Archive for Angry Robot

Jul
14

Nexus Wins the Prometheus Award!

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We are delighted to announce that Ramez Naam‘s Nexus has won the 2014 Prometheus Award from the Libertarian Futurist Society, tying with Cory Doctorow‘s brilliant Homeland!

Ramez was short-listed for both Nexus and its sequel Crux with Nexus described thusly in the awards announcement:

Nexus offers a gripping exploration of politics and new extremes of both freedom and tyranny in a near future where emerging technology opens up unprecedented possibilities for mind control or personal liberation and interpersonal connection.

Ramez Naam: “I’m absolutely honored and thrilled to be receiving the Prometheus Award for Best Novel, and even moreso to be sharing it with Cory Doctorow, a writer who exemplifies what it means to use the written word to fight to expand human freedoms. I wrote Nexus and Crux to explore the potential of neuroscience to link together and improve upon human minds. But I also wrote them to explore the roles of censorship, surveillance, prohibition, and extra-legal state use of force in a future not far from our own. Science and technology can be used to lift people up or to trod them underfoot. Making those abstract future possibilities real in the present is a core goal in my novels. I’m glad the selection committee saw that, and I’m very grateful to them for this award!”

Lee Harris:With his three Nexus books (NexusCrux, and the forthcoming Apex), Ramez Naam has proved to be not only a master storyteller, but also a free thinker, whose writing encourages us – his readers – to think more critically about the world around us. I can’t think of a more fitting award for one of the finest new writers of our generation.”

Ramez will be at Worldcon in London next month to happily receive his award, and if you’d like to see him before this, come along to our Angry Robot Summer Invasion of Forbidden Planet on Wednesday 13 August!

Join us in congratulating Ramez on Twitter!

Nexus by Ramez Naam

Nexus

About the awards

The Prometheus Award, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), was established in 1979, making it one of the most enduring awards after the Nebula and Hugo awards, and one of the oldest fan-based awards currently in sf. Presented annually since 1982 at the World Science Fiction Convention, the Prometheus Awards include a gold coin and plaque for the winners.

For more than three decades, the Prometheus Awards have recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that stress the importance of liberty as the foundation for civilization, peace, prosperity, progress and justice.

For a full list of past Prometheus Award winners in all categories, visit www.lfs.org. Membership in the Libertarian Futurist Society is open to any science fiction fan interested in how fiction can promote an appreciation of the value of liberty.

More information is available at http://lfs.org.

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.”

For more on Anne’s crowdfunding campaign, click here and for more on Anne’s Activate London Plan click here.

If you can’t donate, please help spread the word!

Categories : Angry Robot
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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 cover

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

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:

The Blue Blazes cover

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 cover

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:

The Mirror Empire

 

*drool*

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.

Mike’s Giveaway

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.

Entry Details

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

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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 by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Feb 2013The 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

The Lives of Tao by Wesley ChuWesley 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 by Emma Newman, March 2013Between 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!

Blackbirds, by Chuck WendigMiriam 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

The Bullet Catcher's Daughter by Rod DuncanExcuse 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.

Caroline’s Giveaway

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 ThornsBlackbirds, and The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter.

Entry Details

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!

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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.

what-year-is-it
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.

Story is all
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
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.

Clapping
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.

Passion!
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.

Space
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.

Freeeee
Entry details
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

Categories : Angry Robot
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Jun
30

Angry Robot 5: Lee’s Top 5

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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.

Empire State by Adam ChristopherThe Marching Dead by Lee Battersby, April 2013

Zoo City by Lauren BeukesThe Lives of Tao by Wesley ChuThe Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Feb 2013Dead Harvest, by Chris F. HolmThe Damned Busters by Matthew HughesThe Alchemist of Souls by Anne LyleThree, by Jay Posey, artwork by Stephen Mayer-RassowHeartwood by Freya RobertsonSixty-One Nails by Mike Shevdon, new cover artThe Great Game by Lavie Tidhar - you know you want itNightTerrors-300dpiSlights - in UK stores 1 July 09Blackbirds, by Chuck Wendig

 

Lee’s Giveaway

CThe Knights of Breton Court cover (Joey HiFI) - October 2012aroline 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!

Entry Details

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

Angry Robot’s Summer Invasion of Forbidden Planet

Looking forward to this year’s World SciFi Convention (LonCon)? Or, can’t make LonCon and wish you could have an evening with some of your favourite authors before the con starts?

Well, we want to kick-start your LonCon experience with an Angry Robot Summer Invasion of Forbidden Planet, on Wednesday, 13 August at 6pm.

