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. 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 veiled behind space opera and noir toned stories, 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. 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 CE 2205 to 40 000, although the novels are all set in a 300-year period spanning from CE 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 trilogy consisting of Revelation Space, Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap (the Inhibitor trilogy) deals with humanity coming to the attention of the Inhibitors and the resultant war between them.
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.
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.
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. 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."
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." Reynolds states that he is "firmly intending" to return to the House of Suns setting to write a sequel.
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.
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.
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). 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.
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.
Turquoise Days – Originally published as a chapbook from Golden Gryphon (2002, no ISBN); reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twentieth Annual Collection (2003, ISBN 0-312-30860-4), Gardner Dozois, ed.; and in Best of the Best Volume 2: 20 Years of the Year's Best Short Science Fiction Novels (2007, ISBN 0-312-36342-7), Gardner Dozois, ed.
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.) re printed 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.)
"Enola" – Originally published in Interzone #54 (December 1991).
"Zima Blue" – Originally published in Postscripts # 4 (Summer 2005); reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Third Annual Collection (2006, ISBN 0-312-35334-0), Gardner Dozois, ed..
"Signal to Noise" – Originally published in Zima Blue and Other Stories, (2006); reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection (2006, ISBN 978-0-312-36335-2), Gardner Dozois, ed.
"Cardiff Afterlife" – Originally published in the reprint of Zima Blue and Other Stories
"Understanding Space and Time" – Originally published in a limited edition of 400 copies for the Novacon 35 Sci Fi convention; reprinted in Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2006 Edition (2006, ISBN 978-0-8095-5649-6), Rich Horton, ed.; and in Science Fiction: The Very Best of 2005 (2006), Jonathan Strahan, ed.
"Minla's Flowers" – Originally published in The New Space Opera (2007, ISBN 978-0-06-084675-6), Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan, eds.
"Great Wall of Mars" – Originally published in Spectrum SF #1 (February 2000); reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Eighteenth Annual Collection (2001, ISBN 0-312-27465-3), Gardner Dozois, ed.
"Glacial" – Originally published in Spectrum SF #5 (March 2001); reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Nineteenth Annual Collection (2002, ISBN 0-312-28879-4), Gardner Dozois, ed.; and in Year's Best SF 7 (2002, ISBN 0-06-106143-3), David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds.
"Weather" – Originally published in Galactic North (2006)
"Grafenwalder's Bestiary" – Originally published in Galactic North (2006)
"Nightingale" – Originally published in Galactic North (2006); reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection (2006, ISBN 978-0-312-36335-2), Gardner Dozois, ed.
"Dilation Sleep" – Originally published in Interzone #39 (September 1990).
"A Spy in Europa" – Originally published in Interzone #120 (June 1997); reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection (1998, ISBN 0-312-19033-6), Gardner Dozois, ed.; and posted free online at Infinity Plus
"Galactic North" – Originally published in Interzone #145 (July 1999); reprinted in Space Soldiers (2001, ISBN 978-0-441-00824-7), Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, eds.; and in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Seventeenth Annual Collection (2000, ISBN 0-312-26417-8), Gardner Dozois, ed.; and in Hayakawa's SF magazine.
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)..
"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..
Blue Remembered Earth is a science fiction novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds, first published by Gollancz on 19 January 2012. It describes the efforts of two adult siblings to solve a mystery in the pseudo-utopian 2160s. The novel is the first of the Poseidon's Children trilogy, which follows humanity's development over many centuries, with the intention of portraying a more optimistic future than anything Reynolds had previously written. The second book in the trilogy, On the Steel Breeze, was released on 26 September 2013, and the trilogy's finale, Poseidon's Wake, was released on 30 April 2015.
Chasm City is a 2001 science fiction novel by British writer Alastair Reynolds, set in the Revelation Space universe. It deals with themes of identity, memory, and immortality, and many of its scenes are concerned primarily with describing the unusual societal and physical structure of the titular city, a major nexus of Reynolds's universe. It won the 2002 British Science Fiction Association award.
