“As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.” — Baudelaire
In today’s world Fantasy fiction is split into many genres: Epic, High, Low, Heroic Urban, Suburban, Historical, Science, Weird, Dark…you’re likely to find any of these words in front of “Fantasy” these days. Many authors enjoy blending and “splicing” genres together, which can often lead to new sub-genres and even anti-genre approaches. There are two enduring genres that have always gone well together, seamlessly blending one into the other, and their combination continues to be a popular pairing.
Often Horror and Fantasy are lumped together like fraternal twins forced to wear the same plaid sweater. Many are the theories defining exactly what each one of the genres actually IS, and the closer you look at either, the more splintering you find, the more sub-genres, the more distinctions being made on the “microcosmic” level. Yet examples of Horror/Fantasy blends continue to amaze and terrify readers. (more…)
As part of our 7-day celebration of the epic fantasy Seven Princes (UK | US | ANZ) by John R. Fultz we’re giving away wallpapers of the awesome cover artwork to spruce up all your fancy devices. And I know we’ve had some gorgeous wallpapers, but I think the illustration for these is so much sexier BIG that trust me, you’re going to want it on every screen you have. The art is by the fantastic Richard Anderson and he really just knocked it out of the park. It’s like epic fantasy impressionistic, such a fresh style. (You can read an interview with him and John R. Fultz over at Black Gate.) Enjoy!
I’m proud to tell anyone who asks me about it that I write fantasy novels. The publication of SEVEN PRINCES represents many years of hard work, commitment and stubborn dedication to one man’s mad vision. Writers are obsessed with their ideas. They have to be.
I also write in the horror and sci-fi genres. Yet fantasy has always been my first love — specifically high fantasy, or epic fantasy, as some folks like to call it. Although the term dark fantasy is also one of which I’m rather fond. A lot of my favorite fantasies are indeed “dark,” and you will find some darkness in every fantasy — if only to provide contrast to the sweetness and light. The murkier the darkness, the brighter the light. (more…)
Looking back through history, literature, religion, and philosophy, one can see this number coming up again and again – usually with a significant aspect invoking holiness, mystery, power or prosperity.
A few examples:
– In Buddhist mythology the newborn Buddha took seven steps right after he was born, declaring “I alone am the World-Honored One.”
– In Christian mythology the Walls of Jericho fell seven days after seven priests marched around the city seven times with seven trumpets.
– In Islamic mythology there are seven heavens and seven hells. (more…)
Today is a momentous day. It is not only the first day of 2012, but it also marks the beginning of our Seven Days for SEVEN PRINCES feature. To celebrate the release of this fantasy adventure of epic proportions we’re going to be going 7-crazy on all of our Orbit channels for a whole seven days. Look out for the number 7 to find competitions, quizzes, giveaways and behind-the-scenes insights from the author. It’s one hell of a week for one hell of a book.
From author John R. Fultz, this debut fantasy novel wowed us here at Orbit and we’re just itching to bring it to the world. A tale where men and giants walk side-by-side, where ancient necromancers make a bid for power with chilling sorcery, where ordinary men do battle with monstrous creatures.
It’s a breakneck-paced, breathtaking adventure that’s unashamedly enjoyable and impossible to put down. With an entrancing fairy tale feel, this book really made us sit up and take notice – and it also showed us that John has a very exciting future ahead of him.
To see what we’re getting excited about, have an exclusive read of the prologue right here, and keep an eye out for all things 7 . . .
Is there any more difficult question for an author to answer? I know I have a hard time with this one. After spending so much time (often years) crafting a novel, living inside the souls of your characters, building the intricate world in which they live, overseeing the progress of an invented history and chronicling the fictional exploits of your literary “children”, it’s hard to encapsulate all the diverse threads of a novel into a single statement.
