Alastair Reynolds was born in Barry, South Wales, in 1966. He studied at Newcastle and St Andrews Universities and has a Ph.D. in astronomy. Since 1991 he has lived in the Netherlands, near Leiden. He gave up working as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency to become a full-time writer. Revelation Space and Pushing Ice were shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award; Revelation Space, Absolution Gap and Century Rain were shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Award, and Chasm City won the BSFA, and Diamond Dogs was shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award.
Below is a Q & A with this author.
Who’s your favourite author? Considering his career as a whole, and the effect his writing has had on me, I would probably say Arthur C. Clarke. I can still remember the unbearable excitement of reading The City and the Stars for the first time.
Typewriter, word processor or pen? A computer if it's available, but I've written a lot on a typewriter, and am quite happy to write in longhand if necessary. I get a lot of inspiration from doodles and random word-association, so I tend to have a lot of paper around when I'm writing.
What educational qualifications do you have? Have you had any formal tuition in creative writing? If so, where and what? Did you find it useful? I have the usual science-graduate background: degree and doctorate. I wanted to keep studying English (and Art, which I was also good at), but it wasn't possible – it was one or the other. I still bitterly resent that! I've never had any formal tuition in creative writing, but I'm open-minded as to the usefulness of it.
Name your top five pieces of music. Really difficult, this one. When I'm in a classical mood I tend to listen to Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich, Sibelius, but picking one or two choices would be impossible. When I want to rock out I listen to everything from early Who through to recent stuff like Grandaddy and The Flaming Lips. My favourite defunct band is probably The Chameleons, a British group from Manchester who made some fine records. My favourite solo artist would probably be Neil Young.
What were the first pieces of writing that you produced? e.g. short stories, school magazine etc. I wrote stories as soon as I could write. I used to illustrate them myself and staple them up into little books. I wrote two novels before I was 18, and vast numbers of short stories. A story of mine was published in a South Wales regional schools magazine in 1984 – that was a big boost to my confidence. Someone compared it to Malcolm Bradbury, so I went away and read all Bradbury's novels (and then David Lodge). That was good for me as it encouraged me to read beyond science fiction.
Tell us about your best or worst holiday experience. Best experience was probably horse-riding up a precarious mountain pass in Chile. Amazing views, with the sun going down.
How do you write each novel – i.e. do you block out the narrative first, take each page at a time, create the central character, build a cast of characters? I just dive on into it, like a bulldozer rampaging through a shopping mall, leaving a trail of chaos in my wake, and making most of it up as I go along. This entails a huge amount of rewriting, and throwing away of surplus material, but I find it preferable to working to a rigid plan. My characters need to grow organically through their interactions with other people in the story – they don't have any reality for me until I'm at least halfway into the project.
What is a typical writing day? Get up. Have breakfast. Check email and surf the web. Aim to get a good chunk of work done by lunchtime – say a thousand words. Two to three thousand a day is my usual target. I usually break the afternoon up by going for a run or a swim. Drink vast amounts of coffee. After years of doing all my work in the evenings, I really like having them back now – although I'll often write just because I feel like it. I also tend to be a tiny bit more creative in the evening, for some reason.
What do you do when you are not writing? How do you relax? What are your hobbies? I do some sports: running, swimming, cycling and a bit of horse-riding. My partner and I watch a lot of films, in the cinema and on DVD. I like scratchy British black-and-white films, mainly. I'm also a great fan of anything to do with trains. I'm an anorak, basically, but at 38 I've long stopped caring.
Have you started your next book? Can you tell us a little bit about it? I've made a tentative start on something, which may or may not become the next book. It's a far-future, hard-SF space opera, with lots of interacting alien cultures. The main characters are people from near our own time, catapulted into the distant future. I have every intention of doing another book in the Revelation Space universe, but it won't be the next one.
The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilisations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives. And there are vast fortunes to be made, if you know where to find them ...Captain Rackamore and his crew do. It's their business to find the tiny, enigmatic worlds which have been hidden away, booby-trapped, surrounded with layers of protection - and to crack them open for the ancient relics and barely-remembered technologies inside. But while they ply their risky trade with integrity, not everyone is so scrupulous. Adrana and Fura Ness are the newest members of Rackamore's crew, signed on to save their family from bankruptcy. Only Rackamore has enemies, and there might be more waiting for them in space than adventure and fortune: the fabled and feared Bosa Sennen in particular.
His massive space sagas make the Star Wars movies feel like a trip around the neighbourhood block. Imagination, intrigue, IMAX-size adventures on a mega-scale make this hard SF at its very best. HOUSE OF SUNS is the latest in his Revelation Space series, and I challenge anyone not to become breathless confronted by the sheer power of Reynolds’ imagination. Takes scientific speculation to new heights of adventure. Sarah Broadhurst's view... A spectacular, large-scale space opera from a master in this area. Big themes on a giant canvas, a galaxy-spanning adventure of some note. Comparison: Kim Stanley Robinson, Neal Asher, Ben Bova.
