On the Kindle US Daily Deals site today you can purchase all three of Justin Gustainis‘ Occult Crimes Unit Investigation Series books for only $1.99 each! Missing one from your collection, or have yet to start reading these urban fantasy greats? Get your hands on Hard Spell, Evil Dark, and Known Devil, at these bargain prices, today!
“Weird Al” Yankovic gives us the best song about grammar, ever written!
If you head over to the Kindle US Daily Deals site today you can not only get The Damned Busters, Book 1 in the To Hell and Back series, by Matthew Hughes for $1.99, but also Books 2 and 3! Costume Not Included and Hell to Pay are also on today’s Kindle Daily Deal at only $1.99. Get going!
Anne Zanoni, friend of Angry Robot, needs you: she wants to make the journey from the States to London for WorldCon this August, and in her own words is “seeking help from fellow book lovers and fans everywhere to meet my best friend – and edit more books. No, really.”
If you can’t donate, please help spread the word!
If you head over to the Kindle US Daily Deals site today you can get Seven Forges by James A. Moore for $1.99 and with the sequel, The Blasted Lands just released this month, it’s perfect timing to get caught up with Book 1.
Tuesday 1 July marked 5 years from Angry Robot’s first books - Lauren Beukes‘ Moxyland and Kaaron Warren‘s Slights - and throughout this week we are celebrating with daily staff blog posts and giveaways! Author guest posts and other cool giveaways will be popping up on various sites so keep an eye out for our #AngryRobot5 on Twitter for new posts.
We’ve already had our Senior Editor, Lee Harris, with his Top 5 Reasons Angry Robot Rules, MD Marc Gascoigne with 5 lessons learned, and Publicity Manager Caroline Lambe with her 5 Favourite Angry Robot Characters. Next up is Mike Underwood, US Sales & Marketing Manager and his choice of giveaway is Empire State by Adam Christopher. Details of this giveaway, and why Mike chose Empire State are at the end of this post.
Hi Robot Army, Mike here.
It may not seem like it, but I wasn’t always an Angry Robot. I first discovered AR back in 2010, when my dad (a Random House sales rep), gave me a first run set of Angry Robot books as the list was launching in the US. And what I noticed, from the very beginning, were the covers and packaging. I grew up in a publishing household, and have been a SF/F reader for nearly my entire life, so I pay attention to these things.
One cover in particular stood out to me:
Moxyland, by Lauren Beukes, cover by Joey HiFi. The cover had a Cyberpunk sensibility, and the subtle but very smart design of the broken image files for the faces of the characters. It grabbed me right off and sent me to the back cover copy to find out more.
A few years later, I’d followed Angry Robot here and there, read a few books, and then I came across Empire State, by Adam Christopher (cover by Will Stahle):
Empire State was the novel I read on the plane out to interview for the job, and talked with Marc about the book, how it lent itself to the WorldBuilder program, and used that as a springboard to talk about possible future plans for Angry Robot.
Months later, when all of the surgical scars from my cybernetic sales & marketing implants were healed, we revealed this wild beauty of a cover for Chuck Wendig’s The Blue Blazes, by Joey HiFi:
Like so much of Joey HiFi’s work, the cover for The Blue Blazes is nearly fractal in its detail. Scenes are piled on top of scenes, individual scenes building to a designed cohesive whole.
Also, meat cleaver.
Just last Autumn, we put out a Big Fat Fantasy by the name of:
Heartwood, which went on to win author Freya Robertson the Sir Julius Vogel award. The cover, by Alejandro Colucci, is a big, double-decker cheeseburger of FANTASY ART. You know what you’re getting here – knights, combat, and a grand sense of scale.
And last, but certainly not least, comes a cover that has already served me very well in my efforts to spread the word of Angry Robot across North America and beyond. It hung right above my head all through Book Expo America, allowing me to answer people’s question of “what do you have coming this fall” by pointing at this piece of amazing work by Richard Anderson for The Mirror Empire:
Five years into Angry Robot-ing, I’m so very happy that a look at the cover to Moxyland put me on the path to be here, working inside Angry Robot orbital headquarters, helping new authors, emerging stars, and genre veterans get their work out into the world.
For my giveaway, I’m picking Empire State (x 5 copies), which continues to be, in my mind, one of the most Angry Robot-y Angry Robot books we’ve done.
Comment below and tell us your favorite Angry Robot cover to enter. Winners will be picked at random. Entries will close tomorrow, Friday, at 12.01pm BST, when we will have Amanda’s post with another giveaway!
