Posts Tagged ‘Neptune’s Brood’

From the Editor: Why I love Hugo Award-nominated NEPTUNE’S BROOD

Charlie Stross is a genius. If you ever get the chance to talk to him, you’ll find the ideas flying so thick and fast that you have to shift your brain into a higher gear just to keep up. You’ll also come away from the conversation with several new ideas about how you’re going to change the world and an armful of science fiction reading recommendations (for other writers’ work, not his own, because he’s just that kind of guy).

You know those moving walkways you get in airports? Where you’re walking down them, but the ground is also moving underneath your feet so that when you jump off at the end just walking at normal speed is like hitting a wall, smack, bang, and everything is moving at normal speed again, too slow?

Talking to Charlie, or reading his books, is like running down that walkway.

Now his books might not be for everyone – I understand some people (not us) prefer life in the slow lane, that some readers just can’t handle this much raw plot, character and awesome things happening, that they want something a bit more sedate. I imagine these are also the kind of people who prefer to cook without spices, who like bland TV and even blander books, because anything else might be a bit too much excitement.

But that’s why I’m so pleased by Charlie’s continued success at the Hugo awards. You love Charlie’s work, you’ve supported him at these awards again and again. This is an author who has broken records for the number of consecutive times one can be shortlisted for the Hugo Best Novel. His sixth shortlisting broke the record. NEPTUNE’S BROOD, in the 2014 awards, is his seventh.

NEPTUNE’S BROOD has mermaids, communist squid, roving gangs of accountant-privateers, zombies, spacefaring clergymembers, superhuman assassins, murder, backstabbing, family feuds and an incredibly intricate and utterly unprecedented financial con that could only occur in a universe with no faster-than-light travel.

If you’d told me before I edited NEPTUNE’S BROOD that something including all those elements would become one of my favourite novels, I might have laughed. How could one book fit so much in it? Now, I would tell you that ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that every interstellar colony in search of good fortune must be in need of a banker.’

On top of the squid and the mermaids and the banking, NEPTUNE’S BROOD is also a genuinely moving story about a woman searching for her lost sister. The fact that that sister is actually a copy of her grown in a vat, and both characters are metahumans – the race artificially grown to replace humans when we proved too fragile for the trials of space travel – is by the by.

NEPTUNE’S BROOD is, according to io9, ‘the perfect book for our times’.

SFX call it ‘a thoroughly entertaining sci-fi mind-expander from one of the genre’s most reliable imaginations’, and SF legend Alastair Reynolds says ‘NEPTUNE’S BROOD is fast-paced and imaginative, with fascinating ideas about the economics of an interstellar society constrained by real physics. Above all else, though, it’s just terrific fun’.

But don’t listen to them. Read it yourself, and find out how a space opera with no faster-than-light travel can be the fastest, wildest ride of your life.

NEPTUNE’S BROOD, along with our other Hugo nominees, is currently available at a celebratory price of just £1.99 in the UK. Go, read, enjoy.

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)

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

Charles Stross on Planetbuilding for NEPTUNE’S BROOD (Part 2)

Earth (Photo: NASA)
“It won’t be long until you have to answer another question: why would they ever want to have anything to do with a planet, ever again?”

You can find Part 1 of this piece at this link, posted last week on the Orbit blog.

If you posit a future populated by human beings – or posthumans – who are able to live in space without rapidly dying of asphyxiation or radiation exposure, it won’t be long until you have to answer another question: why would they ever want to have anything to do with a planet, ever again?

Planets are bundles of matter so massive that their own gravitational field smooths out their bumps, dragging them into a roughly spherical shape. They’re so massive that most of their volume is inaccessible, hundreds or thousands of kilometres underfoot when you’re standing on the surface. They’re also a royal nuisance if you are a spaceborne society: it takes an inordinate amount of work to give an object lying stationary on the surface sufficient kinetic energy to overcome its gravitational potential energy, i.e. to put it into orbit.

It seems logical that a space-based civilization would therefore only bother with a planet if it provided resources unavailable in smaller gravity wells, such as asteroids. And the fly in the ointment with this issue is that most planet-bound resources are far too cheap to be worth boosting into orbit. Oxygen? Water? They’re everywhere. Carbon? There’s an entire class of asteroids – carbonaceous chondrites – made of dirty carbon. Metals like platinum? They might be rarer in free-floating rocks than in planets, but in the process of planetary formation they’re likely to sink towards the iron/nickel core while the proto-planet is still mostly molten. (We know from seismic studies that the core of the Earth is not only incredibly hot and under tremendous pressure, but it’s almost certainly made of heavier elements than the upper mantle and crustal rock formations.)

So what can you mine on a water world that would justify the expense of settling its hydrosphere?

