Archive for Orbit Australia

Cover launch: Traitors’ Gate by Kate Elliott

We’ve been loving the opulence of the latest cover in Kate Elliott’s Crossroads series, just in, and I thought I’d share it here. The rich colouring very much evokes the wonderfully vivid world-building and dramatic storytelling that categorises Kate’s work, plus it will look gorgeous on the shelf with the first two books, Spirit Gate and Shadow Gate.

Traitors' Gate by Kate Elliott - UK large paperback

It’s out in September this year in large format paperback and, to whet the appetite, here’s a little summary of the plot:


Reeve Joss is struggling to defend a country ravaged by the assaults of twin armies. His men now patrol a land of burning villages and homeless refugees as Joss tries to separate traitor from friend. The Reeve’s days are also plagued by thoughts of the intriguing Zubaidit: pleasure-giver, spy and temple-trained assassin. But Zubaidit is focused on a dangerous mission, her target being warped Guardian Lord Radas. His death would leave the invading militia in chaos, but the old tales tell truly of the Guardians’ immortality – and of the powers they now wield to twist the hearts of men.

Joss’s nights are troubled too, disturbed by dreams of Marit. His old love has returned from death to become a feared Guardian herself, but Marit rejected the corrupt temptations they offered. She now seeks others of her kind, praying some are yet uncontaminated by the blight on the land – and have the will to fight it.”

And lastly a few quotes for the series to show just what a damn fine read is in store:

“Beautifully descriptive passages oozing with texture, taste and even aroma. Spirit Gate is the common thing done uncommonly well … accomplished storytelling” SFX

Shadow Gate is the plump and mouthwatering second dish … This is every bit as full of texture and flavour as Spirit Gate, sure to leave you begging for more” SFX

“This is gritty, character-driven fantasy where no battle is easy and, crucially, no one is safe. Elliott juggles characters and plots with consumate ease” DeathRay

“An absorbing blend of action, romance, Fantasy, and the oriental … will ensure readers return for the next instalment” Starburst

Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott, UK paperbackShadow Gate by Kate Elliott, UK paperbackTraitors' Gate by Kate Elliott - UK edition

Iain M Banks and Charles Stross shortlisted for 2009 Prometheus Award

We’re delighted by the news that both Matter by Iain M Banks and Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross have both been shortlisted for the 2009 Prometheus Award.

This award is given by the Libertarian Futurist Society in recognition of the best pro-freedom novel published during the previous year. The award will be presented during Anticipation, the 67th World Science Fiction Convention, which takes place from August 6-10, 2009, in Montréal, Quebec, Canada.

Best of luck to both!

Deals and Deliveries: THE POISON THRONE by Celine Kiernan

Ever since I read The Poison Throne I’ve been wanting to share my great enthusiasm for this book, so I’m delighted to pass on news of our deal for the Moorehawke trilogy. Betrayal, torture, murder, an emerging rebellion and a beautifully pitched emerging romance all make for a robust, absolutely compulsive and beautifully written fantasy adventure. Without doubt, this is an Absolutely Compelling Read and I finished it in almost one sitting. So I was pretty hungry when I’d finished, I don’t mind telling you.

And to the plot … we follow young Wynter Moorehawke as she returns to Court with her dying father, finding her old home shadowed with fear and riddled with dangerous secrets. King Jonathan has become a violent despot, terrorising those he once loved, and his son Alberon has fled into exile to plan a royal coup. Meanwhile, Wynter’s half-brother Razi has been elevated to heir, and struggles to meet King Jonathan’s increasingly untenable commands while retaining his sanity. And at the heart of matters lies a war machine so lethal that no one dares speak of it. The kingdom would belong to the machine’s master, yet the consequences of using it are too appalling to consider.

The talented Celine Kiernan trained as an animator and has spent most of her career in the film business. She’s also a freelance illustrator – and writer of course! We’ll be launching this series internationally in the States and Australia as well as in the UK and we’ll be going out in mass market paperback with book one being scheduled for April 2010. Can’t wait!

Six of the Best: Charles Stross’s Hugo Award Record

Fantastic news just in: the final ballot for the 2009 Hugo Awards has been announced and we are absolutely delighted to congratulate Charles Stross, whose Saturn’s Children is nominated in the Best Novel category.

As if having a book shortlisted for the premier award in the SF world isn’t enough, the unfeasibly talented Mr Stross becomes the first author to have a novel on the Hugo shortlist in six consecutive years!

Trying to predict the future is fraught with peril, but I feel quite confident in saying that it will be quite some time before that amazing achievement is matched or bettered. Even the great Robert Silverberg only managed four-in-a-row.

Many congratulations to Charlie from all at Orbit, and if you are eligible to vote for the Hugos, remember:

Vote early
Vote often*
Vote Stross!

