Posts Tagged ‘space opera’

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]

Top 10 Worst Ways to Die in a Science Fiction Setting

Abaddon's GateWe’re thrilled to announce that ABADDON’S GATE (US UK AUS) is a New York Times Bestseller hitting the extended trade paperback list at #22. Congratulations to James S. A. Corey – the pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

ABADDON’S GATE is the third and latest installment in James S. A. Corey’s breakneck space opera that began with LEVIATHAN WAKES (US UK AUS). If you are a fan of science fiction and its subgenres, then you know that there are a thousand and one ways to die a horrible death.  James S. A. Corey breaks down some of the worst ways to go.

10) Energy Monsters

Classic Trek all the way, here.  Let’s face it, half the planets in the galaxy have some form on nasty energy monster on them, and they all kill in nasty ways.  Sucking out the iron from you hemoglobin, frying your nervous system, disintegrating you.  Your phaser won’t work on it.  But take comfort in knowing that the exact horrific manner of your death will give the important characters clues on how to defeat the creature.  So thanks for that.

9) Id monsters

The most famous examples (and still the best) are the monster in Forbidden Planet and Mr. Hyde.  The Id monster is someone else’s fault and your problem.  It’s not that is doesn’t want anything.  It wants to strip you into ribbons in a rage haze because of an unresolved Oedipal complex.  As you’re being ripped apart, you’ll know that this is happening because of unexpressed and unrealized frustrations of some other person, and knowing won’t help.  Kind of like working tech support, only literal.

8) Sandworms

Sandworms don’t chew.  They just have a thousand meters of digestive tract.  Enough said.

7) Sarlacc

Speaking of digestion, Jabba the Hutt claims that you digest in the belly of the Sarlacc for a thousand years.  Figure you die of thirst after three days.  That’s still a rough three days.

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ABADDON’S GATE: a literary blockbuster of epic proportions

abaddons-mockup “Abaddon’s Gate is literary space opera at its absolute best…” io9 

Things started simply enough: a ship is found mysteriously abandoned by its crew, but we’ve all watched and read enough space adventures to know that nothing is ever quite so simple. With each twist and page-turning sequence, the Expanse series has grown to become an absolute gem of the subgenre and today, the latest novel ABADDON’S GATE (US UK AUS), begins hitting bookshelves. Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the writing team behind James S.A. Corey,  knocked it out of the park once again as you’ll see in the terrific reviews the novel has already gotten.

Check out the James S.A. Corey Facebook page to read the first few chapters and whet your appetite until you get a hold of your own copy. If you haven’t taken the leap yet, here’s an excerpt from LEVIATHAN WAKES ( US | UK | AUS).

As an extra treat, we made a set of wallpapers from the stunning cover illustration by Daniel Dociu. Enjoy!

 1024 x 768 | 1280 x 800 | 1440 x 900 | 1680 x 1050 | 1920 x 1200 | iPhone | iPad | Facebook

Praise for ABADDON’S GATE

“High adventure equaling the best space opera has to offer, cutting-edge technology, and a group of unforgettable characters bring the third installment of Corey’s epic space drama (after Caliban’s War and Leviathan Wakes) to an action-filled close while leaving room for more stories to unfold. Perhaps one of the best tales the genre has yet to produce…” Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Corey (a shared pseudonym for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) delivers a politically complex and pulse-pounding page-turner to continue the Expanse space opera series.” – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Courageous and audacious, with short chapters, smart characters, and a snappy narrative, it’s leaps and bounds bigger and better than the vast majority of space opera. And the fun is undoubtedly far from done.” – The Speculative Scotsman

On co-authoring a novel set in the world of ENDER’S GAME . . .

EARTH UNAWARE, book one of the First Formic War, by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, set 100 years before Ender's Game, which will be released as a major motion picture in October 2013 starring Harrison FordToday sees the release of EARTH UNAWARE (UK|ANZ) and EARTH AFIRE (UK|ANZ), books 1 and 2 of The First Formic War, set 100 years before ENDER’S GAME.

Orson Scott Card co-authored these novels with Aaron Johnston – a bestselling author and associate producer on the upcoming Ender’s Game movie. To celebrate the release, we asked Aaron what it’s like to write within such a well-known and much loved world . . .

