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Today we give thanks to our robot overlords November 27, 2008

Posted by Marco in Robots at large.
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albert & some loserOn this most special day of all days (apologies to web users outside of the US, but this celebration is not available in your territory), we give thanks to all those pioneering research that may bring the day when we literally embrace our shiny metal masters one bunny hop closer.

What we’ve always wanted — the Shakeutron robot urinal

Creepy, creepy real life robots.

Blah blah blah robot sex blah blah now wash your hands.

Roll your own, with the Society of Robots.

Note to self: stop this robot-related linkage by press releasing some books or a new assistant editor or something, soon as.

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The real three laws of robotics November 14, 2008

Posted by Marco in Kill Em All!.
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We love that cheeky scamp Warren Ellis, not least because now and again he does stuff like this — the three real laws of robotics:

1. Robots couldn’t really give a fuck if you live or die …
2. Robots do not want to have sex with you. Are you listening, Japan? …
3. What, you can’t count higher than three? … You can go now.

Read the whole thing chez Ellis, meat bag.

The “C” word November 9, 2008

Posted by Marco in Books, Future formats.
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mash it up!At World Fantasy Con this year I heard a great deal about Crossover. (What did you think I meant? For shame…) It’s not that new a term, but more and more people are using it. For a while we at Angry Robot, along with others from other imprints, have been debating our thoughts on just what to call what might even turn out to be a whole new genre of fiction.

It’s that stuff that sits, well, somewhere in the hazy middle of the traditional genres such as science fiction and fantasy, as well as crime, historical, comicbooks and more, and takes massive influences from all. It’s the stuff which, while ostensibly from one obvious genre, doesn’t just add a pinch of flavouring from another, but mashes them all together wholesale. They do it in computer games, they do it in movies, ethnically you even get presidents like this, and by god they’re doing it in books now as well.

“Crossover” has started to stick, and it seems to solve problems that other names – “modern fantasy”, “dark fantasy”, “cult”, “pop culture” among them – have simply not addressed. And it isn’t “slipstream”… that stuff was everything around the edge of SF/F, rather than at its new core. Perhaps “crossover” will stick around a little longer, but I ain’t so sure, mostly because it doesn’t actually describe anything. Suggestions on a Comment form please if you have a better idea. Whatever this new mixed-up genre ends up being called, however, there is right where Angry Robot is aiming.

The Internet is the future November 6, 2008

Posted by Marco in Angry Robot Media, Other people's business.
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the futureThis is too good not to share… this glimpse into all our futures was forwarded by the whirlwind that is Sharyn November, editor over at Firebird, Penguin’s US-based YA fantasy imprint. Cheers, m’dear.

Follow the Robot on Twitter November 6, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in Uncategorized.
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The Robot Tweets

The Robot Tweets

Where this is going to go I can’t exactly tell, but in our all-round embrace of the social media age (ie, er, this blog), I thought the Robot gang should be able to tweet to the world whenever and however we want to.

So we have a Twitter account, and may even use it over the months and years ahead. Follow us, if you do such a thing, and we promise to follow you back…

Even if we don’t, I got a computer-generated thank you from Barack Obama yesterday for all my help getting him elected … really, he shouldn’t have!

I’ve also discovered (a year after the rest of the world), that Stephen Fry is the most fanatic twitterer in the universe. Seriously, he should write books, make TV series, write newspaper columns, appear on the radio and write/direct films or something.

Oh.

What the Boss said… November 5, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in Uncategorized.
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After posting last week on our C.E.O’s upcoming speech at Kings College London, it’s with a sense of renewed excitement I can report back on what she said:

She described the linear model of a publisher producing books to be ultimately consumed by a retailer as “becoming circular”. Readers are now playing a greater part in the publishing process, interacting with one another, the authors and producing content themselves. “We need to have two models to deal with that therefore – what we do now, adding value by selecting, nuturing, marketing and finally selling content to the consumer – in whatever form they demand,” she said. “And a second model whereby we create value in the experiences around that content and facilitate the dialogue between writers and readers.”

