact. And every villain in the land wants to hack it out of her head, including the killers.
In Book 1, VENGEANCE, Tali pursued the killers, and was hunted by them, through a land at war. To avenge her murdered mother she, a timid slave, had to take on the wizard-king, Lyf, who first died two thousand years ago.
Read the rest of this entry »
- - March 20th, 2013
To celebrate publication of THE CURVE OF THE EARTH ( UK|US|ANZ), Orbit was lucky enough to be treated to a rare interview with one of the post-apocalyptic world’s most brilliant minds: Doctor Samuil Petrovitch.
In part two of this interview, we try to get to the heart of Petrovitch’s relationship with Reconstructionist America, ask him a few more personal questions about the type of music he likes,and find out what projects he’s got on the burner right now.
(NB: the below does contain some foreign swearing, as is typical of Petrovitch’s blend of old-school Russian and English. For translations, please see our Russian swearing glossary. You can also read part one of our interview with Samuil Petrovitch here.)
I want to ask you about your attitude towards Reconstruction.
SP: What did you want to ask that isn’t already a matter of public record?
What is the relationship like between the Freezone and the USA?
SP: Is there one?
I’m asking if there is.
SP: We’re two mutually exclusive ideologies. Reconstruction America is actively seeking to destroy the Freezone, however they can, and I have to assume that at some point it’s going to come down to whether they think they can get away with annihilating us, including Michael. For the Freezone’s part, and I’m not the Freezone’s spokesman on this or anything else, we have absolutely no intention of getting into a shooting match with the Yanks. All our projections show that Reconstruction will collapse within a hundred years, so we’re happy to play the long game. All their base will belong to us. Eventually.
Read the rest of this entry »
- - March 19th, 2013
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether that is true or not, clearly the doughnut is the superior choice over all other breakfast options. Don’t feed me any of that nonsense about muffins or bagels being better: the doughnut is the clear winner.
Through the process of publishing Tom Holt’s new novel, DOUGHNUT (US |UK |AUS), we’ve become experts on the subject - unlocking the many mysteries of the delectable doughnut. What secrets lie beneath that glazed exterior?
Click to find out more than you ever thought possible about mankind’s greatest contribution to breakfast.
- - March 19th, 2013
To celebrate the publication of THE CURVE OF THE EARTH ( UK|US|ANZ), Orbit was lucky enough to be treated to a rare interview with one of the post-apocalyptic world’s most brilliant minds: Doctor Samuil Petrovitch.
Over the course of his life, Doctor Petrovitch has been called a lot of things: hero; cyborg; menace; traitor; father; a**hole.
Now, for the first time, you can meet the man behind the metal (and the myth) in this two part interview. Find out some of his favourite things (cat videos?), discover more about his AI companion Michael, hear more on the Freezone that arose from the ashes of post-Armageddon London – and get to the heart of his strained relationship with Reconstructionist America.
(NB: the below does contain some foreign swearing, as is typical of Petrovitch’s blend of old-school Russian and English. For translations, please see our Russian swearing glossary.)
Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Dr Petrovitch.
SP: Yeah, okay. I’ve been told this would be a good idea, something I very much doubt. I’ll apologise in advance for punching you in the face.
I suppose I should be grateful you’re not shooting me in the face.
SP: Yes. Yes, you should. Are you going to ask me the first yebani question or do I just walk out now?
You’ve been called many things, Dr Petrovitch, and opinions about you are sharply divided. Some see you as some sort of digital saviour, others as the Antichrist himself.
SP: There isn’t actually a question there. Try again.
I’m asking you how you see yourself.
SP: In a mirror. Or I can just pop out one of my eyeballs and turn it around. Seriously, that’s a really dangerous thing to ask me. I could, if I wanted, give you my unshielded ego for the next half hour, but no one really wants to see that, not even me. I have a very strong sense of self, but I’m not so far up my own zhopu as to think that matters at all. What matters is what I do, not how I think of myself as doing. Ask me another, better question.
Read the rest of this entry »
- - March 18th, 2013
The war is lost. The stone mage wakes. One slave will defy him . . .
Ian Irvine’s REBELLION (UK|US|ANZ) is released this week, an epic fantasy novel in which characters Tali and Rix lead the revolution against an evil sorcerer’s corrupt regime. In this second volume in Ian’s Tainted Realm trilogy, former slave Tali must return to her underground homeland to free her people, while Rix battles besieging armies above.
We thought we’d celebrate REBELLION with a post on the long tradition of rebellions in fiction – here are some of the most iconic rebels we’ve found . . . but who are your favourites?
Lucifer – Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.
Milton’s charismatic depiction of Lucifer battling his creator in PARADISE LOST caused strong feelings in all who read it –William Blake said he was ‘of the Devil’s party without knowing it’. Milton definitely gave Lucifer all the best lines! One of literature’s first anti-heroes, Milton’s Lucifer influenced writers from the Romantic Poets to modern fantasy authors such as Philip Pullman, Anne Rice and Neil Gaiman.
Robin Hood and the Merry Men – He was a good outlawe, and dyde pore men moch god.
Was this Nottingham-based outlaw actually fictional? Was he a peasant or disowned aristocrat? Did he prefer a sword or a bow? We can’t be sure – so much has been lost to history! Our first written record of ‘Robyn Hode’ is found in a ballad dated around 1450, and the tale has grown since then – it’s no wonder – an outlaw who steals from the rich to give to the poor is an attractive fantasy even now.
Friends of the ABC – Do you hear the people sing?
