Posts Tagged ‘Echo City’

Cover launch! New fantasy from Tim Lebbon – THE HERETIC LAND

The cover for Tim Lebbon's new fantasy novel THE HERETIC LAND

After the success of ECHO CITY (UK | ANZ), we’re really excited to be publishing Tim Lebbon’s next fantasy novel THE HERETIC LAND (UK | ANZ) this August! The book is a dark, atmospheric fantasy with a haunting setting and an intriguing cast of  merfolk, convicts, soldiers and magicians . . .

This fantastic cover was designed by freelance designer Sean Freeman and Sophie Burdess at Little, Brown.


Arrested by the Ald, scholar Bon Ugane and merwoman Leki Borle awake on a prison ship bound for the island of Skythe – a barren land warped and ruined by ancient conflict. Survival is tough and the colony’s original inhabitants are neither friendly nor entirely still human.

But something else waits on the island, a living weapon whose very existence is a heresy. Destroyed many years ago, it silently begins to clutch at life once more.

Swearing, Sex and Fantasy Ale

“Phat off, you molking bucket of steaming clang!” Right. So what’s that all about, then?

My first fantasy novel Dusk (published by Bantam in the USA, and winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel 2007), polarised opinion. I think that’s a good thing – I’d rather have people love or hate my books, as opposed to being mostly indifferent. And some of the criticism about the book focussed on the sex and swearing it contained. It was suggested that, because it was a fantasy, I should have thought up new swearwords. But I argued that if that were the case, I’d also have to think up new words for hill, and saddle, and kidney.

I stick by that now, and though Echo City is, of course, a purely imaginary world, it’s inhabited by very human characters. A fantasy novel needs distinctly human characters to make it work. So they drink Mino Mont ale and, if they can afford/steal it, Marcellan wine; they swear when they’re angry or scared; and they have sex. Indeed, it’s not glib to say that there’s a hand-job in the novel that is a pivotal plot-point. So watch out for that one when you’re reading it.

I love swearing. It’s effective in real life and in my writing, and can be cathartic, a venting of angry steam. I love ale – dark, light, summer ales, heavy winter warmers. And I love … well, doesn’t everyone?

So in order to create characters that feel human to the human readers of Echo City, I wanted them to come across as people you could almost know. Admittedly, some of the inhabitants of Echo City wouldn’t look at home anywhere we know. But I’d really like to sit down for a beer with Nadielle, and Malia, and Gorham. We’d put the worlds to rights, both mine and theirs. I’d talk about “f**king phone hackers”, and they’d talk about “bastard border spites and Marcellans”. And in ale and swearing, we’d find a common language.

Tim Lebbon’s dark materials

I started as a horror writer and now I’m also writing (quite dark) fantasy with Echo City. The combination of these two genres can produce some very memorable results, so I thought I’d share my favourite fantasy/horror crossovers in books, TV and film:

When I first saw The Dark Crystal I was mesmerised by the story, the darkness, the landscape and creatures, and the sad and heroic main characters. I fell in love with world building, and Echo City bears witness to the fun I have imagining strange, unique new worlds. I saw it again recently with my children, and was equally mesmerised by the animation, and the love and skill that went into making this unique film.

My second film choice is much more recent. Guillermo Del Toro is a genius, and Pan’s Labyrinth is his towering achievement. It’s beautiful, haunting, wondrous, and I’ve cried every time I’ve watched it. It draws you into its complex, detailed world and refuses to let you go, even after the devastating final scenes have played out. Pretty close to perfection. (more…)

Tim Lebbon – the man behind ECHO CITY

As this is Echo City’s (UK | ANZ) launch week, we thought we’d take time to examine the man behind the city, as it were. We were driven by a misson to explain and examine, and I guess a deep nosiness regarding our authors. But perhaps I’d best not go into that and instead go into these answers Tim was kind enough to provide …

Why are you so dark?!
The most interesting stories for me are those featuring characters either in extreme peril, or whose lives are in turmoil. The peril might be of a spiritual or psychological nature, or it could be someone threatened by a great big monster, and Echo City features characters in both situations (and sometimes at the same time!). I like creating characters, making myself and hopefully readers empathise with them … and then challenging them with some of the most dreadful trials. That’s dark. But in truth, I see light and hope in everything I write, however dark it may be perceived. Echo City is no exception. (more…)

The Man, the Plan, the Challenge – this weekend

Tim Lebbon is an award-winning, New York Times-bestselling writer from South Wales — and he’s looking forward to two big events over the next two months. One, dare I say it, is Orbit’s publication of his amazing gritty fantasy Echo City (UK | ANZ) in July. But the other will be rather more dangerous …

You might wonder how fantasy writers do their worldbuilding, and Tim Lebbon will be gathering a LOT of new material this weekend. Today, Tim and four of his friends are driving to Fort William in Scotland, ready to begin the Three Peaks Challenge – the challenge being to scale all three peaks in three days. OMG.

The adventure will commence with the ascent of Ben Nevis tomorrow at 5pm, with the team hoping to descend before 11pm. This sounds dangerous enough already to me – mountaineering, in the dark?! But this is only the start. They next drive to Scafell Pike in Cumbria and start that climb early on Sunday morning, head-torches on full-beam. Then it’s on to Snowdon where, if everything goes to plan (…) they’ll finish their descent by 5pm, thus completing the challenge in 24 hours. Tim seemed very sure that no part of the climb would take place on the train either, definitely not. So, the group are aiming to collect some foot-miles of almost 10,000 feet of ascent and descent, with 27 miles walked, as well as about 500 miles in a mini-bus. As I write this, it’s thundering here in London, so fingers crossed for him up north.


Cover post: ECHO CITY artwork

We’ve now received the shiny new cover flat for Tim Lebbon’s Echo City from our production department, so there was much excitement on the Orbit bench. It’s always  seems so much more real and nearly-there than when you just print it on regular paper, but here’s the next best thing here on the interweb …

I think Lee Gibbon’s illustration is terrifically atmospheric and designer Peter Cotton has done a great job putting this together for us. It really portrays the desolate feel of a city stranded in a hosile desert, its dwellers believing there is no other life in their world – until a stranger arrives from across the toxic wastes …

Steven Erikson had this to say about this darkly fantastical novel — so look out for it in July if you’re after something to read on the beach. Or maybe not the beach, if you’ve a particularly vivid imagination:

Brilliantly conceived and exquisitely well written by one of the genre’s most original and inventive writers. Tim Lebbon is one of the few fantasy authors whose new works I eagerly antcipate’ Steven Erikson