Orbit & Tor Acquire New Trilogy from Adrian Tchaikovsky!

TchaikovskyA-AuthorPicOrbit Books (North America) and Tor Books (UK) have acquired a new trilogy from Adrian Tchaikovsky! This is fantastic news, because every new novel (or novella) by Tchaikovsky is something to be cheered and eagerly anticipated. There’s not much information, yet, about the trilogy save for this mini-description:

The new far-future science fiction trilogy begins with Shards of Earth, which will be published worldwide in spring 2021. The novel is set fifty years after a war that nearly extinguished humanity, when the enemies of the human race reappear after a long silence.

Spring 2021 still feels very far away, though. If you are new to Tchaikovsky’s work, or have yet to read anything by him, then maybe you’d like to read one of his already-available novels before the new one comes out? But where to begin? Adrian has written a lot of great novels, by now, so here are just a few suggestions for you to pick from, depending on your tastes. (He has written many more excellent books, but these are just some I think would be good starting points.) Continue reading

Annotated Excerpt: THE RANGER OF MARZANNA by Jon Skovron (Orbit)

SkovronJ-RW1-RangerOfMarzannaUSAs someone obsessed with process, I love reading annotated things. Books, comics, movie commentary, what have you. When trying to understand how to do a thing (say, write a book), it can be invaluable to get that peek behind the curtain. But if there is one thing we can say for certain about the process of writing, it’s that no two writers do it exactly the same. So when you read this annotated excerpt, I invite you not to latch on to any one thing too strongly, and view it merely as one more sample in a vast sea of writing processes.

In this world there are writers who simply sit down and start writing the book from the beginning and eventually come to the end. And that’s the book. Done. One of these “people” is a friend of mine, so I will refrain from saying anything else about this “method” except that it is most certainly not mine. My drafting process is messy and chaotic, and subject to change drastically from one revision to the next as I stumble blindly through those early stages.

For example, the excerpt below is the first chapter of The Ranger of Marzanna, but it was not written first, second, or even third. In fact, I’d written the entire first draft before I realized the beginning was completely broken. Among other things, it needed the proper framing for the world, and a proper introduction to Sonya Turgenev Portinari, who I imagined before I ever thought of the story, or the setting, or the theme, or anything else. Perhaps it’s my acting background, but character always comes first for me.

Anyway, the purpose of this chapter was let the reader know just what kind of world they’re dealing with and what kind of person the world perceived Sonya to be. So with those two goals in mind, let us proceed… Continue reading

Interview with MATTHEW WARD

WardM-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Matthew Ward?

That’s a question that takes a lifetime to answer – halfway through, I’m still not entirely sure. Eccentric? Probably. Introvert? Definitely? Cat Servant? Without question (as I write this, there’s a tabby purring on my knee and pawing at me for attention).

Beyond that? I’m a novelist and freelance creative consultant via dropping out of university before I actually started, followed by a dozen or so years developing game systems, lore and product ranges for Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and The Lord of the Rings at Games Workshop.

Your debut novel, Legacy of Ash, is published by Orbit. It looks pretty epic: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Legacy of Ash is the tale of a new generation fighting the mistakes of the one that came before. It’s character-driven epic fantasy, full of action, intrigue and flawed men and women facing impossible choices. I’ve seen folk favourably compare it to Game of Thrones, with the caveat that it’s light on graphic content/language.

As you say, it’s quite long? I’d encourage anyone intimidated by the length to consider it equivalent to a series of TV – it’s even structured a little that way, if I’m honest. Continue reading

Interview with K.S. VILLOSO

VillosoKS-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is K.S. Villoso?

