Damn, April already? Isn’t this year flying past? But also, that means that it’s British launch week for the wonderful The Age Atomic, the terrifying Black Feathers and the incontinence-inducing hilarity of The Marching Dead.
That man Joseph D’Lacey has been hither and thither promoting his book in the UK, and many thanks to Blackwells and Big Green for letting us hijack your stores. Black Feathers is getting raves everywhere right now:
• The mighty Tor.com said the novel is “an exceptional piece of apocalyptic/horror/fantasy fiction”, which is true.
• Upcoming4Me rather agreed: “a refreshing take on the whole post-apocalyptic genre and a great introduction to the writing of Joseph D’Lacey”.
• SciFi Now magazine gave it a half page and said the novel “artfully weaves a tale of destruction and rebirth”.
• Head to Popcorn Reads for a review and a chance to win an advance proof: “I loved this novel, despite the fact that it gave me chills and some bad dreams.”
• … or Book Bones Buffy, who also has a proof to give away, to celebrate “a story that is irresistibly addicting.”
• Fantasy blog Draumr Kopa recommended Black Feathers “to anyone who wants a more intelligent story, with lots of secrets and mystery, people who don’t mind a little thinking while reading.”
• And Then I Read a Book were blown away by the book: “It terrified me, made me angry, made me sad, transported me somewhere new and yet strangely familiar, and hasn’t left my head yet. It combines mythology, folktale, shamanism, coming of age and apocalyptic themes to create something very special.”
• And Stanley Eriks concluded by saying: “Black Feathers is an original and intelligent apocalypse story. It’s a myth-filled fable of the end of the world on an individual basis. It’s a coming-of-age story set on a cruel and broken Earth.”
The inimitable Lee Battersby has returned, bringing hapless half-dead Marius don Hellespont with him in The Marching Dead, the sequel to The Corpse-Rat King:
• Kate Of Mind blog loved loved loved it, giving it “all the stars” and saying “With this sequel, Battersby kicked up everything I loved about the first novel by a notch or two – world-building, storytelling, hilarity, and most of all, characters who just made me punch the air over and over again, usually while laughing.”
• Don’t forget you can get a taster in the form of an exclusive short story, Lying Like Cards, right here on this very website.
The tireless Adam Christopher was out and about promoting The Age Atomic, the two-fisted follow-up to Empire State. Thanks to Forbidden Planet in London for a fab launch event this Thursday – we rocked the joint, again.
• The book was an April pick for Kirkus Reviews, which was nice.
• A Writer’s Sidequest said it is “a glorious and joyous ode to the pulp science fiction of old. Awesome fun, from start to finish, just straight up, pure entertainment.”
• Adam was interviewed on My Bookish Ways, who also have a copy to give away too, so hurry over there!.
Upcoming debut author Wesley Chu continues to wow folks with the breakneck thrillride that is The Lives of Tao, out in May.
• Wes had a guest post on The Qwillery this week to talk about the first time a novel really spoke to him.
• I Will Read Books had this to say: “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.”
• Over at Tome of Geek, Wes managed to overcome their usual aversion of genre mash-up novels: “We get the full sci-fi feeling combined with the spy genre without either side getting diluted or ignored. We get the full effect and in turn get a character we care about.”
Emma Newman, despite losing her wisdom teeth this week (wishing you a speedy recovery, Em), was still full of the joys of Between Two Thorns.
• Her guest post on The Creative Penn talked charmingly about urban fantasy, as a genre, its influences and its many strands.
• And finally, blog heavyweights Fantasy Faction gave the book nine stars out of ten, saying: “If you like a bit of fairy magic, the juxtaposition between ancient and modern, here and there, and you don’t mind being left in suspense for a good few months, you’ll really enjoy it.” (They’re going to be overjoyed when they hear that the sequel, Any Other Name, will be out in June then!)
In the UK, we’re delighted to announce that our books – AR, Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A alike – are going to be represented by that most beloved of publishers Faber, as part of their Faber Factory Plus sales team.
