Join the Orbit Newsletter

Sign up for updates about
your favorite authors, books, and more

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?
Read a sample

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.
Read a sample

Kate-Elliot-profile

Author post

Debuting “Amazons” by Julie Dillon

The Spiritwalker Trilogy is an epic fantasy coming-of-age-and-revolution in a gas-lamp setting written in first person from the point of view of a single character. While I really enjoyed writing in the voice of Cat Barahal, the single character first person viewpoint also presented challenges. For example, I could only ever see other characters as Cat sees them, and any incident that she does not herself personally witness she can only report on (or hear a report of) later.

As I finished up COLD STEEL (US | UK | AUS), the third in the trilogy, I decided to write a short story “coda” from the point of view of one of the other characters, Cat’s beloved cousin Beatrice (Bee). I also decided that because Bee is an artist I wanted the story to be illustrated. I’ve written about “The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal” elsewhere (extensively here where I talk in detail about the process of creating a chapbook with illustrations).

The artist Julie Dillon did a fabulous job with the black and white illustrations for the Secret Journal. I also commissioned her to do a couple of color pieces, more for my own selfish desire to have the illustrations than anything else (although we are talking about doing a limited edition print run).

Julie did two spectacular pieces based on passages from COLD STEEL.

One, “Rising from the Sea of Smoke,” was debuted over at A Dribble of Ink last week. You can see it there or on Tumblr.

Today, Orbit Books is debuting the second piece, “Amazons.” (Click for a larger view.)

Amazons

I asked Julie to illustration the following passage:

A gust of wind rattled the branches. A drum rhythm paced through the woods. On its beat I heard a woman’s voice call out a verse, answered by a chorus of women singing the response.

A column of soldiers marched into view, although they were almost dancing, so proud and mighty were they, and every single one a woman.

Four drummers led them while a fifth struck a bell, the drummers prancing and stepping on their way with every bit of flash and grin that any young man could muster. Their shakos were as jaunty as my own. All wore uniform jackets of dark green cloth piped with silver braid. Some wore trousers, while others preferred petticoat-less skirts tailored for striding. Most wore stout marching sandals laced along the length of calf, brown legs and black legs and white legs flashing beneath skirts tied up to the knee. Four lancers walked in the first rank, tasseled spears held high, while the rest carried rifles and swords. A banner streamed on the wind. It depicted an antlered woman drawing a bow.

Amazons.

Of the piece, Julie writes:

“I made the viewpoint lower to the ground so the viewer is looking up at them a little rather than looking down, which I thought might give them a somewhat larger than life feel. I also tried to make their poses and gestures, most particularly the arms of the amazons in the front row, have a nice flow of movement between them, to try to convey the sense that they are moving a little more energetically.”

Read the first chapter of COLD MAGIC (US | UK | AUS), book one of the Spiritwalker trilogy.

Share

Best Books of 2013

Before we move on entirely from 2013 into the new year, we’d like to take a moment to revisit some of the end of year lists that praised 2013′s releases! We had some amazing books in 2013, and we’re thrilled that others agree. Here are just a few of those lists.

NPR‘s Book Concierge: Our Guide to 2013′s Great Reads
* ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie
* LOVE MINUS EIGHTY by Will McIntosh
* SHAMAN by Kim Stanley Robinson

Los Angeles Times Holiday Book Gift Guide
*
SHAMAN by Kim Stanley Robinson
* PARASITE by Mira Grant

Publishers Weekly Best Books 2013
*
AMERICAN ELSEWHERE by Robert Jackson Bennett

io9: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2013
*
ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie
* ABADDON’S GATE by James S.A. Corey
* LOVE MINUS EIGHTY by Will McIntosh

Forbidden Planet’s Best of the Year 2013
* SHAMAN by Kim Stanley Robinson
* ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie

Bookish: The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2013
* Will McIntosh’s LOVE MINUS EIGHTY
* Mira Grant’s PARASITE
* Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY JUSTICE

BuzzFeed
The 12 Greatest Fantasy Books of the Year
* THE TYRANT’S LAW by Daniel Abraham
* PROMISE OF BLOOD by Brian McClellan
* A MEMORY OF LIGHT by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
* THE RED KNIGHT by Miles Cameron

The 14 Greatest Science Fiction Books of the Year
* ABADDON’S GATE by James S.A. Corey
* PARASITE by Mira Grant
* AMERICAN ELSEWHERE by Robert Jackson Bennett
* ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie
* NECESSARY EVIL by Ian Tregillis

