Locus has just announced the finalists for the 2013 Locus Awards, and we’re thrilled to see some familiar names on the list! Congratulations to Iain M. Banks, James S.A. Corey, and Kim Stanley Robinson for their nominations in the Science Fiction Novel category; and to N.K. Jemisin and Charles Stross for their nominations in the Fantasy Novel category.
Below are the full lists of nominees for those two categories.
SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
The Hydrogen Sonata, Iain M. Banks (US | UK | ANZ)
After a couple of surgical procedures, I am gradually recovering from jaundice caused by a blocked bile duct, but that – it turns out – is the least of my problems.
I first thought something might be wrong when I developed a sore back in late January, but put this down to the fact I’d started writing at the beginning of the month and so was crouched over a keyboard all day. When it hadn’t gone away by mid-February, I went to my GP, who spotted that I had jaundice. Blood tests, an ultrasound scan and then a CT scan revealed the full extent of the grisly truth by the start of March.
I have cancer. It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.
The bottom line, now, I’m afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I’m expected to live for ‘several months’ and it’s extremely unlikely I’ll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last.
As a result, I’ve withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I’ve asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry – but we find ghoulish humour helps). By the time this goes out we’ll be married and on a short honeymoon. We intend to spend however much quality time I have left seeing friends and relations and visiting places that have meant a lot to us. Meanwhile my heroic publishers are doing all they can to bring the publication date of my new novel forward by as much as four months, to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves.
There is a possibility that it might be worth undergoing a course of chemotherapy to extend the amount of time available. However that is still something we’re balancing the pros and cons of, and anyway it is out of the question until my jaundice has further and significantly, reduced.
Lastly, I’d like to add that from my GP onwards, the professionalism of the medics involved – and the speed with which the resources of the NHS in Scotland have been deployed – has been exemplary, and the standard of care deeply impressive. We’re all just sorry the outcome hasn’t been more cheerful.
A website is being set up where friends, family and fans can leave messages for me and check on my progress. It should be up and running during this week and a link to it will be on my official website at friends.banksophilia.com.
A new season of books is inbound, and it sure looks like it’s going to be an exciting one! Here’s the first crop of covers from the Fall 2013 – Winter 2014 season. We’re still putting the finishing touches on a few more, but you’ll be seeing them soon.
Because the smaller scale doesn’t do any of these fantastic covers justice, click on the images below to see a larger version. So pin, tweet, and comment to your heart’s content and tell us which books are already on your “Must have!” lists!
Infamous Scottish crime writer Christopher Brookmyre launches into the world of science fiction today with BEDLAM (UK|ANZ) – a first person shooter of a novel – a thought-provoking, funny look at what it really means to be human in the 21st Century. Want to know more? Here’s what everyone’s saying about it!
“A fascinating, fast-paced but thoughtful blend of science fiction and techno-thriller” – Iain M. Banks
“Funny jokes, characters you can empathise with and devastatingly employed swearwords.” – Ed Byrne
“It’s warm, funny, excellently violent and highly recommended. Game on.” – SCIFI NOW
“Brookmyre hits another high score with this brilliant, fast-paced nightmare.” – Charles Stross
PRISON OR PLAYGROUND?
Ross Baker is an overworked and underpaid scientist developing medical technology for corporate giants Neurosphere, but he’d rather be playing computer games than dealing with his nightmare boss or slacker co-workers.
One rainy Monday morning he volunteers as a test candidate for the new tech – anything to get out of the office for a few hours. But when he gets out of the scanner he discovers he’s not only escaped the office, but possibly escaped real life for good. He finds himself trapped in Starfire – the violent sci-fi video game he spent his teenage years playing – with no explanation, no back-up and most terrifyingly, no way out.
Would it be your ultimate fantasy to enter the world of a video game? Or would it be your worst nightmare? This is where you find out if you’re in a prison or a playground.
Today we’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Culture series by bestselling author Iain M. Banks! For decades, the Culture series has engaged our imaginations and taken us to new, exotic alien worlds. Check out the interview below to find out more about Iains most recent novel, THE HYDROGEN SONATA (UK | US | AUS) as well his reflections regarding the past and future of the Culture.
But that’s not all…since we can’t very well pass out these delicious Culture cupcakes digitally, there will be a full day of fun and prizes elsewhere on the internet. Head on over to Twitter for more Culture-related activity by searching for the hashtag #25YearsofCulture.
With the 25th anniversary of the Culture series now upon us (Consider Phlebas was published in 1987), have you come to regard the series as your life’s work? Do you think you’ll ever ‘complete’ the series, or do you still have a long list of ideas that you want to explore?
I suppose the Culture series will form the largest part of my life’s work; it’s unlikely I’ll come up with another over-arching structure on the same scale now. I’m perfectly happy with that. I’ll keep writing about the Culture for as long as I still feel there are new things to say, new avenues to explore. It’s important that I feel able to write SF outside the Culture, but even within it the restrictions are minimal; most of the action in most of the Culture books takes place well outside the Culture itself, and it’s been that way since the beginning, with Phlebas.