Meet the Authors

Not only will the lovely Anne LyleMike Shevdon and Adam Christopher be present, but come along for your chance to meet Wesley Chu and Madeline Ashby!

Join us for an evening of readings, signing, and robotic dance moves. Enjoy an informal evening of meeting some of your favourite authors and listening to some fantastic fiction!

RSVP

Forbidden Planet have an event page on their Facebook page on which you can RSVP, and I do encourage you to do so. Surprise, surprise, here’s a handy link to said Facebook page! You can also tweet us, @angryrobotbooks, or @forbiddenplanet. Please feel free to share with your friends, colleagues, enemies – hey, we don’t discriminate, and we look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, 13 August!

Next week in Minneapolis, we’ll be at CONvergence – one of the finest genre conventions in the world!

This is where you can find us:

The bar.

If we’re not there, chances are, we’re on or at a panel. These are the fine folk who will be there, and the panels they’re on:

Kameron Hurley (The Mirror Empire, Empire Ascendent)

Thursday 3 July
3.30pm – Good, Fast or Cheap
When does it make sense to work for exposure and when does that become exploitative? At what point do you need to insist on charging? What are the trade-offs when choosing between free and paid art? Panelists: Elizabeth Bear, Sharon Stiteler, Kameron Hurley, Michael Damian Thomas

7.00pm – Not Men or Women: Everyone Else in Fiction
Not all characters need to be male or female! Explore the gender binary and how it can be, and has been, subverted in fictional universes and in reality. We will discuss common tropes and ways gender could be explored better in all fictional media. Panelists: Elizabeth Bear, Haddayr Copley-Woods, Kimberley Long-Ewing, Benny S, Kameron Hurley

Friday 4 July
7.00pm – Where’s the Magic?
Increasingly, writers feel the need to include a scientific (or pseudoscientific) explanation for strange events and objects, rather than simply having a fantastical or magical explanation. Why is this the case? Does it work? Panelists: Kameron Hurley, Kelly McCullough, Sean M. Murphy, Doug Hulick, Martha Wells

Saturday 5 July
12.30pm – Criticism and Empathy Online
When people abuse anonymity to give hurtful, damaging criticism, is this merely a failure of empathy, or is there something more there? How do you criticize people without triggering a flame war? Should you even TRY to avoid flame wars? Panelists: Miri Mogilevsky, Jason Thibeault, Wesley Chu, Kameron Hurley, Ted Meissner

Anne Lyle (The Night’s Masque trilogy)

Saturday 5 July
10.00pm – Loki Can Rule Me Any Day
Loki is very popular, even though he wasn’t the main character (or even necessarily a “good guy”). An exploration of side characters who have become fan favorites. Wolverine, Agent Coulson, Jayne, Connie Mk II – What makes us like them so much? Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, Kamuran Paradis, Damarra Atkins, Todd Murray, Anne Lyle

11.30pm – Science of Sex
It’s a necessary biological function. What else can we say about it? Panelists: Bug Girl, Meghan Williams MA LMFT (mod), Anne Lyle, Heina Dadabhoy, Benny S

Wesley Chu (The Tao trilogy)

Friday 4 July
11.00am – Signing

Saturday 5 July
11.00am – Reading

12.30pm - Criticism and Empathy Online
When people abuse anonymity to give hurtful, damaging criticism, is this merely a failure of empathy, or is there something more there? How do you criticize people without triggering a flame war? Should you even TRY to avoid flame wars? Panelists: Miri Mogilevsky, Jason Thibeault, Wesley Chu, Kameron Hurley, Ted Meissner

Sunday 6 July
12.30pm – Writing Sequels – Deja vu or Level 2?
Sequels are usually considered the toughest books to tackle. Some series (Hunger Games) retread similar themes to give fans more of what made them love the first book. Others take the reader in new directions. What are the advantages and risks? Panelists: Wesley Chu, Scott Lynch, David Annandale, Kelly McCullough, C. Robert Cargill

Carrie Patel (The Buried Life, Cities & Thrones)

Thursday 3 July
2.00pm – Skiffy & Fanty Show – Live at CONvergence!
A live episode of the Skiffy & Fanty Show (skiffyandfanty.com) with guest authors CL Patel and Martha Wells. We’ll discuss influences on SF/F lit from gaming, comics, etc. with authors who write SF/F fiction but have experience writing for other formats. Panelists: Michael R. Underwood (mod), Carrie Patel, Martha Wells, David Annandale, Shaun Duke, Paul Weimer

Friday 4 July
9.30am – Hard SF Movies are Back!
With the recent releases of “Gravity” and “Ender’s Game,” hard SF movies are back. Will this trend last? Panelists: Romeo Azar, Mark McPherson, Dave Margosian, Carrie Patel

