Alastair Reynolds


Alastair Preston Reynolds (born 13 March 1966) is a British[2] science fiction author. He specialises in hard science fiction and space opera. He spent his early years in Cornwall, moved back to Wales before going to Newcastle University, where he studied physics and astronomy. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in astrophysics from the University of St Andrews.[3] In 1991, he moved to Noordwijk in the Netherlands where he met his wife Josette (who is from France). There, he worked for the European Space Research and Technology Centre (part of the European Space Agency) until 2004 when he left to pursue writing full-time.[1] He returned to Wales in 2008 and lives near Cardiff.

Alastair Reynolds
Reynolds at Eastercon in 2010
Reynolds at Eastercon in 2010
Born (1966-03-13) 13 March 1966 (age 57)[1]
Barry, United Kingdom[1]
former research astronomer with the European Space Agency
GenreScience fiction

Works Edit

Reynolds wrote his first four published science fiction short stories while still a graduate student, in 1989–1991; they appeared in 1990–1992, his first sale being to Interzone.[1] In 1991 Reynolds graduated and moved from Scotland to the Netherlands to work at ESA. He then started spending much of his writing time on a first novel, which eventually turned into Revelation Space, while the few short stories he submitted from 1991–1995 were rejected. This ended in 1995 when his story "Byrd Land Six" was published, which he says marked the beginning of a more serious phase of writing. As of 2011 he has published over forty shorter works and nine novels. His works are hard science fiction, typically in the sub-genres of space opera and noir, and reflect his professional expertise with physics and astronomy, included by extrapolating future technologies in terms that are consistent, for the most part, with current science. Reynolds has said he prefers to keep the science in his books to what he personally believes will be possible, and he does not believe faster-than-light travel will ever be possible, but that he adopts science he believes will be impossible when it is necessary for the story.[4] Most of Reynolds's novels contain multiple storylines that originally appear to be completely unrelated, but merge later in the story.

Five of his novels and several of his short stories take place within one consistent future universe, usually now called the Revelation Space universe after the first novel published in it, although it was originally developed in short stories for several years before the first novel. Although most characters appear in more than one novel, the works set within this future timeline rarely have the same protagonists twice. Often the protagonists from one work belong to a group that is regarded with suspicion or enmity by the protagonists of another work. While a great deal of science fiction reflects either very optimistic or dystopian visions of the human future, Reynolds's future worlds are notable in that human societies have not departed to either positive or negative extremes, but instead are similar to those of today in terms of moral ambiguity and a mixture of cruelty and decency, corruption and opportunity, despite their technology being dramatically advanced.

The Revelation Space series includes six novels, seven novellas, and six short stories set over a span of several centuries, spanning approximately AD 2205 to 40 000, although the novels are all set in a 300-year period spanning from 2427 to 2727. In this universe, extraterrestrial sentience exists but is elusive, and interstellar travel is primarily undertaken by a class of vessel called a lighthugger which only approaches the speed of light (faster than light travel is possible, but it is so dangerous that no race uses it). Fermi's paradox is explained as resulting from the activities of an inorganic alien race referred to by its victims as the Inhibitors, which exterminates sentient races if they proceed above a certain level of technology. The tetralogy consisting of Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, Absolution Gap, and Inhibitor Phase deals with humanity coming to the attention of the Inhibitors and the resultant war between them.[1]

Century Rain takes place in a future universe independent of the Revelation Space universe and has different rules, such as faster-than-light travel being possible through a system of portals similar to wormholes. Century Rain also departs substantially from Reynolds's previous works, both in having a protagonist who is much closer to the perspective of our real world (in fact he is from a version of our past), serving as a proxy for the reader in confronting the unfamiliarity of the advanced science fiction aspects and in having a much more linear storytelling process. Reynolds's previous protagonists started out fully absorbed in the exoticisms of the future setting and his previous Revelation Space works have several interlinked story threads, not necessarily contemporaneous. According to Alastair himself, no sequel will ever be made on Century Rain.[5]

Pushing Ice is also a standalone story, with characters from much less distant in the future than in any of his other novels, set into a framework storyline that extends much further into the future of humanity than any of his previous novels. It contains an alternative interpretation of the Fermi paradox: intelligent sentient life in this universe is extremely scarce. Reynolds states that he is "firmly intending" to return to the Pushing Ice setting to write a sequel.[6]