Yet the market demands a “hook” or “premise” on which any novel can hang its metaphorical hat. After all, if readers don’t know what to expect, why should they even buy the book? Blind faith? Hardly. Word of mouth? Well, that’s the best advertising you can get . . . but consider the irony. If you as the author don’t come up with a satisfying answer to “What’s your book about?” then your early readers and reviewers are going to do it FOR YOU. They’re going to summarize, encapsulate and foreshorten your Massive Undertaking of Artistic Purity to a description worthy of a sound-byte (or at least a Facebook update). So authors are better-off coming up with their own answer to this big question, rather than leaving it up to somebody else to explain.
All of this begs the question: “What is SEVEN PRINCES about?”
If you look at the cover text, SEVEN PRINCES is about war. “An age of legends. An age of heroes. An age of war.” Now that’s a great tag line. It’s engaging, evocative, and it rings with mythic resonance. Ready for more irony?
Here’s the thing: I never considered this book a “war novel” when I was writing it. Yet war itself is definitely one of the themes that drives the characters and the plot. Some characters want to prevent war—they know the red tragedy and the pointless slaughter that it brings—while others actively seek war to prove themselves, to avenge wrongs, or simply as a means of grabbing power. So the concept of war itself is definitely buried in there. There’s even a conversation at one point between two characters who argue about the essential nature of Man as a war-like being. Is Mankind capable of living in peace—true peace—for long? That’s a question that also lies at the heart of SEVEN PRINCES. So yeah, it’s about war. But it’s also about a lot more . . . (more…)
Today I am very excited to launch a hotly-anticipated book (and cover!) for The Seven Princes by John R. Fultz. I am absolutely in love with the art by Richard Anderson. I love his loose, impressionistic fantasy style. This project is a perfect example of everything we try to do at Orbit – make an amazing cover that absolutely oozes fantasy, yet do it with an infusion of a fresh new style or new angle. The book is a very classic fantasy tale but told in a really fast-paced cinematic, almost modern pulp kind of feel, and I am just thrilled with this marriage of artist and story. Definitely go check out the artist’s site and blog, he’s been working on concept art for Guild Wars for a long time, and if you are familiar with the game you’ll definitely recognize things, but all of his portfolio pieces are super drool-worthy. I am very excited to get working on the next cover in the series soon!
After the jump, get a teaser and see the art big and sexy…(yes sexy is a technical art-direction term!) (more…)
Trilogies are a mainstay of science fiction and fantasy and that’s a challenge that comes up for us in the Orbit Art Department over and over again. The first cover is both the hardest (it has to be AWESOME and make a big splash, especially if it’s for a debut author) and the easiest (no preconceptions and rules dictated by previous covers). The second cover is important because you obviously want it to be as cool as the first, and not fall victim to any sequel-slacking. And the third? Well the third is kind of the best, because by the last book in a trilogy, you’ve already got a good feel for the world in question, and the tone of the author, and you usually get something good and dramatic to wrap up with. And while we’re talking about dramatic, I am happy to release the cover for the third book in N. K. Jemisin‘s Inheritance Trilogy: The Kingdom of Gods.
I have been thrilled at how well cover one was received across the fantasy community — it was accepted into the Spectrum annual, and was nominated for a Gemmell Legend Award. We were trying to do something pretty standard (fantasy city) and present it in a fresher way (through the style of Cliff Nielsen‘s awesome artwork), and it really resonated with a lot of people, which is great because the books just happen to be super-fantastic as well. And over the last two books the illustrations have been just as strong, while keeping to that pretty simple formula.
And now we have this illustration, which I don’t want to say too much about, because I wouldn’t want to give anything away about the story…obviously if you have been reading along, the god is Sieh (my favorite)…just trust me, if you have been enjoying The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Broken Kingdoms, well The Kingdom of Gods does not disappoint. After the jump, get a teaser, and the whole series of covers… (more…)
The Troupe by Shirley Jackson Award winner Robert Jackson Bennett hits shelves February 2012. When you have an intelligent combination of thriller, horror, and Americana…you end up with a book that stands on its own.
I’m going to write more about the process and how I got to the final design. But since we’re so excited about launching the cover, here it is today!
After the jump see the cover full-size with a teaser…