Wednesday lunchtime saw acclaimed science fiction author Alastair Reynolds visit Infinitas Bookshop for a book signing. He attracted a small crowd of fans who brought in books to be signed and bought more on the day. Each fan got to sit with Alastair and chat for minutes.
Hugh, a fan, turned the conversation to whisky. Alastair recommended Penderyn, a Welsh whisky made near his home, but quickly admitted he has just exhausted his knowledge of whisky when Hugh started recommending Australian whiskies.
As one readers said to Alastair: Thank you for giving us absolutely fantastic books.
When asked about writing new stories in the Revelation Space universe, Alastair responded that the world building is already there, he just needs to create the new story and check he writes no conflicting details with the previous books.
When asked "What is the rationale behind the Inhibitors?" (the nasty aliens of Revlation Space), Alastair explained at length about the cosmology of galaxies colliding leading to gas clouds colliding resulting in star formation and supernovae. This is very bad for local civilisations and life generally with lots of X-rays and gamma rays. The Inhibitors wanted to maintain totalitarian control during the the galaxy during the collision to minimise the damage to life, requiring they inhibit the growth of another dominant spacefaring civilisations. So they allow life to develop local civilisations only.
When young, Alsastair read science fiction and contempory fiction but not much fantasy. He said he did not have access to much fantasy.
Alastair compared his second novel, Chasm City, to a band's second album. Not as rough as their first, and often the fans' favourite.
He said he enjoys writing short fiction.
With Guy, Alastair demonstrated his linguistic talents, as they shared several languages. His previous career at the European Space Agency meant many languages were better than one.
He said he finds it nice to meet the readers.
Terminal World is a one off novel, not the start of a series. Alastair was a little disappointed that not everyone noticed it was set on Mars, he gave enough hints. Attending fans Cary and Christian said they were glad Terminal World was something a bit different.
Yet to come is a sequel to House of Suns and a sequel to Pushing Ice.
Alastair shared details of his famous contract with Golancz for 10 books over 10 years for 1 million pounds. Terminal World is not part of this contract but part of his previous one. The publisher wanted delivery dates, titles, basic outlines, sequels and originals and more optimism in the stories. His next book will be under this contract.
Next to come is a trilogy of mankind returning to the Moon, getting to Mars and expanding into the solar system. Set over generations approximately 150 years into the future, it will be an extended family saga, starting in Africa with the advantage of the Sahara Sun Belt generating electricity, a space elevator on the equator and a slingshot launcher on Mount Kilimanjaro. This trilogy will be more optimistic than Revelation Space.