2.00pm – You Against the Game
Not all of us like competing against each other. What are good games that have the players work against the game? Lord of the Rings and Pandemic are two examples: there must be more. Panelists: Craig A. Finseth, Walter Sullivan, Michael Black, Dave Benhart, Carrie Patel

Sunday 6 July
9.30am – Oregon Trail… WITH ZOMBIES!
Bloods, brains, and dysentery! Come join us as we cross the zombie wasteland of Organ Trail, the zombie-based parody of Oregon Trail. Panelists: Michael Black, Karl Tingelstad, Sam Wroge, Carrie Patel

Craig Cormick (The Shadow Master, The Floating City)

Thursday 3 July
10.00m – Ultimate Evil Overlord 101
An interactive guide to becoming the ultimate evil overlord – with audience participation. Panelists: Naomi Kritzer, Brian Salisbury, Craig Cormick, Laura Thurston, Christoforo Pasquarette

Friday 4 July
9.30am – Can Sci-Fi Keep Up?
Is sci-fi able to keep up with technology? Snow Crash and Necromancer are already outdated, to give just a few examples. Does technology move faster than our imaginations? Panelists: Lee Harris, Craig Cormick, Pete Hautman, Tyler Tork, Eric Staggs

11.00am – Good Tech, Evil Tech
When in our stories did technology shift from being the answer to being the problem? Is it cyclical? We’ll discuss examples and trends in books, TV, and movies. Panelists: Emmy Jackson, Craig Cormick, Regan Wolfrom, Ozgur K. Sahin, Christoforo Pasquarette

Martha Wells (Emilie and the Hollow World, Emilie and the Sky World)

Thursday 3 July
2.00pm - Skiffy & Fanty Show – Live at CONvergence!
A live episode of the Skiffy & Fanty Show (skiffyandfanty.com) with guest authors CL Patel and Martha Wells. We’ll discuss influences on SF/F lit from gaming, comics, etc. with authors who write SF/F fiction but have experience writing for other formats. Panelists: Michael R. Underwood (mod), Carrie Patel, Martha Wells, David Annandale, Shaun Duke, Paul Weimer

5.00pm – Reading

Friday 4 July
7.00pm – Where’s the Magic?
Increasingly, writers feel the need to include a scientific (or pseudoscientific) explanation for strange events and objects, rather than simply having a fantastical or magical explanation. Why is this the case? Does it work? Panelists: Kameron Hurley, Kelly McCullough, Sean M. Murphy, Doug Hulick, Martha Wells

8.30pm – Signing

Saturday 5 July
11.00am – Once Upon a Story – Exploring Fairy Tales in Popular Culture
What do NBC’s Grimm, Willingham’s “Fables” and Disney have in common? They all propel fantastical stories of antiquity into modern times. Explore where we’ve come from and where we’re going in myth, fairytale, and folklore. Panelists: Dana Baird, Christine Norris, Emma Bull, Roy T Cook, Martha Wells

Sunday 6 July
2.00pm – Women in Genre Not Talking about Women in Genre
Panelists talk about everything EXCEPT what it’s like to be a woman working in genre! Which is better, Star Wars or Star Trek? What YA series will be made into a TV show next? Audience questions will be drawn randomly and answered by the panelists. Panelists: Martha Wells, Damarra Atkins, Lynne M. Thomas, Danielle Indovino, Naomi Kritzer

Mike Underwood (Angry Robot’s Sales & Marketing Manager, also l33t geek-novelist)

Thursday 3 July
12.30pm – Mainstreaming of Geekdom
Lots of popular movies are based on geek stuff. How do you handle being a geek hipster – or feeling like you don’t fit in? Many people were geeks before it was cool. Let’s stop feeling bad. Let’s celebrate that geeks are cool! Panelists: Jaqueline Stoner, Hal Bichel, Kara Redding, Michael R. Underwood, Holley McLellan

2.00pm – Skiffy & Fanty Show – Live at CONvergence!
A live episode of the Skiffy & Fanty Show (skiffyandfanty.com) with guest authors CL Patel and Martha Wells. We’ll discuss influences on SF/F lit from gaming, comics, etc. with authors who write SF/F fiction but have experience writing for other formats. Panelists: Michael R. Underwood (mod), Carrie Patel, Martha Wells, David Annandale, Shaun Duke, Paul Weimer

Saturday 5 July
2.00pm – Gender in Urban Fantasy
This genre tends to have more female protagonists and writers. Is it marketing, or something else? Panelists: Melissa Olson, Emma Bull, Paul Cornell, Laura Zats, Michael R. Underwood