The Prefect marked a return to the Revelation Space universe. Like Chasm City, it is a stand-alone novel within that setting. It is set prior to any of the other Revelation Space novels, though still 200 years after the original human settlement is established on the planet Yellowstone in the Epsilon Eridani system. It was published in the United Kingdom on 2 April 2007. Since its publication, the title of The Prefect has been changed to Aurora Rising to more align with the name of the sequel, Elysium Fire, which was published in 2018, marking the first novel length return to the Revelation Space universe since 2007.[7] This sub-series within the Revelation Space universe is now called The Prefect Dreyfus Emergencies. Reynolds states that he has "tentative plans for three more Dreyfus titles, with an arc that would eventually take him beyond Yellowstone, and then back again."[6]

House of Suns is a standalone novel set in the same universe as his novella "Thousandth Night" from the One Million A.D. anthology. It was released in the UK on 17 April 2008 and in the US on 2 June 2009. Reynolds described it as "Six million years in the future, starfaring clones, tensions between human and robot metacivilisations, King Crimson jokes."[5] As with Pushing Ice, Reynolds also states that he is "firmly intending" to return to the House of Suns setting to write a sequel.[6]

Terminal World, published in March 2010 was described by Reynolds as "a kind of steampunk-tinged planetary romance, set in the distant future". As with Century Rain, Reynolds has said that he does not plan any further work in the universe of Terminal World.[5]

In June 2009 Reynolds signed a new deal, worth £1 million, with his British publishers for ten books to be published over the next ten years.[8]

Between 2012 and 2015 Reynolds released three novels set in a new universe called Poseidon's Children: Blue Remembered Earth (2012), On the Steel Breeze (2014), and Poseidon's Wake (2015).[9][10] The novels comprise a hard science fiction trilogy dealing with the expansion of the human species into the solar system and beyond, and the emergence of Africa as a spacefaring, technological super-state.

His Doctor Who novel Harvest of Time was published in June 2013.[10]

His forthcoming work includes "Banish", which will be appearing in Multiverses by Preston Grassmann (ed.) for Titan Publishing.[11]

Awards and nominations Edit

Reynolds's fiction has received three awards and several other nominations. His second novel Chasm City won the 2001 British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel.[12] His short story "Weather" won the Japanese National Science Fiction Convention's Seiun Award for Best Translated Short Fiction.[13] His novels Absolution Gap and The Prefect have also been nominated for previous BSFA awards.[14][15] Reynolds has been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award three times, for his novels Revelation Space,[16] Pushing Ice[17] and House of Suns.[18] In 2010, he won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History for his short story "The Fixation".[19] His novella Troika made the shortlist[20] for the 2011 Hugo Awards.[21][22] His Novel Revenger received the 2017 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book.[23] 

Adaptations Edit

On 10 March 2019 Alastair Reynolds announced that his short stories "Zima Blue" and "Beyond the Aquila Rift" had been adapted as part of Netflix's animated anthology Love, Death & Robots. These stories are the first of Reynolds's works to be adapted for TV or film.[24]

Bibliography Edit

Novels Edit

Revelation Space series Edit

The Inhibitor Sequence:

  1. Revelation Space. London: Gollancz, 2000. ISBN 978-0-44-100942-8
  2. Redemption Ark. London: Gollancz, 2002. ISBN 0-575-06879-5
  3. Absolution Gap. London: Gollancz, 2003. ISBN 0-575-07434-5
  4. Inhibitor Phase. London: Gollancz, 2021. ISBN 978-0-57-509071-2

The Prefect Dreyfus Emergencies:

  1. The Prefect/Aurora Rising. London: Gollancz, 2007, ISBN 0-575-07716-6
  2. Elysium Fire. London: Gollancz, 2018, ISBN 0-575-09058-8
  3. Machine Vendetta. London: Gollancz, 2024, ISBN 978-0-316-46285-3. (Forthcoming, Jan 2024)


Poseidon's Children Universe Edit

  1. Blue Remembered Earth. London: Gollancz, 2012, ISBN 0-575-08827-3
  2. On the Steel Breeze. London: Gollancz, 2013, ISBN 0-575-09045-6[25][26]
  3. Poseidon's Wake. London: Gollancz, 2015, ISBN 978-0-575-09049-1[27]

Revenger Universe Edit

  1. Revenger. London: Gollancz, 2016, ISBN 978-057-509053-8
  2. Shadow Captain. London: Gollancz, 2019, ISBN 978-057-509063-7
  3. Bone Silence. London: Gollancz, 2020, ISBN 978-057-509067-5