Dalekoe budushchee, umirayushchaya Zemlya, poslednij gorod chelovechestva - gigantskij Klinok, pronzayushchij vsyu tolshchu atmosfery. I neboskreb, i planeta razdeleny na vrazhduyushchie zony. V odnih sozdany futuristicheskie tekhnologii, v drugih nevozmozhny izobreteniya vyshe urovnya XX veka. Gde-to funkcioniruyut tol'ko mashiny ne slozhnee parovyh, a v samom nizu prozyabaet doindustrial'noe obshchestvo. Angely-postlyudi, obitateli Nebesnyh EHtazhej, tajno gotovyat operaciyu po zahvatu vsego Klinka. Kuillon, ih agent sredi "e;nedochelovekov uznaet, chto ego reshili likvidirovat', - informaciya, kotoroj on obladaet, ni v koem sluchae ne dolzhna dostat'sya vragam. Est' tol'ko odin zybkij shans spastis' - nado pokinut' gorod i otpravit'sya v neizvestnost'. Samoe neobychnoe na segodnyashnij den' proizvedenie Alastera Rejnol'dsa, velikolepnyj obrazec planetarnoj priklyuchencheskoj fantastiki!
Nine hundred thousand years ago, something wiped out the Amarantin. For the human colonists now settling the Amarantin homeworld Resurgam, it's of little more than academic interest, even after the discovery of a long-hidden, almost perfect Amarantin city and a colossal statue of a winged Amarantin. For brilliant but ruthless scientist Dan Sylveste, it's more than merelty intellectual curiosity - and he will stop at nothing to get at the truth. Even if the truth costs him everything. But the Amarantin were wiped out for a reason, and that danger is closer and greater than even Syveste imagines ... REVELATION SPACE: a huge, magnificent space opera that ranges across the known and unknown universe ... towards the most terrifying of destinations.
Miguel de Ruyter is a man with a past. Fleeing the 'wolves' - the xenocidal alien machines known as Inhibitors - he has protected his family and community from attack for forty years, sheltering in the caves of an airless, battered world called Michaelmas. The slightest hint of human activity could draw the wolves to their home, to destroy everything ... utterly. Which is how Miguel finds himself on a one-way mission with his own destructive mandate: to eliminate a passing ship, before it can bring unwanted attention down on them. Only something goes wrong. There's a lone survivor. And she knows far more about Miguel than she's letting on . . . Ranging from the depths of space to the deeps of Pattern Juggler waters, from nervous, isolated communities to the ruins of empire, this is a stealthy space opera from an author at the top of his game. Praise for Al Reynolds' Revenger 'A swashbuckling thriller' The Guardian 'A blindingly clever imagining of our solar system in the far flung future' The Sun 'A rollicking adventure yarn with action, abduction, fights and properly scary hazards' The Daily Telegraph 'By far the most enjoyable book Reynolds has ever written' SFX
'A swashbuckling thriller - Pirates of the Caribbean meets Firefly - that nevertheless combines the author's trademark hard SF with effective, coming-of-age characterisation' GUARDIAN 'A blindingly clever imagining of our solar system in the far flung future' SUN Return to the Revenger universe, for another thrilling tale set among the stars . . . Quoins are accepted currency throughout the thousands of worlds of the Congregation. Ancient, and of unknown origin and purpose, people have traded with them, fought for them, and stolen quoin hordes from booby-trapped caches at risk to life and limb throughout the Thirteen Occupations. Only now it's becoming clear they have another purpose . . . as do the bankers who've been collecting them. The Occupations themselves are another puzzle. The rise and fall of civilisation may have been unevenly spaced across history, but there is also a pattern. Could something be sparking the Occupations - or ending them? And if so, what could it be, lurking far beyond the outermost worlds of the Congregation? The Ness sisters are being hunted for crimes they didn't commit by a fleet whose crimes are worse than their own. If they're to survive, and stay one step ahead of their pursuers - if they're to answer the questions which have plagued them - it's going to require every dirty, piratical trick in the book . . . 'By far the most enjoyable book Reynolds has ever written' SFX
'A swashbuckling thriller - Pirates of the Caribbean meets Firefly - that nevertheless combines the author's trademark hard SF with effective, coming-of-age characterisation' GUARDIAN 'A blindingly clever imagining of our solar system in the far flung future' SUN Returning to the universe of Revenger, award-winning author Alastair Reynolds delivers another thrilling tale set among the stars. Two sisters ran away from home to join the crew of a spaceship. They took on pirates, faced down monsters and survived massacres . . . and now they're in charge. Captaining a fearsome ship of their own, adventures are theirs for the taking - and there's hoards to loot and treasures to find in the darkest reaches of space. But the rules are also more relaxed out on the fringes, as they're about to discover . . . 'A rollicking adventure yarn with action, abduction, fights, properly scary hazards, very grisly torture and even ghosts of a sort' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'By far the most enjoyable book Reynolds has ever written' SFX
Featuring Inspector Dreyfus - one of Alastair Reynolds most popular characters - this is a fast paced SF crime story, combining a futuristic setting with a gripping tale of technology, revolution and revenge. One citizen died a fortnight ago. Two a week ago. Four died yesterday . . . and unless the cause can be found - and stopped - within the next four months, everyone will be dead. For the Prefects, the hunt for a silent, hidden killer is on . . . Alastair Reynolds has returned to the world of The Prefect for this stand-alone SF mystery in which no one is safe. The technological implants which connect every citizen to each other have become murder weapons, and no one knows who or what the killer is - or who the next targets will be. But their reach is spreading, and time is not on the Prefects' side.
