Yesterday was the return of Angry Robot Live!
I was joined by Alyc Helms, Ferrett Steinmetz, and Tim Waggoner for a discussion of Contemporary Fantasy. We talked about worldbuilding, casting your story, the inherent character of cities, and the ways that current events and issues manifest in Contemporary Fantasy, as well as answering some audience questions.
Thanks so much to everyone who joined us live.
Some of you might be saying, “But Mike! I couldn’t watch last night! I was reading my new favorite Angry Robot book and just couldn’t tear myself away!” or maybe “I’m in Britain, and it was nearly half-two in the morning when you all were gabbing!”
Well, Robo-friend, I’ve got you covered. We’ve archived the video here:
And remember that you can watch all of the past episodes with this handy-dandy playlist.
Stay tuned next month for another installment of Angry Robot Live!
Marianne summed up her thoughts on the win thusly:
“I’m truly delighted that PEACEMAKER has been commended by the Aurealis judging panel. My dad brought me up on
a diet of pulp Westerns and, eventually, I inherited his complete Zane Grey collection. For many years, I wanted to
write my own version of a Western as a thank you to him, and because those stories were my first, intense fictional love. My sister still gets a kick out of telling people how at eight years of age I would only answer to the name of one of Zane Grey’s cowboys.
But writing a western, SF, paranormal mash-up is one thing. Publishing it is quite another. I’d like to thank Lee Harris, Marc Gascoigne, Caroline Lambe and everyone at Angry Robot for giving this story a chance when it was well outside the purview of most speculative publishers. I hope this award, in some small way, rewards them for the gift they bestowed on me.”
We couldn’t be happier for you, Marianne! Congratulations!
Our Rod Duncan took a trip from his hometown in Leicester, UK, over the pond to Seattle for the Philip K. Dick Awards, which are held at the city’s famous Norwescon. Here’s his take on the experience:
Daleks and Dothraki – home from home in Seattle
The guy sitting opposite is chain reading manga, the couple in the seats behind are debating the evolution of Pokemon and someone has just asked for help stowing a four foot long wooden sword in the overhead rack of the train carriage. I’m thinking – Wow! All these people must be going to Norwescon just like me.
It turns out they’re not. Nor is the helpful woman in a kimono and orange wig who later gives me directions to the convention hotel. It might be there’s something else going on. Or it might be that, hey, Seattle’s just that kind of place.
Crucially for me, Seattle is the place where the Philip K. Dick Award has been handed out every year since it began in 1982. And this year – you could knock me down with a Brontitallian feather – my novel, The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter, has somehow made it to the shortlist.
Philip K. Dick gave us stories now recognised as seminal. But at the time – printed in paperback books and pulp magazines – they received little attention from those ‘serious’ commentators, who only deigned to review hardcover tomes. Thus the award, established in his memory, fittingly celebrates science fiction published in paperback original.
Having stepped into the convention hotel, feeling distinctly nervous, I’m greeted by the familiar face of a fellow traveller. I may be eight time zones from home, but the being in front of me has come all the way from Skaro. At one time, a Dalek would have had me hiding behind the sofa but here I want to hug it. (It’s it been signed by Alex Kingston. Don’t judge me.)
As I’m grinning at it trundling around the lobby, the Khaleesi and Drogo stroll past. I notice a couple of steampunk explorers checking into the hotel and an Enterprise crewmember is weaving through the crowd carrying what seems to be a boxed tabletop game.
Perhaps I’m not so far from home after all.
Any Norwescon member reading this will guess what follows for me over the weekend – I’m made welcome, I meet like-minded people, make lots of new friends, we wallow in geekiness and an outpouring of creativity.
But in the midst of all that, I have the PKD ceremony to negotiate. It’s my opinion that the books on the shortlist all stand alongside each other in quality. But they set out to achieve different things. Some are considerably more audacious than The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter – which makes them better suited for this particular award.
The result of my analysis is this – I’m expecting to not win. And that’s a good headspace for me to occupy. I’ve been up for prizes before and ended up disappointed. Frankly, disappointment stinks. With this award, I’m concentrating on being happy to have been nominated. It’s a celebration, after all.
But then people start messaging me on Twitter and Facebook, saying ‘Good luck!’ and ‘I hope you win!’ And a little voice in my head starts to whisper, ‘Better write an acceptance speech just in case. You never know…’
That’s when the lovely people at Norwescon come to my rescue. They schedule a social for the shortlisted writers. Three hours in the hotel’s presidential suite with more olives and hummus than you can shake a breadstick at. Looking at the crammed program, I can’t fathom the reason for this. Three hours! Surely there are panel discussions we could be attending.
At this point, I should introduce you to my fellow shortlisted authors. Cherie Priest and Jonathan Strahan haven’t been able to attend. (I really wanted to meet Cherie, so I’m disappointed about that.) But we do have Jennifer Marie Brissett, author of Elysium, whose natural charm instantly puts me at ease. And Emmi Itäranta, who I learn wrote her novel Memory of Water simultaneously in Finnish and English. And Meg Elison, whose novel The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, is one of the scariest things I’ve ever read and did genuinely give me nightmares. ‘I’m so sorry,’ she says when I tell her. ‘No,’ I say. ‘I meant that in a good way.’
Three hours in such a packed schedule? I’m thinking we’ll spend a bit of time together, eat our way through some of the buffet then rush back out to do more frenetic conventioning. But after we’ve found the comfy chairs and started to talk about the experience of writing and how we admire each other’s work and what it feels like to be shortlisted and how nervous we all are… Well, they’re so lovely, these people, that I don’t want to be anywhere else.
Thank you Norwescon, for the way you scheduled. That was the very best thing. When we do finally head off to get ready for the ceremony, it is as friends not rivals. How could any of us be disappointed, whatever the result?
No room here to fully explore all the other stuff that happens over the weekend. Like the call I get from my wife back in England who asks me about a session she’s seen listed in the online programme: ‘How to get laid at convention.’ Or the hotel receptionist who double-takes when he sees my passport: ‘You really are British? I thought you were putting on the accent for the science fiction thing!’
Only space here to let you know that this year’s winner of the PKD Award is The Book of the Unnamed Midwife with Elysium receiving the special citation. Congratulations to Meg and Jennifer – worthy winners, both. And thanks to Norwescon for a fabulous experience.
Attention! Author of the Tao Series, Wesley Chu, has not been nominated for a Hugo Award! Saying that, he has been nominated for a Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the winner of which will be announced at the Hugo Awards…
We spat our Easter Eggs out with joy at the news, and grabbed the phone for a quick chat with Wesley. He said: “What
kind of a world do we live in where a kid who didn’t speak a word of English until he was old enough to flush the toilet, can one day get nominated, twice, for a John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer? An awesome one that’s what. And one definitely worth conquering and subjugating for the robot overlords. Thank you, Robot Army! You guys are awesome!”
The Army approve of you too, Wes.
The winners will be announced at the Hugo Awards Ceremony on Saturday, 22 August, 2015 at Sasquan in Spokane, Washington.
That’s right folks, Angry Robot Live is back!
We’re resuming our series of live webcast panel discussions next week on Wednesday, April 15th at 8PM EDT/5PM PDT.
This time, we’ll be discussing Contemporary Fantasy, urban and otherwise. What kinds of stories can you tell in Contemporary Fantasy? Why is Contemporary Fantasy called Urban Fantasy now, and what is the difference? Where and how does Contemporary Fantasy overlap with Crime? Romance? Horror? How like or unlike the real world does Contemporary Fantasy need to be?
Our guests will be Alyc Helms, Ferrett Steinmetz, and Tim Waggoner.
Alyc Helms‘s short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Crossed Genres, and more. Her debut novel, The Dragons of Heaven, arrives June 2nd.
Ferrett Steinmetz is a Nebula-nominated writer, a prolific blogger, and author of Flex, which released on March 3rd, 2015. The sequel, The Flux, is coming October 6th.
Tim Waggoner is the author of over one hundred short stories and numerous novels, including the Nekropolis series. His new series The Shadow Watch, began with Night Terrors and continued with Dream Stalkers, released April 7th.
Join us on Wednesday the 15th for all of this and more. Remember that you can ask your questions live, in the comments for this post, or on Twitter with the hashtag #ARLive.
Do you fancy the chance to win a selection of Angry Robot’s finest new book offerings? Well, lucky for you have four different titles up for grabs on GoodReads this April!
Please follow the links below for your chance to win each title. You know what they say, you have to be in it to win it!
The Waterborne Blade
The citadel has long been the stronghold of Highkell. All that is about to change because the traitor, Vasic, is marching on the capital. Against her better judgement, Queen Alwenna allows herself to be spirited away by one of the Crown’s most
trusted servants, safe from the clutches of the throne’s would-be usurper.
Fleeing across country, she quickly comes to learn that her pampered existence has ill-equipped her for survival away from the comforts of the court. Alwenna must toughen up, and fast, if she is even to make it to a place of safety. But she has an even loftier aim – for after dreaming of her husband’s impending death, Alwenna knows she must turn around and head back to Highkell to save the land she loves, and the husband who adores her, or die in the attempt.
But Vasic the traitor is waiting. And this was all just as he planned.
In the divided land of England, Elizabeth Barnabus has been living a double life – as both herself and as her brother, the private detective. Witnessing the hanging of Florence May, the false duchess, Elizabeth resolves to throw the Bullet
Catcher’s Handbook into the fire, and forget her past. If only it were that easy!
There is a new charitable organisation in town, run by some highly respectable women. But something doesn’t feel right to Elizabeth. Perhaps it is time for her fictional brother to come out of retirement for one last case? Her unstoppable curiosity leads her to a dark world of body-snatching, unseemly experimentation, politics and scandal. Never was it harder for a woman in a man’s world…
The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath
1888. A little girl called Mirror and her extraordinary shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human.
John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree.
Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down…
An extraordinary dark fairytale for adults, for fans of Catherine Valente and Neil Gaiman.
Click here for your chance to win The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath.
The Dragons of Heaven
Street magician Missy Masters inherited more than the usual genetic cocktail from her estranged grandfather – she also got his preternatural control of shadow and his legacy as the vigilante hero, Mr Mystic. Problem is, being a pulp hero takes more than a good fedora and a knack for witty banter, and Missy lacks the one thing Mr. Mystic had: experience. Determined to live up to her birthright, Missy journeys to China to seek the aid of Lung Huang, the ancient master who once guided her grandfather.
Lung Huang isn’t quite as ancient as Missy expected, and she finds herself embroiled in the politics of Lung Huang and his siblings, the nine dragon-guardians of creation. When Lung Di, Lung Huang’s brother and mortal enemy, raises a magical barrier that cuts off China from the rest of the world, it falls to the new Mr Mystic to prove herself by taking down the barrier. But is it too great a task for a lone adventure hero?
Good luck to you all!
For those who have NetGalley, Dragons of Heaven and The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath are available for download until midnight on April 30, so make sure to request them prior to then!
The first Thursday of every month brings great joy to the Angry Robot UK office*: publication day! Today we are celebrating instalments from two of our best series: the second Shadow Watch book from Tim Waggoner, Dream Stalkers, and the stunning conclusion to the Lives of Tao series, The Rebirths of Tao, by Wesley Chu. Here’s where you can get your hands on these fantastic books:
Buying Info – eBook:
Buying Info – Physical:
Buying Info – eBook:
Buying Info – Physical:
If you’re wondering why exactly you should read these great books, have a look at this handy Robot Round-Up of just some of the great reviews they’ve received. Congratulations Wesley and Tim; happy book birthday day!
*First Tuesday of the month for US readers.
In spring, like so many people, one’s thoughts turn to tidying up a bit, i.e. spring cleaning. Our bristling orbital death platform has been looking a bit dusty and ramshackle of late – books and body parts everywhere, of course, but also crates of a less identifiable nature.
Right at the bottom of the most distant stack, in a wooden chest marked in a font of a distinctly pre-millenial variety (how you get Comic Sans on the side of an oak case I’ve no idea), we made a delighted discovery. In short, we found mint copies of some of Angry Robot’s releases from the very earliest days of the imprint. Very collectible, and we know we aren’t the only readers who have hung onto these original editions, even though copies are very scarce out there. It’s fascinating to see how our cover design styles have changed over the decades [ click to enlarge ]:
From the left: one of our short-lived but very collectable series of AR Doubles, from 1966 (Guy Haley’s Reality 36 on the other side, as we’re sure you remember); the first appearance of that sleeper hit Nexus, from 1974; and an example of the first Jim Moore complete repackaging programme, from 1976.
From left: powerful swords & sorcery imagery that screams 1979, also the inspiration behind Hawkwind’s concept album, released the following year; and a chance to compare and contrast UK and US packaging approaches, both from 1985.
Good day Roboteers,
Hope you’re all well?
We’re well into spring already, and with the freshest of new seasons we bring you our fresh new April offerings.
The Rebirths of Tao – Wesley Chu
The Rebirths of Tao is the *sniff* final instalment in Wesley Chu’s Tao trilogy and sees the Earth divided into two sides, pro-Genjix and pro-Prophus. A Genjix scientist has defected and he’s the only thing standing between peace and a war the likes of which never seen before.
We’re so excited about the release of the final book, but also really sad, as such a great trilogy is coming to an end. Fear not though, as Wesley is currently hitting the keys on another novel, The Rise of Io, set in the same world as the Tao trilogy, set for publication in Spring 2016!
Rebirths is released on 2 April in the UK/R.o.W and America on 7 April.
Here’s what the critics have to say, so far:
“Every time I identify a geek who I think would appreciate a James Bond spy novel with a b-movie alien twist and a healthy amount of Star Wars references, I do everything I can to make sure they read this series. This may involve minor threats and pressing said book into their hands.”
– Geeky Library
“…Not only is Rebirths of Tao jam-packed with action and espionage, it’s hilarious to boot. Chu has a great sense of humour and uses it to great effect in both breaking tension and entertaining his audience.”
– Read Every Thing
“Just your usual ‘I’ve got an immensely wise alien in my head who wants me to become and international man of mystery’ story. Which is to say, Page-turning homage to other classic SF like Hal Clement’s Needle. Recommended.”
– Steven Gould, author of the Jumpers series
In case you haven’t been party to the Lives trilogy thus far, we thought we’d remind you of the praise Wesley received for the previous two books in the series:
The Lives of Tao:
“Few books begin more engagingly than The Lives of Tao, a science fiction romp which wears its principal strength — the wit and humor of the narrative voice — on its sleeve.”
– Huffington Post
“The Lives of Tao marvelously casts all of war, science, politics, religion, and economics into a stark new light. It switches well between action-packed scenes and philosophical discussions about human nature and the pitfalls of manipulation, even guided by the best of intents.”
– Josh at Examiner.com
“By the end of the books I was close to tears, which proves my emotional investment in the characters and their fates. I wish every book made me care about the characters as much as The Lives of Tao.”
– I Will Read Books
The Deaths of Tao:
“Chu knows how to blend humor, thrills, terror and romantic angst into one entertaining package, and I can’t wait for more.”
– Books, Bones, & Buffy
“Wesley Chu brings just the right amount of comic-book style to a setting of serious sci-fi blended well with secret-agent thriller action, and all starring a reluctant hero everyone will love. It’s a stellar combination!”
– Popcorn Reads
“The Deaths of Tao is one great sequel, firmly establishing Wesley Chu as one of the hottest writers in science fiction today.”
With praise like that, we’re seriously excited for the release of Rebirths of Tao. And don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted with all of the Rebirth reviews as and when they happen.
Dream Stalkers – Tim Waggoner
This time the pair have to deal with a group of ancient Incubi, while preparing new recruits to the Shadow Watch to deal with a new drug, Shut Eye.
Here’s what the critics had to say about the first book in the series, Night Terrors:
“Major props for Waggoner to integrate tangible entities normal readers might get spooked by: spiders, darkness, the candy man, snakes, …ninjas? Most of these incubi characters were uniquely created and cleverly described using the reigns of the world to support the plot.”
– Thoughts and Afterthoughts
“I could tell I REALLY REALLY loved Night Terrors because when I finished it and tried to write up my immediate thoughts on Goodreads – I ended up trying to describe Waggoner’s whole universe he’s created. His whole creeptastic, genius, maniacal, supernatural world – one that I wouldn’t necessary want to take a stroll through unless I had a demon dog with me, but it captivated me all the same. It fascinated me.. it pulled me in and literally almost didn’t let go. I find myself still thinking about it…”
– My Shelf Confessions
I cannot tell you how much out of my comfort zone I was when I decided to read this book. Horror has never been and, I thought, will never be my thing. Until I chose to read this book and I am so glad I did. I loved it and I cannot wait to read the next n the series. The book starts in fast mode and does not relent for one moment. It keeps you in its grip and does not let go, until you have reached the last page. It was an amazing read.
