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Deep Space, Deeper Revelations
An Interview with Alastair Reynolds
by Nick Gevers


A strong new challenger to Stephen Baxter and Peter F. Hamilton for the leadership of British Hard SF, Alastair Reynolds brings to both his impressive short fiction and his commanding novels vision, clarity, and expertise. With a Ph.D. in astronomy and years of experience as an astrophysicist working for the European Space Agency in the Netherlands, he naturally has a thorough grasp of scientific detail, and a briskly authoritative narrative voice to convey it; his firm grounding in literary SF shows in the disciplined reach of his imagination, which takes in drastic transformations of humanity and the hidden drift of galactic history.

For the last decade, Al Reynolds has published SF short stories whose pellucid vigour, admirable in itself, is agreeably complemented by disorienting revelations cunningly concealed and sprung. Of particular note are "A Spy in Europa" (1997) and "Galactic North" (1999), both published in Interzone, and "The Great Wall of Mars" (2000, in Spectrum SF), all of which are key entries in an emerging future history. Revelation Space (2000), Reynolds' vast first novel, is the first of several volumes projected to expand that future history into an extended epic; more obliquely, Chasm City (2001) continues this task.

Revelation Space, much anticipated and deservedly so, is a Gothic space opera which turns something of apparently academic curiosity -- the mysterious extinction of an alien species a million years ago -- into the basis of a desperate quest for meaning and survival by the ill-assorted crew of a monstrous plague-infested starship. Colour, invention, humour, and horror combine with immense richness here; they also infuse Chasm City, a thriller delineating a perilous interstellar mission of revenge that is in fact the protagonist's search for the concealed and unforgiven layers of himself, an archaeology of his soul.

I interviewed Alastair Reynolds by e-mail in February and March of 2000, and again in April 2001.

(Al Reynolds maintains a very thorough and informative homepage at


NG: Beginning with your background: elements that stand out include your Welsh origins and long residence in Holland, your academic specialisation in astronomy and your work with the European Space Agency. How have these (and other) features of your life shaped your career as an SF writer?

AR: Though I was born in Wales, and spent all my teens there, I spent my early school years in Cornwall. I love Wales; Cardiff is one of my favourite places, and I'm no stranger to the products of Brains Brewery -- "It's Brains You Want" -- but I don't think of myself as being particularly Welsh in outlook. I've spent far more of life outside Wales than in it, but on the other hand I do go back home regularly and most of my family still live in South Wales. I studied Welsh as a second language until I was about 14, then gradually forgot it all.

As for science fiction and astronomy, I can't remember a time when I wasn't fascinated by both. My dad had kept an old Eagle annual which had a great Dan Dare adventure in it which I read over and over again, for instance -- one about a plot to sabotage the Olympic Games on Venus, I think. And I remember a big poster in my bedroom which had the planets of the solar system on it -- this would have been when I was four or five -- which I think was definitely an influence. I grew up with Dr Who, as well, and I still have a very fond attitude to the series.

The big breakthrough, however, came when I was 8 or 9 and a boys' magazine came out in the UK called Speed & Power. It would probably seem incredibly dated now -- it was full of articles about helicopters, planes etc., with cutaway diagrams -- nowadays it would be cutaway diagrams of Lara Croft, one suspects -- but importantly, they began to reprint old stories by Arthur C. Clarke. That was my first exposure to written SF and I still remember a lot of stories vividly. I remember being completely blown away by "A Meeting with Medusa"; not just the stirring descriptions of the alien life in Jupiter, but the -- to me -- shocking truth revealed at the end of the story, when we find out what has really become of Howard Falcon. Later, they also ran old Isaac Asimov stories, which also had a very big influence on me -- Robot stories and older stuff. For years after, Clarke and Asimov were the two pillars of my SF universe.

By the time I was in my mid-teens, I was writing science fiction stories for myself, and I also was fairly sure I wanted to become a scientist; probably an astronomer, but I was just as interested in physics. I struggled with biology and chemistry even though I found them interesting. At the same time, I was doing well in English and Art, better in fact than I was doing in physics and mathematics. Until I was 16 or so, it looked most likely that I would end up as a graphic designer or commercial artist. But I realised that if I studied the sciences, I could still keep up with writing and art as a hobby. At the same time I got more serious in my writing. I finally finished the novel I had been writing since I was 13 and then started writing a lot of short stories, most of which were heavily influenced by Larry Niven, who my friend Alan and I had just discovered.

I wrote another novel when I was 18, by which time I was also reading Joe Haldeman, Gregory Benford and Frederik Pohl, among others. By the time I was 19 I was studying astronomy at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and I had also discovered Interzone. I submitted my first story to them in early 1986, and kept on firing off stuff to them for another three years until they bought one in 1989, for which I'm still incredibly grateful. By then I was doing a Ph.D. in Scotland which eventually led to me working in Holland for the European Space Agency, where I still work.

