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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

No Word Choice Agony

“As a kid, I'd buy novels with these magnificent Chris Fosse covers which showed an enormous contraption hovering over a planet, and you'd always think 'Where's that going to come in?' And it never did! It was always slightly disappointing when the contents of a book never lived up to the cover.” – Alastair Reynolds

British SciFi writer Reynolds, born on this date in 1966, specializes in dark hard science fiction and what has been termed “space opera.”   A native of Cornwall, he also lived in Wales, Scotland and The Netherlands, studying physics, astronomy and literature before deciding that what he really wanted to do was combine them all with his writing.    He said reading historical novels also inspires science fiction.  “There are similarities between historical novels and science fiction,” he said.  “Being thrown into the Napoleonic Wars is just as much of a different world as space.”

The best way to check out Reynolds writing might be through his Revelation Space series, which includes a number of novels, two novellas, and eight short stories.  It’s set over a span of several centuries in a consistent future universe he calls the Revelation Space universe.  
                                     A one-time employee of the European Space Research and Technology Centre (part of the European Space Agency), he started full-time writing in 2004.  Reynolds prefers using real science in his books, especially what he believes will be possible.  But, he said he doesn’t hesitate to use what seems impossible – like faster-than-light travel – when it helps advance his stories.   His advice to SciFi writers is to just move forward with ideas and your creativity.

“One of the big breakthroughs I had as a writer was when I stopped agonizing over every word.”


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