Today I am interviewing Alastair Reynolds, author of the new science-fiction novel, Revenger.
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DJ: Hey Alastair! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Alastair Reynolds: I’m a science fiction writer from Wales, UK. I started publishing short stories about twenty seven years ago, and I’ve been putting out novels since the year 2000. For a while I had a parallel career in space science, but I gave that up over a decade ago to concentrate on writing.
DJ: What is Revenger about?
Alastair: It’s an action-drive science fiction novel with a far-future setting and some strong throwbacks to the classic adventure and nautical fiction of the nineteenth century.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Revenger?
Alastair: Within the genre, Samuel Delany’s NOVA and Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, among others. Beyond science fiction, Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers, Hornblower, the Aubrey-Maturin novels, Bernard Cornwell’s period action novels.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Alastair: As a reader I’m never interested in “sympathetic” characters so I go out of my way to make mine as unsympathetic as possible. Fura, the main character in the book, starts out a little naïve, but she’s intelligent, resourceful, and ferociously driven. When her older sister, Adrana, gets into trouble, Fura sets herself on a course of total retribution. She has to grow up fast, and learn to fit into a new and complex world of space-going sailing ships and dangerous, barely understood technology.
DJ: What is the world or setting of Revenger like?
Alastair: It’s our own solar system, but so far into the future that all the planets have been dismantled and remade into a cloud of millions of little asteroid-sized worlds. Within this cloud, there are many, many independent societies and governments, each with different traditions, laws, economies and so on. It’s neither a utopia nor a dystopia. There are good places to live and less good places. By and large, it’s not too bad a place. There isn’t an oppressive central government, and there hasn’t been any sort of war for many centuries.
DJ: It wouldn’t an interview with sci-fi author without me asking about the research you did for the story, and if you can up with any cool tech? 😉 What research did you do?
Alastair: I don’t do research as such. I just read a lot and let it ferment over many years. Then I launch into a new book, confident I can look stuff up when I need to. For Revenger, I already had the central idea of the swarm of worlds, and I had some idea about the plot. The only real research I did was calculating how many of these little worlds you could create, especially if some of them had black holes in their middles to create gravity.
DJ: What kind of technology did you come up with or use in Revenger?
Alastair: There are two basic tech levels in the book: the indigenous human technology, which includes self-sufficient space communities, rockets, ion drives, radio and television, spacesuits – a sort of amalgam of late Victorian and mid-twentieth century capabilities – and a range of technologies of alien or posthuman origin, left behind by successive waves of prior civilisations, few of which are adequately understood.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Revenger?
Alastair: Getting into Fura’s head and finding her voice, and then making it work across the progression of a novel.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Alastair: Hopefully they’ll agree that it took them in some unexpected directions.
DJ: What was your goal when you began writing Revenger? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Alastair: No biggie. I just wanted to write a fun, fast-paced story that was accessible, colourful and tightly paced, with good characters.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Revenger that you can share with us?
Alastair: Not off the top of my head!
DJ: Now that Revenger is released, what is next for you?
Alastair: I’m working on a sequel to my earlier novel The Prefect.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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A superb science fiction adventure set in the rubble of a ruined universe, this is a deep space heist story of kidnap, betrayal, alien artifacts and revenge.
The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilizations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives.
Alastair Reynolds, former scientist and now full-time writer. Most of what he writes is science fiction, with a strong concern for scientific verisimilitude (although he is prepared to break the rules for the sake of a good story). He has lived in England, Scotland and the Netherlands where he worked as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency until 2004, but now makes his home back in his native Wales.