The Escapement Arrives

International Covers for The Escapement

K.J. Parker’s Engineer Trilogy continues to wow the critics. In the Locus review of Evil for Evil (US, UK) and The Escapement (US, UK) Faren Miller says of the trilogy:

“The whole thing is brilliant – disturbingly so, since these fantasies (without a whit of magic) explore the human condition and reveal it all, brain, heart, guts and bowels, with a startling precision.”

And over at Strange Horizons, Farah Mendlesohn has a fascinating review of the trilogy that gets at the heart of what makes these books so compelling:

“The trilogy format of Parker’s work is deceptive: it both does, and doesn’t conform to recognisable fantasy trajectories. Yes, in almost all of the books there is at least one person who rises to power or moves towards the centre of the action; there is always big landscape; there are wars and many nameless people die. But the stories which form the plot are interlocked through future, present and past. Parker writes stories in which individuals become enmeshed in the machine, and in which economics is the god on which all the principals are sacrificed. ”

Read the whole review here.

You can find the first chapter of Devices and Desires here. Book three, The Escapement, is out this month.

The Twelve Days of ChristmaSFF

With the Yuletide fast approaching, the Orbit team* thought it worth indulging in a spot of fantastical fun to help count down the days until Christmas.  In an act of inspired lunacy / luke-warm humour / gross irresponsibility (delete as appropriate), we’ve decided to post the Science Fiction and Fantasy Twelve Days of Christmas.  And because we are masters of space and time, we’ll be doing it over the next week and a bit**.  In order to give some sort of relevance to our tomfoolery, each line will be derived from a recognisable subgenre/movement within SFF. 

So, join with us as we warm up our vocal chords, apply our formidable knowledge of the field and kiss our credibility goodbye, with The Twelve Days of ChristmaSFF . . .

On the first day of Christmas my android gave to me . . .
. . . A monolith on a dead moon.

* Well, not allthe Orbit team. Despite the strong vein of geekery propagating through the office like the blast front of a giant nerd-bomb, some people have insisted on retaining their dignity (it’ll never catch on). These few, these happy few, are blameless for what we’re about to unleash on an unsuspecting world.
** Yes, we know. Not an inspired start, is it?

Shortlisted but Long-Talented

All right, I admit it: that’s a terrible title for a blog post. What’s far from terrible, though, is the fact that Glenda Larke, Marianne de Pierres and Sean Williams all have novels on the shortlist for the 2008 Aurealis Awards!

Song of the Shiver Barrens

Glenda’s Song of the Shiver Barrens is shortlisted in Best Fantasy Novel Category, while Marianne’s first foray into space opera, Dark Space, and Sean’s most recent excursion into similar territory, Saturn Returns, are both shortlisted in the Best SF Novel category. Song of the Shiver Barrens will be available in an Orbit edition in May next year (although the very wise amongst you will seek out the first two books, Heart of the Mirage and The Shadow of Tyr, to see what all the fuss is about!), while Dark Space and Saturn Returns are available now (with a mass market paperback of Saturn Returns coming next June).

Dark Space

Many congratulations to Glenda, Marianne and Sean, and all the shortlisted authors.

Saturn Returns

Quote(s) of the Week!

Another One Bites the DustFollowing Karen Miller’s wonderful piece about eating elephants, we have two more Orbit authors discussing their favourite quotes over at The Book Swede.

Jennifer Rardin, the fantastic debut author of Once Bitten, Twice Shy and Another One Bites the Dust, has a piece this week about humour in writing and in life:

Some of my stuff is pretty intense and rather dark. But every once in a while you’ll come to a laugh-out-loud moment. If I didn’t give you one, I’d expect you to toss the book out the window. And even if you were the soldier-through type, who’d stand by me without relief every heart-squeezing step of the way, I couldn’t do it to you.

Read more>>

The Long Price

The week before, Daniel Abraham, author of the critically-acclaimed The Long Price, had this to say about the perils of trying to be an intelligent reader and writer:

Deciding what to create is higher stakes than what to consume. If you’re one of the folks like me who has to fight the impulse to puff up their status by what they read, imagine how hard it would be to rein that in when it comes time to write.

Read more>>

An Interview with J.V. Jones

A Sword from Red IceJ.V. Jones, author of A Sword from Red Ice, gave a great interview over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist last week where she answered questions about her writing, her thoughts on the genre and what’s in store for the next Sword of Shadows book:

At this point even I don’t know who will succeed and who will fail. As I writer I’m interested in the conflicts we carry in our hearts. We’re afraid, yet we act in face of that fear. We love passionately, yet we’re rarely selfless. Books IV and V will show Raif coming to terms with hard realities. How do you live a life when you’re cut off from your family, home and community? What is your responsibility when you can kill an enemy so effortlessly, from a distance, that you don’t have to look him in the eye?

You can read the whole interview here and be sure to visit J.V.’s website.

Vampires, Snowmen, Vampire Snowmen?

Over at SF World Mark Yon (clearly skeptical about any urban fantasy starring a Vampire) finds a lot to like in Jennifer Rardin’s Once Bitten, Twice Shy:

“This is one that should be read: one for me that stands with my current faves Jim Butcher and Mike Carey.”

Another One Bites the Dust

At Angela has a review of the next book in the Jaz Parks series, Another One Bites the Dust,

“With more action and tougher bad guys, this sequel doesn’t disappoint.”

And for a chance to win a copy of the first two books in the series (plus what looks like a very tasty chocolate snowman) visit