Doctor Who (Third Doctor) Edit

Other Edit

Collections Edit

  • Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days. London: Gollancz, 2003. ISBN 0-575-07526-0
  • Zima Blue and Other Stories. San Francisco, CA: Night Shade Books, 2006. ISBN 1-59780-058-9 (Contains nearly all of the author's non-Revelation Space universe stories at the time of publication). Reprinted as Zima Blue and Other Stories. London: Gollancz, 2009. ISBN 0-575-08405-7 (British edition has additional stories 1) Cardiff Afterlife; 2) Minla's Flowers; 3) Digital to Analogue; 4) Everlasting) not included in the original publication. Introduction by Paul McAuley.)
  • Galactic North. London: Gollancz, 2006. ISBN 0-575-07910-X (Contains all novellas and short stories in the Revelation Space universe up to 2006, except those in Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days)
  • Deep Navigation. Framingham, MA: NESFA Press, 2010. ISBN 978-1-886778-90-0 (Limited edition containing stories either not included in, or published after the earlier collections. Introduction by Stephen Baxter.)
    • "Nunivak Snowflakes" – Originally published in Interzone #36 (June 1990)..
    • "Byrd Land Six" – Originally published in Interzone #96 (June 1995); reprinted in The Ant Men of Tibet and Other Stories (2001, ISBN 1-903468-02-7), David Pringle, ed.
    • "On the Oodnadatta" – Originally published in Interzone #128 (February 1998)..
    • "Stroboscopic" – Originally published in Interzone #134 (August 1998); reprinted in Dangerous Games (2007, ISBN 978-0-441-01490-3), Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann, eds.
    • "Viper" – Originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction (December 1999)..
    • "Fresco" – Originally published in the UNESCO Courier (May 2001)..
    • "Feeling Rejected" – Originally published in the journal Nature (2005)..
    • "Tiger, Burning" – Originally published in Forbidden Planets (2006, ISBN 0-7564-0330-8), Peter Crowther, ed.; reprinted in Year's Best SF 12 (2007, ISBN 978-0-06-125208-2), David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, eds..
    • "The Sledge-Maker's Daughter" – Originally published in Interzone No. 209 (April 2007); reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection (2006, ISBN 978-0-312-37860-8), Gardner Dozois, ed..
    • "Soirée" – Originally published in Celebration: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the British Science Fiction Association (March 2008), Ian Whates, ed..
    • "The Star-Surgeon's Apprentice" – Originally published in The Starry Rift (April 2008), Jonathan Strahan, ed..
    • "Fury" – Originally published in Eclipse Two: New Science Fiction and Fantasy, (November 2008)..
    • The Fixation – Originally published in a Finnish language, Hannun basaarissa a limited edition booklet of about 200 copies in tribute to Hannu Blommila in Finland (2007); reprinted in The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume 3 (February 2009), George Mann, ed..
    • "The Receivers" – Originally published in Other Earths (April 2009), Nick Gevers and Jay Lake, eds.
    • "Monkey Suit" – Originally published in Death Ray #20 (July 2009) (a Revelation Space story).
  • Beyond the Aquila Rift. London: Gollancz, 2016. ISBN 978-1473216358
    • "Great Wall of Mars" – previously collected in Galactic North
    • "Weather" – previously collected in Galactic North
    • "Beyond the Aquila Rift" – previously collected in Zima Blue and Other Stories
    • "Minla's Flowers" – previously collected in Zima Blue and Other Stories
    • "Zima Blue" – previously collected in Zima Blue and Other Stories
    • "Fury" – previously collected in Deep Navigation
    • "The Star Surgeon's Apprentice" – previously collected in Deep Navigation
    • "The Sledge-Maker's Daughter" – previously collected in Deep Navigation
    • Diamond Dogs – previously collected in Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
    • Thousandth Night – originally published in One Million A.D. (2005), Gardner Dozois, ed.
    • Troika – originally published in Godlike Machines (2010), Jonathan Strahan, ed.;
    • "Sleepover" – originally published in The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF (May 2010), Mike Ashley, eds.
    • "Vainglory" – originally published in Edge of Infinity (December 2012), Jonathan Strahan, ed.
    • "Trauma Pod" – originally published in Armored (April 2012), John Joseph Adams, ed
    • "The Last Log of the Lachrimosa" – originally published in Subterranean Online (July 2014) (a Revelation Space story)[31]
    • "The Water Thief" – originally published in Arc 1.1 / The Future Aways Wins (February 2012), Sumit Paul-Choudhury, Simon Ings, eds.
    • "The Old Man and the Martian Sea" – originally published in Life on Mars (April 2011), Jonathan Strahan, ed.
    • "In Babelsberg" – originally published in Reach for Infinity (May 2014), Jonathan Strahan, ed.[32]
  • Belladonna Nights and Other Stories. Subterranean Press, October 2021.[33]
    • "Belladonna Nights" – originally published in The Weight of Words, Subterranean Press (December 2017), Dave McKean and William Schafer eds. (a House of Suns story)
    • "Different Seas" – originally published in Twelve Tomorrows, MIT Press (May 2018), Wade Rush ed.
    • "For the Ages" – originally published in Solaris Rising: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction (November 2011), Ian Whates, ed.
    • "Visiting Hours" - originally published in Megatech: Technology in 2050 (2017)
    • "Holdfast" – originally published in Extrasolar, PS Publishing (August 2017), Nick Gevers ed.
    • "The Lobby" – originally published in Memoryville Blues (Postscripts #30/31), Peter Crowther & Nick Gevers, ed.
    • "A Map of Mercury" – originally published in The Lowest Heaven (June 2013)[34]
    • "Magic Bone Woman" - originally published in Consequences (2011)
    • "Providence" – originally published in 2001: An Odyssey in Words, Newcon Press (March 2018), Ian Whates and Tom Hunter eds.
    • "Wrecking Party" – originally published in Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West (May 2014), John Joseph Adams, ed.
    • "Sixteen Questions for Kamala Chatterjee" - originally published in Bridging Infinity, Solaris Press (October 2016), Jonathan Strahan ed.
    • "Death's Door" – originally published in Infinity's End, Solaris Press (July 2018), Jonathan Strahan ed.
    • "A Murmuration" – originally published in Interzone (Mar–Apr 2015)
    • "Open and Shut" – originally published online by Gollancz (January 2018) (a Revelation Space story).[35]
    • "Plague Music"- originally published in Belladonna Nights (2021) (a Revelation Space story)
    • "Night Passage" – Published in Infinite Stars, Titan Books (October 2017), Bryan Thomas Schmidt ed. (a Revelation Space story)