Elysium Fire is a 2018 hard science fiction novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds. It is a direct sequel to Aurora Rising, taking place in the Revelation Space universe. Reynolds has stated that the novel requires no previous knowledge of Aurora Rising, functioning as a standalone work.Aurora Rising and Elysium Fire comprise the Prefect Dreyfus Emergency series.
Doctor Who: Harvest of Time is a Third Doctor novel by Alastair Reynolds. It features the Third Doctor (as portrayed by Jon Pertwee), Jo Grant, the Master (as portrayed by Roger Delgado), Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, and other familiar characters from the Third Doctor era of Doctor Who.
Harvest of Time, a BBC Books original novel, was published in June 2013. It was simultaneously released as an eBook and in an unabridged audio version read by Geoffrey Beevers.
House of Suns is a 2008 science fiction novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds. Reynolds announced the title on 7 June 2007, when he was about halfway through writing it. It is set in the same universe as his novella "Thousandth Night", which appears in the anthology One Million A.D., although he has stated on his blog that House of Suns "does not attempt slavish consistency" with "Thousandth Night" (some characters killed in the novella make an appearance in House of Suns). The novel was shortlisted for the 2009 Arthur C. Clarke Award.
On the Steel Breeze is a science fiction novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds, which was first published by Gollancz on 26 September 2013. It is the second part of Reynolds' future history Poseidon's Children trilogy, following his 2012 novel Blue Remembered Earth. On the Steel Breeze was followed on 30 April 2015 by the concluding novel of the trilogy, Poseidon's Wake.
Poseidon's Wake is a science fiction novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds. It forms the conclusion of Reynolds' Poseidon's Children future history trilogy, which follows the expansion of humanity and its transhuman descendants into the galaxy over the course of many centuries. Poseidon's Wake follows Blue Remembered Earth (2012) and On the Steel Breeze (2013), and was published by Gollancz on 30 April 2015.
Redemption Ark is a 2002 science fiction novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds set in the Revelation Space universe. It continues the story of Nevil Clavain begun in the short stories "Great Wall of Mars" and "Glacial".
Revelation Space is a 2000 science fiction novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds. It was the first novel (but not published work of fiction) set in Reynolds' eponymous universe. The novel reflects Reynolds's professional background: he has a PhD in astronomy and worked for many years for the European Space Agency.It was short listed for the 2000 BSFA and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.
Revenger is a 2016 hard science fiction novel by British author Alastair Reynolds. It is unconnected to any of Reynolds's previous works. A sequel, entitled Shadow Captain was published on January 10, 2019.Revenger won the 2017 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book, and was a finalist for the 2018 Philip K. Dick Award.
Shadow Captain, by British author Alastair Reynolds, is the second book in the Revenger Trilogy that began with the novel Revenger, published in 2016. Shadow Captain takes place in a setting 10 million years in the future called The Congregation, where the Solar system has been through thirteen "Occupations" that has reduced the planets to rubble and rebuilt it into its current state, a collection of 50 million micro-worlds, with 20,000 of them occupied by the remnants of humanity and alien species.
While Revenger is told from the first person perspective of Arafura Ness, Shadow Captain is told from the first person perspective of her older sister, Adrana.
The final book in the trilogy, Bone Silence, will be published in the near future.
The Medusa Chronicles is a 2016 science fiction novel by Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter, a sequel to Arthur C. Clarke's 1970 novella A Meeting with Medusa. It expands on the premise of Clarke's story, taking the main character into the distant future, while also going into the past to show that both the novel and the original Clarke story are set in an alternative history where in 1968, NASA and the Soviet space program united to prevent an asteroid from impacting Earth.
Aurora Rising (originally titled The Prefect) is a 2007 science fiction novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds. It is the fifth novel set in the Revelation Space universe, and takes place prior to the four previously released Revelation Space novels, but after some of the short stories. A sequel, Elysium Fire, was released in January 2018.While the novel takes place in the Revelation Space universe, it has little connection to the other novels.
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