Vicky’s argument is about how we reach consumers as a publisher, and how we change our operational model as a business underneath it to meet those needs – as a corporate guy, that gets my juices flowing…

Despite this, she said that digitisation offered new openings for publishers. “The new opportunities this throws up are an end to piles of unwanted inventory, no more returns (book publishing remains one of the few remaining sale or return businesses), no more out of print titles and more value attached to the “long tail” of obscure or niche titles,” she said.

Of course there is an Obama robot… November 5, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in General, News, Robots at large.
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Obama won the US election - thanks in part to a Robot

Obama won the US election - thanks in part to a Robot

So good morning Mr. President…

After a relatively sleepless night watching the votes come in, it’s heartening to know that some super-university geeks contributed to Obama’s cause by building a Robot version of him:

(more…)

Jeff Vandermeer is a crazy Predator November 3, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in Books, Other people's business.
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Jeff VanderMeer's Predator tie-in novel - what a combo!

Jeff VanderMeer's Predator tie-in novel - what a combo!

Jeff VanderMeer, over on the rather excellent blog at Amazon.com, talked recently about his writing of a Predator tie-in novel for Dark Horse, Predator: South China Sea.

This excites me, for two simple reasons.

1. Jeff rocks – Cities of Saints and Madmen is one of the most surprising books I’ve read out of genre for years. A twisting, Calvino-ish mass of fragments and vignettes that comes alive taken altogether.

2. Predator rocks – Arnie’s greatest moment by a country-mile (way beyond Terminator), a vicious, punchy barrage of Jungle ultraviolence.

So put ’em together and something good has GOT to happen right? I hope so – it’s not always easy to get worked up about tie-ins, even when someone as good as Jeff is writing them. But Predator, that’s enough to get me hoping for something dark, hard and nasty to come crawling out of the Jungle. Jeff – don’t let me down!

Check the original movie trailer for some good memories:

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New author? Why not try Authonomy.com? November 3, 2008

Posted by chrismichaels in General, Robot Business.
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Authonomy - the online community for new authors

Authonomy - the online community for new authors

At Angry Robot we want to publish the best new titles for the future of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror and all points in-between.

That means in practise that Marco needs to read a lot of manuscripts, digging up the nuggets from (more…)

Calgary calling November 2, 2008

Posted by Marco in Events, world fantasy.
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Calgary in Canada – which is where I am right now – is a looong way from the UK, so many hours behind that it feels like the con’s only just started while it’s actually day three already. So why come all this way? Because World Fantasy is possibly the best con around, at least for us publishing types. It’s fairly compact – maybe 1200 folks, and well over half of these are writers, artists and editors. It’s the sort of con where you can spy the near-godlike George RR Martin in a huddle with new guy Peter Brett, or artists of the calibre of Todd Lockwood and John Picacio swapping war stories over a drink, and barely bat an eye. The sheer approachability of such talented men and women is often a feature of SF cons, but at World Fantasy it’s unparalleled. Check out some photos from the con, already up on Flickr, courtesy of the tireless Kathryn Cramer… and yes, your humble scribe is lurking in at least three of these.

This con is also a place where publishers can get some proper face-to-face time with writers old and new, go deep into the detail, and ultimately, well, buy some books. Well, I’ve certainly done some of that… But if it’s all the same with you, you’ll have to wait till the ink’s dry on some contracts before I can tell you what they are. But we’re getting there, that’s for sure. It’s been gratifying to find, too, that so many people here know about Angry Robot, and indeed our mission too. 

Calgary itself is an odd place – a massively developed downtown with towering skyscrapers and streets in almost perpetual shade, and a few blocks either side some neighborhoods so shabby you’d swear they were stuck in a Kojak episode from 1975. If you find the Calgary Tower on the photo and go down its column, the con’s in the brown building just below it. Oh yeah, and that clinking sound is enticing me away from my laptop. Cheers!