NG: Your works seem to fall quite clearly within the bracket of British Hard SF, both in respect of their attitude, which emphasises intellectual curiosity over the heroic aggrandisement more typical of American SF, and their fascination with the core matters of "hard" science itself. Is this an accurate perception?

AR: It's probably accurate, but on the other hand I never read much British science fiction when I was growing up. My favorite writers -- the ones who I wanted to emulate -- were almost all American. I enjoyed Clarke, James White and Bob Shaw of course, but it could be argued that they were working in a largely American idiom anyway. I didn't encounter Heinlein until I was already forewarned about his politics, so even when I read Starship Troopers it was with a healthy dose of skepticism; I must admit, though, that I don't give a great deal of thought to whether what I write is triumphalist or downbeat or whatever.

NG: Who are the other SF writers you particularly admire? Have any of them particularly influenced your own SF writing?

AR: Loads. I've mentioned some of the important ones; Clarke early on, then the likes of Benford. I read Philip K. Dick a lot early on and still do. I started reading Interzone round about the time that cyberpunk happened in the States, and it was through Interzone that I read about Gibson, Sterling and the other writers involved in that movement. I went out and bought Sterling's The Artificial Kid when it came out in the UK, and then Schismatrix. Once I'd read that, Sterling was instantly promoted to my favourite living SF author. I can't really overstate the effect that book had on my development as a writer. It completely fired me up with enthusiasm about what SF could achieve, something that's never really left me. It's an amazing book. At the same time I was also discovering older writers like Ballard, Gene Wolfe and others. Gene Wolfe remains one of my all-time favourites.

Of course, throughout the late Eighties a number of excellent new writers emerged, such as Paul McAuley and Stephen Baxter, and others, and they showed me that it was possible to write stories with spaceships in and sell them to Interzone. Coincidentally, Paul McAuley and I were both living in St. Andrews at the same time and we used to meet up for beers quite regularly, which was great -- I got tons of advice and encouragement from Paul.

These days there are so many good writers around it's difficult to know where to start. Obviously, if you're doing hard SF, you watch Greg Egan because he is a master, but there are other writers I rate very highly like Alexander Jablokov, Robert Reed, Geoff Landis and Linda Nagata. Loads of others. It's been said that we're living through a new Golden Age of science fiction and I go along with that totally. I also like stuff like Jonathan Carroll -- he's one of my favorites, and I'm a big fan of Stephen King, especially his short fiction.

I also like digging out good stories by less-well remembered figures -- recently I've made a point of reading old stories by the likes of Alan E. Nourse, Murray Leinster, Kornbluth and others -- the classic, semi-forgotten writers of the 40s and 50s. I'm also a big fan of C. S. Forester, though he didn't write any science fiction. Other than that, I read stacks of crime novels and the occasional mainstream literary novel -- Pat Barker, that kind of thing.

NG: Your career as an SF author has followed a classic trajectory: some years producing short stories, and now a transition to (long) novels. Was this a conscious progress from apprentice to master, or was it simply a consequence of circumstances -- a lack of much writing time earlier on?

AR: Both. As an Interzone reader, I'd watched how writers like Stephen Baxter had progressed from short story sales to novels, so that seemed like a sensible approach. At the same time, doing a Ph.D. and relocating to a foreign country, I didn't have that much free time. So short stories were just right. What I didn't realise at the time I sold my first short story was it would be another 10 years before I managed to sell a novel. Had I known at the time that I would take another 10 years, I think I would I would have been quite disheartened, but in hindsight it was almost certainly for the best.

It's not that I spent the next 10 years feeling like a frustrated novelist either -- I was busy doing many things and there were periods of a year or two where I barely did any writing beyond a long short story. I knuckled down and started taking it more seriously in 1995 or so. I found that the more seriously you take writing, the more enjoyable it is. I get quite upset when people moan about what a hard life it is being a writer -- there's this myth that a lot of writers obviously like to perpetuate. I can understand it if you're a dissident writer under a repressive regime, but not a genre author in a tolerant Western democracy. My attitude is, if you hate it so much, sod off and do something else! Having said that, C. S. Forester was a great one for going on about how awful the writer's life is, and he really did seem to put himself through mental and physical hell with each book. Maybe I'd better shut up until I've written as many books as he did!

NG: Examining your short stories and more recently your novels, a pattern emerges: you typically present a recognisable Science Fictional scenario, only to pull the carpet from under the unsuspecting reader when you later reveal that quite different, and less expected, forces are at work. For example, "A Spy in Europa" appears to be a fast-moving tale of espionage by one Circum-Jovian power against another, only for a third, quite unsuspected and quite visionary, faction to leap into play near the end and usurp the spotlight. How, and why, have you developed this preoccupation with narrative disguise?

