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Alastair Reynolds - Author

About the Author

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.

Featured books by Alastair Reynolds

Revenger

Revenger

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/05/2017

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.

ebook of the month
Terminal World

Terminal World

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2011

Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different - and rigidly enforced - level of technology. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they have television and electric trains ...Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon's world is wrenched apart one more time, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint's Celestial Levels - and with the dying body comes bad news. If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint's base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon's own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police, but by the very nature of reality - and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability ...

ebook of the month

Other books by Alastair Reynolds

Pushing Ice

Pushing Ice

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: eBook Release Date: 30/06/2016

V 2057 godu sputnik Saturna YAnus vnezapno soshel s orbity i ustremilsya za predely Solnechnoj sistemy. Do sih por nikto ne podozreval, chto ehta gigantskaya glyba - iskusstvennoe obrazovanie, detishche inoplanetnyh tekhnologij. Ugnat'sya za nej sposoben tol'ko korabl' ohotnikov na komety, dobytchikov kosmicheskogo l'da. Kapitanu Belle Lind predlozheno otpravit'sya vsled za begloj lunoj, ved' dlya chelovechestva ehto dolgozhdannyj shans ustanovit' kontakt s vnezemnym razumom. Bella ne mogla predpolozhit', chto lyudi, poruchivshie ej ehtu missiyu, bez kolebanij ostavyat v bede ee ehkipazh. Vpervye na russkom yazyke!

Terminal World

Terminal World

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: eBook Release Date: 16/05/2016

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!

Poseidon's Wake

Poseidon's Wake

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/04/2016

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.

Century Rain

Century Rain

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: eBook Release Date: 03/08/2015

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.

Poseidon's Wake

Poseidon's Wake

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/04/2015

This novel is a stand-alone story which takes two extraordinary characters and follows them as they, independently, begin to unravel some of the greatest mysteries of our universe. Their missions are dangerous, and they are all venturing into the unknown ... and if they can uncover the secret to faster-than-light travel then new worlds will be at our fingertips. But innovation and progress are not always embraced by everyone. There is a saboteur at work. Different factions disagree about the best way to move forward. And the mysterious Watchkeepers are ever-present. Completing the informal trilogy which began with BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH and ON THE STEEL BREEZE, this is a powerful and effective story.

Poseidon's Wake

Poseidon's Wake

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/04/2015

This novel is a stand-alone story which takes two extraordinary characters and follows them as they, independently, begin to unravel some of the greatest mysteries of our universe. Their missions are dangerous, and they are all venturing into the unknown . . . and if they can uncover the secret to faster-than-light travel then new worlds will be at our fingertips. But innovation and progress are not always embraced by everyone. There is a saboteur at work. Different factions disagree about the best way to move forward. And the mysterious Watchkeepers are ever-present. Completing the informal trilogy which began with Blue Remembered Earth and On the Steel Breeze, this is a powerful and effective story.

Prefect

Prefect

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: eBook Release Date: 23/04/2015

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!

On the Steel Breeze

On the Steel Breeze

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/10/2014

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 ...

Chasm City

Chasm City

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: eBook Release Date: 13/10/2014

Dolg chesti trebuet, chtoby Tanner Mirabel', telohranitel' i specialist po oruzhiyu, otomstil ubijce svoego nanimatelya. Poiski privodyat na planetu Jellouston, gde "e;plavyashchaya chuma - mutaciya kroshechnyh mekhanizmov-virusov, prezhde veroj i pravdoj sluzhivshih lyudyam, - prevratila Gorod Bezdny, zhemchuzhinu chelovecheskoj kul'tury, v nechto krajne strannoe, mrachnoe i chrezvychajno opasnoe. Pytayas' vyzhit' i vypolnit' svoyu missiyu v absolyutno vrazhdebnoj srede, Mirabel' snova i snova podvergaetsya natisku chuzhih vospominanij - i nachinaet podozrevat', chto on ne tot, kem schitaet sebya.

Blue Remembered Earth

Blue Remembered Earth

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 25/09/2014

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 ...

revelation space

revelation space

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: eBook Release Date: 18/07/2014

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

Reach For Infinity

Reach For Infinity

Author: Alastair Reynolds, Ken Macleod, Karen Lord Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/06/2014

What happens when humanity reaches out into the vastness of space? The brightest names in SF contribute orginal new fiction to this amazing anothology from master editor Jonathan Strahan. Including new work by Alastair Reynolds, Greg Egan, Ian McDonald, Ken Macleod, Pat Cadigan, Karl Schroeder, Hannu Rajaniemi, Karen Lord, Adam Roberts, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Aliette de Bodard, Peter Watts, and others!

Doctor Who: Harvest of Time

Doctor Who: Harvest of Time

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/02/2014

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.

Revelation Space

Revelation Space

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/09/2013

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.

Doctor Who: Harvest Of Time

Doctor Who: Harvest Of Time

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 06/06/2013

After billions of years of imprisonment, the vicious Sild have broken out of confinement. From a ruined world at the end of time, they make preparations to conquer the past, with the ultimate goal of rewriting history. But to achieve their aims they will need to enslave an intellect greater than their own... On Earth, UNIT is called in to investigate a mysterious incident on a North Sea drilling platform. The Doctor believes something is afoot, and no sooner has the investigation begun than something even stranger takes hold: the Brigadier is starting to forget about UNIT's highest-profile prisoner. And he is not alone in his amnesia. As the Sild invasion begins, the Doctor faces a terrible dilemma. To save the universe, he must save his arch-nemesis... the Master. A complete and unabridged reading by Geoffrey Beevers, with original sound design. 10 CDs. 11 hrs 48 mins.

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