Novellas Edit

  • "Thousandth Night", ISBN 978-1596062597 (with "Minla's Flowers") – Originally published in One Million A.D. (2005), Gardner Dozois, ed.; available in electronic format from Subterranean Press.
  • "The Six Directions of Space", ISBN 978-1596061842 – Originally published in Galactic Empires (September 2007[36]), Gardner Dozois, ed.
  • "Troika", ISBN 978-1596063761 – Originally published in Godlike Machines (2010), Jonathan Strahan, ed.;[1]
  • "Slow Bullets" (2015), ISBN 978-1616961930
  • "The Iron Tactician" (2016), ISBN 978-1910935309
  • "Permafrost" (2019), ISBN 9781250303561

Uncollected short fiction Edit

  • "The Big Hello" – Originally published in German translation in a convention program.
  • "The Manastodon Broadcasts" – Originally published in Aberrant Dreams I: The Awakening (December 2008), Joe Dickerson, Ernest G. Saylor and Lonny Harper, eds.
  • "Scales" – Originally published in The Guardian (2009); and posted free online at Lightspeed Magazine.[37]
  • "Lune and the Red Empress" with Liz Williams, originally published in the 2010 Eastercon souvenir booklet.
  • "At Budokan" – Originally published in Shine (March 2010), Jetse de Vries, ed.
  • "Ascension Day" – Originally published in Voices from the Past (May 2011), reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection (2012, ISBN 978-1-250-00354-6), Gardner Dozois, ed.
  • "Sad Kapteyn" – Originally published online by the School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London[38]
  • "Remainers" - Originally published in Tales from the Edge: Escalation, Spiral Arm Studios (July 2017), Stephen Gaskell ed.
  • "Polished Performance" – Published in Made To Order: Robots and Revolution, Solaris Press (March 2020), Jonathan Strahan ed.
  • "Things To Do In Deimos When You're Dead" - Published in Asimov's Science Fiction (September/October 2022)
  • "End User" - Published online on Medium (June 2023)[39]
  • "Detonation Boulevard" - Published online in (July 2023)[40]

Essays, reporting and other contributions Edit

  • Reynolds, Alastair (2015). "Gerry Anderson saw the future". Book Club. SciFiNow. 104: 96–97.

