Over the last decade, Orbit US, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, has quickly established itself as one of the premiere publishers of science fiction and fantasy, and a reliable source for everything from innovative works of science fiction to blockbuster epic fantasies. To celebrate the milestone, a selection of landmark Orbit titles is currently available on Nook for just $2.99 each, but we wanted to do more than point you toward some great titles, so we asked Orbit’s publisher, Tim Holman, to share a bit of history. Below his comments, you’ll find a timeline of key dates in Orbit’s history.
Mirrored from Kiya Nicoll.
I’m working on this story.
I have… nine tabs of reference material open, assuming I haven’t lost some somewhere, all of them about real-world culture and organization of the Marines (both US and Royal). That’s not counting the brief things I have opened, researched, and closed (“How would a Marine address their Navy corpsman?”).
Or the other things I’ve had open. Common world surnames, say, that’s one I keep having to pull up every time I get another speaking part. The aliens’ names are easier, there are only two of them in the platoon, and I can just make something up that’s in accord with their vocal apparatus. Trying to reach out for names that paint the suggestion that there’s a broad world full of human beings that contribute in the subtext, though, that requires some actual thought. And some thought, because just snagging ‘most common surname’ by continent or something is still lazy. Just a slightly broader lazy than before. But if the worldbuilding wants to include breadth of humanity it has to actually show it in the interstitial bits.
And then there’s more overtly political questions. I sit with this story, this story that I’m trying to root in a particular military experience, while proclamations are being made about trans people in the military, and I go, “… is there someone trans in this platoon?” Because that’s as conscious a decision as having women in the platoon, as having names for people that reach beyond European standards, and the odds are good that someone like Karou the hyenoid alien does not exist but I am damn sure that Chelsea Manning does. It’s easy to just grab the easy names, the assumed genders, the just-like-every-other-story bits, easy and lazy and anyway if it’s just like every other story why am I sitting and writing it in the first place?
And it goes on. Trying to articulate a plausible Space Marine ethos means spending a bit of time sitting with actual Marine expressions to try to figure out how that would translate, how to include it, how to express it in the story without sitting down and doing the “This Is What It Means” talk from people who are busy with their actual mission. It means coming up with story twists and angles that will let that actually show, rather than remain entirely invisible underneath the events. Which isn’t a different writing problem than questions of human diversity at all – it’s all about how to take the things that are true in the storyworld and make them visible and plausible.
I did a little mini-tweet-thread about this question of breadth of humanity, mostly talking about Cracked Pots, the novel in progress, but it holds here too. My gods, it’s full of PEOPLE. And figuring out the people means figuring out the things, the details that make them all real. All the effort into the little telling details and right moments.
This particular story is capped at 5000 words for the market I’m writing for.
Longer stories produce… notably more tabs.
When I go down into the apartment the kitchen is largely gutted. The line of cabinets is there, but empty, with doors and drawers gone, and the countertop is gone too. It's weird, because we hadn't discussed this either and I'm hungry and can't do anything about it and I can't talk to him because all these people I don't know are here. I go outside and the same thing is happening to the neighborhood--pieces of it are being gutted without any announcement. The place next door has had a bunch of valuable Precolombian artwork placed around the floor and on the sidewalk, which gives an inkling of what's going to happen there. A woman in overalls and a hardhagt is working and she hints that she doesn't know much about all this deconstruction but what she knows she can't tell me. Also, when I tell her about what's happening in my house she's really embarrassed, as she seems to have witnessed the work and to have some knowledge about that I should have but she doesn't feel she can tell me about that either.
The people in my house never seem to go home and I can't see any way to proceed so I just hang around getting more and more upset. Finally the game is over and some of them have left and I'm desperate and also I've been listening to him talk--or not talk-- and there's something about it that seems deeply wrong. So I just up and ask him what's going on with the kitchen. He doesn't say anything: he just looks embarrassed. I tell him it's just so weird that he didn't tell me anything about it, never mind asking me, he didn't even tell me, no warning. He says something but it's inadequate, it's not even the beginnings of an explanation or defense, and I see his eyes are so vague and kind of stupid and it hits me that he's not normal and he won't be getting normal again, that he's got dementia (like his grandmother) and life will never be the same. I'm off worrying about this and I say the word Alzheimer's to one of his guests and she's embarrassed but what's much worse is when I wake up and realize that no, he doesn't have Alzheimer's, he's dead, he's gone, there's no Ted left to worry about at all.
The Order of Truth's Aeon Priests have resurrected our May 2014 Numenera Bundle, featuring the tabletop science-fantasy roleplaying game Numenera from Monte Cook Games. A billion years in the future, explore the Ninth World to find leftover artifacts of nanotechnology, the datasphere, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange devices that defy understanding. The inspiration for the recent Torment: Tides of Numenera computer game from inXile Entertainment, Numenera is about discovering the wonders of eight previous worlds to improve the present and build a future.
The day after, he told me, he'd had a visit -- from Loffe, who had come up to his house, and even entered it, for the first time ever. "Do you think he could tell so soon that the dog was gone?", he asked me. I said: "Quite likely".
**Ta bort -- that's how they say it around here
Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.
(also open to suggestions for rehoming them, because what I am doing isn't working)