I don’t intend ever to complete it; I decided right from the start to resist the temptation to tear it all down at any point, and this has become sort of indicative and symbolic of the nature and demeanour of the Culture itself, now: it means to resist completion and put off Subliming, so that it can keep on going, sticking around in the Real and trying to do good (as it sees it), for as long as it can, and it’s already envisaging that when it does finally fade away, it’ll be when its going will hardly be noticed, because being something like the Culture – behaving like it – will be pretty much the default state for all galactic civilisations. (Though, in this, it could, of course, be completely wrong.)
I’ve more than enough material and ideas for another full-on Culture novel, and that has been the case for at least the last decade or so, no matter where I’ve been in the Culture-novel-writing cycle, as new ideas keep on coming along at a slow but steady rate. At the moment I’m tempted to try something a bit more oblique next time, though I’m also tempted to go with something tighter and more wildly kinetic, too… Who can say? We’ll see.
Orbit is going to New York Comic Con! We’ll be in the Hachette booth, #1027, with giveaways, raffles, and several author events, so be sure to stop by if you’re in town. Here’s the schedule of events:
Friday, October 12
1 PM: Kate Locke signing GOD SAVE THE QUEEN @ booth 1027
4 PM: Nicole Peeler signing TEMPEST’S FURY and TEMPEST RISING @ booth 1027
4 PM: Senior editor Devi Pillai will be on the panel “Publisher’s Paradise: Adult Publisher Spotlight” in Rm. 1A06
Saturday, October 13
12:15 PM: Nicole Peeler will be on the panel “Myth Mixology: How Urban Fantasists Create the Perfect Cocktail” in Rm. 1A08
1:30 PM: Creative director Lauren Panepinto will be on the panel “Ladies Who Steam: The Publishing Industry on Women in Steampunk” in Rm. 1A01
Sunday, October 14
11 AM: Michael J. Sullivan will be signing THEFT OF SWORDS @ booth 1027
4 PM: Michael J. Sullivan will be on the panel “The Brave New World of E-Book Publishing” in Rm. 1A07
We’ll also be running raffles every day of the convention, with prizes including books by Gail Carriger, Joe Abercrombie, Iain M. Banks, and Rachel Aaron. See you there!
This doesn’t seem possible to me, but Iain M. Banks’ first Culture novel, CONSIDER PHLEBAS (UK | US | AUS), was published 25 years ago – making this year, according to our calculations, the 25th anniversary of the Culture. For anyone who has experienced the ridiculous awesomeness of the Culture novels, this is of course a rather special occasion demanding a hearty cheer at the very least – and a large statue at most. Or something in between, such as these cupcakes we made to celebrate in our own way.
But what better way to celebrate than with a brand new Culture novel? None! Conveniently released this month around the world, THE HYDROGEN SONATA (UK | US | AUS) is a science fiction-shaped marvel that is already grabbing the attention of reviewers. Look at these for starters:
“This rich, sweeping panorama of heroism and folly celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Culture, Banks’s far-future semi-utopian society…. The action tumbles along at a dizzying pace, bouncing among a fascinating array of characters and locales. It’s easy to see why Banks’s fertile, cheerfully nihilistic imagination and vivid prose have made the Culture space operas bestsellers and award favorites.” — Publishers Weekly
“Banks’ Culture yarns … brim with wit and wisdom, providing incomparable entertainment, with fascinating and highly original characters, challenging ideas and extrapolations, and dazzling action seamlessly embedded in a satirical-comedy matrix.” — Kirkus Reviews
“One of Banks’ best Culture novels to date.” — Booklist
“A supremely enjoyable read … Banks’ charming prose and the scale of his imagination continue to delight Culture vultures” - SFX
“It’s fantastically good fun” — SciFi Now
To help celebrate the release of THE HYDROGEN SONATA and the 25th anniversary of the Culture, you have three basic options:
Say, “Hip, hip, hurrah for the Culture!”
Read the first chapter of THE HYDROGEN SONATA here.
Try to make Culture cupcakes better than ours.
The Orbit UK team celebrates 25 years of the Culture series with Iain M. Banks!
Last night Google’s UK headquarters in London bore witness to a very special event: a discussion between the UK’s three biggest SF writers, Iain M. Banks, Peter F. Hamilton and Alistair Reynolds. Eight lucky fans from across the world – who were all lucky enough to win a competition to join the conversation – sat in on the debate and supplied questions.
The hour-long discussion covered a wide range of subjects, such as worldbuilding versus characterisation, approaches to writing and the future of science fiction in an increasingly digital age. The entire hour-long session was watched live by hundreds of fans and was also filmed. Many thanks to the Google crew for their hospitality and for making the event possible!
Iain M. Banks is on tour in the UK next week, signing copies of his brilliant new Culture novel THE HYDROGEN SONATA [UK | US | ANZ] – the events are as follows: