It’s only a couple more weeks before the release of The Broken Ones, the gorgeous prequel to Danielle L. Jensen‘s Malediction Trilogy is released into the world. If you’ve been keeping an eye on Danielle’ssocial media you’ll have seen all the amazing original character portraits she’s been revealing, including favourites such as Tristan and Cécile *SWOON*. But now we have one more treat for you…
Author and artist Elise Kova has designed this beautiful map of Trollus – the underground dwelling of the trolls – featuring so many of the places that we know and love including the Library, the River Road Gate and the Glass Gardens!
If you’d love to get a yourself a copy of the map then you’re in luck, because Danielle will be including a postcard sized version in her pre-order campaign – which you can find all the details for here – so head on over now and get your hands on a fabulous swag pack!
Plus if you still haven’t read the Malediction trilogy and want to catch up asap (why wouldn’t you?) you can grab Stolen Songbird, Hidden Huntress and Warrior Witch now. They’re currently on sale on Amazon through May (US/Canada only) – what more could you want?!
In case you’ve yet to hear, we’re publishing Jeff Noon’s highly anticipated new novel A Man of Shadows this August.
Now, we don’t often do physical advanced reading copies (ARCs) of our novels but, as a special treat, we did arrange for a limited run of physical ARCs for the novel. These were snapped up in record time, but we did manage to wrestle a single copy from the grasp of a desperate, ravenous reader. We’ve been told they’re recovering and managing well without their arms, which is lucky, as we were loathe to give up our fancy new office ornaments.
Our question is, do you want the ARC signed by Jeff (possibly (but probably not) in his own blood)?
If so, we’re going to run a competition over the next week. Here’s how you can enter:
Jeff is known for his novels Vurt, Automated Alice, Channel Sk1n, Pollen and a whole host more, but also known for his amazing Twitter feed full of strange, dreamlike tweets that read like stories in themselves. For example:
I was adopted by the moon. I lived in shadowy rooms, under pale silver lamps. At the age of 15, I ran away. But even now, sunlight pains me.
What we want you to do, dear Robot horde, is to create your own dreamlike story in 100 – 140 characters and tweet it to us (or email firstname.lastname@example.org, if you don’t have love for Twitter). We’ll pick the winner – and by that we mean the author of the strangest, weirdest and smartest story – next Thursday at 12 noon, UK time.
What are you still reading this for? Better get crafting that story!
There are fans, and there are fans. We think that Cam Mezé from London (England) deserves the italics – perhaps with an “uber-” added to the front. Why? Because Cam is such a fan of Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black (from Blackbirds, Mockingbird and The Cormorant) that she commissioned this rather brilliant tattoo:
We asked her: why?
Cam: This tattoo was going to be my great dedication to my love of books, so it took a lot of research and a long time to plan. It was a toss up between something from American Gods by Neil Gaiman or something from the Miriam Black novels. In the end I decided that I wanted it to be a complex and strong female character, and Miriam Black is just that. Plus she’s pretty kickass! She’s not afraid to be dark or grim, she’s funny, swears like a trooper, has parental issues and complicated relationships, and wants to defy fate and be better. These novels encompass many of the things that I enjoy reading about. When it came to deciding, Miriam Black was just a character I loved that stood out. I am in awe of all of Joey HiFi’s covers, they’re absolutely stunning, and it gave us (myself and Jordan Teear, the tattooist) a lot to work with.
Surprisingly, for the amount of detail, the tattoo took around 2 1/2 hours to complete. When I first discussed the design with Jordan he thought it was going to be a pretty awesome. He really loved the palm trees and how amazing her lips are, so he had real fun with it. There was also a lot we had to cut back on, because there’s so much detail. I knew I wanted a large skull in there somewhere, so Jordan suggested blending and fading it in with the T-shirt. I enjoy the fact that it’s on the back of her T-shirt because as much as her ‘curse’ has to do with her dealing with death and having that foresight (skulls are great on the sunglasses for that), it also follows her. But at the same time, she is slightly tilted around and is ready to face it and beat it. Of all the covers, this was the one that worked best and included the things I wanted to convey. Plus she has that devilish grin, which is perfect!
I love her flaws and the fact that she’s not perfect. And so she would be my ode in ink form to my love of books. She was my cover lady!