This will mean we have better coverage across the whole of the UK, as well as Ireland and into Europe too. We’ll have more reps on the ground telling your favourite local bookshop about our great novels, and increased coverage for libraries as well. As you may well have seen, to support this properly, we have also been expanding our publicity capabilities, recruiting a new, full-time Fiction Publicity Manager. They will work with authors and stores to promote the books across the country. We’ll have more news on that appointment shortly.
All round, this is a big deal for Angry Robot, Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A, and we should see its effects almost immediately. In the UK, authors will find there are more invitations to events and signings than before, and you’ll meet some of the reps at upcoming conventions like Eastercon too, as they are enthusiasts like us.
Ian West, head of the FF+ team, said: “We are particularly delighted to be working with Angry Robot and the Osprey group, who have consistently been ahead of the game and breaking new ground in the ways they bring writers and readers together.”
So there you go – we’re increasing our reach across the UK and Ireland, making it easier to buy our books in your local shop, month in, month out. Can’t be bad. Now for cake.
Angry Robot’s swathe of cool genre imprints is in need of a lively PUBLICITY MANAGER. The aim of this job is to work with our divine authors, our favourite bookshops, our lovely bloggers and the Robot Army, and our fab distributors who link this all together, to promote the hell out of our books.
Duties include arranging signings and store promotions, placing reviews and articles online and in print, blogging and attending events. You’ll also be making sure all the metadata that feeds all this activity is both correct and snappier than an alligator at lunchtime.
Don’t delay – the closing date is noon GMT on 25th March 2013. More details, including how to apply, after the jump:
I wouldn’t claim it’s the longest gestation in history, but I can say that today all the hard work and surprisingly proficient swearing behind the scenes getting everything ready is realised… for our first two Strange Chemistry titles are officially on sale today! (Um, in the USA and Canada, that is, with the official UK date this Thursday… but frankly most UK shops have them out on shelves already, bless ’em.) Read More→
Cassandra Rose Clarke is already setting the imaginations of YA bloggers and reviewers aflame as her Strange Chemistry debut, The Assassin’s Curse starts shipping out to stores for its October launch. Here at Angry Robot we’re readying the second stage of her plans for world domination with a heartbreakingly wonderful novel of love, loss and robots, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter.
Set in a collapsing future America, the novel tells of Cat. When she is a young girl, her father brings an experimental android to their isolated home to serve as her tutor. Finn stays with her, becoming her constant companion and friend as she grows to adulthood. But then they take the relationship much further than anyone intended – which ultimately threatens to force them apart forever.
This unnerving but deeply sensitive mix of science fiction speculation and heartfelt emotion demanded a very different cover approach for us. As you can see, designer Stewart Larking came up with the goods in a lovely understated, almost melancholy style. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter will be published by Angry Robot in February 2013. We cannot wait for you to read it.
Madeline Ashby‘s sublime science fiction novel vN is, even as you read this, powering in vast container lorries to every corner of the globe, ready for its publication at the start of August. Madeline herself has been out and about talking about the genesis and writing and themes of her book, so we thought it would also be interesting to catch up with the guy who did that amazing cover, Martin Bland.
We’d seen his work on Gavin Smith’s military SF novels for Gollancz, and marvelled at some stunning darkly futuristic work displayed on his website. He was surely the go-to guy for this job, and that turned out to be exactly the right decision. He kindly clambered up from his underground bunker to answer a few probey-probey questions…
What do you call yourself – graphic artist, illustrator, designer, part-time spacecadet, etc?
Just “Artist”. I have a hard time cornering myself into the usual suspects, and ‘visual storyteller’ doesn’t look great on a business card. Part concept artist, part illustrator, part fine artist; it’s easier to cut out the niches than to try and find one.
How did you get into “all this”?
Natural progression, I was always creative, loved my pencil work when I was younger, fell into the social chasm for ten years, then was offered the chance to find something I loved doing by my wife, worked my way through design, photo manipulation, web design and eventually found my stride in painting. It felt right straight away. Taught myself the basics, and continue to teach myself every day since.
What’s your balance of artwork – covers, graphics, editorial, personal stuff, etc?
