In anticipation of the upcoming film based on the classic science fiction novel ENDER’S GAME (UK | ANZ), we’re extremely excited to announce the UK acquisition of a brand new series set in the same world. See the covers released here for the first time . . .
The First Formic Wars series begins with EARTH UNAWARE and continues with EARTH AFIRE. It’s set 100 years before the events of ENDER’S GAME.
Before Ender Wiggin is born, before the battle school has been built, mankind is about to have its first encounter with an alien race. The Formics are coming to Earth, and things are not about to go well . . .
Not only does this series give some fantastic back story to the tale of ENDER’S GAME and what happened in the first conflict with the Formics, this also happens to be an exceptionally good, space-battle-filled adventure all of its own. The series has had some great reviews in already:
‘A standout tale of sf adventure that gives Ender series fans fascinating backstory to the classic Ender’s Game’ LIBRARY JOURNAL
‘The story progresses nimbly, with plenty of tension and excitement and Card’s usual well-developed characters’ KIRKUS REVIEWS
‘Literate prose and superlative characterisation . . . excellent’ BOOKLIST
Both of these books are out very soon at the start of June – so not long to wait. They’re a perfect way to fill the time before the film is released in October. . . (Hurry up already movie!)
The series is co-written by Orson Scott Card, the author of ENDER’S GAME, and Aaron Johnston – a New York Times bestselling author, Marvel comic writer, and associate producer on the upcoming ENDER’S GAME movie. Look below for the blurb for EARTH UNAWARE and check out both books on 4th June 2013. Read the rest of this entry »
Today Orbit UK is proud to release EXILES (UK | ANZ), an omnibus edition of the critically acclaimed science fiction trilogy, the Uplift Storm series by David Brin. It contains BRIGHTNESS REEF, INFINITY’S SHORE and HEAVEN’S REACH.
These novels, like all books in the multi-award winning Uplift universe, revolve around the theme of biological “uplift” – which is where one species genetically enhances another species to make it sentient.
The intergalactic civilisation called the Five Galaxies is made up of a multitude of sentient races, with each species having its own “patron” race, responsible for uplifting it. But it’s a mystery why humanity seems to be the only species in the universe that hasn’t been uplifted by another patron race . . .
This theme seems to reflect many fundamental questions we have about our own existence. Why do we appear to be alone in the universe as the only form of intelligent life? And if there are other intelligent life forms out there – how will they view us?
Being an active member of SETI, the organisation which conducts scientific research on life in the universe, David Brin is very qualified to talk on this subject. I thought Orbit readers might be interested to read David Brin’s recent post “An Open letter to Alien Lurkers”. It’s his plea to intelligent alien life forms to make sure they don’t get the wrong end of the stick about us humans. To paraphrase a few of the messages within this great piece:
—> If you’ve been monitoring humans’ TV, radio and internet for years now – please be reassured: we’re not all THAT crazy, violent or extreme. Our fiction exaggerates our actions, and our news just covers the bad stuff. But most of us are actually quite relaxed, stable, peaceful beings.
—> If you’re seeing us as dangerous competitors – please don’t. The more civilised we get, the more we realise that competition and cooperation aren’t mutually exclusive. We might be able to add something to the galactic community – and a little bit of competition is always healthy. So please can we talk about it before you either overlook us or blow us to smithereens?
—> If the reason you haven’t contacted us yet is because you’re waiting for us to reach some milestone level of cilivisation, then please could you give us a helping hand with this? We’re very keen to learn!
Trust me, it’s very worth checking this brilliant piece out.
EXILES (UK | ANZ) is the final in a number of beautiful reissues we’ve produced for some of David’s most prestigious and best-known titles, to celebrate the release of his recent masterpiece EXISTENCE (UK | ANZ). All of these books can be seen below in their full glory.
This week we’ve released UPLIFT (UK | ANZ), an omnibus edition of the first three award-winning Uplift books. It’s one of the most highly regarded classic science fiction series ever written. And it’s no surprise – because I can’t help but seeing signs everywhere that David Brin seems to get things so very right . . .
In the Uplift universe, humans have the technology to enhance the intelligence of other species – such as dolphins and apes – and they have raised these animals to our own level of consciousness. In fact, in these books no species has ever reached a level of sentience without being genetically “uplifted” by another race. But humans are the only ones who have seemingly never been helped out in this way . . .
This book raises some very interesting questions. Why does humanity seem to be the only species on Earth to have broken through what you might call a “glass ceiling” of sentience? What makes us so different to all the other species? And if we could genetically “uplift” other species – should we?
This question is much more pertinent now than you might think.
Recently, as reported by the New York Times, scientists have been experimenting with increasing the intelligence of monkeys by using brain implants. Granted, the research is aimed at helping people who’ve had their brain damaged through dementia, strokes or injury – rather than trying to help out the little furry dude involved. And for the moment, it’s just a case of the monkey being able to match up some objects and pictures a little better than usual – rather than hold a conversation about the meaning of life and the universe.
