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Descent by 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 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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“For the first time ever I was writing the same story in two different media at the same time.”

I was a comics writer before I was a novelist, and a novelist before I was a screenwriter. Although actually I was scrabbling at the edges of all three of those forms before I got a handhold on any of them. I just knew I wanted to write – and what sort of stories I could write. As far as media went, I wanted to work in pretty much all of them. Stories are stories, right?

I’m not quite so blasé these days. I’ve got a sort of league table of media that I can work in and media I definitely can’t. I love prose, TV and movies, comics, and I’ll probably always want to have feet in all those camps (if I run out of feet, I’ll borrow or rent some). But I turned out to have no skill at all for radio, and games writing was a nightmare I’m still trying to wake up from. As Clint Eastwood said in Magnum Force, a man’s got to know his limitations.

There’s one particular pleasure, though, that you can only experience as a writer in multiple media – the pleasure of adaptation. I’ve been lucky enough to be commissioned several times to do comic book adaptations of novels and movies, and once to do a movie adaptation of another writer’s novel. In each case, I had a blast.

With the story structure already in place, the creative process and the creative challenges are very different from the ones you face when you’re making something entirely new. What you have to do is to dismantle the story – break it down into its component parts – and then think about what each part is doing. I’m not just talking about plot points, I mean characters arcs, themes, even key lines of dialogue. You do this because it’s not possible, ever, simply to move a story into another medium scene by scene, the way the town of Springfield was moved in that Simpsons episode by putting all the houses on wheels, driving them a mile down the road, and putting them down again in the same configuration of streets.

Okay, it is possible to do that, but it’s usually a bad idea. Every medium has its own native vocabulary, or palette, or whatever you want to call it. Its own biases. Things it does brilliantly well and things it can scarcely do at all. So when you adapt, you’re finding different solutions to the same set of narrative problematics. You’re making the story talk in its own voice but in a different language. And if you do it well, and if you’re lucky, the original writer will still recognise his or her progeny despite the pork pie hat, rah-rah skirt and Groucho Marx moustache.

When I was writing The Girl With All the Gifts, an opportunity came up that was completely new to me. An opportunity that was – well, probably not unique, but I’d be willing to bet fairly rare. Read the rest of this entry »


Goodreads Choice Awards 2013: Results

The final selections for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2013 have been announced. Thanks to you a huge selection of Orbit titles made the final lists, and COLD DAYS by Jim Butcher won the number one spot for Paranormal Fantasy book of the year.

Thanks to everyone who voted!

Paranormal Fantasy – View all
Overall category winner: COLD DAYS by Jim Butcher (UK | AUS)
FROST BURNED by Patricia Briggs (UK | AUS)
HUNTED by Kevin Hearne (UK | AUS)


FantasyView all
A MEMORY OF LIGHT by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (UK | AUS)
THE CROWN TOWER by Michael J Sullivan (US | UK | AUS)
PROMISE OF BLOOD by Brian McClellan (US | UK | AUS)

A MEMORY OF LIGHT crown-tower-highRez PROMISE OF BLOOD Read the rest of this entry »

Mayhem in Minneapolis!

DARK DESCENT, book two in Marlene Perez’s Nyx Fortuna series, launches this week! If you enjoyed Nyx’s wry humor and non-stop action life, you will love what Perez has in store for you next.

Nyx, still reeling from Elizabeth’s betrayalhas no time to rest. His cousin Claire has gone missing and his aunts, the three Fates, are threatening that if he doesn’t find her, Elizabeth will suffer.

Now, despite how he may feel, Nyx must venture into the underworld of Minneapolis to find his wayward cousin, lost to the thrall of Hecate’s dark magic.  But releasing Claire is not without its consequences. While it might fulfill the prophecy foretelling the fall of the Fates that have plagued him for so long, it would also mean releasing Hecate from her dark prison… and into our world. Nyx must now decide. How far would he go to save the woman he loves…. the woman who betrayed him?

Praise for the Nyx Fortuna series:

“Skillfully rendered in crisp, edgy prose, STRANGE FATES offers an exciting start to what’s sure to be a winning new series. I can’t wait to follow the sexy-as-heck Nyx Fortuna into the next installment!”
— Alyson Noël, #1 New York Timesbestselling author

“An intriguing protagonist, snappy dialogue, and a fast-paced plot.”
— Publisher’s Weekly

“Nyx is a likable hero and provides a refreshing change from the usual urban fantasy fare.”
— Library Journal

To start from the beginning of this awesome series, check out STRANGE FATES and read an excerpt here.


So I’m sure there’s at least a few people out there (or at least I’m going to pretend there is) curious about my transition from ‘self-publishing idiot’ to ‘an idiot being published by Orbit’. I should probably make something clear first. Coming in from self-publishing, I’d heard plenty of…let’s call it propaganda. Traditional publishing is evil! It’s the devil! They’ll buy your soul, run it through a paper shredder, make you change your characters into bland rip-offs of something else that’s popular, then feed your soul back to you in quarterly intervals. Also they’ll never do anything to help sell your books, treat you like scum, ignore your calls, and probably murder your puppy while they’re at it.

Now I’m sure there’s at least one puppy-murdering publisher out there, but I’d never actually quite bought into all of this. It’s one thing to believe a business is acting like, you know, a business, another to believe they were cartoon level villainy needing to be conquered by G.I. Joe. But even if I didn’t believe it, I still heard all the horror stories, the examples, the warnings… and it builds up a bit of an expectation. So after signing with Orbit and beginning the editing process, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any butterflies in my stomach as I got to peek behind the curtain. Read the rest of this entry »

Francis Knight

Author post

Writing like a Guy

Ever since I decided to use Francis as my pen name, the subject has cropped up. Why? Is there some gender reason? Is it because you’re writing from a male first person perspective? In part that’s true – although Francis is a family name, which is why I chose it initially.

Writing as a supposed male has had some interesting side effects though. I’ve surprised a few people who thought I was male, which I’m taking as a compliment about getting the character right. And the other area that surprised me was the idea of author inserts, and the assumptions that come with that.

As a reader, I completely understand the temptation to assume a character (especially in first person) is, somehow, a representation of the author as they are, or who they wish they were. Perhaps because first person is so personal and you get so far inside the character’s head, that it’s difficult to see how they could possibly not be some sort of self-insert. Read the rest of this entry »

LAST TO RISE – the stunning conclusion to the Rojan Dizon novels

Released today is LAST TO RISE, the third and final novel in the Rojan Dizon series by Francis Knight, following FADE TO BLACK and BEFORE THE FALL. The ending to this action fantasy series is intensely powerful and moving.

Things are at breaking point for the towering vertical city of Mahala. It has long been a city plagued by corruption, by the exploitation of the weakest – where the pain of the downtrodden has endlessly paid for the whims and fancies of the privileged elite.

But now things are reaching boiling point – as the city is under siege and Rojan’s desperate efforts to save the city using his forbidden magic are driving him further and further into the depths of madness. Although he’d gladly see this city burn, he will give his all to save those who mean something to him – as they’re all he’s got left.

This quote from Publisher’s Weekly really sums up how magnificent it is:

Knight’s Rojan Dizon trilogy conclusion presses its growing cast of characters into intense moments of loyalty and sacrifice to close with a sharp turn into darker, more rewarding territory . . . With Rojan’s best friend anchoring him to humanity on one side and his exhausting, bloody, agonizing magic driving him closer to insanity on the other, the novel takes on a propulsive, fractured energy that mirrors Rojan and Mahala’s increasingly frantic struggle for survival.

The series, which has grown in complexity since the beginning, reaches a profoundly moving conclusion that is both unexpected and entirely satisfying.

If you haven’t picked up the Rojan Dizon novels yet (starting with FADE TO BLACK) I urge you to give them a go, as it’s one of the most dynamic and readable series around from a very promising new British fantasy talent.

Fade to Black, book 1 in the Rojan Dizon series by Francis Knight, perfect for fans of Scott Lynch and Douglas Hulick Before the Fall, book 2 in the Rojan Dizon series following Fade to Black by Francis Knight, perfect for fans of Scott Lynch and Douglas Hulick


Cover Reveal: THIEF’S MAGIC by Trudi Canavan

The new cover for THIES' MAGIC, book one of the fantasy series Millennium's rule by bestselling Trudi CanavanWe’re very proud to present the cover for THIEF’S MAGIC, a thrilling new fantasy novel coming from the number 1 bestselling author Trudi Canavan next May. The illustration is by the very talented Lee Gibbons.

THIEF’S MAGIC is book one in the brand new Millennium’s Rule series. Here in the Orbit office we all pounced on this manuscript as soon as it came in. And we haven’t been able to stop talking about it since – because I’m excited to say it’s truly one of the best things Trudi’s ever written…

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store for readers next May:

In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.

Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it – should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath.

But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands.

Not even the people they trust.

If you want to be the first to hear news on Trudi and her books, then “like” the official Trudi Canavan Facebook page. This is where we’ll be releasing exclusive extracts, videos and competitions before they’re available anywhere else – so make sure you don’t miss out!

2013 Goodread Choice Awards: Final Round

The final round of voting for the 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards is here at last! Below are your nominees from Orbit!

FantasyVOTE NOW!
A MEMORY OF LIGHT by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (UK | AUS)

Paranormal FantasyVOTE NOW!
COLD DAYS by Jim Butcher (UK | AUS)
FROST BURNED by Patricia Briggs (UK | AUS)
HUNTED by Kevin Hearne (UK | AUS)


Science FictionVOTE NOW!
EARTH AFIRE by Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnson (UK | AUS)
ABADDON’S GATE by James S.A Corey (US | UK | AUS)
EARTH AFIRE Abaddon's Gate

PARASITE by Mira Grant – Parasite (US | UK | AUS)

Debut Goodreads Author - VOTE NOW!
PROMISE OF BLOOD by Brian McClellan (US | UK | AUS)


Graphic Novels & Comics - VOTE NOW!
THE INFERNAL DEVICES: CLOCKWORK PRINCE story by Cassandra Clare, art by Hyekyung Baek (UK | AUS)

Infernal Devices

This last round of voting closes on November 25th so don’t forget to cast your vote before then.

RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards

RT Book Reviews announced the nominees for this year’s RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and we’re pleased to see a number of Orbit titles among them! See the list below the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

Barnes & Noble Discovery Friday

This year, Barnes & Noble is debuting a new promotion called “Discovery Friday” to give you a start to your holiday shopping. On Friday, November 22nd, there will be events and activities at Barnes & Noble bookstores across the country. A number of Orbit authors will be participating at their local B&Ns. Check the list below to see if one of them will be near you!

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