We've been excited about Madeline Ashby's futuristic thriller Company Town since she wrote an essay for us about it last April. This book was supposed to be out in October, but was delayed (along with some others) due to Angry Robot's sale to entrepreneur Etan Ilfeld. But now Ashby tells us Company Town has a new publisher, Tor Books.
Ashby isn't the first Angry Robot author to move to Tor — Wesley Chu and Adam Christopher both signed deals with Tor long before the Angry Robot sale was announced. But Ashby may be the first to pull a book from Angry Robot and sell it to Tor instead. [Full disclosure: Tor is also publishing a couple of my novels.] Ashby tells io9 that her editor had left Angry Robot before editing Company Town, and meanwhile the book was delayed — so she informed the authors who were blurbing it that there was no rush, after all. One of those would-be blurbers offered to show the book to his editor at Tor instead, and Tor had a spin on the book that Ashby liked.
Ashby gave us a new synopsis of Company Town, which continues to sound fascinating and demented:
Company Town takes place in New Arcadia, a city of autonomous towers floating around a dying oil rig over the Flemish Pass Basin in the North Atlantic. When a wealthy family of energy barons buys the whole town, it's up to Hwa, a bodyguard with the United Sex Workers of Canada, to protect the heir to the empire from death threats that appear to be sent from the future. That means living her worst nightmare: returning to the high school she dropped out of three years ago. And it also means her loyalties are torn between her new masters and her old friends, when women all over town begin to die. As the last un-augmented woman in town, she pits her human wits against the otherwordly powers of a post-human serial killer — all while trying to keep one hopelessly out-of-touch boy genius from getting stuffed in his locker. Again.
Meanwhile, Ashby says her Machine Dynasty trilogy, which started with vN and continued with iD, will remain with Angry Robot, and she tells us a little bit about the third book:
I have one more book coming out in that series, called Rev. Long before all this started, readers were asking me what was going to happen in that third book. So I really wanted to wrap things up for those readers. This third novel takes place from Portia's perspective — the evil grandmother robot who gets eaten alive by the protagonist in the first novel, vN. She's always been a fun character for me to work with, and I felt she deserved a chance to tell her own story. The whole thing begins in a theme park based on old British horror films, with self-replicating humanoid robots playing sexy vampires and going Westworld on everybody. It'll be fun.