When Orson Scott Card asked me to coauthor the prequel novels to his science-fiction classic Ender’s Game, my first two thoughts were: (1) Wow, what an incredible honor, and (2) You better not screw this up, Johnston, or fans will hunt you down and toilet paper your house.

We fans can be a prickly lot. Especially when it comes to stories that hold special significance to us, as Ender’s Game does to millions of readers. I’ve read Ender’s Game more times than any other work of fiction, and whenever anyone asks me for a book recommendation, the first words out of my mouth are always, “Have you read Ender’s Game?”

For me, Ender’s Game was the first book I ever read wherein the characters didn’t feel like characters at all but rather like friends and kindred spirits. Bean, Dink, Shen, Valentine, Ender. They were all so believable and honest and distinct that when I stepped into their world, my own world melted away.

Earth Afire, book two of the First Formic War, by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, set 100 years before Ender's Game, which will be released as a major motion picture in October 2013 starring Harrison FordI don’t presume to suggest that our books will have the same effect on readers as Ender’s Game does. Only Ender’s Game can produce the experience it provides. But I do hope that our novels will feel like they belong in the Ender universe. That was my goal from the beginning. “If we do this,” I told Scott, “I want it to feel like an Orson Scott Card novel.” And by that I mean: when fans read the book, I didn’t want them to distinguish between the parts I had written from the parts Scott had written. I wanted it to feel seamless.

That’s a lofty goal, I know. Only OSC can write like OSC, after all. But I felt as if we owed it to fans to provide a new and exciting adventure story that also felt like a member of the Ender universe.

In fact, it was so important to me that the books sounded and felt like other OSC novels that before I started writing each day, I would usually pick up an OSC book and read a chapter or two just to get my mind in a place that spoke in the voice and rhythm of Orson Scott Card. Scott has a gift for writing in third-person, limited point-of-view that allows for deep characterization without abandoning the pace. I’m not conceited enough to suggest that I do it as well as he does, but I certainly tried. The biggest compliment I have received thus far is when one fan called the series “classic Orson Scott Card.”

But of course this is a collaboration. And since Orson Scott Card rarely collaborates with other authors, fans naturally have a lot of questions. What follows are my answers to the questions I most often hear. (more…)

100 years before ENDER’S GAME came EARTH UNAWARE

In anticipation of the upcoming film based on the classic science fiction novel ENDER’S GAME (UK | ANZ), we’re extremely excited to announce the UK acquisition of a brand new series set in the same world. See the covers released here for the first time . . .

EARTH UNAWARE, book one of the First Formic War by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, a prequel series to the classic novel ENDER' S GAME - now a major motion picture

EARTH AFIRE, book two of the First Formic War by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, a prequel series to the classic novel ENDER' S GAME - now a major motion picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First Formic Wars series begins with EARTH UNAWARE and continues with EARTH AFIRE. It’s set 100 years before the events of ENDER’S GAME.

Before Ender Wiggin is born, before the battle school has been built, mankind is about to have its first encounter with an alien race. The Formics are coming to Earth, and things are not about to go well . . .

Not only does this series give some fantastic back story to the tale of ENDER’S GAME and what happened in the first conflict with the Formics, this also happens to be an exceptionally good, space-battle-filled adventure all of its own. The series has had some great reviews in already:

‘A standout tale of sf adventure that gives Ender series fans fascinating backstory to the classic Ender’s Game’ LIBRARY JOURNAL

‘The story progresses nimbly, with plenty of tension and excitement and Card’s usual well-developed characters’ KIRKUS REVIEWS

‘Literate prose and superlative characterisation . . . excellent’ BOOKLIST

Both of these books are out very soon at the start of June – so not long to wait. They’re a perfect way to fill the time before the film is released in October. . . (Hurry up already movie!)

The series is co-written by Orson Scott Card, the author of ENDER’S GAME, and Aaron Johnston – a New York Times bestselling author, Marvel comic writer, and associate producer on the upcoming ENDER’S GAME movie. Look below for the blurb for EARTH UNAWARE and check out both books on 4th June 2013. (more…)

EXILES, Uplift and a message to any lurking aliens out there

Exiles, an omnibus edition of the Uplift Storm Trilogy containing Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore and Heaven's Reach by the Hugo, Locus, Nebula and Campbell award-winning science fiction author David BrinToday Orbit UK is proud to release EXILES (UK | ANZ), an omnibus edition of the critically acclaimed science fiction trilogy, the Uplift Storm series by David Brin. It contains BRIGHTNESS REEF, INFINITY’S SHORE and HEAVEN’S REACH.