From the author of the Revelation Space series comes an interstellar adventure of war, identity, betrayal, and the preservation of civilization itself. A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur - and for humanity - peace is not to be. On the brink of the ceasefire, Scur is captured by a renegade war criminal, and left for dead in the ruins of a bunker. She revives aboard a prisoner transport vessel. Something has gone terribly wrong with the ship. Passengers - combatants from both sides of the war - are waking up from hibernation far too soon. Their memories, embedded in bullets, are the only links to a world which is no longer recognizable. And Scur will be reacquainted with her old enemy, but with much higher stakes than just her own life.
Previously published as THE PREFECT. A rollercoaster ride through the dark and turbulent universe of REVELATION SPACE: an interstellar thriller where nothing - and no one - is what they seem ... Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a policeman of sorts, and one of the best. His force is Panoply, and his beat is the multi-faceted utopian society of the Glitter Band, that vast swirl of space habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone. These days, his job is his life. A murderous attack against a Glitter Band habitat is nasty, but it looks to be an open-and-shut case - until Dreyfus starts looking under some stones that some very powerful people would really rather stayed unturned. What he uncovers is far more serious than mere gruesome murder: a covert takeover bid by a shadowy figure, Aurora (who may once have been human but certainly isn't now), who believes the people of the Glitter Band should no longer be in charge of their own destiny. Dreyfus discovers that to save something precious, you may have to destroy part of it. 'An adroit and fast-paced blend of space opera and police procedural, original and exciting' George R. R. Martin
This is an amazing collection of some of the best short fiction ever written in the SF genre, by an author acclaimed as 'the mastersinger of space opera' THE TIMES. With an introduction by noted SF critic Johnathan Strahan, this collection of twenty short stories, novellettes and novellas includes MINLA'S FLOWERS, SIGNAL TO NOISE, TROIKA, and seven previous uncollected stories, including TRAUMA POD, THE WATER THIEF and IN BABELSBERG. Alastair Reynolds has won the Sidewise Award and been nominated for The Hugo Awards for his short fiction. One of the most thought-provoking and accomplished short-fiction writers of our time, this collection is a delight for all SF readers
MANKIND HAS REACHED THE STARS. Two hundred years after the fall of Mechanism, human society has achieved a kind of stability. There are colonies beneath the oceans, throughout the solar system, and beyond: on extrasolar planets. Vast hemi-relativistic ships connect these colonies, travelling at half the speed of light. Or rather they would, if the ominous presence of the alien Watchkeepers had not led to an enforced moratorium on interstellar travel. But when a seemingly impossible radio signal reaches the colony Crucible, everything changes: SEND NDEGE It's origin is unpopulated, unexplored space. No one could be there - at least, not if they travelled using human technology - so who could have sent it? How did they get there? And what use do they have for the disgraced scientist Ndege Akinya? Finding the answers will require one of the greatest expeditions humankind has ever launched, a journey further than ever attempted before, conducted under the implacable scrutiny of the Watchkeepers. But as a mission is prepared on Crucible, it turns out they weren't the only ones to see the message - or its potential . . . 'Reynolds' future is so brilliantly extrapolated . . . original ideas fizzing off every page' The Guardian 'Brilliant, self-assured, colourful space opera' The Sun Completing the informal trilogy which began with Blue Remembered Earth and On the Steel Breeze, this is a powerful and effective story.
Arheolog Veriti Ozh'e vedet raskopki na Zemle, obezlyudevshej trista let nazad v rezul'tate katastrofy pod nazvaniem Nanokost. Kogda ehkspediciya terpit krah, Veriti, chtoby izbezhat' sudebnogo presledovaniya i reabilitirovat'sya, soglashaetsya vypolnit' tajnuyu missiyu. Po sozdannoj inoplanetyanami "e;chervotochine v prostranstve-vremeni ona otpravlyaetsya v seredinu dvadcatogo veka - zabrat' dokumenty isklyuchitel'noj vazhnosti, kotorye drugoj agent iz budushchego pered svoej gibel'yu podgotovil dlya peredachi imenno ej.