For brownie points, join in our #AngryRobot5 conversation on Twitter and tell us about your favourite Angry Robot book, or if you haven’t read one yet, which you would like to pick first! Don’t forget to include us: @angryrobotbooks
Yesterday, Tuesday 1 July, marked 5 years from Angry Robot’s first books - Lauren Beukes‘ Moxyland and Kaaron Warren‘s Slights - and throughout this week we are celebrating with daily staff blog posts and giveaways! Author guest posts and other cool giveaways will be popping up on various sites so keep an eye out on Twitter’s #AngryRobot5 for new posts.
If you’ve missed the earlier posts, here’s links to Lee Harris with his Top 5 Reasons Angry Robot Rules and Marc Gascoigne with 5 lessons learned. Next up is Caroline Lambe, Publicity Manager, as always hating writing about herself in the third person. Caroline’s choice of giveaway is a special bumper pack; details are at the end of this post.
To pick 5 favourite characters from a range of books like Angry Robot’s is very hard; I was tempted to write a whistleblowing post on the 5 characters that are my colleagues, but I’m sure the Robot Overlords would send me to the scrapheap if I tried. However, I’ve tried to narrow it down so allow me share with you my Top 5 Characters from our books.
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is one of my favourite Angry Robot books, and is responsible for one of my Top 5 Characters: Finn. In Finn, Cassandra Rose Clarke created a character that, although is an android, shows more emotion than most of the human characters. The book explores humanity, consciousness, and love, of which Finn is the embodiment. When I first started this book, I treated Finn warily – he was the outsider who appeared like a ghost to Cat and scared her. But their relationship, of which I was so sceptical, blossoms tenderly, unexpectedly and believably, and all because of Finn. He is a character of impressive emotional range, and is so much more than a tangle of wires and circuits.
“There is nothing else like me in the entire world, said Finn. “That’s what you wrote. I’m the only one. I can’t tell you what it means to be the only one of my kind,” he said. “I can’t…There is a lack in myself. But your thesis almost filled it in. It was…a start.” Finn
Wesley Chu’s debut novel, The Lives of Tao, has received rave reviews and awards, and for me – like many others – Roen is a huge part of the reason. He doesn’t want to be a hero; why can’t he sit at home every evening after work, eating pizza, and being miserable? Roen is that person we fear we will be: stuck in a job we hate, in a rut with our life, and unable to do anything about it. Whilst Tao comes along for Roen and forces a change, The Lives of Tao shows us that we don’t need our own Tao to live inside our heads – and I’m certainly OK without being chased by the Genjix – but we can all change and become the people we want to be.
Plus, Roen has some of the best lines and action scenes: when he confronts the mugger and the bottles don’t break and then asks the mugger for his money? I love Roen!
“I can’t quit. I have rent, and a cat to support.” Roen
Between Two Thorns presents a harder choice: Catherine Rhoeas-Papaver or Gargoyle? The gargoyle is hilarious and a great sidekick but plays a far more important role as he articulates Max’s feelings. Cathy is resourceful, brave, and strong but also stubborn, and rebellious with a wicked temper, and pips the gargoyle to the post as my favourite Split Worlds character.
Cathy is against everything her family believes, the restrictive life of the society in which she was raised, and her struggles against this world feel authentic. She doesn’t lose sight of what she wants, It’s tricky to say too much about Cathy without giving away the events across the trilogy, but if you have yet to visit The Split Worlds, I highly recommend you do.
Plus, if ever you’re in Bath, I dare you to try not look for access to the Nether!
Miriam Black has her first outing in Chuck Wendig’s
Blackbirds, and I unashamedly love her. She might gross and creep me out sometimes, but wouldn’t you be deranged if death following your every move? By simply having skin on skin contact – a fingertip graze, a bump – Miriam can tell where, when, and how you will die. Does she thus try to prevent deaths? HELL, NO. Miriam uses this power to track people about to die, robs their still-warm bodies, and spends the money on her favourite things: alcohol and cigarettes. Blackbirds is morbid and terrifying, and brilliant. It’s utterly refreshing to read a character like Miriam: a foul-mouthed, vile anti-heroine who is laugh-out-loud sarcastic. Beware: if you’re used to reading lighter books, or aren’t OK with some super-gross descriptions, gore, etc, Miriam may not be for you!
“A lady should be respectful,” is all he manages through gritted teeth. He pitches the towel in the corner.
Miriam snorts. “That’s me. My fair fuckin’ lady.” Miriam
Excuse me, but I think I’m going to cheat a little with my fifth choice! So far, I’ve brought you characters you may have already read and liked – or loathed – but for my final character, I’m picking an upcoming: Elizabeth Barnabus from The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter, publishing Sept, 2014. Rod Duncan is an award-winning crime novelist and it shows as he creates a clever story, in a novel exploring many boundaries. Elizabeth is a courageous cross-dressing private detective, who takes on the persona of her imagined twin brother, Edwin, to solve the mystery of a missing aristocrat and a hoard of arcane machines. She is cunning, an accomplished liar, and an adept reader of people.
She is driven, intriguing, and her dialogue is snappy and brings her to life. I can’t wait for you all to meet Elizabeth Barnabas!
“I’m no more than a shadow, and can have only such friendships and feelings as a shadow might.” Elizabeth
So, what do you think? Did I leave out your favourite character or do you totally agree / disagree with who I’ve picked? Who would your Top 5 Angry Robot characters be? Tweet us @angryrobotbooks to join the conversation and don’t forget to use our #AngryRobot5.
For my giveaway, instead of 5 copies of 1 book, I’m going to go with a bumper prize pack of these 5 books! If it’s my choice, I might as well give you 5 of my favourite books to enjoy. So, one winner will receive The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, The Lives of Tao, Between Two Thorns, Blackbirds, and The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter.
To enter, comment below and tell us your most memorable book character. It doesn’t have to be from Angry Robot, but any character you loved – or indeed love to hate – in a book. Winner will be picked at random, no geographical restrictions. Entries will close tomorrow, Thursday, at 12.01pm BST, when we will have Mike’s post with another giveaway!
Head over to Tor.com for your chance to win 1 of 5 prize packs, containing our first 5 published books! Here’s the link to Tor.com’s sweepstakes and be sure to join in the #AngryRobot5 conversation on Twitter to share your favourite Angry Robot moments, books, and of course, authors! Don’t forget to check our Marc’s blog post on the last 5 years at Angry Robot, and for your chance to win a copy of Matt Forbeck‘s Carpathia.
If you head over to the Kindle US Daily Deals site today you can get Blades of the Old Empire for $1.99 and with the sequel, The Guild of Assassins released at the end of this month, it’s perfect timing to get caught up with Book 1 in The Majat Code.
Apparently it’s Really Important to have the venerable (aka, “past it”) founder and publisher woken from his gentle slumbering in his battered but calf-soft, warmly sunlit armchair to deliver some kind of ruminations on the first five years of Angry Robot. Let’s get The Old Man to do a Top Five of something or other, they said with their kindly smiles, in their most charming “No dear, the nurses haven’t been stealing your clothes again” voices.
So having been roused I said yes, against my better judgement, and as a result here are five things that I have learned while being the Angry Robot’s hem-hem glorious leader. Sure, they are rather random but not so much in a Will this do? vein – because of course, my lovelies, you deserve the very best attention – but just more of a personal ramble through just a few things that AR means to me. Because frankly, I’ve lived through every moment of the last five years of AR and we really have rather crammed quite a lot in. That man Mr Harris has already demonstrated that, with his usual aplomb, but now it’s my turn…
TL, DR: Five years? Damn. More grooviness to come, obv.
Storytelling is all
I know we’re known for being super-different. We Robots are always banging on about Science Fiction v2.0 or that SF/F/WTF thingie. We win awards for our innovative cover designs, making our books unavoidable even from 30 metres across a crowded bookstore. We have our slogans and our clever ideas and certainly a cheeky attitude, all that.
And you know what? It wouldn’t mean a damn thing without the storytelling talents of our authors. Sure, as far as the packaging goes there is an Angry Robot house style, but not once you get into the actual words. From our earliest days to right now, you could pick out the difference between Kameron Hurley or Anne Lyle, Lauren Beukes or Ramez Naam, at a hundred paces, blindfold optional. Yes, we are Angry Robot and we’re very visible as an entity, a brand, in a way some other publishers aren’t, but we’re not homogenous, and great storytelling from individual voices will always be the heart of what we do.
Do it now, apologise later
So, we do loves our slogans, and we use them rather a lot. Sorry about that. We also use the Angry Robot brand and that logo, and consistent designs, and other similar signifiers to ensure that even if you don’t know the author, once you spot that AR logo you’ll.
