You might be aware that we recently carried out one of the craziest feats ever attempted in publishing history. We sent a book into the outer limits of the Earth’s atmosphere and performed the first ever author reading in space. How did we do it? You can read the story behind the space launch right here.
The book in question was ZERO-G (UK | US | ANZ) by Rob Boffard – a novel so exhilarating that it inspired us to carry out this world-first. It’s part of the Outer Earth series which started with TRACER (UK|US|ANZ) – a heart-pounding set of science fiction thrillers set on a space station containing the last living members of the human race.
And now we’re proud to officially present the cover for IMPACT (UK|US|ANZ), the explosive final novel set in the world of Outer Earth.
If you think that the stakes couldn’t be raised any higher in this series, guess again. Because a signal has been picked up from Earth. The planet was supposed to be uninhabitable – but it seems there are survivors down there. Perhaps there could be a future for humanity on Earth after all. And Riley Hale will find out soon enough, because she’s stuck on a spaceship with a group of terrorists who are planning to crash-land on the surface . . .
Think the Bourne Identity meets Gravity and you’ll be staring to come close to just how exciting this series is. See a few more reasons below to check it out!
‘TRACER is the literary equivalent of a base jump: fast, exhilarating and unforgettable, and once you start it you can’t stop. I loved it’ Sarah Lotz, author of THE THREE
‘TRACER sets a new standard for all-action SF’ Ken MacLeod
‘Relentlessly fast pace…Vivid action scenes’ SFX
‘Compelling, compulsive…Thoroughly entertaining – this one’s worth picking up if you’re in the mood for some sci-fi action’ SCIFI AND FANTASY REVIEWS
‘If you’re after a fast-paced, action-packed, cinematic space adventure, thenTraceris absolutely for you . . . Rob Boffard is an author to watch’ CIVILIAN READER
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We interviewed Adrian Selby, debut author of SNAKEWOOD (UK|US|ANZ), an epic fantasy of mystery, betrayal and bloody revenge publishing this month via Orbit.
Can you give us your best elevator pitch for SNAKEWOOD?
Fifteen years after the legendary mercenary crew Kailen’s Twenty disbanded, they’re being killed off one by one. Told through a ‘found footage’ collection of journals and interviews, SNAKEWOOD is a record of their glory, their demise and the final days of those left alive as they desperately try to evade a lethal and relentless assassin.
When did you first know you were going to write this particular book?
1989. Back then it was the desire to tell a story of two old soldiers, buddies all their lives, crumbling apart from a life of war, with only each other to rely on as an enemy from their past came after them. All these years later it became a more layered narrative, an exploration of how they and their old mercenary crew fell apart, a glimpse also of their glory years and the story also of the assassin hunting them down.
Faded glory and absent comrades are a great theme in the book – what is it about the ‘old soldier’ motif that’s so attractive to you as a writer?
It’s many things all bound up. They’re more vulnerable. This particular crew of soldiers were so badass in their prime, winning every purse, that it wouldn’t have been that interesting to focus on them back then. But having saved each other’s lives so often, there are debts of honour that will now make them take risks for each other. There is an ennui that pervades our middle age, when the people that made us who we are drift slowly away, leaving us only the joy of having known them, something we treasure and, in Gant and Shale’s case, honour enough to act on when these old friends are dying, and in so honouring perhaps do one good thing before their own time is up.
SNAKEWOOD was a fantasy twenty years in the making: can you tell us a bit about the path to publication?
I finally got my head together and researched and wrote the novel over a ten year span, a growing family edging its progress to the corners of my days. I finished the first draft in February 2013, and started querying literary agents in May. Jamie Cowen, of the Ampersand Agency, expressed an interest in reading the full manuscript in December 2013 and offered to represent me the following month. He helped me get the manuscript into shape for a pitch to publishers and in the summer of 2014 approached Orbit, who appeared to quite like it! Now the editing’s done and the first hardbacks have just arrived from the printers, the culmination of all those years of work and a wonderful collaboration with the brilliant Jamie and everyone at Orbit.
Who inspires you as a writer?
I have favourite writers, Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan, Annie Proulx, and many others who write exquisite prose in the service of magnificent and moving stories. While I’m a sucker for a great page turner, and I’m looking at you Tim Powers, I am also inspired by those writers who deliver hugely original and/or well realised worlds, from the master, Tolkien, to the strange and vivid worlds of John Crowley, Jeff Vandermeer, Robert Holdstock, Brian Aldiss, Jack Vance and Hannu Rajaniemi. Then there are the writers who deliver on all three, such as David Mitchell and China Miéville.
SNAKEWOOD would definitely fall into that category of ‘strange and vivid worlds’, with its varied poisons and ‘fightbrews’ (potions taken by soldiers to enhance their fighting skill) made from ingredients found naturally in their world. No other fantasy writer has explored this in quite the same way – how did this change the story you were writing?
It is in the story’s DNA, as all magic systems must be. The power of the One Ring in Middle-earth moves every living thing in it like the tides as it journeys south with Frodo. In my own world of Sarun, the magic is in the plant life; it is widespread, capable of being harnessed by anyone who can figure out the recipes with which to make effective magic of it. Such power is inevitably held with those who know and own the recipes, and can thus control the rest, not unlike the control of literacy in the dark to middle ages. The political order of the world is shaped by the knowledge of ‘plant’ and the race to innovate and learn new recipes. Such things therefore govern trade, conspiracies, conquests and alliances.
Clearly Quentin Tarantino would have to direct any adaptation of SNAKEWOOD – a dark and gritty tale of assassins, soldiers and mercenaries on the run – but who would be your dream cast?
This was rather harder than I first thought! I see Javier Bardem as Gant, because I’ve seen him be a complete badass and yet he has a sensitive, expressive quality, softly spoken, perfect for an old mercenary that holds a strong love for old friends. Shale, his lifelong buddy and in a way his rock is more Russell Crowe, all Gladiator – calm, ruthless and more stony in demeanour. Karen Gillan would be a great Galathia, a vengeful young princess estranged from her throne. She could easily bring out Galathia’s intelligence and rage. Kailen, the genius former leader of Kailen’s Twenty, has to be Gabriel Byrne. He can transfix you with those eyes, he has a great presence, commanding authority, but can give the impression of being able to crush you with his eloquence or slit your throat just as easily!
ADRIAN SELBY studied creative writing at university before embarking on a career in video game production. He is a Tolkien fanatic and an online gaming addict, and lives with his wife and family on the south coast of England. His debut novel Snakewood is an epic and inventive fantasy about a company of mercenaries and the assassin trying to destroy them. You can find Adrian on Twitter, tweeting as @adrianlselby.
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Orbit have entered Awards Season in style this year! You’ve already heard that N. K. Jemisin and Ann Leckie have been nominated for the Nebula Awards, but here’s a round up of our books on other glittering awards lists . . .
On top of her Nebula and Audie nominations, N. K. Jemisin’s (literally) groundbreaking fantasy THE FIFTH SEASON has also been shortlisted for Best Novel by the judges of the Kitschies Awards! The Kitschies are awarded to ‘progressive, intelligent and entertaining’ works of SFF, and will be announced just next week, Monday 7th March.
From the international bestselling author of the Hugo and Nebula award-winning THE WINDUP GIRL [UK |ANZ] comes an electrifying thriller set in a world on the edge of collapse. THE WATER KNIFE [UK|ANZ] is published in paperback this week and we’re very excited to present to you the thrilling book trailer for Paolo Bacigalupi’s incredible novel.
When the water runs out blood will flow.
To celebrate release, Paolo Bacigalupi will be touring in the UK. Click here for event information in your area.
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Last year we published Brian Ruckley’s superb adventure fantasy THE FREE [UK/US/ANZ]. Featuring desperate battles, terrifying magic and a host of memorable characters, THE FREE follows the adventures of the kingdom’s greatest mercenary company, as they take on a final contract in an attempt to right past wrongs and erase the painful memories of their darkest hour.
Drawing comparisons to films like Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven, THE FREE received widespread critical acclaim upon publication, and received starred reviews from both Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal.