But the question arises – how long will it be until we really can raise an animal’s intelligence level to that of a human being?
Perhaps not that long, according to an article from the University of Edinburgh. It claims that a new gene has been discovered that might have played a crucial role in our development towards using tools and language. This gene is unique to humans, and seems to have developed after we evolved from apes. What’s more – it seems to have come from nowhere. It emerged fully-formed, over an incredibly brief period of time, from DNA thought to be “non-coding”, or else termed “junk DNA”. (David Brin asks, of course – might it have been “donated”?)
The very isolation of this gene, which brings us a step closer towards working out what makes us human, could also bring us closer to being able to artificially create it within other species. And if we can do this – what might these new, more intelligent animals be like? And what could we learn about the world and our place within it? But what risks might we also take by doing so? Planet of the Apes, anyone?
If this question interests you as much as it does me, check out David Brin’s Hugo, Locus and Nebula award-winning UPLIFT (UK | ANZ), an omnibus containing SUNDIVER, STARTIDE RISING and THE UPLIFT WAR – out now.
And don’t forget that in January we’ll also be releasing EXILES (UK | ANZ), an omnibus containing the three Uplift Storm novels BRIGHTNESS REEF, INFINITY’S SHORE and HEAVEN’S REACH.
And if you’re really keen, check out this awesome Uplift merchandise. A great Christmas present for a nerd near you!
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:
This November, we’re releasing the paperback edition of David Brin’s science fiction masterpiece EXISTENCE (UK | ANZ). It’s his first novel to be released in ten years, and he’s truly returned in triumphant form.
It’s a breathtaking novel about First Contact – one that asks ‘why are we alone?’ and ‘are all civilisations doomed to fail?’ And it does it in spectacular, imaginative, mind-boggling, heart-thumping style.
See the paperback cover to the left and just a few of the reviews this unmissable book has been receiving:
This October will bear witness to one of the biggest SF events of the year – the release of Iain M. Banks’s brilliant new Culture novel, THE HYDROGEN SONATA.
Here are the UK and US covers (click to enlarge), which subtly reflect both the new book’s title and the story within:
And here’s more on that story:
The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.
An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.
Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted — dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.
Orbit will be publishing THE HYDROGEN SONATA worldwide in print, ebook and audiobook editions this October.
For anyone who enjoyed last year’s Hugo-nominated barnburner LEVIATHAN WAKES (US | UK | AUS) the next book in the Expanse series is a must-read.
Earth and Mars are rattling sabers following a grisly attack on the asteroid colony Ganymede, and heroes familiar and new are drawn into the fray. This reader would happily follow Captain James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante to the ends of the solar system, and may yet. But some new faces have joined the cast, including Bobbie Draper, gunnery sergeant in the Martian Marines (and her beyond-deadly combat suit), and Chrisjen Aravasala, an Earth politician as grandmotherly as she is shrewd, sharp-tongued, and determined to keep UN forces and Mars from all-out war.
CALIBAN’S WAR (US | UK | AUS) keeps up the faster-than-light pace set by LEVIATHAN WAKES, and raises the stakes, putting the fate of the entire solar system (and one missing little girl) in the balance. Says Kirkus Reviews: “Topnotch space opera … The characters, many familiar from before, grow as the story expands; tension mounts, action explodes and pages turn relentlessly.”
It is appropriate that on the launch day of 2312 (US | UK | AUS) by KIM STANLEY ROBINSON, we also celebrate the unmanned flight of SpaceX’s Dragon shuttle aboard the Falcon 9 rocket. But until room opens up on those shuttles for the rest of us, pick up 2312 and travel to the future today.
The response to this book has been wonderful, and there have been a few recent news items that were too good not to share. The Wall Street Journal reviewed 2312 over the weekend saying,
“2312” does what sci-fi is supposed to do: combine enthralling scientific sweep with envy-inducing human interest.
Kim Stanley Robinson also recently sat down with Space.com to dig down into the gritty details of terraforming planetary objects for space colonization in a special two part interview:
And if you thought that was interesting, just wait. Next you can walk-through the same steps and build your own “Terraria” from an asteroid – like those in 2312! Remember a home is what you make of it.
What is remarkable about 2312 is how topical this book is to the present day. It was a month ago that Planetary Resources announced their plans to mine near-earth objects to world-wide enthusiasm. Over 2,000 engineers have already applied to work on the project. Working together like this, a future such as the one laid out by Kim Stanley Robinson in 2312 is more than possible.
In advance of the release of Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 (US | UK | AUS) we’ve launched a website that walks you through the process of terraforming an asteroid. Build an asteroid terrarium like those in 2312, with any possible landscape – above or below water; one that preserves an existing Earth species or creates new hybrids in never-before-seen environments.
The website gives you a peek inside the ambitious new novel Publishers Weekly called “a challenging, compelling masterpiece of science fiction” and Locus called “as flat-out a celebration of the possibilities of SF as I’ve seen in years.”