I love the fact that reviewers and readers sometimes refer to our books as being “weird” or “quirky”. We’ve also read in reviews of some of our fantasies that a commentator was very surprised to read something so mainstream from AR. There’s never been a time, though, that we’ve let it worry us. We know we can publish a whole shelf-full of traditionally structured fantasies, and then stick out a book with a bright yellow cover and computer game pacing and be seen as innovators. It’s become something that’s stuck to us and we don’t mind it at all, but perhaps after 130 books we smile a little more indulgently when the Q word pops up. Every reader gets something a little different from a reading of even one book; it’s the same with its publisher.
Angry Robot has also meant different things to the different people who work or worked on it. I rather like the fact that I wasn’t that keen on a novel that has consistently remained in our top 3 sellers since it first went on sale. (No, not telling, at least not until it’s 3am at Loncon and we’re finishing the third bottle.) I was persuaded to back it, through solid reasoning on behalf of its proposer and the rest of the gang who were all for it, and their skills in spotting its potential certainly paid off. It’s good for the soul to learn something… now and again.
Or do I mean, all the time? A big part of the AR experience has never been to rest on our laurels. We were really helped when we set up by being able to address the modern business and art of publishing. If we didn’t like the traditional way of doing things, we didn’t do it.
And more, as our our bestest slogan of all has it: If it feels good, do it. Rather often this means that, over a cuppa one morning someone suggests something a bit mad, and we have already set it up and announced it before the US were even up and about. Such fun.
We are you – no, we are
The science fiction community is special in a bunch of ways, but for us one of the most bloody brilliant things is that it is participatory. There’s perhaps a sliding scale of “getting involvedness”. You don’t have to, of course. You can be a reader, occasional or a frequent, habitual user. But if you read a lot, perhaps you review too, or run a blog. Or dabble in short stories. Or are the powerhouse behind your writing group and have your first novel taking shape. In SF today’s enthusiastic readers have the possibility of being tomorrow’s star writers, and that’s lovely.
It’s another reason why our everyone-does-everything structure works well, for us at least. We’re all fans first and publishers second, not looking around with blinking eyes and a nervous duck of the head, hoping no one discovers us and boots us out as pretenders, but we never get distanced from that rush of pure passionate All-the-feels that a damn good book brings. It is a privilege to read all our many book proposals, pick the very best and bring them to the world. But don’t let that stop you buying us a beer occasionally.
Tell them about the passion
So yes, it’s all about conveying our burning passion for that storytelling. So why get in the way of that? Big publishers have a marketing department; smaller folks like us should still, the model says, have a dedicated person who handles all that sort of stuff, whether booking advertising or making posts on that there social media. They’re the experts, after all – and without wishing to get snarky, boy can one tell when an editor somewhere has been ordered to do more tweeting. But no, we don’t do it that way.
We used to say to authors, you must be on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Tumblr and every other site going, and keep your website up to date too. Oh, and write your next book, of course. We learned quickly that didn’t work, so now we say do the one thing you’re comfortable with, do the one thing that you don’t stop doing. For us it’s the same – we love these books, which is why we bang on about them, whether on Twitter or at conventions, one-on-one or broadcasting far and wide. We just can’t stop ourselves.
It is the business of the future to be dangerous
You, our most beloved readers, are surely up to speed on what books are coming in the next few months from Angry Robot and Bloody hell, best season evah or what? But oh, you really should see what we have shaping up for you darling readers next year too.
In the meantime, well, AR is living through some interesting times, as you may have spotted. We recently closed our two smaller lines, after a hell of a lot of soul-searching and trying everything else we could, because they weren’t selling anywhere near enough books. Got a lot of attention, were very popular with reviewers, but no actual sales. Sounds simple when put in plain language, but making that decision was tough beyond words. And to follow, totally unconnected to the above, we’re shortly going to be a man down. Our beloved Lee Harris has rightly seized one of those once-a-decade opportunities, so in mid-August he will be off to be senior editor for the new Tor.com imprint. We’re bereft, and frankly not a little bit miffed, and so bloody proud of him all at once. It’s like losing the man next to you on the battlements.
We’ll be looking for a replacement soon enough, so get your editing shoes on and your CVs polished to an attractive shine. Then we’ll get back to concentrating on the thing we do best, making books good enough to bear that inimitable Angry Robot badge. All I can say is stick with us, as you have done so wonderfully for our first half-decade, because just like the last five years it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
PS… Marc’s giveaway
Every day our Caroline has asked us to pick one of Angry Robot’s books to give away to five lucky people. I’ve picked Carpathia by the inimitable Matt Forbeck. Well, it’s definitely not every day that one gets to give an author the idea for a novel… We have five copies for you.