And a few more…

  • Shadowhawk’s Shade liked Kate Elliott’s COLD STEEL and Michael J. Sullivan’s THE CROWN TOWER.
  • Bookworm Blues called out Will McIntosh’s LOVE MINUS EIGHTY, Robert Jackson Bennett’s AMERICAN ELSEWHERE, Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY JUSTICE, Ian Tregillis’s NECESSARY EVIL, and Michael J. Sullivan.
  • Fantasy Faction mentioned Francis Knight’s LAST TO RISE, Brian McClellan’s PROMISE OF BLOOD, Daniel Abraham’s THE TYRANT’S LAW, Michael J. Sullivan’s THE CROWN TOWER and THE ROSE AND THE THORN, Anthony Ryan’s, BLOOD SONG,  and Robert Jordan’s and Brandon Sanderson’s A MEMORY OF LIGHT.
  • The Founding Fields enjoyed Kevin Hearne’s HUNTED, Michael J. Sullivan’s THE ROSE AND THE THORN, Daniel Abraham’s THE TYRANT’S LAW, Brian McClellan’s PROMISE OF BLOOD, Ian Tregillis’s NECESSARY EVIL, James S.A. Corey’s ABADDON’S GATE, and Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY JUSTICE.
  • Staffer’s Book Review praised Will McIntosh’s LOVE MINUS EIGHTY, Robert Jackson Bennett’s AMERICAN ELSEWHERE, and Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY JUSTICE; and among debuts, Brian McClellan’s PROMISE OF BLOOD.
  • My Bookish Ways chose Peter Higgins’s WOLFHOUND CENTURY, Robert Jackson Bennett’s AMERICAN ELSEWHERE, and Kevin Hearne’s HUNTED.
  • Far Beyond Reality picked Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY JUSTICE, Peter Higgins’s WOLFHOUND CENTURY, Robert Jackson Bennett’s AMERICAN ELSEWHERE, and Will McIntosh’s LOVE MINUS EIGHTY as favorites of 2013

What were your favorites from the previous year?

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is here

It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for . . . Melanie is here. The superb THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (UK|US|ANZ) is released today in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Do you know Melanie’s secret yet? Get your copy to find out . . .

The incredible reviews for The Girl with all the Gifts by M R Carey

NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

Emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is the most powerful and affecting thriller you will read this year.

To read the first few chapters for free, visit the Girl with all the Gifts Facebook page.

Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY JUSTICE nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award!

The nominees for the 2013 Philip K. Dick Award were announced today, and we’re thrilled that Ann Leckie’s science fiction debut ANCILLARY JUSTICE (US | UK | ANZ) is among them! Here’s the full list:

  • A CALCULATED LIFE by Anne Charnock (47North)]
  • THE MAD SCIENTIST’S DAUGHTER by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Angry Robot)
  • SELF-REFERENCE ENGINE by Toh EnJoe, trans. Terry Gallagher (Haikasoru)
  • ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • LIFE ON THE PRESERVATION by Jack Skillingstead (Solaris)
  • SOLARIS RISING 2: THE NEW SOLARIS BOOK OF SCIENCE FICTION edited by Ian Whates (Solaris)
  • COUNTDOWN CITY by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)

Congratulations to Ann and the rest of the nominees! The award will be presented at Norwescon in Seattle, WA, on Friday, April 18th.

Five things you didn’t know about Terry Brooks’ Shannara

With a hugely popular writing career reaching back more than thirty years, some fantasy readers may think they know all there is to know about the books of bestselling fantasy author Terry Brooks and his seminal world, Shannara. But think again.

To celebrate the conclusion of Terry Brooks’ most recent trilogy, the Dark Legacy of Shannara, we thought we’d unearth a few facts about the world of Shannara which may surprise fantasy readers out there . . . 

 

1. While influenced by The Lord of the Rings, the Shannara series is more influenced by William Faulkner, who wrote generational sagas where family secrets can destroy from within.  Terry Brooks wrote his college senior thesis on Faulkner.

2.  The Shannara series is set in a far future after the destruction of own world.  That means Elves are living in our world right now…

TV

3.  Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Miles Millar & Alfred Gough (Smallville) are trying to bring THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA (UK|AUS) to television à la Game of Thrones.

 4.  WARDS OF FAERIE (UK|AUS), BLOODFIRE QUEST (UK|AUS), and WITCH WRAITH (UK|AUS) are the three books comprising the Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy. They are an indirect sequel to THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA (UK|AUS), widely regarded as Terry’s best novel.

 5.  Terry created airships in the Shannara series because he thinks there should be a natural progression in technology from a medieval setting. He also grew tired of keeping track of long treks on horseback.

Talking airships in Terry Brooks's brand new Dark Legacy of Shannar novel WARDS OF FAERIE - perfect for fans of Christopher PaoliniTalking airships in Terry Brooks's brand new Dark Legacy of Shannar novel BLOODFIRE QUEST, book two in the series and perfect for fans of Christopher PaoliniThe new Uk cover for WITCH WRAITH, book three in the Dark Legacy of Shannara series by Terry Brooks - perfect for fans of Christopher Paolini

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dark Legacy of Shannara is out now in paperback. Terry Brooks’ next novel, THE HIGH DRUIDS BLADE (UK|AUS), is published in March.

