Though perhaps better known (at least in North America) for their Fantasy, Orbit Books made a splash in the Science Fiction scene this week by signing Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars Trilogy to a three-book deal. Still, with authors like Charles Stross and Iain M. Banks already under their wing, Orbit Books consistently looks to make an impact on the Science Fiction genre as equally as the Fantasy genre.

The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson

From Orbit’s website:

We are very pleased to announce that Orbit has agreed to a three-book deal with internationally bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson. The first novel, scheduled for publication in 2012, has the working title 2312.

Tim Holman, Orbit VP and Publisher, says: “Kim Stanley Robinson is a writer who can make the future credible, no matter how incredible it might seem. 2312 will be set in our solar system three hundred years from now; a solar system in which mankind has left Earth and found new habitats. This will be a novel for anyone curious to see what our future looks like – a grand science-fictional adventure in every sense – and I’m thrilled that Orbit will be publishing it in both the US and the UK.”

Robinson, best known for his critically acclaimed Mars Trilogy, is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Campbell, World Fantasy, and BSFA Awards, and in 2008 was named a Hero of the Environment by Time magazine. He says: “It’s a real pleasure to join Orbit and their ambitious program to extend the reach of science fiction to the entire reading public.”

Adding Kim Stanley Robinson (who’s awards resume includes multiple Hugos and Locus Awards, a Nebula Award and a World Fantasy Award) is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It’s just too bad fans will have to wait until 2012 to get their hands on the first book of the new trilogy. Still, great news for Orbit and Robinson.