Blistayushchij Poyas vokrug planety Jellouston sostoit iz desyati tysyach anklavov, obitaemyh kosmicheskih stancij. Ih naselenie mozhet vybirat' sebe lyubuyu formu vlasti, ot diktatury do polnoj anarhii, no vse anklavy do edinogo podchinyayutsya obshchim zakonam, za soblyudeniem kotoryh sledyat "e;Dospekhi - voenizirovannaya policiya s samymi shirokimi polnomochiyami. Kogda odin iz anklavov vnezapno pogibaet vmeste so vsem naseleniem, a eshche na neskol'kih nachinaetsya bunt mashin, u prefektov "e;Dospekhov voznikaet podozrenie, chto Blistayushchij Poyas podvergsya atake ochen' zhestokogo, umnogo i izobretatel'nogo protivnika. Vpervye na russkom yazyke!
A thousand years in the future, mankind's influence expands into the universe. Alastair Reynolds' epic vision of our journey into deep space will redefine Space Opera. Chiku Yellow is earthbound: living a peaceful life on a changing world as humanity explores a thousand new ways to experience life. Chiku Red is space-bound: blasted into deep space to investigate Eunice Akinya's last journey, and maybe discover the final secrets of space travel. Chiku Green is planet-bound: travelling thousands of lightyears to the planet Crucible. A new home for humankind; it's a habitable planet hosting a fascinating alien labyrinth. All three are Chiku Akinya. All three are pivotal to our future in space. All three are in danger ...
BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH is the first volume in a monumental trilogy tracing the Akinya family across more than ten thousand years of future history ... out beyond the solar system, into interstellar space and the dawn of galactic society. One hundred and fifty years from now, in a world where Africa is the dominant technological and economic power, and where crime, war, disease and poverty have been banished to history, Geoffrey Akinya wants only one thing: to be left in peace, so that he can continue his studies into the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But Geoffrey's family, the vast Akinya business empire, has other plans. After the death of Eunice, Geoffrey's grandmother, erstwhile space explorer and entrepreneur, something awkward has come to light on the Moon, and Geoffrey is tasked - well, blackmailed, really - to go up there and make sure the family's name stays suitably unblemished. But little does Geoffrey realise - or anyone else in the family, for that matter - what he's about to unravel. Eunice's ashes have already have been scattered in sight of Kilimanjaro. But the secrets she died with are about to come back out into the open, and they could change everything. Or shatter this near-utopia into shards ...
Okolo milliona let nazad na planete Resurgem pogib narod amarantijcev - razumnyh potomkov neletayushchih ptic. EHto sluchilos' vskore posle togo, kak oni osvoili tekhnologiyu kosmicheskih puteshestvij. Arheolog Dehn Silvest gotov idti na lyuboj risk, chtoby razgadat' sekret ischeznoveniya amarantijskoj civilizacii. Inache, ubezhden uchenyj, ee pechal'nuyu sud'bu mozhet razdelit' rasselivsheesya po planetam chelovechestvo. V rezul'tate myatezha Silvest lishilsya pomoshchnikov i resursov, bolee togo, on postavlen vne zakona. Ne vidya drugih sredstv dlya dostizheniya svoej celi, on shantazhom privlekaet v soyuzniki ehkipazh torgovogo zvezdoleta "e;Nostal'giya po beskonechnosti Kazhetsya, men'shim riskom bylo by zaklyuchit' sdelku s d'yavolom. Vekovye skitaniya v kosmose, postoyannaya bor'ba za vyzhivanie prevratili ehtih lyudej v raschetlivye mekhanizmy. Oni bezzhalostny, besstrashny i izobretatel'ny, i oni privykli lyuboj cenoj dobivat'sya svoego. I odin iz nih, mezhdu prochim, pribyl na Resurgem s tajnym porucheniem ubit' Silvesta
A forgotten enemy. An old adversary. A terrible alliance. From a ruined world at the end of time, the vicious Sild make preparations to conquer the past and rewrite history. But to do it they will need to enslave an intellect greater than their own... On Earth, UNIT is called in to examine a mysterious incident on a North Sea drilling platform. They've hardly begun, though, when something even stranger takes hold: The Brigadier and others are starting to forget about UNIT's highest-profile prisoner. As the Sild invasion begins, the Doctor faces a terrible dilemma. To save the universe, he must save his arch-nemesis... The Master.
This story is not part of the Revelation Space series. It was developed from notes for an unwritten novel and maybe one day that novel will be completed, for we need to know the fate of the Earth. This story presents one of the more unusual apocalyptic ideas.