To enter, simply comment on this post with your Top 5 Games – can be digital, video, app, tabletop, playground, whatevs. (Perhaps not bedroom though.) Winners will be picked at random. Entries will close tomorrow, Wednesday at noon DST, when we’ll have our Caroline’s post and another giveaway.
For extra Scooby snacks, join in our #AngryRobot5 conversation on Twitter and tell us about your favourite Angry Robot book like, everrrr, or if you haven’t read one yet, which you would like to pick first! Don’t forget to include us: @angryrobotbooks
Tuesday 1 July marks 5 years from Angry Robot’s first books – Lauren Beukes‘ Moxyland and Kaaron Warren‘s Slights – and we are celebrating this anniversary, over the next 5 days, with daily staff blog posts and giveaways! Author guest posts and other cool giveaways will be popping up on various sites so keep an eye out for our #AngryRobot5 on Twitter for new posts.
First up is our Senior Editor, Lee Harris, with his Top 5 Reasons Angry Robot Rules, and his choice of giveaway is The Knights of Breton Court (omnibus edition x 5) by Maurice Broaddus. Details of this giveaway, and why Lee chose The Knights of Breton Court are at the end of this post.
Top 5 Reasons Angry Robot Rules
5. A Home for New Talent
In the 5 years since Angry Robot first started publishing, we’ve published the debut novels of TWENTY-ONE authors:
Lauren Beukes – Moxyland
Kaaron Warren – Slights
Mike Shevdon – Sixty-One Nails
Aliette de Bodard – Servant of the Underworld
Lavie Tidhar – The Bookman
Ian Whates – City of Dreams and Nightmare
Maurice Broaddus – King Maker
Guy Haley – Reality 36
Jo Anderton – Debris
Adam Christopher – Empire State
David Tallerman – Giant Thief
Chris F Holm – Dead Harvest
Anne Lyle – The Alchemist of Souls
Madeline Ashby – vN
Lee Battersby – The Corpse-Rat King
Lee Collins – The Dead of Winter
Ramez Naam – Nexus
Emma Newman – Between Two Thorns
Wesley Chu – The Lives of Tao
Jay Posey – Three
Craig Cormick – The Shadow Master
With plenty more to come, including:
Carrie Patel – The Buried Life
Susan Murray – The Waterborne Blade
Ferrett Steinmetz – Flex
Ishbelle Bee – The Singula and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath
Alyc Helms – The Dragons of Heaven
4. Marc Gascoigne Wins the 2011 World Fantasy Award
Angry Robot founder and head honcho Marc Gascoigne won the World Fantasy Special Award (Professional) for his work in setting up and running Angry Robot. And bloody well deserved it was, too!
3. DRM-free ebooks
We’re big fans of the ebook format, and we know that many of you are, too. We’re also big fans of not crippling the format with unnecessary and impractical restrictions. This is why we’ve always been DRM-free, and always will be.
2. Clonefiles – Ebook /Paperback Bundling
We believe if you’ve paid for a paperback you should get the ebook included. In 2012 we ran a limited pilot in the UK to offer this service through independent bookshops. In 2013 we announced we would be opening this pilot up to indie stores in the US, and this has started to happen. It was such a great idea that Amazon announced their version of the programme shortly after us (though many of the ebooks in their Matchbook scheme have to be paid for, albeit at discount).
1. Those Covers!
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. I say bollocks. But whatever your thoughts on the matter, you certainly can judge a publisher on its covers. And look at some of the gorgeousness we’ve brought you over the last five years, under Marc Gascoigne’s Art Directorshipness. Take your time. Appreciate the different styles, and the love that has gone into each and every one.
Caroline has asked me to choose a book for today’s giveaway.
Maurice Broaddus’s King Maker (first of the Knights of Breton Court trilogy) was the first book I actively championed when I joined Angry Robot. It’s a fantastic retelling of the Arthurian myth, set on the mean streets of Indianapolis. So, my giveaway is going to be the entire trilogy: The Knights of Breton Court x 5!
To enter, simply comment on this post with your Top 5 TV shows. Winner will be picked at random. Entries will close tomorrow, Tuesday at 12.01pm BST, when we will have Marc’s post with another giveaway!
For brownie points, join in our #AngryRobot5 conversation on Twitter and tell us about your favourite Angry Robot book, or if you haven’t read one yet, which you would like to pick first! Don’t forget to include us: @angryrobotbooks