The answer depends on how long it is since the planet formed . . . (more…)

Charles Stross on Planetbuilding for NEPTUNE’S BROOD (Part 1)

Photo showing the launch of the Kepler spacecraft (Photo: NASA/Jack Pfaller)
The launch of the Kepler spacecraft, 7th March 2009

We are living through the golden age of exoplanetography, and nobody seems to be paying any attention!

I’ve spoken a lot about the economic side of NEPTUNE’S BROOD (UK|ANZ), but pretty much forgot to say anything about one of the other aspects of this novel – the planet much of the action is focussed on, and in orbit around. So it’s time to fix that . . .

Until the tail end of the 20th century, the existence of planets outside our solar system was widely believed in by astronomers – but never directly observed. Planets do not (with a very few extremely odd exceptions) emit heat or light directly: we can only see them by the light they reflect from their sun. This in turn makes them extremely hard to see. If you approximate a star to a light bulb a kilometre away, then the planet you’re trying to see is a dust mote orbiting within a metre of the light bulb. Any photons reflected our way from the planet are drowned out by the comparative torrent from the light bulb itself.

There are ways to measure planets indirectly, of course. In 1992, several planets were detected orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12 – their mass perturbed the spin of the pulsar, adding slight irregularities to its output. But improvements in experimental design, and then the launch of the Kepler planet-finder telescope, brought a deluge of new exoplanets to light. We now know of 899 planets in 698 planetary systems, and the Kepler mission has detected another 18,000 candidates: astronomers are still trawling through the embarrassment of riches.

One thing has, however, become clear: extrasolar planets are weird. In fact, they’re so weird on average that it’s beginning to look as if our home solar system is itself the exceptionally weird one, and star systems where multiple gas giants whirl in orbit single-digit millions of kilometres from their primary are the new normal.

So, in NEPTUNE’S BROOD I decided to have some exoplanet-building fun. (more…)

NEPTUNE’S BROOD publishes today!

The cover of Neptune's Brood, a brand new space opera from science fiction legend Charles StrossOur brand new space opera from science fiction master Charles Stross comes out today! Buy NEPTUNE’S BROOD (UK|ANZ) as an ebook today or pick up one of these gorgeous hardback editions!

Alastair Reynolds, author of the Revelation Space series, had this to say:

NEPTUNE’S BROOD is fast-paced and imaginative, with fascinating ideas about an interstellar society constrained by real physics. Above all else though, it’s just terrific fun.”

In NEPTUNE’S BROOD Charlie writes about spacefaring cultures with no faster-than-light travel, which makes for an unusually scientifically accurate space opera. Our protagonist, Krina ( a metahuman in a universe where humans went extinct five thousand years ago), embarks on a daring voyage across the star systems to find her missing sister. See Charlie, Reynolds and other science fiction authors discussing the science in this io9 article: How to Write a Killer Space Adventure Without Breaking the Speed of Light.

Charlie will be appearing at Waterstones Princes Street in Edinburgh this Thursday to sign NEPTUNE’S BROOD (buy your tickets here) and signing in London next month as well as appearing at Nine Worlds from 9–11 August. You can read the first chapter of NEPTUNE’S BROOD here.

Neptune’s Brood: First Chapter and Short Story

The cover of Neptune's Brood, a brand new space opera from science fiction legend Charles StrossOur brand new space opera from Charles Stross, NEPTUNE’S BROOD (UK|ANZ), will be released next week!

To help you occupy the time between now and the July 2nd release date, there’s not only a sample chapter up on the Orbit site, but Charlie has posted an entire short story set in the same universe, ‘Bit Rot’, at his blog!

“I can get you a cheaper ticket if you let me amputate your legs: I can even take your thighs as a deposit,” said the travel agent. He was clearly trying hard to be helpful: “It’s not as if you’ll need them where you’re going, is it?”

 “Is it possible to find a better price by booking me on a different routing?” I asked. “I’m very attached to my limbs.” (Quaint and old-fashioned, that’s me.) “Also,” I hedged, “I don’t have much fast money.”

 The agent sighed. His two eyes were beautiful: enormous violet photoreceptors that gleamed with a birefringent sheen. “Ms. Alizond. Krina. How can I put this? That could be a problem.” [READ THE REST OF THE SAMPLE CHAPTER HERE]

Cover Preview UK: 2013 July to December

covers updatedSpring is almost here but we’re already looking forward to summer and autumn 2013! That’s because we’ve got some amazing books coming up for the rest of this year with freshly designed covers to share with you. This isn’t our whole list of published titles for the year – just the covers we think you might not have seen before.

Click on the individual cover images below to see the larger version and let us know your favourites!