Posts Tagged ‘Ancillary Justice’

Cover Launch: THE RAVEN TOWER by Ann Leckie

We couldn’t be more excited to reveal the cover of THE RAVEN TOWER. A triumph of the imagination and the first fantasy novel by Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. 

Raven Tower

Listen. A god is speaking.
My voice echoes through the stone of your master’s castle. 
This castle where he finds his uncle on his father’s throne. 
You want to help him. You cannot.
You are the only one who can hear me.
You will change the world.
 
Cover design by Lauren Panepinto
Image by Arcangel Images

2015 Nebula Award Nominations

The 2015 Nebula Awards nominations were announced this weekend, and include a number of excellent books — including two from Orbit!

Best Novel Nominees

  • Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
  • The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit) [US | UK | AUS]
  • Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit) [US | UK | AUS]
  • The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
  • Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  • Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
  • Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)

JEMISIN_FifthSeason_TP copy Leckie_AncillaryMercy-TP copy

This is the third Best Novel nomination for both N.K. Jemisin and Ann Leckie (whose ANCILLARY JUSTICE [US | UK | AUS] won the Nebula Award two years ago).

The nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy also include an Orbit author: COURT OF FIVES was nominated, by Kate Elliott, author of last fall’s BLACK WOLVES (US | UK | AUS).

Congratulations to Ann Leckie, N.K. Jemisin, Kate Elliott, and the rest of the nominees!

Meet the author of SPEAK: Louisa Hall

Hi Louisa, and welcome to the Orbit team! Can you tell us a bit about SPEAK?

Sure! SPEAK is the story of five characters who are involved in creating an artificially intelligent doll. After these “babybots” are banned, gathered up, and shipped off to the desert, the children who loved them start to stutter and freeze. SPEAK tells the story of the babybots and their creators, from Alan Turing to a traumatized girl in the near future who gives her bot new language. These and other characters are all racing toward a world populated by lifelike machines, in which it’s difficult to decide who’s actually living, and who has real intelligence.

SPEAK has already been featured in Oprah magazine, raved about by Emily St. John Mandel, chosen by Wired and Huffington Post as one of their big books this summer, and is an IndieNext pick too. How does it feel for the book to be getting this much attention?

It seems to be an auspicious time for creative depictions of artificial intelligence. Just recently, all kinds of interesting books and films involving the topic have come out: Ex Machina, Chappie, Channel Four’s Humans, and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice. Technology has radically challenged the ways we understand ourselves as humans: we reveal our secret traumas to artificially intelligent therapists; we relinquish our most personal information to data-mining software; we’re developing robotic soldiers to fight wars in place of humans. Fiction that questions the differences between humans and machines seems particularly important in this historical moment.

At its heart, SPEAK is about the very human need to be listened to, about having a voice, with characters from different times, different places, united by a very singular narrator. How difficult was it to bring this variety of voices to the page?

I actually find it easier to write in many voices than to settle into a single character. I discover so much of my characters in what they don’t see, what they’re unaware of, what they miss about the world around them. Writing in different voices allows me to set up those misunderstandings, and to see characters from new perspectives other than their own.

Some of Alan Turing’s chapters are the most touching and interesting in the book – what sort of research did you do to bring Turing and the other characters to life?

I read five or six biographies of Alan Turing, including Andrew Hodges’ excellent The Enigma, which contains long excerpts from Turing’s letters. That was helpful to me in getting Turing’s voice—his grammar, his diction, etc. The most challenging part of wrapping my head around his character was understanding his theories of computing and mathematics, which were essential to understanding his approach to the world. He couldn’t fully believe in an abstract idea such as the soul unless he’d found a mathematical way to prove its existence, or at least the possibility that it might exist.

Your first novel, the Waterstones Book Club title THE CARRIAGE HOUSE, is a contemporary family drama inspired by your time as a professional squash player. What first got you thinking about artificial intelligence as a subject for your second book?

In THE CARRIAGE HOUSE, I wanted to create a world small enough to control. I limited the novel to a single neighbourhood that was claustrophobic in its self-containment. For my second novel, I wanted to go to the furthest frontiers I could imagine, from religious dissidents in the seventeenth-century to AI inventors in the near future. I wanted to find what was human in foreign situations: robot dolls dying in hangars, a scientist undergoing hormonal manipulation. In the end, most of the book isn’t that far-fetched. Many of the characters are based on real people, and most of the science is closely related to science that already exists. But the book sprang up on the edges of what I understand and what I’ve actually experienced. Sometimes I think that if THE CARRIAGE HOUSE was centripetal, SPEAK is centrifugal. It always seemed to spin a little out of my control.

Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking both recently discussed their anxiety about AI and superintelligent machines. What is turning such giants of the science and technology world against AI, and do you share their concerns?

