Orbit Books Will Publish An Astonishing 90 Books A Year Starting In 2016

14 November 2015

From i09:

Who says that science fiction publishing is dead? Not Orbit Books. The Hachette company announced yesterday that they were expanding their SF/F line by 50% next year to publish a whopping 90 books starting in 2016.

Tim Holman, Orbit Publisher and Hachette Book Group SVP, said: “There is a huge and diverse audience for SF and Fantasy out there, and it’s the perfect time to be expanding the list. Orbit is currently the fastest growing SF and Fantasy imprint in the U.S. with an increasing number of New York Times bestsellers – most recently Ann Leckie, whose debut ANCILLARY JUSTICE was also the first novel to win every major SF award. Since our launch in 2008, we have been committed to publishing the most exciting authors in the field and looking for creative ways to connect with new readers. We’re very much looking forward to building on the success we’ve had, expanding the publishing team, and welcoming more authors to the list.”

. . . .

The publisher has been doing really well: a television series based on James S.A. Corey’s Expanse novels is about to land, while the publisher has put out excellent novels from the likes of Ann Leckie, Kim Stanley Robinson, Daniel Abraham, Gail Carriger, Brian McClellan, N.K. Jemisin and others.

Over on the Barnes and Noble SciFi & Fantasy blog, editor Joel Cunningham has gone as far as to say that right now we’re living in a new golden age of SF literature:

Nothing proves belief in a market like investment, and across the board, publishers are investing in SF/F. Just this year, we’ve welcomed to the fold Saga Press, the dedicated genre imprint from Simon & Schuster that has developed a roster of launch titles unparalleled in the industry (the debut novel from award-winning short story author Ken Liu, anyone?).

He goes on to list’s successes, as well as a new imprint from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as proof of this

Link to the rest at i09

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HP Lovecraft biographer rages against ditching of author as fantasy prize emblem

12 November 2015

From The Guardian:

HP Lovecraft’s biographer ST Joshi has returned his two World Fantasy awards following the organisers’ decision to stop using a bust of the author for the annual trophy – a move the Lovecraft expert called “a craven yielding to the worst sort of political correctness”.

The change was announced on Sunday. It follows a year-long campaign led by the author Daniel José Older, who launched a petition calling for the awards to end their trophy’s association with “avowed racist” Lovecraft.

Writing on his blog, Joshi said he had returned the awards he won in previous years to the co-chairman of the World Fantasy Convention, David Hartwell. “Evidently,” Joshi added, “this move was meant to placate the shrill whining of a handful of social justice warriors who believe that a ‘vicious racist’ like Lovecraft has no business being honoured by such an award.”

Joshi also provided the text of his letter to Hartwell, telling him that the decision “seems to me a craven yielding to the worst sort of political correctness and an explicit acceptance of the crude, ignorant and tendentious slanders against Lovecraft propagated by a small but noisy band of agitators.”

Older’s petition followed a blogpost from WFA winner Nnedi Okorafor on her “conflicted” feelings about the prize after seeing Lovecraft’s racist 1912 poem On the Creation of Niggers. (Its couplets include: “A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,/ Filled it with vice, and called the thing a Nigger.”)

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Karen for the tip.

Genre Snobbery Is a ‘Bizarre Act of Self-Mutilation’

8 November 2015

From Wired:

David Mitchell is an author with unusually broad tastes and a particularly wide-ranging imagination. His most famous novel, Cloud Atlas, which was adapted into a feature film by the Wachowskis, features linked stories that range from the present to the past to the far future. His latest books, The Bone Clocks and Slade House, deal with feuding immortals and a haunted house. Book snobs are often hostile to such fantasy and science fiction elements, an attitude that Mitchell has no patience for.

. . . .

“It’s convenient to have a science fiction and fantasy section, it’s convenient to have a mainstream literary fiction section, but these should only be guides, they shouldn’t be demarcated territories where one type of reader belongs and another type of reader does not belong,” Mitchell says.

. . . .

Such stark divisions harm everyone. Literary writers find their creativity hemmed in on all sides by close-minded attitudes about what a novel should be, and fantasy and science fiction writers find their work dismissed out of hand by large numbers of readers and critics. But the biggest losers are readers themselves.

“It’s a bizarre act of self-mutilation to say that ‘I don’t get on with science fiction and fantasy, therefore I’m never going to read any,’” Mitchell says. “What a shame. All those great books that you’re cutting yourself off from.”

. . . .

“The book doesn’t care if it’s science fiction,” he says. “The book doesn’t give a damn about genre, it just is what it is.”

He’s also frustrated that book snobs will insist that fantasy and science fiction can’t be great literature, while simultaneously acknowledging that many stories about magic or the future definitely are.

“There’s no intellectual consistency in these arguments,” he says, “so let’s consign them to the bowels of the Earth where they belong.”