I am so in awe of Jordan’s talent and absolutely love the final piece. His work is amazing, so I knew he would do a fantastic job when I chose him; there was just something that clicked when I looked through his work. And I am stoked that both Chuck Wendig and Joey HiFi love it too, because we wanted to do their hard work justice.
The tattooist (as mentioned, above) is Jordan Teear at Frith Street Tattoo. You can find more of his work, here.
An Angry Robot box of goodies will wing its way to Cam after the Easter break – we think you’ll agree she deserves it!
Amanda, Vicky and I have just decorated the office, and as the silly season hits the AR HQ, we’d like to offer you the change to share in our festive excitement. We’ve got a great competition for you…and the prizes are here, in our tree:
About 4 weeks ago we ran a competition to recreate one of our book covers using toys, people, posts of custard – whatever.
The reason we’ve waited until now to publish the winners is not because we forgot to check the email account that the entries were sent into, oh no! The reason is far more interesting than that, we’re sure – and when we’ve worked out what the reason actually is, we might post it here. Read More
A friend shared this rant by Ben Babcock, and I have to say that if we got hate mail like this every week, our digital morale would never waver, even amidst minefields of super-magnets and EMP grenades.
I despise Angry Robot. Because of them, I have a massive backlog of DRM-free ebooks in my Dropbox, which I can read anywhere from my phone or tablet. Because of their stupid subscription model, where I can pay in advance and download their new titles every month, I have reliable, consistent exposure to new voices in SF/fantasy and fascinating new novels. Because of their terrible habit of actually responding me to me as a person, not just a consumer, their customer support has always been responsive and satisfactory—they always seem to reply to me on Twitter, and in emails they are courteous and helpful. I seldom have this experience with any other company, and so, naturally, this made me angry.
Also, they lie. Never once have I interacted with a robot instead of a real person, and even if I did, it certainly wasn’t very angry. This is false advertising in the worst possible way.
That’s why when they started their Strange Chemistry imprint, I immediately bought a subscription for that as well. I hate them that much, that I needed to use my wallet to make sure they heard my vocal displeasure with their business model.
In short, Angry Robot is doing an awful job emulating the bigger publishing houses. They have ruined my life by making available more books than I can possibly read in any reasonable amount of time. I’m sure that my eyesight will eventually go from staring at my tablet screen for so long, and when it does, I will blame them.
Don’t make the same mistake I did, people. Don’t fall into the Angry Robot’s trap. If you buy from them, you will soon drown in books, go blind, and be immensely satisfied.
So thank you, Ben. Your hate makes us strong. We hope to enrage you with our business practices for many years to come.
Well, well, post-WFC slump, we laugh in your face! Because we came back to work to the wonderful news that Wesley Chu‘s The Lives of Taohas been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2013 for Best SciFi! Wes is amongst some of the finest writers including Margaret Atwood, Peter F. Hamilton, John Scalzi, and Orson Scott Card, and damn, does he deserve to be there.
Here’s how Goodreads select their nominees:
“We analyze statistics from the 250 million books added, rated, and reviewed on the site in 2013 to nominate 15 books in each category. Opening round official nominees must have an average rating of 3.50 or higher. ”
Which means Wes has already been causing some great chatter on Goodreads, but to get recognised for it is pretty special. We don’t like to ask too much of you, our wonderful Robot Army and supporters, but please do get behind Wes and this wonderful book and vote here: HANDY VOTING LINK and if you really want to help, please spread the word. Tell your friends, neighbours, teachers, colleagues, postman, checkout assistant, person-sitting-beside-you-on-the-bus, hey, tell the world!
If you’re on Twitter, join the conversation by using #GoodreadsChoice
And if you haven’t read The Lives of Tao yet and are wondering what all the fuss is about, what are you waiting for? The sequel, The Deaths of Tao, is out in the US and ebook and is out this Thursday in the UK!
Two of the publicists at Little, Brown are running a marathon to fund a new grant that will support diversity in science fiction and fantasy literature.
Ellen B Wright and Faye Bi are aiming to raise $5,000 between them, but come on – I think we can help them do much better than that, don’t you? Their total currently stands (at the time of writing this blog) at $1,380.
