Orbit author Karen Miller, whose novel The Innocent Mage was published by Orbit UK in April and will be published by Orbit US in September, has started a programme of interviews with female speculative fiction writers on her Livejournal — the first in the ‘Fantastic Women’ series is an interview with Glenda Larke, whose book Heart of the Mirage is published by Orbit UK next month.
Blogger Graeme Flory has just reviewed Fiona McIntosh’s Odalisque, which Orbit UK publishes this month. He says of it: “I found myself racing through the book to find out how it ended and now I want to read more. McIntosh has created a cast of characters that get under your skin and stay there; relationships are vividly drawn and made this reader want to work through to their conclusions.” You can read the rest of his review here, and there’s also a competition to win one of ten signed copies.
Finally, Orbit readers in South Africa may be interested in the Fantasy Feast, a special promotion being run through August and September at the Reader’s Paradise bookshop in Cape Town.
The extraordinary, and fantastically gripping, conclusion to Trudi Canavan’s Age of the Five trilogy, Voice of the Gods, was published last week by Orbit UK. To mark the conclusion of her second trilogy, Trudi was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions that we had about her writing, her life and what’s coming up next . . .
The publication of Voice of the Gods will mark the completion of your second trilogy. How do you think your life and your writing have changed between when The Black Magician trilogy was published and now?
Aside from moving house three times, and going from different levels of broke to having financial security, there’s a structure to the future that I’m not used to having. Having been self-employed for over a decade, I was used to not knowing what I’d be doing in a year or two. Now I plan my future in book series.
Orbit UK author Charles Stross has contributed a piece to the BBC website, published today. It’s a fascinating look at the effect that increased data storage will have on history and memory:
We’ve had agriculture for about 12,000 years, towns for eight to 10,000 years, and writing for about 5,000 years. But we’re still living in the dark ages leading up to the dawn of history.
Don’t we have history already, you ask? Well actually, we don’t. We know much less about our ancestors than our descendants will know about us.
Indeed, we’ve acquired bad behavioural habits — because we’re used to forgetting things over time. In fact, collectively we’re on the edge of losing the ability to forget.
This month, Orbit UK is publishing Odalisque, the start of a new series by Fiona McIntosh. It’s a dark novel set in a world of Byzantine manoeuvres and courtly intrigue — Interzone commented in their review: “I approached her new book Odalisque, set in the city-state of Percheron, with high expectations. They were more than justified . . . a beautifully structured novel, full of cruelty, wonder, mystery and terror. It has a splendid momentum that holds its audience through thick and thin. Fiona McIntosh goes from strength to strength. This is a dazzling start to her Percheron series.”
Fiona was in the UK on holiday last week, and in between sightseeing managed to get in a number of signings at bookshops in London: particular thanks to Stef at Waterstone’s 19-23 Oxford Street, Jon at Borders Oxford Street, Lee at Borders Charing Cross Road and C.J. at Waterstone’s Trafalgar Square. However, we also arranged for Fiona to make a short video about Odalisque, and you can see it on our YouTube page.
There’s a great review of Sean Williams’ Saturn Returns, recently published by Orbit UK, at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review. Graeme concludes that it “ties up enough loose ends to give a satisfying sense of closure while leaving the broader plot strands to run on into later books . . . I think this will shape up to be one of the better sci-fi series that are out there.”
Graeme is also running a competition to win one of ten signed copies of the book — just visit his website for more details. But do hurry — entries need to be in by Monday 9 July.
Last month, Paul Raven wrote a terrific review of Marianne de Pierres’ new book Dark Space for online magazine Scalpel, which sadly folded shortly afterwards. However, it’s good to report that Paul’s review has found a new home at T3A Space. Paul describes it as: “very dark. Unflinchingly so; it’s a complex and exciting novel, almost devoid of cheap sentiment and comfortable vindication. It’s not a cheerful read, but it is a very rewarding one. It’s always a joy to find intelligent and exciting space opera; to find it being written by a woman unafraid to bring her own perspective to a traditionally masculine genre, doubly so.”
Today’s edition of The Times includes their choice of best summer reads, including an SF selection from critic Lisa Tuttle. There’s a good representation of Orbit UK titles: the ubiquitous Charles Stross picks up a fantastic recommendation for Glasshouse, which “twists and surprises in impressively mind-bending style.”
Meanwhile, Laurell K. Hamilton, whose latest Anita Blake novel The Harlequin is published by us this month was described as “the queen of erotic vampire thrillers . . . increasingly baroque, but still a hardcore guilty pleasure.”
Finally, two books published by our sister imprint Atom, which publishes for young adult readers, were also chosen: Scott Westerfeld’s Parasite Positive is described as “the best of the many vampire books around”, while Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight is recommended for “those who prefer the more romantic idea of the sexy vampire . . . an old-fashioned love story in modern dress.”
Hot on the heels of the coverage in the latest issue of Death Ray, the new issue of SFX just arrived. Like their rivals at Death Ray, they had good thing to say about Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job: “The real joy . . . comes from the way that, rather than relying on the central premise to carry him through, Moore wrings so many laughs from the incidental stuff. This contrast of the domestic with the demonic draws comparisons to Buffy the Vampire Slayer but, as well as matching Joss Whedon’s whip-smart dialogue joke for joke, Moore is an exceptional novelist. At times, his prose exudes the quality of John Irving.”
They also review Charlie Huston’s new book No Dominion, the second outing for vampyre private eye Joe Pitt, of which they write: “You’ll like this . . . it’s a damn fine read and, crucially, a very interesting new take on vampires.”
I’ve just received my copy of issue 3 of Death Ray, a startup glossy SF magazine. It’s good to report that there are some nice reviews of Orbit UK titles, especially Allen Steele’s Spindrift — “an interesting, entertaining, well-told tale” — and Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job, described as “an insightful piece on the nature of death, and grief, how we deal with such things and find the strength to go on. Christopher Moore is adept at making such points even while making the reader laugh out loud at the absurdity of life in general. And that’s his greatest strength.”
There’s also an interesting feature on the young adult/SF crossover, with contributions from Orbit’s Publishing Director Tim Holman and Editorial Director Darren Nash. And though we don’t publish either of these authors, I really enjoyed the extended piece on Neil Gaiman and a shorter article on Samuel R. Delaney’s Babel-17. Death Ray is available through newsagents in the UK, and readers in the US can find it at branches of Barnes & Noble and Borders.