*Actually, maybe you shouldn’t vote often. That would probably be bad.

Iain M Banks and Ken MacLeod talk Sci-Fi @ BBC

Two of Orbit’s legends of science fiction, Iain M Banks and Ken MacLeod have taken part in a round-robin discussion entitled How sci-fi moves with the times over on the BBC website.

Ken discusses the role that scientific theory plays within science fiction literature:

“Science fiction is the only form of literature that sets out to bring home to our imaginations the surprising universe that science has discovered. How well it does that job depends on its scientific accuracy – up to a point.”

And Iain talks about the degree of scientific reality that he tends to incorporate into his own science fiction writing:

“…in my science fiction, I merrily break as many laws as I can get my hands on. Especially faster than light travel – I have my starships going at unfeasibly high speeds. Sometimes I pay no attention whatsoever to what’s possible and realistic. It really depends on the novel.”

(Iain also lets slip some tantalising hints about his next novel, Transition…)

The piece also includes contributions from fellow UK SF stalwarts Paul Cornell and Ian Watson. Definitely worth a read-through.

Thicker Than Water (A Felix Castor Novel)

One of the best things about working for Orbit is having so many great new books to read each month. The one I’ve just finished reading is Thicker Than Water, Mike Carey’s excellent new Felix Castor novel. This is the first of his novels I’ve read, but I had no trouble getting instantly engrossed in the storyline, as Mike has a great way of subtly filling you in while keeping the action nail-bitingly fast and fresh.

Felix is a hard-nosed and sharp-tongued freelance exorcist who doesn’t take any bull, but still manages to get himself into the direst of demonic situations. When a man is found slashed up and unconscious in his own vehicle, detectives surmise that it may be linked to Castor somehow – not least because Castor’s name is smeared over the windscreen in blood … Whilst on a mission to clear his own name, Fix discovers that the victim’s home – a depressing South London council estate – seems to be a hotspot for an unusually high number of sickeningly inventive crimes … and it may be more than failing social systems that are inciting the inhabitants to violence. Darker forces are definitely at work, so with the help of Nicky, his un-dead informant, and Juliet, the succubus who is drop-dead gorgeous (literally – she’ll draw you in then eat you alive), Fix investigates what’s behind this most hellish of situations …

With deadpan humour and super-slick style, Mike Carey paints a gritty portrait of London in this noirest of noir urban fantasies. And Castor is the kind of fast-quipping narrator that makes you want to quit your day job and hit those mean demon-filled streets just for the hell of it! Thicker Than Water is out now – highly recommended!

You can read an extract here.

Cover Launch: Mr. Shivers

Welcome to another week and another new cover! Sorry this post was delayed a bit by the Creative Director being a bit under the weather with a nasty cold. Anyway, on to…Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett.

There was already buzz about this book back when I started in November, and the cover design was already underway by Ms. Ploy Siripant, one of the fabulous designers upstairs at Little Brown (who, if you’ll recall, were handling the Orbit designs before I was brought in to be all-Orbit-all-the-time). I just finished reading it while in bed with the above-mentioned cold, and the cover is even better once you’ve read the book. It’s set in the Midwest during the Great Depression — an incredibly bleak landscape where hobos travel the rails and dust-storms cover the land. I think this cover perfectly evokes the feeling of the book, and the period, without looking too historical. Trust me, the screen doesn’t do the texture any justice. You’ll just have to wait to see it in print. (more…)

An actual Egyptian feast by Jo Graham

Hand of Isis by Jo GrahamJo Graham‘s fabulous Ancient Egyptian epic Hand of Isis is out this month, so to get in the mood she decided to make an actual Egyptian feast. Packed with all sorts of interesting historical tips on food and dining customs, this post is well-worth checking out here. And apparently only barbarians and Macedonians drink wine with the Propomata, or first course, so plan accordingly if you’re tempted to follow the recipes!

Hand of Isis itself is the story of Charmian, a handmaiden and sister to Cleopatra. It is a novel of lovers who transcend death, of gods who meddle in mortal affairs, and of women who guide empires. Against the rising power of Julius Caesar’s Rome, Egypt is the last and strongest bastion of the Eastern kingdoms. But a power struggle looms that will shape the world to come …

It’s a fascinating story, and Jo Graham clearly has a talent for this sort of thing as shown by her previous book Black Ships, which attracted some great review coverage:

‘Haunting and bittersweet, lush and vivid’ Naomi Novik

‘Fraught meaning and smoldering emotional resonance overlays her deceptively simple words’ Publishers Weekly

‘A refreshingly different approach to a legend we only thought we knew’ Locus

‘A dazzling debut novel’

‘A first-class, very readable novel’ Booklist (starred review)

‘Graham re-creates a vivid picture of the ancient world, a mysterious place in which gods and goddesses speak to their chosen’ Library Journal (starred review)