These novels, like all books in the multi-award winning Uplift universe, revolve around the theme of biological “uplift” – which is where one species genetically enhances another species to make it sentient.

The intergalactic civilisation called the Five Galaxies is made up of a multitude of sentient races, with each species having its own “patron” race, responsible for uplifting it. But it’s a mystery why humanity seems to be the only species in the universe that hasn’t been uplifted by another patron race . . .

This theme seems to reflect many fundamental questions we have about our own existence. Why do we appear to be alone in the universe as the only form of intelligent life? And if there are other intelligent life forms out there – how will they view us?

Being an active member of SETI, the organisation which conducts scientific research on life in the universe, David Brin is very qualified to talk on this subject. I thought Orbit readers might be interested to read David Brin’s recent post “An Open letter to Alien Lurkers”. It’s his plea to intelligent alien life forms to make sure they don’t get the wrong end of the stick about us humans. To paraphrase a few of the messages within this great piece:

—> If you’ve been monitoring humans’ TV, radio and internet for years now – please be reassured: we’re not all THAT crazy, violent or extreme. Our fiction exaggerates our actions, and our news just covers the bad stuff. But most of us are actually quite relaxed, stable, peaceful beings.

—> If you’re seeing us as dangerous competitors – please don’t. The more civilised we get, the more we realise that competition and cooperation aren’t mutually exclusive. We might be able to add something to the galactic community – and a little bit of competition is always healthy. So please can we talk about it before you either overlook us or blow us to smithereens?

—> If the reason you haven’t contacted us yet is because you’re waiting for us to reach some milestone level of cilivisation, then please could you give us a helping hand with this? We’re very keen to learn!

Trust me, it’s very worth checking this brilliant piece out.

EXILES (UK | ANZ) is the final in a number of beautiful reissues we’ve produced for some of David’s most prestigious and best-known titles, to celebrate the release of his recent masterpiece EXISTENCE (UK | ANZ). All of these books can be seen below in their full glory.

New covers for some of David Brin's most classic and award-winning science fiction novels : UPLIFT (containing Sundiver, Startide Rising and The Uplift War), Exiles (containing Brightness Reef, Inifinity's Shore, Heaven's Reach), The Postman, Earth and Existence

The Uplift Omnibus – making monkeys smarter . . .

The Hugo, Nebula and Locus award-winnign UPLIFT, an omnibus edition from science fiction author David Brin, containing SUNDIVER, STARTIDE RISING and THE UPLIFT WARThis week we’ve released UPLIFT (UK | ANZ), an omnibus edition of the first three award-winning Uplift books. It’s one of the most highly regarded classic science fiction series ever written. And it’s no surprise – because I can’t help but seeing signs everywhere that David Brin seems to get things so very right . . .

In the Uplift universe, humans have the technology to enhance the intelligence of other species – such as dolphins and apes – and they have raised these animals to our own level of consciousness. In fact, in these books no species has ever reached a level of sentience without being genetically “uplifted” by another race. But humans are the only ones who have seemingly never been helped out in this way . . .

This book raises some very interesting questions. Why does humanity seem to be the only species on Earth to have broken through what you might call a “glass ceiling” of sentience? What makes us so different to all the other species? And if we could genetically “uplift” other species – should we?

This question is much more pertinent now than you might think.

Recently, as reported by the New York Times, scientists have been experimenting with increasing the intelligence of monkeys by using brain implants. Granted, the research is aimed at helping people who’ve had their brain damaged through dementia, strokes or injury – rather than trying to help out the little furry dude involved. And for the moment, it’s just a case of the monkey being able to match up some objects and pictures a little better than usual – rather than hold a conversation about the meaning of life and the universe.

But the question arises – how long will it be until we really can raise an animal’s intelligence level to that of a human being?

Perhaps not that long, according to an article from the University of Edinburgh. It claims that a new gene has been discovered that might have played a crucial role in our development towards using tools and language. This gene is unique to humans, and seems to have developed after we evolved from apes. What’s more – it seems to have come from nowhere. It emerged fully-formed, over an incredibly brief period of time, from DNA thought to be “non-coding”, or else termed “junk DNA”. (David Brin asks, of course – might it have been “donated”?)