5.00pm – Is There Life after “Dark and Gritty”?
How did we get from Adam West to the Dark Knight? Can we reboot a series and make it more optimistic? Panelists: Scott Lynch, Sarah Prentice, Michael R. Underwood, Tabitha Anderson, Michael Damian Thomas

Sunday 6 July
2.00pm – From Gaming to Writing
Many novels started life as roleplaying games. Are you a GM using a game to figure out the world for your novel? Or have you had such a great time running or playing in a game that you’re working on making it into a book? What are the perils and pitfalls? Panelists: Elizabeth Bear, David Annandale, Ozgur K. Sahin, Michael R. Underwood, Emmy Jackson

Lee Harris (Angry Robot’s Senior Editor)

Thursday 3 July
10.00pm – Just a Minute
Paul Cornell will once again host his favorite game of talking and thinking at the same time. The combination is something most of us aren’t particularly used to. Panelists: Paul Cornell, Eryn Hildebrand, Dawn Krosnowski, Scott Lynch, C. Robert Cargill. Lee Harris keeps time.

Friday 4 July
9.30am – Can Sci-Fi Keep Up?

Is sci-fi able to keep up with technology? Snow Crash and Necromancer are already outdated, to give just a few examples. Does technology move faster than our imaginations? Panelists: Lee Harris, Craig Cormick, Pete Hautman, Tyler Tork, Eric Staggs

11.00am – Reading

5.00pm – Best Urban Fantasy Books
The genre is broad and contains a lot of different storytelling styles. What are some of your favorites? Panelists: Lee Harris, David Lenander, Robert Wagner, Renate Fiora (mod)

Saturday 5 July
3.30pm – Agents of SHIELD Fan Panel
Agent Coulson is alive – or is he? What are your hopes for season 2? How did season 1 stack up to the stable of Marvel movies currently overseen by Joss Whedon? Panelists: David Schwartz, Lee Harris, Derek Mahr, Scott Pearson, Daren Johnson

5.00pm – How to Structure a Novel
What are the required elements? How do you use your geeky experiences to fashion your characters, plot, and themes? Panelists: Elizabeth Bear, Will Shetterly, Kelly McCullough, David Annandale, Lee Harris

7.00pm – Cover Art for your Ebook
How to avoid the common mistakes of ebook cover art. Why it’s important and how to get free or low cost cover art that will help sell your ebook. Important points about art contracts and negotiating. Talk to professional writers, artists, and publishers. Panelists: John Garner, Adam Whitlatch, Lee Harris, Blake Hausladen, J Steven Young

Comments (2)

It’s publication day at Angry Robot HQ and we have not one but two fantastic new titles for you: Craig Cormick‘s The Shadow Master and James A. Moore‘s The Blasted Lands, the sequel to Seven Forges.


The Shadow Master by Craig CormickThe Shadow Master 
is a witty, swashbuckling tale of families at war and features some of history’s most famous figures. It is brought to you by Australia’s award-winning Craig Cormick, who was wooed by Marc at Canberra’s Conflux in 2012. With assassination; ancient, impossible machines; and torture and infamy, The Shadow Master is a tale not-to-be missed! To celebrate the North American and ebook publication of The Shadow Master, Craig is today on The Qwillery answering questions on his star-crossed lovers theme and Renaissance Italy. For the “story behind” Craig’s story, be sure to visit Upcoming4.me at this link.

If you’d like a taster, click here for an exclusive excerpt from The Shadow Master, and here for an excerpt from The Blasted Lands.

 

 

The Blasted Lands by James A. MooreJoining Craig in the publication celebrations is James A. Moore with his second title with Angry Robot BooksSeven Forges appeared last September and this epic fantasy was an instant hit. This second instalment has been eagerly awaited, and is avoiding the dreaded second-book curse, as Bookwraiths nicely sums up. This is something Lynn agrees with, adding that it is “a fast paced novel and the world building and time spent with each character definitely adds extra value.” For full buying info on Seven Forges, click here and for The Blasted Lands, click through here.

If you’re in the UK/ROW and can’t wait to pick up your copies of these fantastic books, don’t forget you can pre-order and all of the various links are on the book pages. When you pick up your copy, remember you can leave reviews on the retailer’s site and also on Goodreads…and look what I happen to have here, Goodreads links for The Shadow Master and for both Seven Forges and The Blasted Lands!

All hail Craig and James!

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As you will be aware, Angry Robot Books has a history of innovation and we continue to go from strength to strength. We’re constantly trying out new concepts and new ideas, and we continue to publish popular and award-winning books. Our YA imprint Strange Chemistry and our crime/mystery imprint Exhibit A have – due mainly to market saturation – unfortunately been unable to carve out their own niches with as much success.

