Robert Jordan

It is a great sadness to report the news that Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series, passed away yesterday, 16 September. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and everyone who knew him personally and through his books. The news was first posted on his blog at www.dragonmount.com.

Do not joke with Brian Ruckley about haggis.

Over at Nethspace, Brian Ruckley responds gamely and hilariously to the “Haggis Question.”

“You do know every year in Scotland several tourists who are flippant about haggis get hunted down and slaughtered like curs by howling, kilt-clad, claymore-wielding mobs, don’t you? It’s virtually a national sport.”

Read the whole interview here.

Though the world of Winterbirth was partly inspired by Brian’s native Scottish Highlands, it is (so far, at least) haggis-free.

Over at Fantasy Book Critic US readers can enter for a chance to win a copy of Winterbirth, along with a set of Orbit US launch month titles.

Mike Carey on Camera

Mike Carey, the author of the Felix Castor novels, recently came in to the Orbit offices, and we thought we’d take the opportunity to sit him down in front of a camera and ask him to talk about his new book, Dead Men’s Boots (which is attracting some really good early reviews — as you can see here).

Of course, having Mike talk about the third book was too good a chance to pass up, so we also recorded him talking about the two previous books in the series, The Devil You Know and Vicious Circle.

You can see the resulting videos by following the link below, and also on our YouTube page.

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Link Catch-Up

Winterbirth by Brian RuckleyThings are fairly hectic at Orbit UK — we’re really looking forward to fantasy legend Terry Brooks touring the UK next week, so there’s a certain amount of dotting Is and crossing Ts going on — and it’s all too easy to miss things taking place around the blogosphere. So here’s a catch-up on what’s being happening with our books and authors:

Ian Irvine has written an essay on the books that are important to him for the distinguished academic Norman Geras’ blog.

Sean Williams is answering questions from readers on the Australian SpecFic in Focus forum — you’ve got until 15 September if you want to ask him something.

As a marketing hack, I was fascinated by this interesting analysis of how a reader decides what to buy in a bookshop, using Brian Ruckley’s Winterbirth as a case study, written by a genuine marketing expert, Roy Bayfield of Edge Hill University.

Jeff Somers’ The Electric Church is out later this month. It’s already picked up some great reviews. The Guardian called it “an exhilarating example of powerful and entertaining storytelling.” Meanwhile, blogger Graeme Flory rated it eight out of ten and wrote of it: “I read a couple of pages; then I read some more, the next thing I knew, it was Sunday night and I’d finished it. Great stuff, every single page tells you in no uncertain terms why this book has been chosen as part of Orbit’s opening salvo on the US market . . . an entertainingly bullet spattered read that hints at great things from Somers in the future.”

Graeme has also reviewed Mike Carey’s new book Dead Men’s Boots, which rates a mighty nine and a half out of ten, and the comment, “If you’ve already read the first two books then I guarantee you’re going to absolutely love this one. If you haven’t then I suggest you pick up The Devil You Know [Mike’s debut for Orbit] and get reading. You won’t regret it.” There’s also an interview with Mike on Graeme’s blog.

The final word on Dead Men’s Boots goes to the estimable John Berlyne, who says in his SFRevu review: “What Carey develops . . . is yet another extraordinarily gripping supernatural mystery . . . These Castor books are as fiendishly addictive as nicotine and are made all the more satisfying by Castor’s deadpan, ironic fatalism . . . The net result is another superb, highly involving novel from Mike Carey.” You can read the rest of the review here.

And they’re off!

Orbit’s first two releases in the US, Lilith Saintcrow’s The Devil’s Right Hand and Karen Miller’s The Innocent Mage, have charged up the fantasy mass-market bestseller lists to #3 and #4 respectively. A great start — and great excitement at Orbit HQ!

Cliffhanging

Bookgasm.com just posted a fantastic review of Karen Miller’s The Innocent Mage.

It’s a rare book indeed that after 640 pages, it ends on a cliffhanger, and you sit back and go, “Damn, I wish I had the second book in the series to start.” But that’s exactly what I thought after plowing through Karen Miller’s marvelous The Innocent Mage… read more >>

To all you readers dangling from the edge of that cliff, we cry from below: hold on! The second book in the series, The Awakened Mage, will be in stores this October. If you haven’t read the book yet, you can find chapter one right here.

Covered in Blood

Although the book won’t be published until February next year, we’ve just received the advance jacket proofs of Charlie Huston‘s third Joe Pitt novel, Half The Blood of Brooklyn, and we proclaim it to be the best yet! Behold!

