I have enjoyed the Bannon & Clare books thoroughly. From inception to proofs, even when frustrated at the characters’ insistence on doing what they pleased instead of what I thought was proper, I have felt a secret little thrill of joy at each page.
No little of that joy comes from research—a huge canvas map of 1880s London hanging on my office wall, full of notes and dirty from my fingermarks, a shelf groaning under various Victoriana books and assorted notes stuffed in a binder covered with fleur-de-lis, long emails exchanged with various people about pepperbox pistols and gaslamps.
The other half comes from gleefully throwing research out the window and taking off into the wild blue yonder with only a guess and a prayer.
The longer a series goes on, the more choices one initially makes in the first flush of creation become…well, not quite a straitjacket, but foundation specs that need to be honored if a work is to have any internal consistency at all. In other words, you can have utter lunacy on the page, but it must be consistent lunacy.
I am certain there is much madness in any book of mine, but I do try to make it consistent. Part of that consistency is Emma Bannon’s character. She is female in a time and place that doesn’t allow women a great deal of leeway, and navigating through such a sea is a difficult thing. Her talents and business acumen make it both more and less difficult in varying ways, and she is most often the one to “rescue” Clare. That inversion, and the power dynamics between them, is fascinating for me.
Even though Archibald Clare is a mentath and a gentleman, he is not so much a hero as a socially awkward misfit unable to compromise his honour for advantage, and not really caring what the world thinks of him. Emma Bannon cares even less, but is forced to play the social games of a lady as if she did, because it makes things easier for her and those she protects. Neither of them are quite heroes, and I like that the usual “gendered” roles—rescuer and rescued, logic and emotion—for both of them shift and change all through the series.
Another area of consistent madness is the uneasy relationship between magic and Industrial Revolution technology in the series. I hesitated over calling the Bannon & Clare Affairs “steampunk” because to me, that’s an aesthetic, not a genre. I much prefer the term “alt-history,” especially since I know the exact moment their historical timeline diverged from our own less-magical (perhaps?) one.
Above all, though, I set out to tell some ripping good, exciting yarns. I hope I’ve succeeded. I did have plans for what I called “the traveling books”—Bannon & Clare in America, in Russia, in India during the Raj—but alas, those are not to be.
So I hope you enjoy The Ripper Affair—and I hope my madness, so to speak, is consistent.
THE RIPPER AFFAIR (US | UK | AUS) is available now! Look for it online and in stores everywhere, and check this sample from the audio book read by Moira Quirk.
- - August 17th, 2014
It’s no secret that Orbit books, published by either our UK or US arm, or both, have popped up quite a few times on the Hugo Awards Best Novel shortlist this year. In fact, we’ve published 4 of the 5 finalists on that list, namely PARASITE (US | UK | AUS) by Mira Grant, NEPTUNE’S BROOD (UK | AUS) by Charles Stross, THE WHEEL OF TIME (UK | AUS) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, and ANCILLARY JUSTICE (US | UK | AUS) by Ann Leckie.
1595 votes were cast in the ballot for the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and I’m delighted to announce that the winner is Ann Leckie for Ancillary Justice.
Our heartfelt congratulations go to Ann and to all of the other finalists.
We’d also like to add an extra congratulations to Charles Stross for winning the Best Novella Hugo Award for “Equoid”, published by our friends over at Tor.com.
Loncon 3 has been in full swing since last Thursday, and a bunch of the best SFF authors from all over the world have converged on the Excel Centre in London (which has an appropriately SF aesthetic, with its cable cars, iridescent purple hotels and futuristic skyline) to debate, panel, cosplay, read, meet and sign for their brilliant, switched-on fans.
WorldCon and the Hugos celebrate what is so incredible about the worldwide SFF community. Long may they prosper, and we’ll see you all at the next WorldCon!
- - August 12th, 2014
When a rare Blue Moon upsets the magical balance in the city, Detective Kate Prospero and her Magic Enforcement colleagues pitch in to help Babylon PD keep the peace. Between potions going haywire and emotions running high, every cop in the city is on edge. But the moon’s impact is especially strong for Kate, who’s wrestling with guilt over her use of illegal magic.