I have worked in just about every area at some point, collaborated with some great people in most fields of art, magazine ad campaigns, album design, game concepts, portraiture etc. I do favour cover jobs though, CD and book, as I love to tell a story in a single image rather than a progression or sequence, and like a healthy balance between work and personal (personal turns into work with print sales).
What’s your typical approach to a piece, if you have one? Computer or sketches?
90% of any image I do is mental, I think a lot about how I am going to construct, and often see a completed image in my head long before pen touches surface, then it’s usually digital, blocking in large areas and refining details as I go, using form and values; I don’t tend to start with a sketch (in the traditional sense of the word, line art), a more organic approach works better for me.
Do you typically like a brief stuffed with detail, or the freedom to do whatever you want?
A bit of both really, it’s important to be able to visualise someone else’s idea, so the more information you get, the easier it is to nail it first time, I like a lot of visual stimulus, style guides. Setting the mood is more important than the details of subject matter. A good amount of freedom is always nice to have but I like to get the sketch stage down, and agreed upon, before I get to play around myself. That way, the changes are taken care of before the refining; it streamlines the process, I have enough of a library behind me for the client to know they will be getting my usual standard or better.
And how did you work on vN particularly?
It was a dream brief. I was given choice, style sheets, and a detailed description, and also a lot of freedom and trust in the later stages, Madeline had built a very believable world, rich with detail, so the excerpts I received were easy to absorb, and Marc’s art direction was great. Madeline had written somewhere that when she saw the cover, she saw Amy (the protagonist) – there’s no better feeling than that.
What’s a typical day, if you have one?
I’m a full time Dad, so my typical day is rather boring, full of homework and school runs, I fit my work around my son, and work from home, so it’s definitely not as “rockstar” as I’d like to imagine it is, I also procrastinate far too much… ooh, a biscuit.
Are you much of an SF fan yourself?
I’d like to say no, but all evidence points to yes :-). I like gritty, dark worlds that you can relate to and instantly believe, so I love the Blade Runner, Event Horizon, Dark City side of sci-fi, the Asimov side. I’m not the hugest fan of anything in particular, but I think that in itself adds a more unique twist to my own work in the genre, as I try my best to approach subjects with a fresh perspective – there are a million paths to tread but only one is mine.
What would you kill to illustrate?
My own IP. I have a project that hasn’t been put down to paper properly yet, a novel/screenplay/movie that has garnered interest from a couple of major movie studios, and almost optioned, just on the strength of the few images and brief idea/backstory pitched. I would love to bring it to fruition one day; illustrating/producing a movie based on my own art would pretty much be the pinnacle of my existence, and would make my kid proud.
Anything you really hate/struggle with drawing?
Not as far as subject matter goes, I can handle pretty much anything. If I can imagine it, then I can paint it, in my own style. I’ve painted everything from angels, to death metal covers, from an English country garden to a huge Yeti. I have been asked to take on work in other styles, and have struggled with it before, like colouring line art, or very technical perspectives and constraints. (I was once asked to paint, from imagination, a 20mm aperture lens view; couldn’t fathom that one, as I am not a camera.)
For vN you went absolutely bananas building robot fragments in the computer; is this sort of thing conducive to your mental health?
Well, they say the devil is in the details, so I’m probably 80% evil :-). I love getting stuck into it, if I’m honest. The best way to get someone to spend more time looking at an image is to pack it with detail, more to discover, and it gets quite cathartic after a while, you lose yourself, I haven’t noticed any problems yet. *twitch*
Tell us about five (or more) cool things – music, movies, comics, books, toys, whatever…
I do have quite a cool collection of tiny things, as I’m a sucker for detail – like a penny, with a bone-handled knife carved out of the middle and sat perfectly back into its hole, and a 2mm high, full colour printed book. I’ve got a couple of 6mm Bibles too, a bag of 1.5mm glass marbles. I’ve amassed quite a good gathering of very unusual miniatures. I’m also very good at collecting dust, and empty Pepsi bottles.
Which other artists do you rate?
I tend to rate the art, rather than artists, as the best can have an off-day, and the worst can produce a masterpiece. I see hundreds of images each day, and collecting the best of them has turned into a bit of a hobby. I have folders packed with inspiring imagery from every level of artist.