I tend to be more optimistic about the future of AI, though I realize that Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking are more qualified to make predictions about computers than I am. But their concerns about the future of AI are equally valid when applied to the future of the human race. In reference to autonomous killing machines, for instance, this article asks the following questions: “how will they tell friend from foe? Combatant from civilian? Who will be held accountable?” But the same questions can be asked about human soldiers. Ideally, robots would be able to perform certain tasks better than we can because they won’t be programmed for fear, anger, or vengeance. And because we have those emotions, we’ll be able to perform other tasks better than robots. Of course it’s always possible that some evil empire could program a fleet of maniacal robots, but the same evil empire could also get its hands on nuclear weapons. Our primary anxiety, in my mind, should be less about preventing the development of robots and more about preventing the ascent of unchecked evil empires. That said, I do think it’s worth being hyper-vigilant about the effects AI will have on our economy and the uneven distribution of wealth.

Are there any stories about artificial intelligence that really stand out to you, or inspired you in creating SPEAK?

There are so many recent stories about AI that inspire me. My friend just sent me a story about Aibos, robot dogs that people have adopted as pets. At one point, these robot pets could be repaired if they were damaged, but now they’ve been discontinued. Soon, their replacement parts will be nonexistent. Suddenly the owners of these robot dogs are facing the idea of robot dog mortality. I also recently heard a story about a computer scientist in Wyoming who’s teaching robots how to adjust to injuries by giving them ‘simulated childhoods,’ a period devoted to play in which they learn creative ways of using their bodies. We keep robots as pets; we give our robots childhoods. Stories such as these ones beg so many interesting questions about what it actually means to be living.

SPEAK is released in digital and ANZ export edition this July, with a UK paperback to follow in Feb 2016 – preorder your copy today.

Carey, North and Leckie honoured in UK SF awards

Following on from the successes of Glenda Larke and Trudi Canavan in two important Australian fantasy awards, we’ve also had fantastic news regarding two UK SF awards.

Today, the shortlist for this year’s Arthur C. Clarke awards has been announced. Both THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (UK | US | ANZ)  by M. R. Carey and THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST (UK | US | ANZ) by Claire North are amongst the six titles nominated for this prestigious prize. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on 6th May 2015.

The Girl with all the Gifts by M R Carey and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, borth shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Awards 2015

On the weekend, ANCILLARY SWORD (US | UK | ANZ) by Ann Leckie also won the BSFA award for Best Novel, voted on by members of the British Science Fiction Association and Eastercon. Ann Leckie’s first novel ANCILLARY JUSTICE (US | UK | AUS) also won this award last year, (along with every other major SF award in 2014!). Here are both of Ann’s raygun-tastic awards looking all nice and shiny together . . .

Ancillary Sword by Ann leckie, winner of the BSFA best novel award 2014 and 2015

Congrats to Ann Leckie, Claire North, M. R. Carey and all the other shortlisted authors!

The eagerly-awaited ANCILLARY SWORD is here!

ANCILLARY SWORD (US | UK | AUS) the highly anticipated sequel to Ann Leckie’s breakout success ANCILLARY JUSTICE (US | UK | AUS), is released today. Ancillary Justice won every major science fiction award of 2014 and was the only novel every to win the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke awards.

Not often does a writer debut with a work that makes such an immediate impact and Ann’s second book is everything a fan of the first book could hope for. Broiling civil war, a fraught mission to a vital and dangerous planet, a tangled web of politics and class, and mysterious and powerful forces encroaching on the domain of the empire. Simply put, this is a writer at the peak of her powers.

I’ve been waiting excitedly for the day when I could finally share Ann’s next brilliant novel. If you read Ancillary Justice then chances are you loved it and have been looking forward to Ancillary Sword as well, if you have yet to fall under the spell of Ann and Ancillary Justice, I envy you greatly. Don’t delay.

A little bit more about the novel:

Breq is a soldier who used to be a warship. Once a weapon of conquest controlling thousands of minds, now she has only a single body and serves the emperor.

With a new ship and a troublesome crew, Breq is ordered to go to the only place in the galaxy she would agree to go: to Athoek Station to protect the family of a lieutenant she once knew – a lieutenant she murdered in cold blood.

Praise for Ancillary Sword:

“Breq’s struggle for meaningful justice in a society designed to favor the strong is as engaging as ever. Readers new to the author will be enthralled, and those familiar with the first book will find that the faith it inspired has not been misplaced.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Leckie proves she’s no mere flash in the pan with this follow-up to her multiaward-winning debut space opera, Ancillary Justice.” – Kirkus

And here is a wonderful 10 out of 10 endorsement from The Book Smugglers!

And the Hugo goes to…

It’s no secret that Orbit books, published by either our UK or US arm, or both, have popped up quite a few times on the Hugo Awards Best Novel shortlist this year.  In fact, we’ve published 4 of the 5 finalists on that list, namely PARASITE (US | UK | AUS) by Mira Grant, NEPTUNE’S BROOD (UK | AUS) by Charles Stross, THE WHEEL OF TIME (UK | AUS) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, and ANCILLARY JUSTICE (US | UK | AUS) by Ann Leckie.

1595 votes were cast in the ballot for the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and I’m delighted to announce that the winner is Ann Leckie for Ancillary Justice.

Our heartfelt congratulations go to Ann and to all of the other finalists.

We’d also like to add an extra congratulations to Charles Stross for winning the Best Novella Hugo Award for “Equoid”, published by our friends over at Tor.com.

Loncon 3 has been in full swing since last Thursday, and a bunch of the best SFF authors from all over the world have converged on the Excel Centre in London (which has an appropriately SF aesthetic, with its cable cars, iridescent purple hotels and futuristic skyline) to debate, panel, cosplay, read, meet and sign for their brilliant, switched-on fans.

WorldCon and the Hugos celebrate what is so incredible about the worldwide SFF community.  Long may they prosper, and we’ll see you all at the next WorldCon!

From the Editor: Why I love Hugo Award-nominated ANCILLARY JUSTICE

When I first read Ancillary Justice I was overcome with two sensations, one was of familiarity. It triggered a warm nostalgia that set off a parade of novels in my mind that I first encountered when I was young and that blew my fledgling mind: Dune, Tiger! Tiger!, Cat’s Cradle, Ubik, The Left Hand of Darkness, Brave New World, The Forever War, A Canticle for Leibowitz and Rendezvous with Rama (among many, many others). And like all of those novels, the second impression I had was that I had never read anything quite like this.

It drew from past works, but it was undoubtedly its own, the product of a singular mind that had been ignited by the same ambitious, imaginative fire of those masterworks. Like these classics it seemed to come from a extraordinary voice whispering in your ear. A voice that eased you into a world and story that was intelligent, original, and multifarious.

It’s a novel you finish and immediately have to share with those like-minded people who search out books that can open little doors inside our heads. So if you’re one of those readers, I won’t delay you any longer: READ IT.

ANCILLARY JUSTICE is currently available for $1.99 in the US and £1.99 in the UK in ebook for a limited time. Read an excerpt here.

ANCILLARY JUSTICE is the Nebula Award winner!

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced the winners of the 2013 Nebula Awards this past weekend and we are thrilled to report that Ann Leckie has won the Nebula award for Best Novel!

Congratulations to Ann, who adds the Nebula Award to her Clarke Award, her BSFA Award for Best Novel and her Kitschie Award for Best Debut Novel, all for her spectacular first novel.

You can read a sample from ANCILLARY JUSTICE here. To find out more about the author, check out her website or follow her on twitter at @ann_leckie.

Orbit on the Locus Awards Shortlist!

Locus award shortlistWe’re very pleased to report that we have three shortlisted nominees on the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel! Our congratulations go to ABADDON’S GATE by James S.A. Corey, SHAMAN by Kim Stanley Robinson, and NEPTUNE’S BROOD by Charles Stross (also nominated for a Hugo Award this year). The awards are voted on by readers of Locus magazine, and the full shortlist is:

MADDADDAM, Margaret Atwood (McClelland & Stewart; Bloomsbury; Talese)
ABADDON’S GATE (US | UK | ANZ), James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS, Karen Lord (Del Rey; Jo Fletcher)
SHAMAN (US UK | ANZ), Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
NEPTUNE’S BROOD, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK) (UK | ANZ)

Congratulations also to Ann Leckie, whose debut ANCILLARY JUSTICE (nominated for many awards this year including the Hugo and Nebula, and winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award, the BSFA and a Kitschie) was nominated in the Best First Novel category. The shortlist is as follows;

ANCILLARY JUSTICE (US | UK |ANZ), Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, Helene Wecker (Harper)
THE GOLDEN CITY, J. Kathleen Cheney (Roc)
A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
THE THINKING WOMAN’S GUIDE TO REAL MAGIC, Emily Croy Barker (Dorman)

And finally, we ourselves are shortlisted in the Best Publisher category! Best of luck to the other nominees.

ANCILLARY JUSTICE is the Arthur C. Clarke Award winner!

We heard the fantastic news last night that Ann Leckie is the winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award! This is a simply astounding achievement for any author, but especially for a debut novelist.

The award is given to the best science fiction novel of the year by a panel of judges invited from the British Science Fiction Association, the Science Fiction Foundation and the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival. 

ANCILLARY JUSTICE was announced as winner in a ceremony last night at London’s Royal Society. The Orbit team was attending and we all had a wonderful time.

The judges read over 120 different science fiction novels submitted by 42 different publishing houses and imprints, narrowing the shortlist down to just six spectacular novels before picking ANCILLARY JUSTICE as the winner.

Our biggest congratulations go to Ann, who adds the Clarke Award to her BSFA Award for Best Novel and her Kitschie Award for Best Debut Novel, all three awards for ANCILLARY JUSTICE. Hope she’s got room on the mantelpiece!

You can read the award coverage in The Guardian today.

 

The Clarke Award for ANCILLARY JUSTICE