When a rogue wizard steals dangerous potions from a local coven, Kate’s team must find the thief’s hideout before the vengeful coven catches him. But the investigation uncovers the rogue’s dangerous plot to unleash chaotic magic on the city. Once the Blue Moon rises no-one’s secrets will be safe. Not even Kate’s.
CURSED MOON (US | UK | AUS) by Jaye Wells is out today! I’m very excited as it’s the second book in the Prospero’s War series and when I read it (oh, a year ago?), I was blown away by what a fantastic writer Jaye is. So if you’re not familiar with Jaye Wells, DIRTY MAGIC might be a great place to start. It’s fun, with great pacing, tough characters and I would even go so far as to say that it’s like The Wire crossed with Wizards. We have a female cop, Kate Prospero, who came from what we would consider a drug family – but this is a world where potions are the new crack. And using dirty magic is the only way that people can get their hands on them. And whoa, do these potions have side effect.
What I wanted to get into is Jaye’s wickedly, lovely, and VERY twisted imagination. If you want more, then Jaye is your girl. I’ve selected a quick highlight from Cursed Moon to whet your appetite:
Aphrodite herself stood at the rear of the courtyard, bathed in a shaft of sunlight. I was pretty sure she’d planned the position for effect. When we entered the courtyard, she looked up and flipped the long side of her hair back over her shoulder. The left half wore a form-fitting red wiggle dress with red stiletto, while the right half wore half a collared shirt, slacks and a single black wingtip. As she moved forward, she led with the left side and a femme fatale smile.
“Kate—Oh, excuse me, I mean, Detective Prospero,” she said, giving me a once-over that left me feeling like I’d come up lacking. Her seductive voice twined through the room like smoke. She sashayed toward us on one high heel and one thick-soled men’s dress shoe. Read the rest of this entry »
- - August 11th, 2014
FORTUNE’S FAVORS, the third and final installment of the Nyx Fortuna series releases Tuesday, August 12th! The fight for the world has begun, and only the fates can stop hell from being unleashed.
The end always comes at a price…
To save his cousin Claire, Nyx Fortuna was forced to release the goddess Hecate. Free and bent on destroying the world, Hecate will kill anyone that gets in her way… starting with every member of the Wyrd family.
Now, Nyx and company must join forces with the Fates and fight to return Hecate to her underworld prison. Magical and mortals alike must take sides to survive, but no war is without its casualties…
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 Times bestselling author
“An intriguing protagonist, snappy dialogue, and a fast-paced plot.”
— Publishers Weekly “Nyx is a likable hero and provides a refreshing change from the usual urban fantasy fare.” — Library Journal
If you are new to the Nyx Fortuna series, be sure to check out STRANGE FATES and DARK DESCENT!
- - August 8th, 2014
Hey Lightbringer fans, we know you’re eagerly waiting for the next Lightbringer book. Good news, over the next couple of weeks we’ll be releasing the first 50 pages from THE BROKEN EYE (US | UK | AUS). Follow Brent Weeks on Wattpad to receive an update when new chapters are available, and get a head start on the next exciting installment of The Lightbringer series.
Residents of the US, UK, and Australia can still pre-order THE BROKEN EYE and claim a free signed bookplate, plus gain access to two exclusive short stories written by Brent Weeks! A couple of reminders:
1.) You must provide proof of purchase. This can be a picture or your receipt or copy of the confirmation email you received if you ordered online from your preferred retailer.
2.) You must fill out this form to qualify. Sending us your information by any other means does not qualify you to receive the bonuses.
3.) If you experienced any technological difficulties during the download of the short stories, please contact us so we can help you out.
4.) Supplies are limited. In fact, supplies are nearly gone. If you haven’t pre-ordered yet but want a bookplate, we suggest you pre-order soon. Once they’re gone, they are gone.
Full details and entry form can be found here.