Happy Holidays from Orbit: Cyborg Santa!

Happy Holidays from Orbit!

cyborgsanta2013webSee you in 2014!

Thanks to Gregory Titus for providing the 3rd annual SFF Santa for Orbit Books. Here’s Jetpack Santa and Epic Santa (with printable gift tags)!

 

carey_60x60

Author post

The Monster in the Mirror

Hardcore horror fans are sometimes dismissive of “creature features” – horror narratives that build their scare tactics around a monster.  Obviously there’s a very respected classical canon of monsters (vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons . . . ) that sit close to the heart of the horror genre and partially define it.  But then there’s a host of other beasties that are exiled to the outer darkness – or the Black Lagoon, 40,000 fathoms, outer space, the Korean sewer system, wherever it was they came from in the first place.

I can see the distinction, to be honest.  You look at a vampire (sparkly or not) and you think horror.  You look at the spiky cactus beast from The Quatermass Experiment, or the lolloping mutant in The Host, or Godzilla stomping on a toy Tokyo, and you think sci-fi.  Or depending on your tastes, maybe you think “that tea isn’t going to make itself . . . ”

There’s a deeper distinction to be drawn, though.  It concerns our relationship with the monster and the reaction that it draws from us.  Creature features are predominantly about spectacle, and they probably share more DNA with thrillers than with horror stories.  They can be scary, but it’s a fairly uncomplicated fear.  The fear of being eaten, say, or having your head ripped off.  Monsters in horror have the potential to scare us or challenge us in different ways. Read the rest of this entry »

THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE by Terry Brooks

The High Druid's Blade, a brand new stand-alone novel from master fantasy writer Terry Brooks, the first Defenders of Shannara novelComing in March is something new and very exciting from one of the all-time greats of epic fantasy writing.

THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE is a brand new title from Terry Brooks. It’s the first Defenders of Shannara novel – one of three new stand-alone novels set in his thrilling world of Shannara.

Here for the first time is our UK version of the cover in all its glory, using the stunning artwork from illustrator Bastien Lecouffe Deharme. We feel this new look is just right for Terry’s books – it’s fresh and dynamic and really reflects how Terry’s writing is as breath-taking as ever.

THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE features a brand new hero Paxon Leah – a young man who believes himself to be ordinary, but fate will prove him to be very different indeed . . . It’s one of the most exciting fantasy stories I’ve read in a long time! Secrets are revealed, powers are unleashed, and you’ll see a whole new side to Shannara you never knew existed. Read on for the blurb:

Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once waged war with magical weapons. But those heroes are long gone now, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Paxon leads a quiet life – until extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world . . . and rewrite his destiny.
 
When his sister is abducted by a mysterious stranger, Paxon races to her rescue with the only weapon he can find. He is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within him – and within his ancestors’ ancient blade.

But his formidable new ability is dangerous in untrained hands. Paxon must master it quickly, as his near-fatal clash with a dark sorcerer won’t be his last. Leaving behind home and hearth, he journeys to the keep of the Druid order to learn the secrets of magic and earn the right to become their sworn protector . . .

Witch Wraith, book 3 int he Dark Legacy of Shannara by Terry Brooks, which starts with Wards of Faerie and Bloodfire QuestAlso, don’t forget that the paperback edition of the last book in Terry’s Dark Legacy of Shannara series, WITCH WRAITH, is released on the last day of this year. It’s a perfect end to the series, and a great way to round off 2013!

Skin Game: Cover Announced!

Skin Game

We’re proud to release our cover for the fifteenth novel in the Dresden Files today, the much-anticipated SKIN GAME, by artist Chris McGrath. News of a release date to follow soon.

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day . . .

Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.

He doesn’t know the half of it. Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains – led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone – to break into the highest-security vault in town so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure horde in the supernatural world – which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the Underworld. See the rest of the blurb, and Jim’s thoughts on the cover, at his website here.

The Dresden Files

HIDDEN: Benedict Jacka Cover Launch

The cover to Benedict Jacka's fifth Alex Verus novel, HIDDEN.

We’re proud to release the cover of the fifth Alex Verus novel by Benedict Jacka, designed by Ceara Elliot. HIDDEN will be released in September 2014, but until then you can catch up with probability mage Alex Verus in the first four novels, FATED (UK|ANZ), CURSED (UK|ANZ), TAKEN (UK|ANZ) and the recently released CHOSEN (UK|ANZ). 

 The Alex Verus series

RSS Feeds
Orbit on the Web
Archives
Orbiteers
Blogroll

Please note that though we make every effort to ensure the suitability of links, Orbit cannot be held responsible for the content of external sites.