- - December 11th, 2012
This month Orbit UK digitally released two titles from an award-winning author. I can honestly say that these two novels have affected me so deeply, stayed with me so long, that I just want everyone to read them. EVERYONE. So it’s just darn lucky I work in publishing, meaning I can actually help bring these books to you . . . (And yes, this is the best job in the world).
The Hugo Award-winning Will McIntosh has already talked about his debut science fiction novel SOFT APOCALYPSE here, so today I wanted to focus on his other title released this month – HITCHERS.
HITCHERS is a hard book to define. Part horror story, part contemporary supernatural tale, part post-apocalyptic adventure, part touching tale of grief and redemption. But ALL compulsively readable. Chilling, amusing, sad, creepy, gripping, and deeply, deeply affecting.
To start with, the book has just about my favourite prologue ever. Read it here, and see a brief excerpt below:
“You don’t think she’ll get fired, do you?” Lorena had asked drowsily as we drifted. “I didn’t mean to get her in trouble, even though she was incredibly rude to me.” She was still ruminating about the argument she’d had with our waitress at the Blue Boy Diner. I was ruminating about the argument I’d had with my grandfather that morning, which had far greater implications for our future.
What I didn’t know at the time was that we had no future. We had about twenty-five minutes.
Someone is about to die . . . and this opening sets up one of the most fantastically-crafted and creepy tales you’ll read. In fact, in not too long, a terrorist attack is about to wipe out half the population of Finn Darby’s home city.
With all this destruction around, it’s expected that everyone would be pretty upset. But what isn’t expected is the mass phenomenon that starts to occur after the attack. People start to blurt out voices beyond their control. They appear to be taken over by a sinister unknown force, and can do very little about it. What’s so disturbing is that these voices sound freakishly similar to the voices of the recently deceased, that somehow the dead seem to be “hitching” onto the living . . .
If I say much more then I’ll be giving away too much, but what I really want to get across is how addictive this book is, how intelligent and multi-layered the writing, how intriguingly unsettling Will McIntosh’s view of the afterlife, how heart-wrenchingly attached you’ll become to his characters.
So the moral of the story is – you need to read this (and that’s not even with my publishing hat on).
You also need to look out for LOVE MINUS EIGHTY, which will be a big worldwide release from Orbit next summer.
And you also need to put pressure on Film4 to make sure that they actually make a film out of the rights they optioned for ‘Bridesicle’, the Hugo award-winning short story that LOVE MINUS EIGHTY is based on, because it would make the best, most wonderfully weird, chilling and entertaining movie ever.
Get mobilised people – let’s make this happen.
Will McIntsosh is the Hugo Award-winning science fiction author of SOFT APOCALYPSE and HITCHERS (both released as digital editions this Thursday in UK and ANZ), as well as the up-and-coming LOVE MINUS EIGHTY (released worldwide in June 2013). Will tells us below about exactly what kind of apocalypse he envisages . . .
I’ve had a longstanding interest in the end of the world. I’m not a True Believer – I don’t have a six month supply of freeze-dried food and a ten year supply of ammo stored in a bunker under my house – but I do believe the likelihood of an apocalypse is greater than most people think.
In most apocalyptic literature, the apocalypses are caused by sudden, surprising, cataclysmic events, like nuclear weapons, meteors, or killer viruses. I wrote a novel about a “soft apocalypse”, where things unravel slowly, over the course of decades. Rather than one event, a series of events cause a long, slow decline, and the world population dies off gradually. If there is an apocalypse, I think this is how it will happen. Here’s why.
A social psychologist named Dan Gilbert pointed out that the human mind has evolved to react primarily to immediate threats, especially if those threats have a clearly identifiable cause, and especially if that cause is an identifiable person or group of people. In other words, we’ve evolved to react to immediate threats perpetrated by human villains. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 were exactly that kind of threat. During the cold war, the threat was nuclear annihilation, and the villains were the leaders of the Soviet Union or the United States, depending on where you lived. These sorts of threats scare the hell out of us. We sit up, pay attention, and take action if we can. Read the rest of this entry »
- - November 15th, 2012
You might have noticed a new name starring on the Orbit schedule for next year: the phenomenal talent Will McIntosh.
Why we think he’s exceptional – why we were all desperate for him to join the Orbit list – is that he writes not only ground-breaking science fiction, but also some of the most moving, touching, and simply human stories you’ll ever read. They’ve affected me deeply – and I can’t imagine how anyone could read his novels without being equally entertained and moved.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that Will already has a Hugo Award to his name, as well as nominations for the Nebula, Locus, John W. Campbell and Compton Crook awards.
Next June, Orbit is launching a worldwide release for Will’s novel LOVE MINUS EIGHTY, a spectacular full-length novel based on Will’s Hugo Award-winning short story, BRIDESICLE. It imagines love and loss 100 years into the future, in a world where technology has reached the outer limits of morality and romance. Check out the cool cover above.
However, we know that it’s a long time to wait till June to see just what kind of stunning fiction this author is producing. So this December, in the UK, Australia and New Zealand we’re releasing ebook editions of two titles previously only released in the US: SOFT APOCALYPSE and HITCHERS. They’ll both be available to buy digitally on 6th December 2012.
SOFT APOCALYPSE, which was nominated for the Locus, John W. Campbell and Compton Crook Awards, is Will’s debut novel. It asks the question: what if the world isn’t destined to end as we always imagined it – in explosive, dramatic fashion – but what if instead, humanity is set to just slowly crumble?
Following Jasper and his nomadic tribe, a group of formerly middle-class Americans, the novel sees a world going from bad to worse – and then worse still. Resources keep getting scarcer, people keep getting poorer, and the fabric of society is slowly disintegrating.
This account of a severe decline is highly intelligent and chillingly realistic. But at the heart of the tale is a very human, touching story about how a normal guy tries to make ends meet and find love in the dangerous new place his world has become.
HITCHERS is something rather different, but with an equally engrossing human story at its core. It’s a chilling supernatural thriller in which both horror and dark humour collide.
When an act of terrorism kills hundreds of thousands in Atlanta, USA, Finn Darby is lucky enough to survive the attack. But Finn soon develops a disturbing affliction – when he starts to blurt things out in a strange voice beyond his control. And it seems he’s not the only one experiencing this problem – in fact thousands of people are suffering from the same affliction.
Either all of Atlanta is having a mass psychological breakdown, or else the dead are returning to possess the living . . .
So there are many different ways to enjoy the exceptional writing of Will McIntosh. And don’t forget that Orbit fans worldwide can also get a very quick taster of what Will’s writing with his Orbit Short Fiction title THE PERIMETER. It’s a chilling tale about the planet Clay and the perimeter fence that keeps its strange creatures at bay. One unlucky woman is about to discover just what lives beyond it . . .