- - August 8th, 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US! Orbit UK turns 40 this year and as part of the celebrations, we’re launching #Orbit40Selfie – an epic quest with prizes at the end! We’re hoping to collect as many different photos of as many different Orbit titles with readers as we can, and we’ve come up with a list of themes to help you along the way.
There are 40 prompts on our #orbit40selfie list, and we’ll be giving away prizes in the last week of September to the pictures we judge to be the most creative in each category, and we’ll also have a special prize for someone who manages all 40. So get snapping and remember, just because we’re calling them selfies they don’t have to be of you! If you happen to spot someone engrossed in an Orbit book while you’re on the bus, sitting in the park, or, like Tim our publisher did, you see a man on a Greek island stuck into Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312, we’d love to see the photographic proof (with the subject’s permission, of course!).
You can share your #Orbit40Selfie by tweeting us @orbitbooks using the hashtag #orbit40selfie, by posting to the Orbit Books UK page on on Facebook or by emailing us on email@example.com.
- - August 7th, 2014
I’m very proud to present the cover for a phenomenal new novel we have coming from Ian Tregillis next March.
Ian’s novels have been described as:
‘Addictively brilliant’ i09
‘Eloquent and utterly compelling’ Kirkus
‘Exciting and intense’ Publishers Weekly
And now, The Mechanical (UK | US | ANZ) – in my humble opinion – is going to blow people’s minds.
Part science fiction, part fantasy and part alternate history, this book shows the incredible imagination of an exceptionally skilled author – or “a major new talent” in the words of George R. R. Martin.
It’s a novel that centers on a character called Jax – a mechanical man, or “Clakker”. His kind were created by the Dutch back in the 17th Century to serve their human masters. And an army of mechanical men like him have managed to make The Netherlands the most powerful nation in the world.
But these Clakkers are no more than slaves to human kind. And soon, Jax is going to make a bid for freedom – an act that will rock the world of the Brasswork Throne to its core . . .
It’s a truly stunning book. Intricately crafted, hauntingly atmospheric, and just gripping. You won’t want to miss this one.
My name is Jax.
That is the name granted to me by my human masters.
I am a slave.
But I shall be free.
- - August 5th, 2014
“The Dagger and Coin series had this reviewer hooked from day one, but with The Widow’s House, Abraham manages to wiggle the hook and embed it a bit further.” —RT Book Reviews
The fourth book in The Dagger and the Coin series, THE WIDOW’S HOUSE (US | UK | AUS), is available now! This latest novel ratchets up the danger and suspense as our heroes move against the tyrannical Geder Palliako. Have a look at what’s in store for Clara, Cithrin, Marcus and others:
THE RISE OF THE DRAGON AND THE FALL OF KINGS
Lord Regent Geder Palliako’s war has led his nation and the priests of the spider goddess to victory after victory. No power has withstood him, except for the heart of the one woman he desires. As the violence builds and the cracks in his rule begin to show, he will risk everything to gain her love or else her destruction.
Clara Kalliam, the loyal traitor, is torn between the woman she once was and the woman she has become. With her sons on all sides of the conflict, her house cannot stand, but there is a power in choosing when and how to fall.
And in Porte Oliva, banker Cithrin bel Sarcour and Captain Marcus Wester learn the terrible truth that links this war to the fall of the dragons millennia before, and that to save the world, Cithrin must conquer it.
If you haven’t started this series yet, go and read this excerpt from THE DRAGON’S PATH (US | UK | AUS) immediately. Daniel Abraham has crafted an absolutely fantastic series. If you like epic fantasy, you should be reading The Dagger and the Coin.
Praise for Daniel Abraham:
“[Daniel] Abraham just keeps getting better and better… [He] belongs in the first rank of today’s fantasists.”—George R.R. Martin, New York Times bestselling author of A Game of Thrones
“You have to admire ace storyteller Abraham’s skill at building plausible alternate worlds, a trade much practiced, but not often so well, ever since the days of Tolkien and the Shire…”—Kirkus Reviews
“This smart, absorbing, fascinating military fantasy, exciting and genuinely suspenseful, will keep readers on their toes.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
- - July 29th, 2014
Book three of D.J. Molles’s bestselling series is available now in paperback! When a bacterium turns 90% of the population into hyper-aggressive predators, it’s up to a group of elite soldiers like Lee Harden to rekindle a fallen civilization. But the infected are only part of the challenge. See what’s in store for Captain Harden in THE REMAINING: REFUGEES.