I’m a Filipino-Canadian living in BC, Canada. When I’m not writing, I’m enjoying my time with family and friends, getting lost in the woods or running around with my dogs. My background is in civil engineering technology, but I foolishly gave all of that up so I could write more books…

Your debut novel, The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, will be published by Orbit in February. It looks really intriguing: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Let’s take an epic story with high stakes and complex politics like Game of Thrones, and then throw everything but one point-of-view away. Now, let’s make it unfold like a sword-and-sorcery with thriller-like pacing from the perspective of a woman haunted by her failed marriage and her father’s crimes. It is a book of contrasts, all done in a manner to serve this woman’s character arc; love it or hate it, it’s going to make you think. Continue reading

Quick Review/Second Look: THE GAMESHOUSE by Claire North (Orbit)

NorthC-GameshouseNovella triptych released in single, fantastic volume

Everyone has heard of the Gameshouse. But few know all its secrets…

It is the place where fortunes can be made and lost through chess, backgammon — every game under the sun.

But those whom fortune favors may be invited to compete in the higher league… a league where the games played are of politics and empires, of economics and kings. It is a league where Capture the Castle involves real castles, where hide and seek takes place on the scale of a continent.

Among those worthy of competing in the higher league, three unusually talented contestants play for the highest stakes of all…

I first read The Gameshouse when it was released as three novella eBooks: The Serpent, The Thief and The Master. I loved the story then, and it has stuck with me ever since. The release of the omnibus edition gave me an excuse to give it a second look. This is a really good story, and just more evidence of why Claire North is a must-read author. Continue reading

Quick Review: CHILDREN OF RUIN by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Orbit/Tor UK)

Tchaikovsky-C2-ChildrenOfRuinUKThe Children of Time are going on an adventure…

Thousands of years ago, Earth’s terraforming program took to the stars. On the world they called Nod, scientists discovered alien life – but it was their mission to overwrite it with the memory of Earth. Then humanity’s great empire fell, and the program’s decisions were lost to time.

Aeons later, humanity and its new spider allies detected fragmentary radio signals between the stars. They dispatched an exploration vessel, hoping to find cousins from old Earth.

But those ancient terraformers woke something on Nod better left undisturbed.

And it’s been waiting for them.

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Clarke Award-winning Children of Time is one of my favourite sci-fi novels. When it was announced that he was going to revisit the setting (it was originally meant as a stand-alone, I believe), it was music to my ears. The story is comprised of two threads — one sort-of parallel to the first novel (“past”) and also a continuation of that story (“present”). A substantial tale of exploration, hubris, and contact with others, this is a very good read.

Continue reading

Interview with FONDA LEE

LeeF-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Fonda Lee?

A novelist, martial artist, action movie aficionado, recovering corporate strategist, and Eggs Benedict enthusiast.

Your latest novel, Jade War, was recently published by Orbit – who have also announced the follow-up: Jade Legacy. They are the second and third novel in your Green Bone Saga series. How would you introduce the series to a new reader? And what can fans of the first novel expect from the middle and third books?

The Green Bone Saga is an epic urban fantasy Asia-inspired gangster family saga. I’ve referred to it as “The Godfather with magic and kung fu.” Fans of the first novel can expect the second book, Jade War, to be bigger in every way — not simply in terms of page count, but because the scope of the story broadens onto an international stage. Jade Legacy is going to take place over a longer period of time and gives the conflicts introduced in the earlier books intergenerational aspects and repercussions. Continue reading

Quick Review: KING OF ASSASSINS by RJ Barker (Orbit)

BarkerRJ-3-KingOfAssassinsThe brutal, engrossing, twisty finale to the Wounded Kingdom trilogy

Assassin Girton Club-Foot has lived in relative peace for many years, but now his king, Rufra ap Vthyr, eyes the vacant High-King’s throne and will take his court to the capital. In a viper’s nest of intrigue, the endgame of twenty years of politics and murder will be played out in the bid to become the King of all Kings.

Friends become enemies, enemies become friends, and the god of death stands closer than ever, casting his shadow over everyone Girton holds dear.

And so the Wounded Kingdom trilogy comes to a close… It’s been a fantastic journey, to follow these characters from their youth to the ultimately tragic end of King of Assassins. Easily one of my favourite recent fantasy series, this finale did not disappoint. Continue reading

Upcoming: CAGE OF SOULS, WALKING TO ALDEBARAN and CHILDREN OF RUIN by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Head of Zeus, Solaris & Tor/Orbit)

Tchaikovsky-CageOfSoulsUKNext year, Adrian Tchaikovsky has (at least) two new novels on the way! First up, Cage of Souls, which is due to be published by Head of Zeus in April:

Humanity clings to life on a dying Earth. Epic, far-future SF from an award-winning author.