We’ve created this marathon fundraiser on Crowdrise to support the Speculative Literature Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes science fiction and fantasy and encourages new writers of both adult and children’s genre literature. They’ve agreed to use the funds we raise to create a new grant called the Diverse Worlds grant, which will help writers from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the genre to start and continue publishing. As good science fiction and fantasy worlds should, this grant will welcome all kinds of diversity: gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, ability level, religion, etc.
Let’s show everyone what we already know – that SF and F fans are the most supportive fans in the world!
What a busy few weeks it’s been here at Robot HQ; so busy in fact, that I’ve been shamefully slow since my last Round-Up! But what better to cheer up a rainy Friday (in Nottingham, at least) than a good look back over our recent highlights:
This month we’ve released two titles: Madeline Ashby‘s superb sequel to vN, iD, and also Paul S. Kemp‘s second outing with Egil and Nix, A Discourse in Steel. Here’s the big splash from launch day; since then, they’ve both been kept in a dungeon, slaves to their computers busy with blog posts, interviews, and also kept happy with rave reviews. To wit:
• Bibliotropic Review on Madeline’s iD: “Ashby has a wonderful imagination, an eye for detail, and characters that I don’t want to part from. From the beginning of the first book to the end of the second, I was hooked, and I’m eagerly looking forward to anything that Ashby does in the future.”
“It really is a modern I, Robot, but with a lot more grit, moral depth, and more interesting prose. Madeline Ashby ought to be seen as one of the big new names in science fiction.” Hardcover Wonderland
• Madeline’s blog tour featured interviews and blog posts, and she’s a rare beast that always manages to say something fresh and new with each stop:
• Madeline speaks out on the SFWA Scandal on Dark Matter Fanzine in a piece brilliantly entitled, ‘Stalin, Playboy, and Lady Writers’; talks to Civilian Reader about how to make Non-Humans Seem Human; • John Scalzi featured Madeline on Whatever‘s The Big Idea, and it’s a moving read: on facing fears, on telling the universe “to fuck right off and die”, and about living through the impossible. Read it.
• A Fantastical Librarian and My Bookish Ways have great interviews with Madeline, as does The Qwillery whilst Madeline faced up to Ten Questions About iD with Chuck Wendig, and My Shelf Confessions was lucky enough to nab Javier for a chat!
• Cheryl Morgan recently met up with Madeline and they sat down to discuss iD, and how Madeline uses robots to ask interesting questions about gender.
• SFSignal featured vN for a recent review and had this to say: “Unrelenting and surprising conflict drives a fast-paced read; genuine, human-robot dystopia; powerful character arcs; evokes series addiction.” If you haven’t already read vN, get it and you might as well get iD at the same time…I doubt you’ll want to wait between books!
• Last night Paul took part in an AMA on Reddit and go there to see what kinds of dirt they had him dish up!
• The fantastic cover, by Lee Gibbons, rightly gathered attention pre-launch, such as on Graeme’s SFF • “Kemp gives us a great fast paced romp packed with action and with enough character and world building to satisfy without slowing anything down.” I agree, Eoghann.com! And check out these other amazing reviews:
• “This is adventure fantasy at its finest…Kemp is a superb writer. If you enjoy sword and sorcery, adventure, and nonstop action, this is the book for you.” Adventures Fantastic
• Silver Pen Scribe: “enjoyable ride of pure fun fantasy.”
• Being A Big Sandwich: It is in the characters, particularly Egil and Nix, that Kemp shines and draws the reader in…The interplay between the two is well-done, and their friendship is the bedrock of the story.”
• Kobold Press: “This book has all the elements that fans of sword and sorcery should enjoy…The characters are deep and fun to get to know, the story is interesting, and the action is top shelf.”
• Odd Engine: “filled with new magic and mayhem that makes it a truly enjoyable read.”
• Mikel Andrews: ”This is the fantasy you’ve been craving.. If you’ve been dying for some real originality in the fantasy realm – with a scene of revenge that would make even Kick-Ass’ Hit Girl do a double-take – then Discourse in Steel is your next stop.”
A forthcoming title that is receiving a lot of attention – and do stay tuned for Jay’s impressive blog tour and a cool tour competition – is Three, the debut by renowned games writer Jay Posey. Take a look at some of these couple of early reviews:
• The Book Plank: “Three is a great start into a new series. The post-apocalyptic world that Jay Posey created in Three is brilliantly constructed, it’s just chock-full of the cool stuff, futuristic gadgets (guns and the like), augmented people and not forget the Weir.”