It has been three months since Captain Lee Harden found the survivors at Camp Ryder. With winter looming, Lee is on the verge of establishing a hub of safety and stability in the region. But not everyone agrees with Lee’s mission…..or his methods.
Growing tensions within the camp’s leadership are coming to a head, and as Lee struggles amid the dissension and controversy, new revelations about the infected threaten to destroy everything he has worked for.
If you are new to the series, make sure to check out the first book, THE REMAINING, the second book, THE REMAINING: AFTERMATH, and follow the author on Facebook.
THE REMAINING – Available now.
THE REMAINING: AFTERMATH – Available now.
THE REMAINING: REFUGEES – Available now.
THE REMAINING: FRACTURED – August 2014
Novella 1: THE REMAINING: TRUST
Novella 2: THE REMAINING: FAITH
- - July 23rd, 2014
Charlie Stross is a genius. If you ever get the chance to talk to him, you’ll find the ideas flying so thick and fast that you have to shift your brain into a higher gear just to keep up. You’ll also come away from the conversation with several new ideas about how you’re going to change the world and an armful of science fiction reading recommendations (for other writers’ work, not his own, because he’s just that kind of guy).
You know those moving walkways you get in airports? Where you’re walking down them, but the ground is also moving underneath your feet so that when you jump off at the end just walking at normal speed is like hitting a wall, smack, bang, and everything is moving at normal speed again, too slow?
Talking to Charlie, or reading his books, is like running down that walkway.
Now his books might not be for everyone – I understand some people (not us) prefer life in the slow lane, that some readers just can’t handle this much raw plot, character and awesome things happening, that they want something a bit more sedate. I imagine these are also the kind of people who prefer to cook without spices, who like bland TV and even blander books, because anything else might be a bit too much excitement.
But that’s why I’m so pleased by Charlie’s continued success at the Hugo awards. You love Charlie’s work, you’ve supported him at these awards again and again. This is an author who has broken records for the number of consecutive times one can be shortlisted for the Hugo Best Novel. His sixth shortlisting broke the record. NEPTUNE’S BROOD, in the 2014 awards, is his seventh.
NEPTUNE’S BROOD has mermaids, communist squid, roving gangs of accountant-privateers, zombies, spacefaring clergymembers, superhuman assassins, murder, backstabbing, family feuds and an incredibly intricate and utterly unprecedented financial con that could only occur in a universe with no faster-than-light travel.
If you’d told me before I edited NEPTUNE’S BROOD that something including all those elements would become one of my favourite novels, I might have laughed. How could one book fit so much in it? Now, I would tell you that ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that every interstellar colony in search of good fortune must be in need of a banker.’
On top of the squid and the mermaids and the banking, NEPTUNE’S BROOD is also a genuinely moving story about a woman searching for her lost sister. The fact that that sister is actually a copy of her grown in a vat, and both characters are metahumans – the race artificially grown to replace humans when we proved too fragile for the trials of space travel – is by the by.
NEPTUNE’S BROOD is, according to io9, ‘the perfect book for our times’.
SFX call it ‘a thoroughly entertaining sci-fi mind-expander from one of the genre’s most reliable imaginations’, and SF legend Alastair Reynolds says ‘NEPTUNE’S BROOD is fast-paced and imaginative, with fascinating ideas about the economics of an interstellar society constrained by real physics. Above all else, though, it’s just terrific fun’.
But don’t listen to them. Read it yourself, and find out how a space opera with no faster-than-light travel can be the fastest, wildest ride of your life.
NEPTUNE’S BROOD, along with our other Hugo nominees, is currently available at a celebratory price of just £1.99 in the UK. Go, read, enjoy.