The very isolation of this gene, which brings us a step closer towards working out what makes us human, could also bring us closer to being able to artificially create it within other species. And if we can do this – what might these new, more intelligent animals be like? And what could we learn about the world and our place within it? But what risks might we also take by doing so? Planet of the Apes, anyone?

EXILES, an Uplift Storm omnibus from the Hugo, Nebula and Locus award-winning science fiction author David Brin, containing the novels BRIGHTNESS REEF, INFINITY'S SHORE and HEAVEN'S REACHIf this question interests you as much as it does me, check out David Brin’s Hugo, Locus and Nebula award-winning UPLIFT (UK | ANZ), an omnibus containing SUNDIVER, STARTIDE RISING and THE UPLIFT WAR – out now.

And don’t forget that in January we’ll also be releasing EXILES (UK | ANZ), an omnibus containing the three Uplift Storm novels BRIGHTNESS REEF, INFINITY’S SHORE and HEAVEN’S REACH.

And if you’re really keen, check out this awesome Uplift merchandise. A great Christmas present for a nerd near you!

Google Hangout Video – Featuring Iain M. Banks, Peter F. Hamilton and Alistair Reynolds

Last night Google’s UK headquarters in London bore witness to a very special event: a discussion between the UK’s three biggest SF writers, Iain M. Banks, Peter F. Hamilton and Alistair Reynolds. Eight lucky fans from across the world – who were all lucky enough to win a competition to join the conversation – sat in on the debate and supplied questions.

The hour-long discussion covered a wide range of subjects, such as worldbuilding versus characterisation, approaches to writing and the future of science fiction in an increasingly digital age. The entire hour-long session was watched live by hundreds of fans and was also filmed. Many thanks to the Google crew for their hospitality and for making the event possible!

Iain M. Banks is on tour in the UK next week, signing copies of his brilliant new Culture novel THE HYDROGEN SONATA [UK | US | ANZ] – the events are as follows:

Weds 3rd October – Waterstones Piccadilly, London, 7pm
Thurs 4th – Toppings & co., Bath, 8pm
Fri 5th – Waterstones, Yeovil, 1pm
Fri 5th – Waterstones Galleries, Bristol, 7.30pm
Weds 10th – Waterstones West End, Edinburgh, 6pm
Thurs 11th – Manchester Literature Festival, 7pm
Fri 12th – Formby Books, Liverpool, 7pm

Cover launch! EXISTENCE and the new-look David Brins

EXISTENCE, a science fiction novel from the award-winning David Brin, admired by Stephen Baxter

This November, we’re releasing the paperback edition of David Brin’s science fiction masterpiece EXISTENCE (UK | ANZ). It’s his first novel to be released in ten years, and he’s truly returned in triumphant form.

It’s a breathtaking novel about First Contact – one that asks ‘why are we alone?’ and ‘are all civilisations doomed to fail?’ And it does it in spectacular, imaginative, mind-boggling, heart-thumping style.

See the paperback cover to the left and just a few of the reviews this unmissable book has been receiving:

‘Cleverly argued and uncomfortably plausible’ SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

‘A masterpiece of rock-hard SF’ SUN

‘Brin tackles a plethora of cutting-edge concepts…with the skill of a visionary futurologist’ GUARDIAN

‘Bursting with ideas, including near-future tech, first contact with aliens, and the exploration of what it means to be human’ i09.com

‘Existence is my top SF novel of 2012 and I recommend it without hesitation’ SFFWORLD.COM

But it’s not just EXISTENCE that we’re releasing this winter. We’re also giving a makeover to some of David Brin’s most classic titles. See the new-look covers below in all their glory…

New-look covers for David Brin's classic science fiction titles EARTH, POSTMAN, the UPLIFT trilogy and the second Uplifgt triology, called EXILES

See more info about each title below! (more…)

Cover Launch: THE HYDROGEN SONATA by Iain M. Banks

This October will bear witness to one of the biggest SF events of the year – the release of Iain M. Banks’s brilliant new Culture novel, THE HYDROGEN SONATA.

Here are the UK and US covers (click to enlarge), which subtly reflect both the new book’s title and the story within:

                                   

And here’s more on that story:

The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.

An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.

Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted — dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.

Orbit will be publishing THE HYDROGEN SONATA worldwide in print, ebook and audiobook editions this October.