• Book Realms: “The book has the hard-edged, gritty feel of postapocalyptic fiction. The dialog is terse; the action sequences pound along. But don’t think you’ve escaped into a world without tenderness. It’s there, even if in some cases its encased in armor and eclipsed by the need to survive.”
• If I could only show you the early reviews that haven’t been published yet…but not long now! Three, the first title in the Legends of the Duskwalker series is out in the US & ebook on 30 July and in the UK and RoW on 1 August.
• Book Snobbery: “The Big Reap is the most ambitious of Holm’s Collector stories so far, and the payoff at the end is huge. HUGE”
• Tolerably Smart: “Book Three was a game changer much to my enjoyment”
• Raging Biblioholism: “Smart, funny and unassuming… Our world is a better place with Sam Thornton in it.”
• Every Read Thing: “Sam is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. While he carries with him the attitude of a blockbuster movie action star, he’s also a tragic character at heart. In my opinion, this is Holm’s finest work yet.”
The tireless Emma Newmanand her Split Worlds books continue to leave reviewers and readers alike feeling all kinds of happy; take a look at these:
• A Fantastical Librarian: “I think I loved Any Other Name even more than Between Two Thorns, if that’s possible. [Any Other Name is] engaging, funny, romantic, and imaginative and placed Emma Newman solidly on my must-read list of writers. I can’t wait for the conclusion to this story in October, when All is Fair is released. In the meantime, I think I’ll go and reread some of the short stories set in the Split Worlds.”
Thoughts from the Hearthfire “Emma Newman definitely knows what she is doing…In short, great characters, fabulous settings, complex plots, resolved threads within each book with plenty to arc across titles as well. I wholeheartedly recommend it!”
Kindle-aholic’s Book Pile made me giggle with this one – it’s so true: “You know you are getting into a book when you want to pull characters aside for a little chat. Will, you are an idiot. An idiot with good intentions, but you pissed me the hell off. Max, you need to listen to your gargoyle more. Mr. Sorcerer – there is something so very off about you. I feel some good bits of secrets spilling in book 3. I gave up sleep to finish this book and was very glad I did.”
• And if you want to read more about Emma, check out this SFX interview! Don’t forget that Emma also has some really fun stuff on her website. You can sign up for free Split Worlds short stories. Also, there is her Three Wishes campaign, as well as her new podcasts, Tea and Jeopardy. Emma’s now up to Podcast 6 which is with Karina Cooper; previous hostages guests have included Chuck Wendig, Sarah Pinborough, Paul Cornell, Jennifer Udden, and Dave Bradley. So, grab yourself a mug of tea and settle down with Emma for some mild peril!
Mike, our fantastic North American Sales & Marketing Manager, and I had a great chat with Wesley Chu this week about all things The Deaths of Tao; for everyone anxiously awaiting the next instalment of Roen and Tao’s adventures… T-minus 4 months! To those who haven’t yet read The Lives of Tao, check out these reviews and prey tell me, how you’ve missed this summer blockbuster?
• Fantasy Book Review: “The Lives of Tao is a fun book with a lot of energy and it really worked for me. Full of action, adventure, martial arts, gunplay, and large quantities of geeky goodness.”
• Sarah Says Read joins the now-squadron-sized army of those who all “want a Prophus alien living in my brain!” She loved it so much, there are bullet points to describe how (which I love!) but the summary says it all: “You guys, this book was just AWESOME. I literally don’t have a single complaint about it. It was an action-packed, fun-filled joy ride and I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for Roen and Tao.”
• Not a Natural Writer is certainly a Natural Reader and has this to say on The Lives of Tao: “The writing style is very easy to get into, and the story moves along at a fair old lick. The actions scenes in particular are very well crafted, with a great sense of motion, excitement and tension.”
My Bookish Ways: “It certainly makes me think that there might something in all of us that can make us great (even if it’s not an alien being), and it’s Roen’s humility, and yes, bravery, in the midst of a very extreme chain of events that makes this book what it is: one of the freshest, most fun debuts I’ve read in quite a while! I can’t wait to find out what’s next for Roen and Tao!”