Do you have any other skills? What would you do if you didn’t do this?
I would always have to have a creative outlet of some sort, I do a bit of everything: sculpture, photography, traditional, so I think I would always gravitate towards making things look good. I was a manager/lithographic printer for 10 years too, so at the very worst, I could fall back into that, but it would have to get quite bad, haha.
And what are you working on next (don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone)?
I’ve just acquired a small stock of giclée poster prints so I’m currently approaching galleries and organising shipping and framing options, starting to turn what I do into more of a legitimate business, expanding that side – but also working on more covers, and also trying to pump out a few personal images as I feel like I’ve been neglecting that side of things this year.
Click on any image for a larger version – and see a hell of a lot more great artwork at Martin’s website, spyroteknik.com
We don’t always blow our own trumpet, so having spent a few, slightly tedious hours on a very hot day assembling the latest batch of samplers of some upcoming Angry Robot titles, we thought it worth reminding all you deeply lovely AR readers that we do, as standard, offer a free excerpt from every single one of our books.
There’s a lot of talk about eBook piracy at the moment. And there are all sorts of reasons. Some of them – “I like having stuff for free, so I’m going to take it; I’ll never get caught” – are a little hard to help with, short of some ghastly state surveillance program which nobody much wants. Others, though, we understand and we’re keen to help with if we can.
Ebooks are expensive – well, ours are always priced below their comparative physical fellows. We still have to pay for editing and proofreading, design and all that, but we’ve knocked off the cost of printing for you. (And don’t forget that at the moment, in the UK eBooks are subject to 20% VAT where print books aren’t.)
I can’t get them in my country – actually, you can buy our eBooks, DRM-free, from any country in the world. We also release our editions through all major eBook outlets, in as many countries as we can but notably across North America and Europe, in the same week.
I only wanted to read a sample, see if I liked it enough to buy it… – And here we are. That’s why we’re very happy to sit here on a sweltering day preparing more natty little 50-page selections from our upcoming releases for you.
Below the jump (or further down the screen if you’re not on our homepage at the moment) you’ll find a selection of our recent excerpts, each one inside a cute little app thing. Take them, host them on your own site if you like (it’s very easy, and makes your blog look grrrreat), send them to your mates, share them wherever. Then check out the individual book pages here on the site for samples of our entire range.
And if you like the free samples we give you, you might even want to buy our lovely books, which you can do over at The Robot Trading Company (our very own webstore) or your regular eBook or pBook retailer of choice.
[Image Credit: Rather fabulous pirate kindle blatantly nicked from bookish.livejournal.com – no accreditation given there, so if it’s yours, please let us know and we’ll either add in a credit link or take it down…]
Please N.B. – We first posted this job advert back in March, but weren’t quite able to find the perfect person to hire, so we’re re-advertising now…
Angry Robot are expanding again, and as a result we are announcing a new and exciting vacancy. As part of our ongoing growth in the US and Canada, and the imminent arrival of our YA imprint Strange Chemistry and our Crime imprint Exhibit A, we are looking for a North American Sales & Marketing Manager.
This person will be a brand champion, liaising with the passionate souls that are the Angry Robot editors to ensure that the expert sales team at our distributors, the mighty Random House, have all they need to sell our books. Based in the US, they will use their experience of book sales and marketing channels to ensure that the delights of AR’s range are promoted to our distributors, wholesalers, stores and readers. They will in turn feed back on-the-spot information about the local market and as a key member of the Angry Robot gang help decide which books go into our ranges, with the express intention of making our books and their sales better than ever.
The role will be based on the East Coast – probably in the offices of our parent company, the Osprey Group, in Long Island City – but we may be able to be flexible for the right candidate.
If you are interested, please apply with your CV/resumé and salary expectations to Marc Gascoigne, care of incoming [at] angryrobotbooks.com or via our Contact page. No snailmail applications, please. Don’t delay – the closing date is noon GMT on 28th May 2012.
Some days a new piece of fantasy art comes in that is so lush, so lovely, so chock full of detail that we just have to look, and look, and look. We get a wistful, faraway look in our eyes, and occasionally a small gobbet of happy drool will emerge from our admiring mouths.