AR: That probably comes from my love of crime fiction, where it's a fairly routine thing to pull the wool over the reader's eyes until some critical moment in the story. I also like spy novels -- I'll put in a mention for Robert Littell, who is hugely underrated -- and again, it's standard in that genre to play games with the reader's assumptions about who can and can't be trusted. I'll also admit that those are very much the kinds of stories I get a kick out of reading; the ones where you're absolutely convinced you're ahead of the author until he or she pulls a fast one and leaves you slapping your forehead.

In terms of my own plots, the narrative disguise thing naturally falls out of the kind of stories I tend to tell. While I write mostly hard SF, I'm not that interested in doing the traditional kind of hard SF story where, for instance, the heroic spaceship crew encounter a strange phenomenon and become threatened by various hazards before making their escape. I might still be interested in describing the same phenomenon and putting my characters in peril, but I'm more likely to want to embed it in a story about spies or criminals. That way there's loads more potential for mindless violence and duplicity!

NG: Revelation Space and Chasm City share with a number of your short stories an ambitious future-historical setting. Can you outline the broad trends you're exploring in this series (if that's the correct term)? I find the concept of the Demarchy particularly interesting...

AR: As I mentioned, when I started writing short stories for myself at around the age of 16, I was heavily influenced by Larry Niven, especially his Known Space sequence. So at that time I mapped out my own version of Known Space with my own timeline, wacky aliens, etc. It was totally unoriginal, but out of that future history I did save some material for the one I'm developing now, which is really just an attempt to do something similar in scope, complexity and colour, but constrained by slower-than-light travel and with more thought given to the likely nature of aliens.

The future history has evolved organically, and there isn't a rigorous set of notes underpinning it. The earliest story in the sequence, "Dilation Sleep", hardly fits into it at all and would need major revision if it were ever to be republished alongside more recent ones. The backbone of the series is probably the novelette "Galactic North", which appeared in Interzone in 1999, and which sketches the broad details of the history into the distant future. There are trends which I'm exploring -- the expansion of humanity into the galaxy; the fragmentation of humanity into distinct species; the basic hostility of the universe -- but all of these themes have been explored with great sophistication by other writers, so I'm not claiming any great originality in that respect. If there is one thing I think might be original, it's an attempt to do fairly baroque, wide-screen space opera within the context of Einsteinian physics -- no faster than light travel or communication. I actually find this fun; it seems to open up just as many story-lines as are excluded.

As for the Demarchy, this is a real political term which I believe originated with an Australian political theorist called Burnheim. It means absolute democracy; no leadership structure at all. I'd love to say I first encountered this in some weighty tome on political theory, but in fact it was in another science fiction story -- Joan D. Vinge's short novel "The Outcasts of Heaven Belt", which is well worth reading. Once I found that it was a real term, however, I had no qualms about stealing it, and I'm surprised that it hasn't been appropriated by other writers.

In Vinge's story, the Demarchy functioned by everyone having access to electronic voting technology, which is certainly plausible in the near future. In my case, I put the technology inside the heads of my Demarchy citizens so that they were permanently wired into this system of consensus will. I'm certainly not advocating this in any way; it was just an attempt to come up with a fairly interesting far-future society which I could then play against other cultures who have adopted neural technology to a lesser or greater extent. In the story "A Spy in Europa", the Demarchists are shown to be just as ruthless as their enemies. Later on in the history, their political model is exported to other solar systems, so that there are various loosely-allied Demarchist societies around other stars, trading technology and culture. The same goes for the Conjoiners, who are a group of people who have gone beyond using implants purely for democratic ends and have ended up with something like a hive-mind. Even though I'm your basic Guardian-reading leftie, I'm not a politically-motivated writer and I'm not interested in beating the reader over the head with any particular ideology.

NG: In your future history, and especially in Revelation Space and the flashback sections of Chasm City, you present, very credibly, far-future technology as something far from perfect and seamless; indeed, rotting cities and diseased spaceships predominate. Everything is governed by the protracted schedules of STL interstellar flight, and nothing seems to operate quite as it should. Is this an extrapolation from contemporary realities?

AR: The pragmatic answer, and probably the most accurate one, is that it's simply easier to write about decaying, malfunctioning things than flawless shiny things -- there are loads more adjectives you can use, for a start, and things that don't work properly automatically generate storylines. I'm very keen to give lots of visual information in my stories -- in fact, I consciously try and come up with things which it would be cool to paint or see in a film, and I'm consciously influenced in my mind's eye by the work of science fiction artists past and present. For instance, in Revelation Space, there's a definite aesthetic which I tried to keep in mind -- most of the technology which I describe is ornamented to one degree or another. As to whether I really think the future would be like that, I don't know. I can easily imagine a high-tech future in which everything worked beautifully, like Iain Banks' Culture.