We have therefore made the difficult decision to discontinue Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A, effective immediately, and no further titles will be published from these two imprints.

The core Angry Robot imprint is robust, however, and we plan to increase our output from 2 books a month, to 3. We have no plans to cancel any titles other than those of Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A.

Categories : Angry Robot
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May
28

Media Round Up 28/05/14

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Good morning robotic readers!

They may only have had their birthdays yesterday but we thought we’d bring you some early reviews of our new June titles: Night Terrors by Tim Waggoner and the White Towers by Andy Remic!

Night Terrors by Tim Waggoner

Night Terrors, by Tim Waggoner“The relationship between Audra and Jinx is one of my favorite parts of the book. Night Jinx is her loose cannon partner. Day Jinx is like a mother hen and makes Audra look like the loose cannon. It makes Night Terrors one of the most dysfunctional buddy cop stories in history. Four out of five stars.” – Dangerous Dan’s Book Blog

“This book was probably the most fun I have had reading a book in over a year. Five very large stars to this book!” – Shelby (Goodreads) 

Night Terrors is a ridiculously fun book to read – a concoction of nightmares, detective drama, and the supernatural that stretches the fabric of reality and bleeds surreal through the seams. I’m pleased that it’s the first in a series focusing on the Shadow Watch as Jinx is one nightmare that I, as a reader, wouldn’t mind reoccurring.” – Just a Guy that likes to Read

“Tim Waggoner’s first book in the Shadow Watch series is a highly imaginative, wholly original sci-fi/fantasy/mystery/dark fantasy mashup. This really was a fun read.  I’m hooked, and will be looking forward to the next Shadow Watch book. Looking for a good book?  Night Terrors is a rollicking fun mystery in the creepiest sorts of ways!” – Looking for a Good Book

“Waggoner has created an intense and unique Urban Fantasy world that I didn’t want to leave. Though I’m not sure what that says about my psyche!” – Alysa (Goodreads)

“Oh man, what a fun and insane ride!! I loved it! Where do I get my own Jinx?” – Rebecca Lea (Goodreads) 

“This is quite the adventure story, a lot happening all around us.  The sly humor is a refreshing break in what is a normally serious genre.  The camaraderie between Audra and Jinx keeps the characters real (or as real as an ideator and incubus can be).   This is a bit of a Sci-Fi Horror mix and made for an enjoyable read.  Perhaps there will be more misadventures?” – Horror Novel Reviews

The White Towers by Andy Remic

The White Towers by Andy Remic“Remic has gone and done it, I PUT DOWN what I was reading to read The White Towers. Why would I strap on the meat suit and jump in the dog pit you ask? well…I’ll tell you. Because my dear reader The Rage of Kings series is a visceral thrill ride of dark fantasy FOR GROWN FOLK. The wolves aren’t nice folks and honestly, being nice is over rated. This time around a bit of heart and soul was introduced to the chaos and I devoured every page. I am offically adding Andy Remic to my buy on sight list.”  – The Ghost Works

“Great book, highly imaginative dark fantasy.” – Grimdark Fantasy Reader

“Similar to the likes of Joe Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence, Andy Remic constructs a gritty and engaging series populated with compelling anti-heroes. Remic’s ability to spin a yarn sucked me right back into the world of the Iron Wolves and kept me reading much, much too late at night.” – Rachel (Goodreads)

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Great news Robotic Readers!

If you head over to the Kindle US Daily Deals site today you can get Between Two Thorns and Any Other Name by Emma Newman for $1.99 each!

So what are you waiting for? Grab your’s now!

Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman, March 2013 Any Other Name by Emma Newman, Artwork by Sarah J. Coleman

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The wonderful James A. Moore has written an exclusive short story for all you fans of the Fellein Empire. Did you love Seven Forges and can’t wait until The Blasted Lands is released? Immerse yourself in the mountainous world, and count the days down until The Blasted Lands is published, which is currently 38 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes, and 32, 31, 30, 29, 28…. seconds.

When Korwa Fell

By James A. Moore

Captain Merros Dulver glanced over at the rider closest to him as they headed for Fellein from the Seven Forges. The journey was a long one and he was tired of staring at the barren landscape. It was time for a distraction. The Sa’ba Taalor were mysteries, even after a few weeks of riding together, they spoke and they answered questions, but as often as not they asked questions and then rode away to contemplate what they had learned.

       The one closest was a brute named Tusk. Under their armor and furs most of the people from the valley of the Seven Forges seemed large, but Tusk dwarfed the majority. He sported a great helmet like the skull of a beast and the mouth of that skull was decorated with teeth of all kinds. Real teeth, actually. A variety that boggled the mind. He didn’t much want to know what had happened to the donors of those decorations.