External links Edit

  • Personal homepage
  • Personal Blog, Approaching Pavonis Mons by balloon
  • Alastair Reynolds at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • Alastair Reynolds' online fiction at Free Speculative Fiction Online
  • Golden Gryphon Press official site – About chapbook Turquoise Days

Interviews Edit

  • Interview conducted by Moid Moidelhoff in 2021 for the YouTube channel Media Death Cult.
  • Interview conducted by Roger Deforest (2006)
  • Science fiction 'thrives in hi-tech world', interview by the BBC (2007)
  • An Interview with Best-Selling Science Fiction Author Alastair Reynolds, interviewed by Neal Ulen, Futurism (2017)

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Strahan, Jonathan, ed. (2010), Godlike Machines, Garden City, New York: Science Fiction Book Club, p. 1, ISBN 978-1-61664-759-9
  2. ^ "Alastair Reynolds on Trying to Encompass the Entire History of Science Fiction in One Novel". 4 November 2022.
  3. ^ "Once a physicist: Alastair Reynolds". Archived from the original on 26 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  4. ^ Science fiction 'thrives in hi-tech world' BBC News Monday, 30 April 2007
  5. ^ a b c, as retrieved in January 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Ulen, Neal. "An Interview with Best-Selling Science Fiction Author Alastair Reynolds". Futurism. Archived from the original on 17 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  7. ^ R, Al (25 July 2017). "Approaching Pavonis Mons by balloon: Elysium Fire and a new title for The Prefect".
  8. ^ "Science fiction author lands £1m book deal". The Guardian. 22 June 2009.
  9. ^ "Teahouse on the Tracks (Alastair Reynolds)".
  10. ^ a b Reynolds, Alastair. "Novels". Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Forthcoming Stories | Alastair Reynolds". Retrieved 7 April 2023.
  12. ^ "Past BSFA awards". Archived from the original on 30 April 2009.
  13. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 2008 Seiun Awards". Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Bibliography: Absolution Gap". Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Bibliography: The Prefect". 25 June 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  16. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 2001 Arthur C. Clarke Award". Archived from the original on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  17. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 2006 Arthur C. Clarke Award". 25 April 2006. Archived from the original on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  18. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 2009 Arthur C. Clarke Award". 29 April 2009. Archived from the original on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  19. ^ "Bibliography: The Fixation". Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  20. ^ "Renovation – Hugo Awards". Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  21. ^ "Bibliography: Troika". Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  22. ^ Locus, 2011 Hugo and Campbell Awards Winners (access date 21 August 2011)
  23. ^ "2017 Locus Awards Winners". Locus Online News. 24 June 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  24. ^ Reynolds, Alastair (10 March 2019). "Love, Death & Robots". Approaching Pavonis Mons by balloon (author's official blog). Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  25. ^ On the Steel Breeze (Poseidon's Children): Alastair Reynolds: Books. ASIN 0575090456.
  26. ^ Alastair Reynolds – On the Steel Breeze cover art reveal Archived 23 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Alastair Reynolds – Poseidon's Wake – Orion Publishing Group". Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  28. ^ Reynolds, Alastair (4 August 2021). "I've delivered a new book". Approaching Pavonis Mons by balloon (Reynolds' personal blog).
  29. ^ "Spirey and the Queen – a novelette by Alastair Reynolds". Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  30. ^ "A Spy in Europa – a short story by Alastair Reynolds". Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  31. ^ "The Last Log of the Lachrimosa". Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  32. ^ Alexander, Niall (12 June 2014). "Step into the Stars: Reach for Infinity, ed. Jonathan Strahan". Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  33. ^ "Forthcoming Books". 29 August 2017.
  34. ^ "The Lowest Heaven anthology table of contents announced". 2013. Archived from the original on 24 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  35. ^ "Open and shut". Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  36. ^ "Science Fiction Book Club".[permanent dead link]
  37. ^ Alastair Reynolds (17 January 2012). "Scales by Alastair Reynolds". Lightspeed Magazine. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  38. ^ "Sad Kapteyn". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  39. ^ "End User". Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  40. ^ "Detonation Boulevard". Retrieved 12 July 2023.