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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

Bone Silence

Bone Silence

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/01/2020

'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

Bone Silence

Bone Silence

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/01/2020

'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

Shadow Captain

Shadow Captain

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/09/2019

'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

Permafrost

Permafrost

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/03/2019

Shadow Captain

Shadow Captain

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/01/2019

'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

Shadow Captain

Shadow Captain

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/01/2019

'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

Elysium Fire

Elysium Fire

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/10/2018

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.

2001: An Odyssey In Words

2001: An Odyssey In Words

Author: Alastair Reynolds, Bruce Sterling Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/07/2018

Slow Bullets

Slow Bullets

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/02/2018

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.

Aurora Rising

Aurora Rising

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/11/2017

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

Beyond the Aquila Rift

Beyond the Aquila Rift

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/06/2017

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

Slow Bullets

Slow Bullets

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/02/2017

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.

The Iron Tactician

The Iron Tactician

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/12/2016

Beyond the Aquila Rift

Beyond the Aquila Rift

Author: Alastair Reynolds Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/07/2016

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

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!

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