       “Tusk?”

       The man cast eyes his way, his face hidden behind both his helmet and the veil covering the lower half. The veils were there for protection from the weather and also because, according to Drask Silver Hand—the first of the people Merros and his fellow explorers had run across—neither Merros nor any of his people were ready to see the faces of the Sa’ba Taalor. That last was according to their gods. The Sa’ba Taalor seemed to have a very open relationship with their deities. Merros had never followed any of the gods very closely and to the best of his knowledge none of them had ever paid him the least bit of attention. He failed to see any sort of problem with that.

       Tusk’s eyes gave of a faint silvery glow in the perpetual twilight of the Blasted Lands. “Yes, Merros Dulver?”

       “Just call me Merros, if you prefer. I wanted to ask what your people believe happened here, in the Blasted Lands, to make them this way.”

       Tusk looked at him for a moment and the monstrous mount he rode let out a sound that was suspiciously like a chuckle. The only reason that Merros could understand the strangers riding with him was because he had been “gifted” with the ability to understand them.  He might have preferred that someone ask him if he wanted the gift before it was given, but that was hardly the issue. What puzzled him was the near-certainty that the predatory monster Tusk was riding on seemed to understand his words. Even the animals of the Sa’ba Taalor seemed to know more than they wanted to admit.

       Sure enough, the eyes of the animal were looking directly at him and glowing under the masking helmet that hid half of its face. He suppressed the desire to shudder.

       Tusk scratched at the map of scars across his hand and shrugged his massive shoulders.

       “We are told that there was a war between two great countries. The war ended with the creation of these lands.”

       Merros looked the man up and down. “That’s all?”

       “I can tell you the full story if you’d like.” Tusk sounded rather amused by the notion as if he might be preparing to tell a bedtime story to a child.

       Merros replied, “Well, I know what my people say happened. I want to hear what your people have to say.” He paused a moment as the warrior considered his words and because he feared he might not get the answer he wanted he added, “Or we can stare at the wastes around us and listen to the sound of the wind. I thought an exchange of stories might be more interesting.”

       Tusk nodded. “I agree.” He called out in his language—Merros understood the words sometimes, and just then did not; he suspected they were speaking different languages, only some of which understood. He was not mistaken—and three other riders came closer, moving to nearly surround Merros. They did not come with harmful intent. They merely came because they had been commanded.

       “Our friend Merros would like to hear how the Blasted Lands came to be. Which of you will tell him?” He looked to Merros and shrugged. “I do not tell stories well. I am not patient enough to tell them properly.”

       Drask Silver Hands was riding on the other side of Merros and he roared laughter at that. “Do you hear? Great Tusk even bores himself!” They all laughed, even Tusk. That was a good thing in Merros’s eyes as he was currently stuck between the two men and had no desire to become the battlefield upon which they settled their differences. Tusk was a giant and Drask not much smaller. Worse, he had seen Drask fight and kill with terrifying efficiency.

       “Swech!” Drask called to the rider at the front of them, a female with a thick mane of gray hair pulled into a tight knot at the top of her head. The resulting tail swayed with every move her mount made. She looked over her shoulder. Her eyes, like the eyes of all of Sa’ba Taalor, glowed. Still, Merros found the shape of her eyes enchanting. Too long without companionship, perhaps, but he liked the woman.

       She gripped the saddle of her mount and spun herself around so that she faced Merros and the other riders. Most of the soldiers he knew would have promptly fallen flat on their asses had they tried that from the back of a horse, but she managed it with seemingly no effort, despite her armor and furs.

       “Yes?” Her voice was higher than he expected.

       “You have a way with stories,” Drask answered. “You should tell Merros how the Blasted Lands came to be.”

       She nodded her head and leaned toward him across the back of her saddle. For that moment in time her eyes seemed only to see him.

       “It was a long time ago,” she started….

***

It was a long time ago, before the Seven Forges rose from the ground and before your Fellein Empire existed. It was because of the Cataclysm that your empire exists at all.

Everything changed when the Blasted Lands were shaped. That is always the way with great events. When they happen the world is never quite the same.

Back then all that you see around you was alive. There were great plains of green grass and there were farms and herds of animals, but more than that, there was the sea and there was Korwa. Korwa was a mighty city. According to some of the gods it was the greatest city that ever was.

What? No, not all of the gods say that. The Daxar Taalor do not agree on all things at all times. If they did there would only be one god, yes? Why would there be seven gods if they all thought alike? But some of them say Korwa was the greatest city there ever was.