Link to the rest at Wired and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

6 Highlights From George R. R. Martin’s Northwestern Talk

5 November 2015

From Vulture:

The unwavering success of Game of Thrones continues to be a surreal and stressful ride for George R. R. Martin. The author admitted as much, and more, during a candid, sold-out discussion with Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism on Wednesday. Martin was present to receive the school’s Hall of Achievement alumni award, which honors graduates whose careers have had positive impacts on their respective fields, and to give two separate talks to the Northwestern community.

. . . .

1. No, he didn’t think the show would catch up to him — but he’s not fazed:

“I’ve been hearing them come up behind me for years, and the question is,How can I make myself write faster? I think, by now, the answer is, I can’t. I write at the pace I write, and what the show is doing is not going to change what the books are,” he said, noting that the only way the TV series influences his writing is in the sense that it ratchets up his stress. “I started writing about these characters and this world in 1991, and we didn’t have the first meetings to create the show until 2008, so I got like a 17-year head start!” (To be fair, the workflow timeline is kind of incomparable when you consider the difference between a 1,500-page manuscript and a rapid-fire set of 60-page teleplays.)

2. Martin’s career has not been all sunshine and rainbows:

One of the recurring themes Martin discussed Wednesday was the instability of a career in writing, how success or a hot streak can fizzle as quickly, or quicker, than it develops. The author admitted that long before the current success of GoT, he had to rework his career a few times — one instance, in particular, was thanks to a show called Doorways, for which a pilot was shot in 1992:

Doorways is interesting. That was one of the greatest crossroads of my career. After I had done The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast, I had moved up the ranks in Hollywood, I had gone from a staff writer to a story editor to an executive story editor to a producer to a co-producer to a supervising producer, and the next step for me was to develop my own show. I wrote pilots for half a dozen shows, none of which ever got picked up, even as a pilot, exceptDoorways. And Doorways became a pilot for ABC, and at the time, it looked like we were going to get a slot on the schedule. They went so far as to order six backup scripts, and I hired six writers, and we spent half a year developing and polishing and getting ready to shoot the first six episodes when we got the green light.

But we never did.

And then of course, like a year later, a show called Sliders came along, and had basically the same premise, but just done stupid. And that ran for a number of years. And at the time, it was one of the great disappointments of my life. I really thought, and I had good reason to think, that Doorways was going to go, that I was going to be a showrunner with my own series on the air, and had it been a hit, I would have been encouraged to do another show, and another show, and I might have been Dick Wolf or Steven Bochco or something at some point. When Doorways failed to go, and all the other shows I had been developing didn’t get to the pilot stage, people suddenly stopped returning my calls. You get a certain amount of strikes out there in Hollywood. You’re as successful as your last project, so that was kind of a bitter disappointment for me.

Don’t worry, though — he looks back on the show now and realizes that its spiking was a blessing. It was essentially going to be a wannabe-serialized mess of a show, with no dearth of alternate worlds, budget woes, and special-effects shortcomings. “I would have produced an ambitious but severely crippled television show that might not have been the show I really wanted it to be,” he said. “And, failing that, I wrote this Game of Thrones thing, and that worked out pretty well.”

. . . .

 5. He pointed out that sci-fi is a lot more depressing now:

When asked about the future of his favorite genres — sci-fi, in particular — Martin noted one astute observation about the contemporary stories crowding bookshelves now. It seems we’re afraid of the world of tomorrow, he said, referencing the fact that sci-fi books in the ’50s and ’60s typically marveled at the possibility of future advancements that would make life easier; whereas, now, such stories like The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and The Giver spin much more pessimistic, dystopian yarns. “Where does science fiction go from now? Does it go into dystopias? Or is there a new way to constitute this stuff?” he asked, pointing out that writers have seemingly abandoned the older sensibilities of the Robert A. Heinleins of the genre. “I don’t know.”

Link to the rest at Vulture and thanks to Matthew and others for the tip.

The Martian and Other Self-Published Books

28 October 2015

Before it was a big-budget studio release, The Martian was a book, and before that book received a proper released by Crown Publishing in 2014, it was a self-published novel. Author Andy Weir had been writing sci-fi novels for years, and while he’d found some success with previous works, none can compare to The Martian, with its impressive sales numbers in addition to the box office earnings of the movie version.

. . . .

After failing to find interest in the literary world with The Martian, Weir began posting the book one chapter at a time on his website – for free. He ultimately put a 99-cent version of the book on Kindle, and by 2013, the book had become popular enough that Weir received an offer from Crown Publishing to buy the book for $100,000.

. . . .

