This year has been good for Alastair Reynolds’ fans, with the trilogy-concluding novel Poseidon’s Wake and the standalone novella Slow Bullets coming out in quick succession. There’s also the possibility that Subterranean Press’s upcoming collection The Best of Alastair Reynolds will reach us by November, although considering that there hasn’t been any kind of proper announcement yet, it may be pushed back to 2016. More on that book later in this post.
Anyway, I want to take a quick look at what’s coming out in 2016 from Reynolds. It looks like it will be just as exciting a year for new work as this year was!
THE MEDUSA CHRONICLES
First up, in February we’ll see the collaboration between Reynolds and Stephen Baxter called The Medusa Chronicles, a sequel novel to the 1971 Arthur C. Clarke novelette called “A Meeting with Medusa”. It’s due to be published on the 18th of February by Gollancz. Here’s their description of the novel:
Following an accident that almost cost him his life, Howard Falcon was not so much saved as he was converted, through the use of prosthetics, into something faster, stronger and smarter… but also slightly less human and more machine than he was. And with this change came an opportunity – that of piloting a mission into Jupiter’s atmosphere, and ultimately of making first contact with the life forms he discovers there.
Picking up the threads of humanity versus artificial intelligences and machines, and of encounters with the alien, this collaborative novel between two superb writers is a sequel to Howard Falcon’s adventures. A proper science fiction adventure, this is perfect for fans of Golden Age SF as well as the modern SF reader.
There are some comments from Baxter and Reynolds about the story here, and on his own blog Reynolds reveals a few tidbits about the book. Firstly, it’s about 130,000 words long, quite a bit shorter than most of his novels (which hover around the 200,000 word mark). Amazon UK lists the page length as 320 pages, which sounds about right. Secondly, the title was a toss-up between The Medusa Chronicles and The Medusa Centuries. The unused title of the two seems to hint at a lengthy time period that the story will cover.
For a little more info, check out this great interview by a French SF-related channel on Youtube, in which Reynolds talks about the process of collaboration with Baxter (starting at around 13 minutes in). He mentions that the book is divided into 6 “episodes” taking place throughout Falcon’s life, and Reynolds wrote parts 2, 5 and 6, while Baxter tackled the other parts. Then they tried to smooth each others’ prose out by editing it together.
Very soon I’m going to do a review & recap of the original Clarke novelette, so that any reader who wants to jump straight into the new novel can do so after reading my post! Look out for that in the next little while.
UPDATE: Cover art!
Moving on now…
A BRAND NEW NOVEL
Next up, Amazon UK has a listing for a book with the working title “Untitled Reynolds 4 of 10” (referring to his current 10 book contract, of which The Medusa Chronicles is not a part). It’s due to come out on the 1st of June from Gollancz, but there’s no other info there. Fortunately, Reynolds has given a tiny bit of information on his blog:
It’s a standalone […] and not related to anything else I’ve written, and will (I hope) turn out to be something fast-paced, colourful and not least of all fun.
That sounds fantastic. I hope we get to see a universe as bright and fascinating as the one in House of Suns in this new book.
THE BEST OF ALASTAIR REYNOLDS
This collection is still supposedly coming out in late 2015 from Subterranean Press, but interestingly it seems that Gollancz will publish it too, in June of either 2016 (according to Amazon.ca) or 2017 (according to Amazon UK). I had assumed this was a special small-press-only collection, much like Deep Navigation, but now that Gollancz seems to be publishing it as well, it might affect Subterranean’s sales. I guess we’ll find out…
As for the collection’s contents, we can only speculate for now. I may do a post in the coming weeks about what I consider to be Reynolds’ best short stories and novellas. Keep in mind though that I haven’t read everything he’s done… yet! I hope there isn’t a great deal of overlap with his current collections, although that might be inevitable. Anyway, there are plenty of uncollected works that I’d love to see finally slotted into a volume.
WHAT’S BEYOND 2016?
After next year, Reynolds will have 6 books left in his contract (or 5 if the Best of collection counts towards the 10 book deal), but hopefully many more books after that as well. On his blog, Reynolds has hinted at what lies beyond the next novel:
If that wasn’t enough, I’m also turning my thoughts – very gently – to the book after this one, and that one will be a return to one of my prior universes. Which one, it’s too soon to say. I’ll probably have a better idea nearer the end of the year. Of course, these decisions don’t take place in a vacuum. Editors, agents, marketing departments, etc, also have to think that it’s a commercially sound idea, and although we’ve begun negotiations, so to speak, there’s still a way to go before I have a definite book and title in mind.
A return to a previous universe, now that’s exciting news! Personally I hope he has many more ideas percolating for stories set in the Revelation Space universe. There could be so many terrors still lurking in the depths of space, and I want Reynolds to take me on that unsettling journey.
My two favourite authors are going to be very prolific in the coming year or more (see the recent news about China Miéville’s two upcoming novels), and that makes me incredibly happy. I recently got news that I’m starting a new job in February, one that sounds exciting and pays pretty well. This means I’ll be able to splurge on all the new works by authors that I love! 2016 is going to be amazing.