All the gods agree upon is this: Korwa was magnificent. Towers of steel and stone and crystal rose high into the sky, as high as the tops of the Seven Forges themselves. The city rested on a sea of blue waters and vast bridges ran across the waters to let visitors in.

Korwa was the heart of the first empire, you see. The home of most peoples.

But sometimes the best of things become the most treasured. And what is treasured most is often coveted. Who can say what makes a people jealous? A man or a woman might desire the love of one who is already spoken for. Or perhaps a piece of land, or a trinket is all that is required. In the case of a people there must surely be better reasons but those are lost now, as lost as great Korwa. Whatever the reasons, the people from outside the empire became jealous of the power and beauty that Korwa offered and so they decided to take it.

We do not know all of the details. We only know what we have been told. But I will tell you what I can. The soldiers of Korwa were very skilled, but they were outnumbered, for the people who sought to take the city came from many directions. It might be that there was more than one group, or that the group was very large. We know that the leaders were called the Overlords and they were very hungry.  They came from the north and the east, and sailed across the sea in mighty ships. When they arrived, the ships let out thousands of soldiers and the weapons the Overlords created to either take Korwa as their own or to destroy the city.

Yes, that is correct. They planned to own Korwa or make sure that no one else would ever own it. No it does not make sense. On this we agree.

There were more threats. Korwa was home to the empire, yes, the seat of power, but the empire itself was vast and from within it came another threat. A country that was small and wanted to be bigger began conquering neighboring lands and then grew greedy. The people of that country were hungry, you see. They wanted all that they could have and they would not stop until even great Korwa was theirs.

The king of that land was related to the Empress of Korwa. That much is known. Beyond that, the gods do not agree. The country was called Felleis. Yes, much like your own empire, which rose from the ashes of Korwa. I suspect you already know this. But this is the story you wanted to hear. Now stop asking so many questions.

The old empire and the new empire. Together they might have stopped the Overlords. They did not fight together. They fought as enemies on the battlefield. It was while they were already engaged that the Overlords came to attack. Korwa looked to the south and did not cast their gaze far enough to the north to notice until it was too late.

The siege of Korwa was violent and very sudden. While the two armies fought the Overlords brought in their soldiers and attacker with great siege engines designed to knock down walls and warriors alike. They did not make demands. They merely attacked. Perhaps their plan was to injure and then demand surrender. Perhaps they merely wished to cause death. No one can know any longer.

The rulers of Korwa fought back. Though they were already in a war, they prepared for more battles. They had supplies and they had ships of their own. The great fleet of Korwa rode into the sea and fleets met and fought, and burned and died. “The sea was red with blood and fire,” that is what the god Wheklam said. Sailors died and no one had a chance to find their bodies. The war was too violent and the creatures of the sea feasted well.

I see the look on your face. Ask your question, Merros Dulver. Of course I know what ships are. Of course I know of navies and combat on the sea. Wheklam is the god of the sea. We have to travel to find the waters, but we know of them. Did you cross an ocean to get here? Yet you know of ships? And is this because you travel on them constantly? No? Good. Now let me go back to my story.

The war raged for almost a full year. The armies of the empires fought along the bridges leading to Korwa as the new forced the old back to the city. And even as they retreated to the city, the same empire had to fight against the attackers from the north. They tried their military methods and they were failing.

And as is often the case, the Empress turned to sorcery for her salvation. She called upon the greatest wizards of her empire to come to her and assist and they came, because the Empress was well loved by her people and because they wanted to live. They all wanted to live.

The spellcasters did what it is that they do. We do not have sorcerers in Taalor. We have gods. They react differently to these things, I suppose. Whatever the case, the mages gathered their powers and fought against the enemies of the Empress. The warships of the Overlords were pushed aside by waves that sank them and then swallowed the crews whole.  The sea grew redder and the creatures of the sea grew fatter.

And while the wizards cast their spells they turned to the new empire and sought to destroy the armies of the usurpers. When soldiers fell they did not stay fallen. The dead rose from the pits where they were buried and they attacked the living, and for each that fell before them another soldier was born, lifted from death and forced to fight for the sorcerers of Korwa.

Once a weapon has been used, it cannot be unused. That is what Truska-Pren says. And he is a god, he should know. The Overlords were powerful magicians as well, and they set aside their navies and their soldiers and they began casting mighty sorceries of their own. They brought forth storms to shatter the ground. Fingers of air raked the earth bare, and lightning dazzled the eyes of all who lived within Korwa, until the sun seemed but a faint glimmer in comparison. The war machines of the Overlords were frightening things, but their wizardry was far greater.

Through it all, Korwa stood, the walls damaged but not destroyed, the people wounded but not driven down. The Empress waited in her tower and spoke to the wizards and made demands of them and they in turn obeyed her, for they loved her and wished to serve her until the very end.