Weir said the publishing deal happened around the same time that the film rights were purchased, and the strangeness of achieving so much success so quickly was not lost on him. “That was an eventful week for me,” he said. “By the way, at the time I was a computer programmer, so I was like in my cubicle fixing bugs, then I’d sneak off to take a phone call about my movie deal, then back to my cubicle to fix bugs. It was pretty surreal.”

Link to the rest at People


‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ is the official eighth Potter story and the first to be presented on stage.

26 October 2015

From Pottermore:

It’s official. The Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and we have the synopsis to share with you:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

When we last saw Harry he was waving off his eldest children, James Sirius and Albus Severus, at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. This next exciting chapter in the story will explore Harry’s life after that moment for the very first time.

. . . .

J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany said: ‘It is very exciting to explore Harry’s world in a brand new way through the live form of theatre. Collaborating on this story is exhilarating for all of us and we can’t wait to present the eighth story at the Palace Theatre next summer.’

J.K. Rowling continued: ‘The story only exists because the right group of people came together with a brilliant idea about how to present Harry Potter on stage. I’m confident that when audiences see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child they will understand why we chose to tell this story in this way.’

Link to the rest at Pottermore

Agatha Christie’s play, The Mousetrap, has been playing the same theater, St. Martin’s, in London for 63 years. When PG and Mrs. PG enjoyed the play a number of years ago, the small theater was nearly full. Most audience members looked like tourists (perhaps a more reliable audience in the long run than locals).

If the Harry Potter play is as well-written as Christie’s is, Rowling may delight visitors to London and support several generations of actors in the same way Christie has.

The Shannara Chronicles

13 October 2015

Based upon the Shannara books

Hogwarts Arises

10 October 2015

See the Sketches J.R.R. Tolkien Used to Build Middle-Earth

10 October 2015

From Wired:

Art of The Lord of the Rings final revised.indd

How did J.R.R. Tolkien create The Lord of the Rings? The simple answer is that he wrote it. He sat down in a chair in 1937 and spent more than a dozen years working on what remains a masterwork of fantasy literature and a genius stroke of immersive worldbuilding.

The more complicated answer is that in addition to writing the story, he drew it. The many maps and sketches he made while drafting The Lord of the Rings informed his storytelling, allowing him to test narrative ideas and illustrate scenes he needed to capture in words. For Tolkien, the art of writing and the art of drawing were inextricably intertwined.

. . . .

When you study Tolkien’s scribbles and sketches, a few things become clear. First, the narrative of Rings clearly consumed him. He wrote and drew, anytime, anywhere. Some drawings are dashed-off doodles inserted into margins of his manuscripts. Other are more meticulous. Even when he clearly labored over a drawing, such as the paintings and maps that graced The Hobbit or the small sample of handiwork seen in The Fellowship of the Ring—his maps, the script Frodo and Gandalf discover on the One Ring, an image of the Doors of Durin—Tolkien the artist was never satisfied, denigrating his works as “amateur” and “defective.”

Tolkien didn’t seem to care what he drew or painted on. His sketch of “Helm’s Deep and the Hornburg,” the fortress enclave of the Rohirrim people, is executed on a half-used page of an Oxford examination booklet. Drawn in perspective, the tableau nicely captures Tolkien’s final description of the castle from The Two Towers: “At Helm’s Gate, before the mouth of the Deep, there was a heel of rock thrust outward by the northern cliff. There upon its spur stood high walls of ancient stone, and within them was a lofty tower. … A wall, too, the men of old had made from the Hornburg to the southern cliff, barring the entrance to the gorge…” One can imagine Tolkien pausing in the middle of grading a student’s paper, pondering how the castle wall and mountain valley might have appeared from a distance, both in his mind’s eye and the eyes of his characters.

Link to the rest at Wired

The 35th anniversary of Tor Books

5 October 2015


The timeline below serves to remind us of just a few of the wonderful moments we’ve experienced as part of the extended Tor family of readers, authors, editors, artists, and the legions of people working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring each new book to life, year in and year out.

. . . .


  • Tom Doherty founds Tor Books in New York City, with a staff of 12 people


  • Tor’s first book—Forerunner, by Andre Norton—is published; shortly thereafter, Tor publishes The Psycho-Technic League,the first of several Poul Anderson collections published over the next few years

. . . .


  • Ender’s Game, Tor’s first novel by Orson Scott Card, is published


  • Ender’s Game becomes the first Tor novel to win the Nebula and Hugo Awards for best novel

. . . .


  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, the first book in The Wheel of Time® series, and People of the Wolf, the first book in Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear’s North America’s Forgotten Past series are published

. . . .


  • China Mieville’s US debut novel King Rat and The Return, by Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes, are published
  • A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge wins the Hugo Award

. . . .


  • Brandon Sanderson’s debut novel Elantris and John Scalzi’s debut novel Old Man’s War are published
  • Tom Doherty wins the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award

Link to the rest at and thanks to Dale for the tip.

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