The resistance group in Victor Hugo’s LES MISÉRABLES has become something of a symbol for doomed and idealistic youth. These ill-fated young students ultimately die on the barricades, the June Rebellion in which they took part defeated by the soldiers of King Louis Philippe I. The group’s name is a pun on ‘abaissés’ – a word in French meaning lowly or abased, which when pronounced sounds much like the first three letters of the alphabet.
The Rebel Alliance – It’s a trap!
How could we leave out the ultimate sci-fi dissidents, The Rebel Alliance, a.k.a. ‘Rebel scum’? The Alliance to Restore the Republic numbers characters such as Luke, Leia and Han Solo among its members, and was formed by senators who disagreed with Emperor Palpatine’s power grabbing ways – although some versions of STAR WARS canon actually imply that the Emperor himself had a hand in making it, never imagining that it would become a serious threat…
V – Remember, remember the Fifth of November…
Alan Moore’s graphic novel V FOR VENDETTA featured this alphabet-obsessed anarchist, the valiant, violent and vengeful V. Corrupt politicians beware! Moore drew on influence such as George Orwell’s 1984 and the contemporary politics of Thatcher and Reagan in creating his dystopian Britain. The Guy Fawkes mask worn by this character has been adopted as a symbol by the activist group Anonymous, and the masks have been worn at political protests all around the world.
- - March 15th, 2013
Airships have somehow ended up becoming the ultimate symbol of steampunk fiction. But as much as we love their appearance in established steampunk classics such as Gail Carriger’s fantastic Parasol Protectorate novels, Cherie Priest’s BONESHAKER and Stephen Hunt’s COURT OF THE AIR, I’m making a plea that we remember the humble airship does not have to remain in the domain of steam – and the punkification thereof!
I think it’s really time to claim back the airship for epic fantasy. What got me thinking about this was Terry Brooks’s new Dark Legacy of Shannara series, starting with WARDS OF FAERIE (UK / ANZ) and continuing with the recently released BLOODFIRE QUEST (UK / ANZ).
Airships have been in Terry Brooks’ novels for a while, ever since ILSE WITCH I believe, but it’s in his brand new series The Dark Legacy of Shannara that they’re really coming into their own. I couldn’t help thinking – I really, really want to own one of these airships.
Terry Brooks’ airships are like the suped-up, turbo charged versions of the common airship we’re all so familiar with. They’re powered by the sun – using ambient-light sails, something called diapson crystals and radian draws. Light gets converted into energy, and then this energy is expelled through what’s called the parse tubes. They’ve also got sails to gather extra power from the wind. They can easily fly at 1000 feet, and they’re kickass.
In WARDS OF FAERIE, things only get more exciting on the airship front. You don’t have to have read any previous Terry Brooks novels to enjoy this brand new novel, and you don’t have to know a lot about what’s gone before in airship automobile history to appreciate just how cool Terry’s speed-demon designs are.
To set the scene, there are two twins, Redden and Railing Ohmsford, who are thrill-seekers, risking life and limb racing special modified airships of their own design called Sprints.
Now I’m not into fancy cars, superbikes or private jets, but there’s something about these airships that really gets me salivating . . .
Sprints were one wicked pair of machines . . . Painted black from mast to keel, light sheaths black as well to better absorb the power of the sun, they had long, narrow hulls stripped of everything that might slow them down . . .
The controls were set to either side of a shallow depression that served as a cockpit, all within easy reach of the pilot. The pilot lay on his back with his head slightly elevated, facing forward down the length of his body toward the bow . . . Inside the cockpit, the thrusters and steering levers were manipulated by a combination of hands and feet, the cords that ran from the levers to the sheaths, rudder, and fins drawn so tightly that even the smallest amount of pressure would produce a response in the vessel’s handling . . .
These slender black monsters weren’t designed as transports; they were built to race.
*HUMANA, HUMANA* . . . It would be pretty cool to pull up outside Orbit Towers in one of those.
Now Terry Brooks certainly isn’t the only author to be using airships in a fantasy setting. A number of other authors doing this in books that are just as much fantasy as pure steampunk (Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadow of the Apt books, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, and Neil Gailman’s STARDUST come to mind…).
But I think that Terry Brooks really is one of the pioneers making airships truly sexy. If anyone can think of sexier airships then I’d be open to opinions!
But all I’m going to say for now is, to quote an Amazon reviewer, “Hold onto your diapson crystals – Shannara is back!”
- - March 13th, 2013
This month, we’re publishing THE CURVE OF THE EARTH (UK|US|ANZ) by Philip K. Dick award-winning author Simon Morden. It stars one of the best and baddest cybernetically-modified Russians around.
If you’ve not met him yet, super-genius Samuil Petrovitch sits on that fine line between man and machine. He is essentially still human, but having been rather blown to sh*t by an endless succession of people trying to kill him, he’s had more or less every body part replaced with robo-limbs. Not to mention his brain is awesome because he has an artificially intelligent, all-knowing computer uploaded into it. Pretty cool.
Being both a hero to the Freezone and public enemy number one to Reconstruction America, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether we should trust cyborgs to be our überstrong protectors, or melt their parts down for scrap metal before they destroy the human race. We took a look at some well-known cyborgs to find out.
Samuil Petrovitch: Angry; Russian; prone to swearing; has saved the world at least twice and is Reconstruction America’s enemy of the state. He has instant access to the Freezone information network that spans the globe, and can fly pretty much any highly complex aircraft the US military can create.
Plus, when his adopted daughter goes missing (yes, adopted, that’s how much of a good guy he is), he puts his own life in the firing line to save her. As long as you don’t mind sentences punctuated by expletives, we think Petrovitch is one of the good ones.
Robocop: Soon to be re-made starring Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson, there is nothing not good about a partially-wounded cop being kitted out with full body armour to fight crime.
Verdict: Hero Read the rest of this entry »