The good news is that the adventures of The Free don’t end with this novel – far from it! The world that Brian has created is too large, and the history of the Free too bloody and tumultuous, to be explored in just a single novel. So we’re very pleased to announce three new novellas that will explore the eventful past of this famous mercenary company, all of which will be published this year.
The first action-packed novella is A TALE OF THE FREE: CORSAIR which publishes today, 1 March.
For years the Free have sold their martial and magical skills to the highest bidder, winning countless victories that have overthrown kings and shaken empires.
Yulan is a newcomer to their ranks, keen to prove himself worthy of the Free’s name. When corsair marauders ravage the Hommetic Kingdom’s coastline, Yulan gets his chance.
His mission is simple: travel to the corsairs’ island fortress, persuade their self-proclaimed king to sign a peace treaty, then head home with sword unbloodied.
Yet the crumbling fortress holds many secrets, and blades speak louder than words. Soon Yulan must fight not just for the glory of the Free, but for his very survival.
The second novella, A TALE OF THE FREE: EXILE, will follow in June. The third, A TALE OF THE FREE: TYRANT, will be published in September.
Praise for Brian Ruckley:
‘The Free is a blast to read . . . phenomenal set pieces of warfare and magic’ – Justin Landon
‘No one who enjoys epic fantasy should miss this’ – The Times
‘Wonderfully composed action scenes and a thrilling climax’ – BookBag
‘Deliberate pacing, complicated characters and vivid descriptions elevate this far above run-of-the-mill epic fantasy’ – Library Journal
‘Mesmerising, magical and human’ – Publishers Weekly
‘Ruckley’s realistic characters and sparing use of magic breathe new life into well-trod epic territory’ – Entertainment Weekly
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Paolo Bacigalupi, author of Nebula and Hugo award-winning THE WINDUP GIRL [UK|ANZ], will be touching down in UK shores this month with a series of events promoting the paperback release of his latest New York Times bestselling novel, THE WATER KNIFE. Don’t miss this chance to meet this visionary author who Time called ‘a worthy successor to William Gibson’.
30 March – Waterstones Covent Garden
Award winning speculative fiction writer Paolo Bacigalupi discusses works and his new novel, THE WATER KNIFE, with acclaimed journalist Alok Jha, author of THE WATER BOOK.
Doors open 6pm. Tickets £3 – available from the bookshop or online. More information
31 March – Waterstones Liverpool Level One
Paolo Bacigalupi, international best selling author of THE WATER KNIFE and THE WINDUP GIRL, will be appearing at Liverpool Waterstones L1 Geekery in conversation with Dr Chris Pak on Thursday March 31st at 6.30pm. Tickets £3 (£2 for Loyalty Card holders) and available in store or call 0151 709 9820. More information
2 April – Oxford Literary Festival
Novelist Paolo Bacigalupi talks to academic Ed Finn about science fiction, imagination, climate change and the role of storytelling in inspiring change. More information
The first instalment in the Corporation Wars trilogy, DISSIDENCE is a space opera giving a robot’s eye view of a robot revolt, from Arthur C. Clarke Award-nominated science fiction author Ken MacLeod.
Today we’re delighted to launch the cover, by the very talented Bekki Guyatt at Little, Brown Book Group UK.
One of SFX magazine’s Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for 2016, DISSIDENCE will be released in May this year (UK|ANZ|US). INSURGENCE will follow at the end of 2016, with the final instalment in the trilogy, EMERGENCE, released Spring 2017.
They’ve died for the companies more times than they can remember. Now they must fight to live for themselves.
Sentient machines work, fight and die in interstellar exploration and conflict for the benefit of their owners – the competing mining corporations of Earth. But sent over hundreds of light-years, commands are late to arrive and often hard to enforce. The machines must make their own decisions, and make them stick.
With this newfound autonomy come new questions about their masters. The robots want answers. The companies would rather see them dead.
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The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit) [US | UK | AUS]
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit) [US | UK | AUS]
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)
This is the third Best Novel nomination for both N.K. Jemisin and Ann Leckie (whose ANCILLARY JUSTICE [US | UK | AUS] won the Nebula Award two years ago).
The nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy also include an Orbit author: COURT OF FIVES was nominated, by Kate Elliott, author of last fall’s BLACK WOLVES (US | UK | AUS).
Congratulations to Ann Leckie, N.K. Jemisin, Kate Elliott, and the rest of the nominees!
We’re thrilled to reveal the cover for THE WAKING FIRE (UK), Anthony Ryan’s spectacular new fantasy novel.
The stunning illustration is courtesy of illustrator Jaime Jones, with the design handled by Little, Brown’s very own Nico Taylor.
THE WAKING FIRE – Book One of Draconis Memoria – is an absolute blast (that’s the official scientific term). As the cover suggests, fire-breathing creatures of the draconic variety feature heavily, but it’s also packed with exploration, adventure and a furious battle for empire.
For decades the lands of the Ironship Syndicate have been defended by the ‘blood blessed’ – men and women able to channel the powers contained in the potent blood of wild drakes. Elite spies and assassins, their loyalty has established the Syndicate’s position as the greatest power in the known world.
Yet now a crisis looms. The drake bloodlines are weakening, and war with the Corvantine Empire seems inevitable. The Syndicate’s only hope of survival lies with the myth of a legendary drake, whose powerful blood might just turn the tide of the war – if it even exists.
The task of hunting down this fabled creature falls to Claydon Torcreek, a petty thief and unregistered blood blessed. He’s handled many valuable things in his time (most of them illegal) but nothing as priceless as his nation’s future.
THE WAKING FIRE will be published this July in hardback, trade paperback, ebook and audio formats.
Anthony Ryan is the author of epic fantasy sensation BLOOD SONG (UK | ANZ] as well as TOWER LORD (UK | ANZ) and QUEEN OF FIRE (UK | ANZ), which were both New York Times bestsellers. The Raven’s Shadow trilogy has sold over half a million English-language copies worldwide. Anthony lives in London and is a full time writer. He can be found online at his website and on Twitter as @writer_Anthony.
Praise for Anthony Ryan:
‘Blood Song is an amazing debut and Anthony Ryan is a master storyteller’ – Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns
‘An utterly engrossing high-fantasy from a major new talent’ – Buzzfeed
‘Anthony Ryan is David Gemmell’s natural successor, and epic fantasy’s best British talent’ – Fantasy Book Critic
‘Blood Song is a powerful epic’ – SFFWorld
‘Epic fantasy at its best’ – Bookbag
‘Compelling’ – SFX
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THE WATER KNIFE [UK/ANZ] is Paolo Bacigalupi’s first adult novel since his Hugo and Nebula-award winning debut THE WINDUP GIRL [UK/ ANZ]. It’s one of the must-read SF books of the year, but if you haven’t read it yet, do not despair. The paperback edition is out next month, providing an excellent opportunity to take immediate action. And so that you know exactly what to look out for, here is the cover, designed by Art Director Sean Garrehy in the UK:
PS: If you are wondering why you should read it, here are some wise words from those who already have:
‘These days are coming, and as always fiction explains them better than fact. This is a spectacular thriller, wonderfully imagined and written’ – Lee Child
‘His use of water as sacred currency evokes Frank Herbert’s Dune. The casual violence and slang may bring to mind A Clockwork Orange. The book’s nervous energy recalls William Gibson at his cyberpunk best . . . But this is no pastiche; Bacigalupi weaves an engrossing tale all his own, crackling with edgy style’ –Los Angeles Times
‘A noirish cinematic thriller set in the midst of a water war between Las Vegas and Phoenix . . . Think Chinatown meets Mad Max’ –NPR
‘This is the best kind of science fiction. An intense thriller and a deeply insightful vision of the coming century, laid out in all its pain and glory. It’s a water knife indeed, right to the heart’ – Kim Stanley Robinson
‘A noir-tinged, apocalyptic vision of the near-future . . . Once I started, I couldn’t put it down’ – Kelly Link
‘Anyone can write about the future. Paolo Bacigalupi writes about the future that we’re making today, if we keep going the way we are. It makes his writing beautiful . . . and terrifying’ – John Scalzi