Half the Blood of Brooklyn

If you haven’t delved into the Vampyre Manhattan of the Joe Pitt novels, you’re missing a treat (a very dark, very violent kind of treat — but a treat nonetheless). Charlie Huston‘s Orbit debut Already Dead and follow-up No Dominion have been variously described as ‘bloody great’, ‘brilliantly rendered’, ‘well worth seeking out’ and — in a nutshell — ‘a damn fine read and, crucially, a very interesting new take on vampires’.

That pretty much says it all. If you want a seamless blend of pulp noir, crime thriller and the supernatural, Joe Pitt’s your man!

We have lift-off…

Tim HolmanWell, after months of meticulous planning, discussing and strategizing, it’s launch month for Orbit in the US. The books are in the stores, the reviews are coming in, and the marketing campaigns are underway.

With all of the preparation that surrounds the launch of a new imprint, it’s easy to forget the importance of that relatively brief moment when somebody sees a book for the first time — in stores, in libraries, online, or wherever — and makes a decision. As publishers, we can edit the books, and package the books. We can promote them, both directly and by working with retailers. And we can make sure that they are available as widely as possible.

But will that book catch your eye? Will you pick it up? Will you read the blurb and like the sound of it? Will you flick through a few pages and be excited enough to want to carry on? And then, of course, if you’ve done all of those things, will you enjoy it as much as we have?

Only time will tell, of course. But we’d like to thank everyone who has helped us get to this stage, and given us so much support and good advice, in particular: the authors, the agents, the booksellers, the librarians, and the reviewers. And I’d like to give special thanks to the woman I saw on the subway yesterday reading Karen Miller’s The Innocent Mage and not looking up once. I hope she didn’t miss her stop … actually, I hope she did.

Stross Steals Fire From The Gods

Glasshouse by Charles StrossWell . . . not quite. But Charles Stross’ Glasshouse has just won the 2007 Prometheus Award for best libertarian novel of the year.

Founded in 1979 and awarded since 1982 by the Libertarian Futurist Society, the award honours science fiction writers whose books examine the meaning of freedom. Orbit has some history of achievement in this award, with Charlie following the success of Ken MacLeod’s 2006 winner, Learning the World. Ken has won the Prometheus three times, in fact — a point Charlie wittily acknowledges on his blog.

Our congratulations to Charlie on the success of Glasshouse, which was also shortlisted for this year’s Hugo AwardCharlie’s fourth consecutive shortlisting. The last writer to achieve that was a fellow by the name of Silverberg . . .

Terry Brooks UK Tour

Terry Brooks

Terry Brooks
(photo: Judine Brooks)

Internationally-bestselling author Terry Brooks is going to be touring the UK later this month to promote his new book The Elves of Cintra. Selecting places to do book signings is always a fraught process — especially for an author as popular as Terry with fans all around the country. Future tours will concentrate on areas that we haven’t covered this time, especially Scotland and the North of England. However, for this tour, we’ve come up with the following itinerary for Terry, and hope very much to see you at one of these signings.

Monday 17 September

1pm: Signing at Forbidden Planet, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London. For more information, call the store on 020 7420 3666 or visit www.forbiddenplanet.com.

Wednesday 19 September

5.30pm: Signing at Waterstone’s Bluewater, Greenhithe, Kent. For more information, call the store on 01322 624831, email manager@bluewater-west.waterstones.com or visit www.waterstones.com.

The Elves of Cintra by Terry Brooks

Thursday 20 September

12.30pm: Signing at Waterstone’s, Wesley Walk, Basingstoke. For more information, call the store on 01256 460646, email manager@basingstoke-wesleywalk.waterstones.com or visit www.waterstones.com.

4.00pm: Signing at Waterstone’s, 17 Stanley Walk, Bracknell. For more information, call the store on 01344 488124, email manager@bracknell.waterstones.com or visit www.waterstones.com.

Friday 21 September

12.30pm: Signing at Waterstone’s, 50-52 Smithford Way, Coventry. For more information, call the store on 02476 634224, email manager@coventry.waterstones.com or visit www.waterstones.com.

7pm onwards: Terry is one of the Guests of Honour at Fantasycon — see their website for details.

Saturday 22 September

10am onwards: Terry will be doing an interview and panel at Fantasycon — see their website for details.

4.00pm: Signing at Waterstone’s, 1-5 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham. For more information, call the store on 0115 948 4499, email manager@nottingham.waterstones.com or visit www.waterstones.com.