Such is the case here, a wonderful illustration by Angelo Rinaldi for David Tallerman‘s upcoming Easie Damasco novel, Crown Thief (October 2012). Look upon its manifold wonders and marvel. Also, click to get a better look at that insane detail. Then click again for even more.
Now if you’ll excuse, we need to go and make ourselves presentable again.
Your very own Angry Robot is pleased to announce its newest venture – a sister imprint, Exhibit A, which will publish crime genre fiction.
The imprint will launch in late Spring 2013, with two titles appearing in each of the first two months, before settling down to one book each month. Exhibit A will follow AR’s strategy of co-publishing its books simultaneously in both the UK and US, in both paperback and eBook formats, backed up by strong online marketing and community activity.
Exhibit A’s ambition is to become an addictive new home for addictive crime fiction. It will be looking for authors with original, gripping voices. Exhibit A books – whether they’re procedurals, mysteries, thrillers, or something entirely new – will aim to divert readers from their everyday lives into an exhilarating world of drama, fear and suspense.
Joining our merry band to run the imprint is Emlyn Rees. He published his first crime novel aged twenty-five, his second a year later, and then co-wrote seven comedies with Josie Lloyd, including the Sunday Times bestseller Come Together. In his time, Emlyn has also worked for the Curtis Brown literary agency and has run a manuscript editing service. He’s great.
Marc Gascoigne, Angry Robot’s MD and publisher, said: “Passion, a flair for innovation and a keen sense of what readers want – that’s what has driven Angry Robot’s success so far, and it’s what Emlyn Rees will bring to our new imprint too. We’re overjoyed to have him on board. With our YA imprint Strange Chemistry launching this September, and now Exhibit A due next spring, our growth plans are shaping up very nicely indeed.”
Emlyn added (and we didn’t even need to use the Scary Hot Things), “Angry Robot is an exciting and innovative new publisher, with a terrific track record for breaking out fresh talent and bringing great authors and readers closer together. I’m delighted to be joining the team and can’t wait to set about building a list of talented crime writers we can be proud of and passionate about. I want Exhibit A to become an eye-catching new focal point for compelling crime fiction and the crime fiction community.”
The launch of Exhibit A is just the latest in a wave of expansion by parent company, Osprey Group, following investment by Alcuin Capital Partners in 2011. Osprey recently won the IPG Award for Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year 2012.
Hey gang – You know by now, I am sure, that we at Robot HQ love the superb cover art of our man Joey HiFi, and we certainly adore writer Maurice Broaddus… So when the chance came to package up the latter’s superlative urban fantasies into one vast, all-conquering omnibus edition, it seemed only right to combine the gritty, street magic of the novels with some, well, equally gritty street magic artwork.
The Knights of Breton Court series has long borne the tagline “The Wire meets King Arthur”, or variants thereof, so it seemed sensible to echo the packaging of that landmark TV show. But Joey has taken this to another level, with perfect typography and his trademark detail-within-detail artwork. In short, we love this motherfucking cover.
The Knights of Breton Court by Maurice Broaddus will be in stores this October.
Somedays, well, somedays this cover design lark takes a little time to untangle. Take this novel as a case in point. How, how, how, we had to ask, does one create a cover for a novel about a battlefield looter who accidentally kills the king dead, gets killed dead himself, becomes mistaken for the king of the dead by the hordes of the dead, and then sent on his semi-dead way to find the real king, or be actually properly dead?
Answer, loads and loads and loads of dead things. Obviously.
So thank you, Nick Castle off of Castle Design, for taking my concept and going way beyond where I hoped it would end up. And thanks, of course, to the mighty Lee Battersby, whose wonderfully dark and devilishly funny fantasy novel The Corpse-Rat King will appear from Angry Robot in early September this year.
So yes, we love Joey HiFi. His artwork for Moxyland, the UK Zoo City and Blackbirds has blown us away, and just today we have taken receipt of his latest piece, the cover for Chuck Wendig’s second AR novel Mockingbird. And lo, here it is (click for awesome massiveness):