Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

The Enterprise of Art

Niklaus Manuel Deutsch is an artist all but forgotten in the modern age. I’m not claiming this is some great travesty, for his work, while quite good, is not necessarily outstanding, nor was he particularly prolific. In fact, Manuel abandoned painting and etching in the last decade of his life to focus on poetry, play writing, and one of the trickiest arts of all, politics. Had he stuck with one or two disciplines perhaps he might have produced a single work that endured through the ages, as opposed to creating many worthy but unexceptional pieces that have been swept away in the great flood of history, occasionally bobbing to the surface in this coffee table book or that academic tome on plays of the Swiss Renaissance.  Of course, that’s simple conjecture–it’s entirely possible that had Manuel lived an extra thirty years and painted every single day of every single one of them he may never have produced anything more memorable than what we already have of his work. It is possible, uncharitable an observation as it is to make about any artist, that the man was simply not a genius, not a savant, that he was as good an artist as he ever could have been. (more…)

The Enterprise of Alchemy

Alchemy is a knot downright Gordian when it comes to finding an entry point for the young scribe trying to introduce his readers to the subject. One solution is to tackle the problem as Alexander would, but this in turn leaves us with a conundrum every bit as frustrating as the one we began with—instead of a compact but impenetrable knot of information, we now have countless loose, frayed ends that are just as likely to take us nowhere as they are to reveal how the intricately assembled whole came to be.

Perhaps the best approach, then, is to do as I have done and open with an overly convoluted and essentially imperfect metaphor for the problem—the encryption of meaning in complex symbolism that references the historical, the mythological, or the biblical is, after all, an essential part of the European alchemical tradition. How else to accurately pass along your wisdom without it being exploited by the unworthy? (more…)

Orbit acquires self-published ebook bestseller

Orbit is pleased to announce that it has acquired rights to publish the Riyria Revelations series by self-published author Michael J. Sullivan.  Orbit will be publishing the complete series in three volumes in consecutive months in Fall/Winter 2011-2012. The first volume, Theft of Swords, will be published in November 2011; the second volume, Rise of Empire, in December 2011, and the final volume, Heir of Novron, in January 2012.

Michael J. Sullivan has already self-published the series in ebook and print-on-demand editions, and each volume has been prominent on the ebook fantasy bestseller charts. (more…)

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

When Harlan Ellison was asked “Where do you get your ideas from?” he famously answered “Schenectady.” Ellison was commenting on the absurdity of pinning down a process as ephemeral, multi-dimensional and just plain murky as the origin of an idea. However, if the question had been modified to exclude the final word from the sentence then Ellison’s answer would work for me.

Author by Mohawk River in Schenectady

I’ve lived in Schenectady. It’s an industrial city on the Mohawk River in Upstate New York. It’s famous for being the site of the Schenectady Massacre of 1690, where French and Native American forces attacked the fledgling settlement at midnight, burning it to the ground and slaying sixty men, women and children who were still in their bedclothes, and also for being the place where Thomas Edison chose to headquarter his fledgling General Electric Company. Schenectady is built on land that was once the territory of the Mohawk nation, and its name comes from the Mohawk phrase, “over the pine plains.”

I wrote a great chunk of Watcher of the Dead within the city’s limits.  And as the answer to the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” is always “Where I was physically located at that moment the idea occurred to me,” then my ideas are officially from Schenectady. (more…)

Two Trick Pony

One of the worst things that happens to writers (or actors, painters, composers) is getting stuck in a rut…to feel like, or be seen as, a one-trick pony.  One trick is never enough–not for the audience, and not for the writer.  More tricks are more fun. (more…)

THE horror debut of 2010

Robert Jackson Bennett has had such incredible reviews that we just had to share…

‘Mr Shivers is a startling debut, a deft amalgam of thriller, cerebral horror and American gothic, written with a stark and artful simplicity that complements the examination of struggling humanity pushed to its limits.’
The Guardian

‘Bennett’s novel is as riveting in its slow-burning accumulation of tension as it is atmospheric in its period evocation … The economical, persuasive characterisation and the sudden shocking outbursts of horror owe something to [Stephen] King, the master of contemporary horror, but the brilliantly realised picture of dustbowl America is firmly in the [John] Steinbeck tradition.  It’s not stretching a point to say that, at times, Bennett’s stinging but hauntingly poetic prose aspires to the quality of that author’s best work … This terrifying odyssey through a blighted period in American history will stick in readers’ minds for a long time.’
Daily Express

‘A ravishing debut … Supremely chilling, it never loses its grip in its journey to the edge of the apocalypse.’
Daily Mail

‘Bennett is clearly a writer to watch’
The Times

‘From start to bloody conclusion, the tension slowly crescendos to a climax of high violence.  This bloody, uncomfortable read will be relished by any fan of early Stephen King or Peter Straub.’
Waterstone’s Books Quarterly (more…)

The Day After Tomorrow

One of the things that intrigues me as a writer is the question: “And then what happened?”

That’s one reason why I’m so excited to be writing The Fallen Kings Cycle for Orbit, carrying my characters and world from The Chronicles of the Necromancer into all-new adventures. It gives me the chance to ask, and answer, my favorite question and to share that answer with readers.
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Early Buzz for Black Ships

We recently offered copies of Jo Graham’s Black Ships as part of the Librarything early reviewer program, and the reviews are starting to come in!

“I was pleased with the first chapter, but by the end of the fourth chapter, I had to call up my sister (a fellow fan of Mary Renault) and share my excitement over this new author to follow. This book never let me down.” ( reviewed by selkins )

“… I wasn’t sure if it could compare to old favorites like Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia series or Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. Surprisingly, it does—not by slavishly emulating them, but by telling its own story.” (reviewed by Trismegistus)

You can see all the current reviews at Librarything, or visit the Orbit US Catalog.

Black Ships will be in bookstores in March. Read the first chapter here.