It is not certain what happened next. Three gods have spoken of this and I will tell you what each has said, because each is a part of the greater truth. Even gods cannot see everything, or if they can, they cannot see with the same eyes.

Paedle, who only ever whispers, tells us that the Empress was driven mad. All that she had worked for was taken from her. Her husband and consorts killed, her children burned and broken by the lightning. Paedle says that the Empress demanded the greatest vengeance ever, a fire so vast that it would destroy all of the empire’s enemies. Perhaps that is so. Perhaps the wizards managed their feat.

Durhallem the Wounder says that the Overlords carried out their promise. If they could not have the jewel of Korwa, then no one could. And so they summoned the elements to shatter the island where Korwa rested and watched as the city that everyone wanted was felled like a tree. It is his claim that the new empire was so angry at the Overlords that they then sought to destroy them and in time they succeeded.

All I can say for certain is that the Overlords are no more.

Wrommish, who many say watches best of all the Daxar Taalor, said that both stories have some truth, but are merely singular sides to a jewel of many facets. There were enchantments on all sides and they came together as wind and fire can merge to become something greater and more destructive.

Here is what we know.  Great Korwa fell and the oceans burned away. Vast armies were joined in combat across the land where we now walk and they were destroyed in one day. From time to time we still find pieces of the Old Empire and I have heard from your own people that some have come here in the past seeking treasures lost in the Cataclysm.

Where once there were fields and pastures of green there is now dust. The animals raised here are ashes and the orchards are ice. The people of Korwa are gone and when the winds are soft enough you can look down into the ground beneath us, through the glass that once was dirt and buildings, and you can see their bodies, broken and forgotten.

The war machines are lost. They are buried with Korwa, though from time to time you can hear the sounds of the great engines. That is what Wrommish says. Those vast devices and the remains of Korwa are locked together now, and they have become something we cannot know, we must not know. They have become the Mounds.

From life we have been given death. From peace we have been given war. From water we have been given ashes and disease. That is the legacy of Great Korwa and the peoples who coveted her beauty.

***

       Merros took a deep breath and shook his head. At the end he had lost himself in Swech’s words and the meter of her voice. She was a gifted storyteller.

       He looked to the west and saw the vast shapes of the Mounds and heard from deep within them the sounds of things that should not be.

       “Have your people ever been to the Mounds?”

       Swech shook her head. “That is forbidden by the gods.”

       “Can you tell me about the Overlords?”

       It was Tusk who answered, his voice gruff and his tone commanding. “No.” Merros turned to look at the man and found him staring back with narrowed eyes. Perhaps it was the wind that caused the sullen look. Perhaps it was something else. Either way Tusk made sure that everyone knew his position. “That is enough stories for one day. Later perhaps we will tell more. Tales and fables should be rationed, like all supplies.”

       When he looked around Drask and Tusk were both moving away, calling out to each other in a tongue he could not understand.

       Swech stayed where she was a moment longer before once more turning herself in the saddle of her mount and then riding away. 

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Dear all,

We’ll be hosting our second Angry Robot Live panel tomorrow, at 8:00 AM EDT, 1PM BST, 10PM EAST.

 

Our amazing, genre-crossing panelists will be:
The Author, Rod DuncanMarianne-de-Pierres-300x300Emma Newman author photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rod Duncan, Filmaker, CWA John Creasey award nominee, and author of the forthcoming The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter.

Emma Newman, Hugo-nominated podcaster (Tea & Jeopardy), audiobook narrator, and author of the Split Worlds fantasy series (Between Two Thorns, Any Other Name, All Is Fair)

Marianne de Pierres, author of the acclaimed Parrish Plessis and award-winning Sentients of Orion science fiction series, and most recently, the Peacemaker series from Angry Robot.


If you have questions about cross-genre writing or any of these authors works that you’d like me to ask at the panel, please comment below. And be on the lookout for the link to join the discussion live on Thursday the 22nd

For those who won’t be able to attend live, we’ll record the panel to be uploaded to YouTube, as well as archiving it on Google+ for viewing for years to come.

You can RSVP here on Google+

And you can join discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #AngryRobotLive

 

I hope you’ll join us for the conversation! Anyone who asks a question will be entered to win a copy of the panelist’s books and other Angry Robot prizes!

That’s right folks!

If you head over to the Kindle US Daily Deals page right now you can get two Miriam Black books, Mockingbird and The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig for $1.99 each!

Mockingbird, by Chuck WendigThe Cormorant by Chuck Wendig - Artwork by Joey Hi-Fi

 

 

 

Categories : Angry Robot
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