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Alastair Reynolds

  • British author
  • Born March 13, 1966

Alastair Preston Reynolds (born 13 March 1966) is a British science fiction author. He specialises in hard science fiction and space opera. He spent his early years in Cornwall, moved back to Wales before going to Newcastle University, where he read physics and astronomy. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in astrophysics from the University of St Andrews. In 1991, he moved to Noordwijk in the Netherlands where he met his wife Josette (who is from France). There, he worked for the European Space Research and Technology Centre (part of the European Space Agency) until 2004 when he left to pursue writing full-time.


I couldn't ever write a straight crime novel: there'd be an intrusion of weirdness at some point.




I think I set myself on a course to become a scientist around about the time that Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' series was on television, and there really was no going back for me at that point, and then I went on to study space science and then get my Ph.D., then go aboard and work in the European Space Agency.




To be remembered at all is an achievement of sorts.




I'm not a morning person: I can't function until I've had a coffee - or several.




I'm not massively fond of right-wing nutters or war criminals.




If there's a story I absolutely cannot tell without faster-than-light travel, then I am quite prepared to accept it - even though I don't personally believe it is possible.




I'm fascinated by steam engines and with Victorian engineering generally, and as a corollary to that, I'm fascinated by the idea of long-lived technologies.




I'm always a little bit cautious around invented terminology because so much science fiction is off-putting to the uninitiated. You open up the first page, and it's full of all these made-up words.




We've had science fiction novels where China is dominant; we've had novels where India is dominant, and I suppose it's all about getting away from that cliched old tired idea that the future belongs to the West.




I'm still bothered by the threat of nuclear war.




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




I always say that keeping abreast of science should never be seen as a chore. It should be something you do naturally. I don't sit there reading 'New Scientist,' putting post-it notes next to ideas.




When you're writing stuff that's already clotted with neologisms and trying to get across fairly abstruse concepts, you're already putting a heavy burden on the reader.




I was never strong at maths, but I eventually got onto a university physics/astronomy course, and that led on to my Ph.D. and eventual employment.




I've never had much interest in spinoffery - the idea of writing in someone else's universe generally leaves me cold - but 'Doctor Who' is different. I've grown up with it. It's been part of my life since I was tiny, watching Jon Pertwee on a grainy black and white television in Cornwall and being terrified out of my mind.




I think the danger with using the term 'trilogy' is that it sets up particular expectations in the reader's mind.




When I look back at many of the moments of wonder, awe, or terror that I've got from science fiction, it's often been because I've been put in the head of one of the characters.




I prioritise story over science, but not at the expense of being really stupid about it.




I am playing in a playground that's already been played in. I am always aware that a lot of the furniture in science fiction is second hand.



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