– Open Book Society
Crux – Ramez Naam
You lucky, lucky, Americans. Crux, the second in Ramez Naam’s Nexus trilogy will be re-released in the U.S ahead of the final installment of the series, Apex, being released in May. It’s got a pretty great new cover, too, which will make any bookshelf look fabulous – and very sci-fi.
Here’s a brief glimpse at what some of the literary world had to say about Crux the first time around:
“A brilliant book, full of mind-blowing tech drawn in highly believable fashion. Naam’s action sequences carry a
brutal intensity, and every time you think he’ll finally let you breathe the stakes rise even higher.”
– Jason M. Hough, New York Times best-selling author of The Darwin Elevator
“Sublime. This book is speculative fiction at its finest. Mr Naam masterfully mobilizes the zeitgeist of contemporary political and tech culture … Tempts readers with equal parts dread and optimism. This is not a book to be missed.”
– Page of Reviews
“A worthy sequel that reads like a mash-up of Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy, Naam’s cyberpunk thriller is even better than the original.”
– SF Signal
This time it’s an East Midlands Book Award (EMBA), which recognises talent from across middle-England. The winner will be announced on 30th June in Nottingham, so keep your fingers crossed until then!
That’s all for now, folks but we’ll be back soon with more tantalising titles and noteworthy news soon. Have a great week!
Over and out.
Angry Robot’s Open Door – our occasional unagented submission system – has brought some wonderful authors to our stable such as Wesley Chu, Cassandra Rose Clarke, and Lee Battersby. Today, we are delighted to announce that we have a new Angry Robot author, Peter McLean, who has come to us through these very doors.
Peter’s Drake – the first title in the Burned Man series – centres on a demon-summoning hit-man and a murderous, chain-smoking angel who must battle Furies and the Devil himself in a search for redemption. Set in modern-day London, Drake is a tale of spell casting and shot guns, where Guy Ritchie meets Jim Butcher, and will be published in January 2016.
London-born Peter grew up in the Norwich alternative scene, alternating dingy nightclubs with studying martial arts and practical magic. He has since grown up a bit, if not a lot, and is married to Diane and is still making up stories.
Peter McLean: “I’m absolutely thrilled that Drake will be coming out from Angry Robot. I am now living proof that the legendary Open Door is a real thing and not just a mean trick that angry robots like to play on aspiring writers. Oh, and any editor you first speak to in a Twitter discussion about Ministry is a guy I can’t wait to work with.”
Phil Jourdan: “Ladies and gentlemen, meet your new favourite slightly drunk and foul-mouthed dark magic-summoning hero with a conscience. We love taking chances on new authors and it’s manuscripts like Drake that get us all excited. Onward!”
Hitman Don Drake owes a gambling debt to a demon. Forced to carry out one more assassination to clear his debt, Don unwittingly kills an innocent child and brings the Furies of Greek myth down upon himself. Rescued by an almost-fallen angel called Trixie, Don and his magical accomplice The Burned Man, an imprisoned archdemon, are forced to deal with Lucifer himself whilst battling a powerful evil magician. Now Don must foil Lucifer’s plan to complete Trixie’s fall and save her soul whilst preventing the Burned Man from breaking free from captivity and wreaking havoc on the entire world.
Head over to the B&N SciFi and Fantasy Blog where they have the exclusive cover reveal for Ishbelle Bee‘s wonderfully dark fairytale, The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath.
Here’s a teaser image from their post, with thanks to John Coulthart for this fantastic over:
How brilliant is that? We think there must have been a bit of magic involved to make such computer wizardry…
The Floating City is the sequel to The Shadow Master and will be released 2 June 2015 in North America and 4 June 2015 in the UK/ R.o.W.
You know how much we love working with fantastic designers and producing good covers here at Angry Robot HQ (and if you like our covers as much as we do, be sure to check out our Pinterest page here), and revealing our latest covers is always a thrill. Today I am delighted to present the cover for The Dragons of Heaven by Alyc Helms, by Amazing15. The lovely crowd at Fantasy Faction had the exclusive reveal earlier today, and will also be posting a special blog from Alyc tomorrow on oriental-ism and non-white exploitation. Not to be missed!
Without further ado, here is the cover for The Dragons of Heaven, June 2015: