Virtual Convention

Some more convention news, this time from Australia: Conflux 4 takes place in Canberra from 28 September to 1 October. As part of the build up to Conflux 4, there’s a ‘virtual minicon’ taking place on 4-5 August on the convention forums. A number of the guests appearing at the main convention will be chatting online — there’s a full list here. Orbit authors taking part include Glenda Larke, Fiona McIntosh, Karen Miller and Karen Traviss.

Orbit at Alt.Fiction 2008

It’s still quite a long way off, but planning has already started for the Alt.Fiction event in Derby next April.

2007 was Orbit’s first year at the event, and we really enjoyed it: I appeared on a panel with literary agent John Jarrold and John Berlyne of sfrevu.com, Mike Carey did a workshop and a reading, and Iain M Banks rounded off the day in triumphant style with the first public reading from his forthcoming Culture novel, Matter (a covert recording of which turned up on YouTube shortly afterwards!).

After such a great experience, we were keen to return for the 2008 event, and I’m very pleased to say that we’ll be back there next April — so far, Orbit authors attending include Mike Carey, Philip Palmer and Brian Ruckley and Charles Stross. You can follow updates to the Alt.Fiction schedule at organiser Alex Davis’ blog.

An Embarrassment of Riches

Charlie Huston

Charlie Huston
(photo: Karin Kohlberg)

I’ve just been looking through the fourth issue of Death Ray, which, it’s pleasing to report, is full of nice things.

First up is a terrific interview with Charlie Huston, talking about his Joe Pitt books, his thrillers and his work for Marvel Comics on Moon Knight. Later in the issue, there’s a fantastic review of the new Joe Pitt book, No Dominion:

Bloody great . . . brilliantly rendered . . . The dialogue is exquisite, pared-down and telling you as much by what’s not said as by what is . . . it’s deceptively simple; there’s actually loads going on here, with relationships deepened, politics furthered, events put into motion and firmer shape given to the overall arc of the series . . . the result is a thrilling read that you’ll want to gulp down in a single draft.

Terry Brooks

Terry Brooks
(photo: Judine Brooks)

Fifty pages later, there’s a flagship feature on Terry Brooks — there’s an extremely expansive interview, touching on all aspects of his work; a selection of eight of his best books with accompanying reviews; and an interview with literary agent John Jarrold, who has published Terry at various stages in his career and outlines Terry’s enduring appeal and the enormous influence his work has had on the genre. The piece concludes:

Whether it’s his affable style, his prodigious capacity to feed his fans with new books, or the simple fact that he can spin a fine yarn is unimportant: Terry Brooks remains one of the most successful fantasy writers ever, and probably will remain so for many years to come.

The first volume in Terry’s new series The Genesis of Shannara, Armageddon’s Children is out now in paperback, and Terry will be touring the UK in September to promote his new title The Elves of Cintra — watch this space for details!

Another Convert to the Electric Church

The Electrich Church CoverJohn at SFsignal posts a great review of The Electric Church by Jeff Somers, giving the book 4.5 out of 5 stars and writing in summary:

PROS: Excellent pacing; well-written action sequences; fun characters; dark setting.
CONS: There’s something remarkably unsettling about passionately rooting for the killers and thieves.
BOTTOM LINE: A first-rate piece of science fiction entertainment.

You can read the full review at SFsignal.com. The monks of the Electric Church will be in bookstores this September. In the meantime, keep an eye on the official site. It’s just a splash page now, but we hear they are building something in there…

Already Dead in Shivers

Already Dead by Charlie HustonThe latest issue of Shivers has a great review of Already Dead, the first book in Charlie Huston’s series of noir thrillers starring undead PI Joe Pitt:

Huston has taken the basics of the vampire mythos and produced a very well crafted tale . . . [His] telling of the tale through the world-weary eyes of a vampire is what sets the book apart. It’s a great read and drags you kicking and screaming through the action . . . There are blood and guts and action and violence and even some pondering on the nature of life and love. I really enjoyed Already Dead and it’s well worth seeking out.

The second Joe Pitt novel, No Dominion, is also out now &#8212 and a third, entitled Half the Blood of Brooklyn, will be published by Orbit UK in early 2008.

Starred Review for Orbit US Debut

Winterbirth book jacketThe first (of many, we hope!) Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly in the US has just arrived and it’s for Brian Ruckley’s Winterbirth. In their own words, it’s an “outstanding fantasy debut … ensuring a fervent audience of epic fantasy fans looking for something innovative in a genre that can be anything but.” Scroll down the page here to read the full review.

(I’m not sure, btw, whether the fantasy genre as a whole is any more or any less innovative than other genres — answers on a postcard, please — but it’s great to see a reviewer recognizing that Brian Ruckley is a writer with his own distinctive voice.)

Meanwhile, in another lovely pre-publication notice in the US, Kirkus Reviews describe Winterbirth as “epic fantasy in the mode of George R.R. Martin and R. Scott Bakker . . . readers who like their fantasy dark, multi-threaded and political will sink their teeth into this.”

To read an extract from Winterbirth, visit www.brianruckley.com

Want to see more Dresden Files on TV?

The Dresden Files television series was shown earlier this year in both the UK and the US (on Sky One and the Sci-Fi Channel respectively). This was a fantastic treat for the many fans of Jim Butcher’s books. Of course, we’ve all been eagerly anticipating more, but the future now looks rather uncertain, as despite good ratings and great reviews, commissioning of a second series has still to be confirmed.

But there is still something we can do — it’s not too late (yet)! Those helpful fans at Dresden City have put together a simple and helpful guide on how to keep the series alive, with details on exactly how to:

  1. Write snail mail letters to those most directly responsible for programming at the Sci-Fi Channel and Lionsgate
  2. Call the Sci-Fi Channel feedback line
  3. Let everyone online know your love for the show

More on the subject can be found here and of course check Jim Butcher’s official site for masses of Harry Dresden info and more.

Thanks for your support — you know it’s worth it!

Karen Miller Interview

The Innocent Mage book jacketKaren Miller, whose bestselling debut novel The Innocent Mage was published by Orbit UK in April and will be published by Orbit US in September, has been interviewed by Sandy Auden at www.uksfbooknews.net.

It’s a deceptively simple story that hides layers of depth and allows the author to explore a host of intense themes. “There’s love, hate, revenge, and sacrifice for starters, and the price of fighting for what you know is right. Then there’s the fact that nothing important comes for free; that people can be hateful but still have value; and that it’s not the gifts you’re born with, but what you do with them that counts. And not forgetting: friendship isn’t easy, but it’s always important.”

You can read the rest of the interview here.