Science Fiction Awards Watch

The team behind the late, lamented SF review site Emerald City, Cheryl Morgan and Kevin Standlee, have launched a new online project, Science Fiction Awards Watch. They describe the purpose of the new site:

So what is this all about? Well, there are few things that the science fiction community likes to talk about more than awards, so we thought it might be good to have a central place where these conversations can take place . . . We have a number of fine critics who have offered to participate in discussions here from time to time, and we are looking for more . . . There will also be public debate. After all, the Hugo Award winners will be announced very soon now, and somehow that always results in a storm of controversy around the blogosphere. Which is why we are launching this site now. We are coming up to what we expect to be the busiest time of the year for award controversies.

You can find out more on their site.


Lamb by Christopher Moore

Hot on the heels of last month’s A Dirty Job, which SF Site calls “a book that entertains steadily, alternating Beta Male tribulations and black comedy,” comes Christopher Moore’s Lamb.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal is the story of Biff, the Messiah’s best bud, who has been resurrected to fill us in on what really happened. Locus says it’s “a laugh-out-loud, roll-on-the-floor dark comedy” and is “impressed by the author’s humor, inventiveness, and bravery in taking on this story. His dialog sparkles with sarcasm and wit.”

The Bookbag is also clearly a fan, saying “it could just as easily have been called: Life of Brian — the Early Years. It is that irreverent, that subtle, that funny.”

Verily, that’s some pretty high praise. Lamb is available from all good book retailers this month.

Three Times the Horror in August!

Unmarked Graves by Shaun Hutson

And no, we’re not talking about the British weather. Orbit’s Master of the Dark, Shaun Hutson, has three titles out this month and they’re definitely not for the faint of heart.

Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review says: “Unmarked Graves actually reads like an action/horror movie written on paper, a fast moving, gut wrenching roller coaster ride of gore, mania and terror.” And Dreamwatch SciFi agrees: “This book will shock you. And so it should.”

The Guardian is a fan of Dying Words, out this month in paperback, calling it “a novel that gets the job done. Pared-down prose in staccato chapters whisks the reader through a scary white-knuckle ride . . . if you want pacy, explicit, edge-of-the-seat storytelling, Hutson is always a good bet. Great fun.”

And those in the mood for some classic horror should check out Shaun Hutson Omnibus 1: Shadows and Nemesis which The Bookbag says will give you “some excellent sleepless, violence- and gore-filled nights . . . there’s plenty of gore but what really lifts this book out of the ordinary is the plot and the ending which had a twist I really wasn’t expecting . . . very, very well done.”

Looking for more terrifying treats? Shaun will be the guest author on Paul Kane’s Shadow-Writer site in September and will soon be in Hub Magazine being interviewed by Marie O’Regan.

Brian Ruckley Interview

Brian Ruckley

Brain Ruckley talks with Aiden Moher at A Dribble of Ink. It’s a wide-ranging discussion, covering Winterbirth, Bloodheir (the second novel in the trilogy, out next spring from Orbit) as well as the trauma of seeing a favorite book adapted to the screen:

“When I saw that trailer it was a bit like someone kicking in the door of your house, making straight for the cupboard where you keep the best-loved toys of your early years and beating on them with a sledgehammer.”

Brian blogs at, and you can read an excerpt of the book here.

Philip Palmer’s Breaking Point

Philip has been pretty busy recently, what with checking the proofs for Debatable Space and finishing the first draft of his next book for Orbit — it’s no wonder the strain is starting to tell . . . But seriously, Philip has been doing a huge amount of work in recent months for his new radio play for Radio 4, and you can catch this tonight from 9-10pm.

The play is entitled Breaking Point and is an insightful and powerful exploration into psychological manipulation, and how to ‘break’ people in interrogation. We see the story from an unusual perspective as we follow Jon Starkey, undergoing training to become a British Army interrogator. As the drama unfolds, we see the effects on him and his family as he joins the ‘war against terror’. Philip talks about the play on his blog and you can also find out more on Radio 4’s site.

If you miss the play on Friday, you can listen for a further week after broadcast, courtesy of Radio 4’s ‘listen again’ facility. Philip has also written an interesting piece on the making and recording of the play, an engaging read.

Radio 4 describes its Friday plays as “strong stories that reflect the world: entertaining, emotionally engaging and challenging” and Breaking Point will certainly be all of these things.

A Cultural Matter

Here’s a question: whose next SF novel features spaceships with the following names?

Now We Try It My Way

Experiencing a Significant Gravitas Shortfall

Subtle Shift in Emphasis

Liveware Problem

Don’t Try This At Home

You’ll Clean That Up Before You Leave

Without doubt one of the most highly anticipated SF novels to be published next year, Matter is the new novel from Iain M. Banks, the UK’s bestselling SF author. It’s a Culture novel — the first for 8 years — and Iain has just delivered the final manuscript. And I’ve just read it. And . . . WOW!!! (that’s a technical publishing term). Being a Culture novel, we’ve also got a whole heap of new Culture ship names to look forward to. My favourite today is Don’t Try This At Home. We’re scheduled to publish Matter in the UK and the US in February next year, and here’s a sneak peek of the cover:

Matter Cover

A Devil of a Short List

Mike Carey

Mike Carey
(photo: Charlie Hopkinson)

Much ecstatic piping on the tin whistle (Clarke original, key of D, natch) greeted the news that Mike Carey’s superb debut The Devil You Know, featuring freelance exorcist Felix Castor, has been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Society’s August Derleth Award for Best Novel.

The award will be presented at Fantasycon in Nottingham this September, which Mike will be attending — along with fellow Orbit author Terry Brooks, who is one of the Guests of Honour.

You can read an extract of The Devil You Know here.

Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors, and our best wishes to Mike — everyone at Orbit is hoping for a well-deserved win for Felix Castor’s first outing.

Some Heart-y reviews for Glenda Larke

Heart of the Mirage by Glenda LarkeGlenda Larke’s latest book, Heart of the Mirage, has been getting some wonderful reviews of late:

This month’s Starburst gives it a five star rating and says “those looking for a ‘sense-of-wonder’ fix need look no further. Larke doesn’t conform to the cookie-cutter school of fantasy and has a talent for world building and a fondness for unstable landscapes . . . It’s also great fun”.

Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review thinks: “It is nice sometimes to break out of the typical medieval Fantasy City and go somewhere different. Larke accomplishes this by setting her tale in the equivalent of Ancient Rome and the deserts of Africa and decorates the proceedings with some stunning imagery in the process.”

And The Bookbag calls it: “highly enjoyable, this book’s got love, betrayal, skullduggery, espionage, adventure, magic, heartbreak and plenty more besides.”

Interested in taking a peek at the finest (and possibly only) book this year to feature heartbreak and skullduggery? You can check out a sample of the first chapter here, and find the book at all good bookstores and online retailers.

Orbit UK to Distribute Yen Press Manga

We’re delighted to announce that from September 2007, Orbit UK is going to be distributing titles from Yen Press, the new manga line set up by our sister company, Hachette Book Group USA. We’re extremely excited at this development, and are looking forward to the first titles being available next month.

You can find out more about Yen Press, and forthcoming titles, on their website.

You can read the official press release here (you’ll need Acrobat Reader, available free from this link).