• Vinx Books: “There’s a dash of romance, plenty of action and the plot carries you along but with nice variations in pace so it isn’t all go go go. It is all combined very well and I really appreciate that the violence is not romanticised or gratuitous. Roen’s reactions to the fighting is very human and I think brings a moment of contemplation.”
• Tiffy Fit: “imaginative, enjoyable, wondrous. ”
Chuck Wendig continues to own the internet, largely because he’s too scary to stop*, but hey, it works out well for our books. Take a look at all of this goodness:
• “Wendig’s filthy dialogue and layered characters mean that it’s never less than raucously entertaining.” SFX, August 2013
• Book Chick City: “The Blue Blazesis one hell of a read, with a complex cast of morally grey characters. It’s a heart-stopping ride from beginning to end. I think it is my stand out book of the year so far.”
• The Tattooed Book: “With superbly vivid characters, ballsy action and a ton of twists and turns Chuck Wendig hits home with another all round enjoyable novel.”
• The Qwillery: “If you are looking for something well written and verging towards horror, then I urge you to read The Blue Blazes. I would advise not to read too close to bedtime, however, without checking under the bed a few times first!”
• Fangs for the Fantasy: “This book is stylistically excellent. It’s thematically excellent. The writing is amazing. The characterisation is awesome. The world is incredible.”
All Things Urban Fantasy: “Think Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere written as a mob book…I’m kicking myself for not checking out Wendig’s work before now. Don’t make the same mistake I did.”
• My Bookish Ways: “The Blue Blazes is something very different, very twisted and very, very good. You’ll have lots of fun-I know I did!” • With a shout-0ut to the fantastic Joey Hi-Fi cover, CheffoJeffo also says: “A Rollicking, Riotous Rampage…The Blue Blazes is the most fun I have had in years.”
For Chuck’s dulcet tones, here’s some handy interview links:
If you live, or will be, in Brooklyn on July 17, be sure to call to Word and see Chuck with Strange Chemistry author T.L. Costa as they consider the current state of speculative fiction, in both YA and adult. There’ll also be a signing and a Q&A.
You’d think that would be enough of our authors working on taking over the world, but nope, we’ve got all of these who have also been busy…and that’s the way we like them:
Mike Shevdon‘s series, The Courts of the Feyre, comes to a conclusion with The Eighth Court, and the mighty Tim Ward at SFSignal has this to say: “Fascinating magic; powerful and scheming villains; engaging and surprising mystery; epic conflict; dramatic and sympathetic conclusion to character arcs.”
• No More Grumpy Bookseller: “The Courts of the Feyre series is a win in every way in my humble opinion – the world, the characters, the stories, the setting, the history…it’s been a wild and crazy entertaining ride!”
We’re fast approaching publication date for Ramez Naam‘s follow-up to Nexus, Crux, and here’s an early review from the IEET: “I advise readers to start with Nexus, but then to pick right up with Crux. Both books are excellent, thoughtful, and fast-paced. They are worth your time, and will leave you thinking hard about some core future questions.”
With the excitement building up towards the release of Crux, we were delighted to announce we’ve signed Ramez up for a third book, which will be released in late 2014, and here’s LitStack reporting on the deal.
If Reggie Lutz had this to say about EmpireState: ” He makes the reader feel that we understand and recognize the place we are in the fiction…which makes the plot complications and world-instability issues contained therein all the more effective.” and Fantasy Faction say this about The Age Atomic: “[Since Empire State] Adam Christopher has grown as a writer and the growth shines through here, his prose has become stronger, his characters more real; his ideas, settings and themes bright and full of depth…he’s grown to a stylish and exciting writer, with ideas that are full of adventure and mystery.”, how damn good does that make both Empire State and The Age Atomic!
And on that note, I’m outta here – well as far as the café for lunch, but you know what I mean.
On our bi-weekly stalk of our authors’ Facebook pages, blogs and Twitter streams, we came across this little gem – a fan-made trailer for Tim Waggoner‘s brilliant urban fantasy Nekropolis. A lot of thought and care went into making this, and we’re duly impressed. It’s quite short, so click on PLAY and have a look.
And for those of you aching for more words from that nice Mr Waggoner, well, we just might have some news for you, soon…