The Sun is bloated, diseased, dying perhaps. Beneath its baneful light, Shadrapur, last of all cities, harbours fewer than 100,000 human souls. Built on the ruins of countless civilizations, Shadrapur is a museum, a midden, an asylum, a prison on a world that is ever more alien to humanity.

Bearing witness to the desperate struggle for existence between life old and new is Stefan Advani: rebel, outlaw, prisoner, survivor. This is his testament, an account of the journey that took him into the blazing desolation of the western deserts; that transported him east down the river and imprisoned him in the verdant hell of the jungle’s darkest heart; that led him deep into the labyrinths and caverns of the underworld. He will meet with monsters, madmen and mutants.The question is, which one of them will inherit this Earth?

Tchaikovsky-WalkingToAldebaranUKIn May, we will get to read a new short novel that I hadn’t heard about before: Walking to Aldebaran. This one is due to be published by Solaris. Here’s the synopsis:

Chilling story of a lost astronaut on an alien artefact, struggling to find his way home even as the world around him transforms his body and mind.

My name is Gary Rendell. I’m an astronaut. When they asked me as a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “astronaut, please!” I dreamed astronaut, I worked astronaut, I studied astronaut.

I got lucky; when a probe sent out to explore the Oort Cloud found a strange alien rock and an international team of scientists was put together to go and look at it, I made the draw.

I got even luckier. When disaster hit and our team was split up, scattered through the endless cold tunnels, I somehow survived.

Now I’m lost, and alone, and scared, and there’s something horrible in here.

​Lucky me.

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Tchaikovsky-C2-ChildrenOfRuinUKAnd last, but by no means least (I only spotted this cover while writing this post), we have Children of Ruin, the highly-anticipated follow-up to the superb, Arthur C. Clarke Award-Winning Children of Time. Due to be published by Tor Books (UK) and Orbit (US), also in May. Here’s the synopsis:

IT HAS BEEN WAITING THOUGH THE AGES

NOW IT’S TIME…

Thousands of years ago, Earth’s terraforming program took to the stars. On the world they called Nod, scientists discovered alien life – but it was their mission to overwrite it with the memory of Earth. Then humanity’s great empire fell, and the program’s decisions were lost to time.

Aeons later, humanity and its new spider allies detected fragmentary radio signals between the stars. They dispatched an exploration vessel, hoping to find cousins from old Earth.

But those ancient terraformers woke something on Nod better left undisturbed.

And it’s been waiting for them.

It looks like 2019 is going to be a great year for sci-fi! And that’s when you only take into consideration Mr. Tchaikovsky’s novels. (There are so many others to anticipate, too.)

Also on CR: Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky (2012); Guest Posts on “Nine Books, Six Years, One Stenwold Maker”, “The Art of Gunsmithing — Writing Guns of the Dawn, “Looking for God in Melnibone Places — Fantasy and Religion”, and “Eye of the Spider”; Excerpt from Guns of the Dawn; Reviews of Empire in Black & GoldGuns of the DawnSpiderlight

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: THE ROSEWATER INSURRECTION by Tade Thompson (Orbit)

ThompsonT-R2-InsurrectionI’m a newcomer to Tade Thompson‘s work, introduced via his Tor.com novella, The Murders of Molly Southbourne (which I loved). Since then, I’ve been eager to read more of his work. I have Rosewater, which was recently re-issued by Orbit, but have been too slow about getting to it. With the follow-up, The Rosewater Insurrection on the horizon, I think I’ll have to get my skates on. Here’s the synopsis:

All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret.

The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood…

The Rosewater Insurrection is due to be published in March 2019 by Orbit in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Review of The Murders of Molly Southbourne

Follow the Author: Goodreads, Twitter