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Alastair Preston Reynolds (born in 1966 in Barrymarker, Walesmarker) is a Britishmarker science fiction author. He specialises in dark hard science fiction and space opera. He spent his early years in Cornwallmarker, moved back to Walesmarker before going to Newcastlemarker, where he read physics and astronomy. Afterwards, he earned a PhD from St Andrews, Scotlandmarker. In 1991, he moved to Noordwijkmarker in the Netherlandsmarker where he met his wife Josette (who is from Francemarker). There, he worked for the European Space Research and Technology Centremarker, part of the European Space Agencymarker, until 2004 when he left to pursue writing full time. He returned to Wales in 2008 and lives near Cardiffmarker.


Reynolds wrote his first four published science fiction short stories while still a graduate student, in 1989-1991; they appeared in 1990-1992. 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. he has published over thirty shorter works and eight 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 five novels, two novellas, and eight short stories set over a span of several centuries, spanning approximately 2200 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 trilogy consisting of Revelation Space, Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap deal 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 (all the others remain at least potentially open).

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.

The Prefect marked a return to the Revelation Space universe. Like Chasm City, it is a stand-alone novel within the Revelation Space universe. It is set prior to any of the other Revelation Space novels, though still 200 years after the original human settlement of the Epsilon Eridani system. It was published in the United Kingdommarker on 2 April 2007.

On 7 June 2007, Reynolds announced that his next novel would be entitled House of Suns, and that it would be set in the same universe as his novella "Thousandth Night" from the One Million A.D. anthology. This novel was released in the UK on 17 April 2008 with an American release to follow. He is presently working on a new novel which he has confirmed will be a standalone and is due for publication in March 2010, titled Terminal World. It is described by Reynolds in a recent interview as "it's SF, it's weird and it doesn't have spaceships." Reynolds further elaborated on the book in a recent interview , saying it would be "a kind of steampunk-tinged planetary romance, set in the distant future".

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.



Revelation Space

  1. Revelation Space. London: Gollancz, 2000. ISBN 0-575-06875-2
  2. Chasm City. London: Gollancz, 2001. ISBN 0-575-06877-9
  3. Redemption Ark. London: Gollancz, 2002. ISBN 0-575-06879-5
  4. Absolution Gap. London: Gollancz, 2003. ISBN 0-575-07434-5
  5. The Prefect. London: Gollancz, 2007, ISBN 0-575-07716-6




Revelation Space


Short Fiction

Revelation Space

  • "Dilation Sleep" - Originally published in Interzone #39 (September 1990); reprinted in Galactic North
  • "A Spy in Europa" - Originally published in Interzone #120 (June 1997); reprinted in the The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection (1998, ISBN 0-312-19033-6), Gardner Dozois, ed.; and in Galactic North; and posted free online at Infinity Plus [10739]
  • "Galactic North" - Originally published in Interzone #145 (July 1999); reprinted in Space Soldiers (2001, ISBN 978-0441008247), Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, eds.; and in the The Year's Best Science Fiction: Seventeenth Annual Collection (2000, ISBN 0-312-26417-8), Gardner Dozois, ed.; and in Hayakawa's SF magazine; and in Galactic North


  • "Nunivak Snowflakes" - Originally published in Interzone #36 (June 1990)
  • "Enola" - Originally published in Interzone #54 (December 1991); reprinted in Zima Blue and Other Stories
  • "Digital to Analogue" - Originally published in In Dreams (1992), Paul McAuley and Kim Newman, eds.; reprinted in Zima Blue and Other Stories, Limited Edition
  • "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.
  • "Spirey and the Queen" - Originally published in Interzone #108 (June 1996); reprinted in Future War (1999, ISBN 0-441-00639-6), Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann, eds.; and in Zima Blue and Other Stories; and in The Space Opera Renaissance (2006), David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds.; and posted free online at Infinity Plus [10740]
  • "On the Oodnadatta" - Originally published in Interzone #128 (February 1998)
  • "Stroboscopic" - Originally published in Interzone #134 (August 1998); reprinted in Dangerous Games (2007, ISBN 978-0441014903), Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann, eds.
  • "Angels of Ashes" - Originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction (July 1999); reprinted in Zima Blue and Other Stories
  • "Viper" - Originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction (December 1999)
  • "Merlin's Gun" - Originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction (May 2000); reprinted in Zima Blue and Other Stories; and in The Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction (2006, ISBN 978-0-78671-727-9), Mike Ashley, ed.
  • "Hideaway" - Originally published in Interzone #157 (July 2000); reprinted in Zima Blue and Other Stories
  • "Fresco" - Originally published in the UNESCOmarker Courier (May 2001); posted free online at UNESCO website [10741]
  • "The Big Hello" - Originally published in German translation in a convention program; also posted free online at Alastair Reynolds's website [10742]
  • "The Real Story" - Originally published in Mars Probes (2002), Peter Crowther, ed.; reprinted in Zima Blue and Other Stories
  • "Everlasting" - Originally published in Interzone #193 (Spring 2004)
  • "Beyond the Aquila Rift" - Originally published in Constellations (2005), Peter Crowther, ed.; reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Third Annual Collection (2006, ISBN 0-312-35334-0), Gardner Dozois, ed.; and in Year's Best SF 11 (2006, ISBN 978-0060873417), David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, eds.; and in Zima Blue and Other Stories
  • "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.; and in Zima Blue and Other Stories
  • "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 978-0061252082), David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, eds.
  • "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 978-0312363352), Gardner Dozois, ed.
  • "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 978-0312378608), Gardner Dozois, 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 Manastodon Broadcasts" - Originally published in Aberrant Dreams I: The Awakening (December 2008), Joe Dickerson, Ernest G. Saylor and Lonny Harper, eds.
  • The Fixation - Originally published in a Finnish language, Hannun basaarissa a limited edition booklet of about 200 copies in tribute to Hannu Blommila in Finlandmarker (2007); to be 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.

Awards and Nominations

Reynolds's fiction has received two awards and several other nominations. His second novel Chasm City won the 2001 British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel his short story "Weather" won the Japanese National Science Fiction Convention's Seiun Award for Best Translated Short Fiction . His novels Absolution Gap and The Prefect have also been nominated for previous BSFA awards. Reynolds has been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award three times, for his novels Revelation Space, Pushing Ice and House of Suns (the latter being on the shortlist for the 2009 awards).

See also


  1. Science fiction 'thrives in hi-tech world' BBC News Monday, 30 April 2007
  2., as retrieved in .
  3., as retrieved in
  4. [1] Interview with Reynolds in April 2008
  5. Interview with Reynolds in January 2009
  6. The Guardian, 22/06/09
  7. Science Fiction Book Club
  8. Subterranean Press website
  9. Skull on a Shelf ("the Aberrant Dreams and HD-IMAGE store"), as linked from this Aberrant Dreams news post
  10. Past BSFA awards
  11. Post on Reynold's blog about receiving the award

External links


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