NG: Accompanying Revelation Space's atmosphere of inefficiency and decay is a sense of technological Gothicism: machines and artefacts are haunted, cyborgs are tormented or possessed by their own implants. Why do you work in this almost supernatural mode in your SF?

AR: Partly because I like ghost stories, I suppose, and a general atmosphere of creeping dread. Just call me a miserable git! I'm also quite fond of the Sisters of Mercy and other gloomy, black-clad rock groups. When I was imagining the Ultras, the cyborg crew of the ship in Revelation Space, I kept thinking of an unholy mutation of the Borg, Edward Scissorhands, New Age Travellers and Andrew Eldritch.

NG: Revelation Space deals centrally with the vital and vexed issue of why intelligent alien life is nowhere evident in the Milky Way, at least that we can see. Without giving away your novel's very intriguing answer to the mystery, what, speaking as an astrophysicist, are your thoughts on the matter?

AR: My opinion on this changes weekly, unfortunately. My usual gut instinct is that there is no intelligent life anywhere else in the universe, nor has there ever been. People say, how can that be, given that the universe is so vast, with so many billions of other opportunities for life to have arisen and become intelligent? But biologists quite rightly point out that it took life 3.5 billion years to evolve much beyond single cells on Earth. It took 4 billion years for intelligence to arise, which suggests that it may be cosmically very rare, even if single-celled life in general is common. On the other hand...who knows? I am also a great advocate of at least searching for other signs of intelligent life since it doesn't cost much.

NG: Despite its grim locations and theme of cosmic menace, Revelation Space is sometimes very funny, in a techno-slapstick sort of way. Is this a conscious technique, or is the effect simply inevitable in escape-by-the-skin-of-their-teeth space opera?

AR: Thanks -- I'm glad you found parts of it funny (the right parts, I hope!), as that was definitely my intention. Hard SF has a reputation for being extremely dour, probably because the epic mode tends to stifle humour. But as I mentioned earlier, I am a big fan of crime fiction, and humour is a given in even the hardest of hardboiled crime novels. Elmore Leonard can be really funny, I think. Michael Dibdin's supposedly serious crime novels are at least as funny as a lot of books I read that are marketed as humorous. The last thing I would want to write is a book that is only of interest to physics geeks like myself, and humour is one way of opening up a book to a wider audience. My partner's biggest complaint of modern science fiction is that there's so little humour in it. She's not from a science background; isn't particularly interested in hard SF, so I listen to what she says. I'm not alone in this, of course -- Iain Banks' Culture novels are often very funny. He knows exactly how far to push the humour.

NG: In Revelation Space, your female characters are a lot more sympathetic, and savvy, than your male ones, who all seem deluded or ossified. Does this reflect a feminist sentiment on your part, or is it incidental?

AR: As I said, I'm a typical Guardian-reading pinko, so I tend to have what I think of as feminist sympathies. But I think the balance you note in Revelation Space is incidental. The danger, of course, is that one creates female characters which are, in attitude and motivation, only male characters with female names. That's something one needs to be very wary of, as you're not really advancing the cause very much if your supposedly female characters are just men in drag; just as obsessed with gun-totin' as their avowedly male counterparts. I don't think I've come up with a really strong female character yet, but it's definitely something which I think is worth striving for. One of the common complaints about hard SF is that it's not concerned with character, but it is something which genuinely interests me.

NG: A shorter but quite significant entry in your future history, "The Great Wall of Mars", attempts one of SF's most understanding portraits of a so-called "Hive Mind", the society of the Conjoiners; the protagonist, Clavain, is an individualist undergoing conversion by them. Do you truly feel that the Conjoiner model has possibilities, or is Clavain exchanging one set of illusions for another?

AR: I don't know! I'm still really fascinated by Clavain as a character and I do want to explore what happens to him after he becomes one of the Conjoiners. He's a grizzled, older Sean Connery type. I'm also interested in the character of Galiana, the woman who inducts him. Part of the strategy behind that story, though, was for me to force myself to explore the Conjoiners in greater detail than I had before, so that I could bring them onstage in a later novel. I knew that I wanted to create a hive-mind society which was not the usual creepy, Midwich-like thing one usually gets, but something with a bit more depth. I'm not planning on signing up myself though.

NG: Chasm City contrasts quite strongly with Revelation Space, even though they're set in the same future; where the earlier novel was grand space opera, the new one, other than in its Sky Haussmann subplot, has much more of the atmosphere of a thriller, mean streets cyberpunk and all. Why this change of tack?

AR: It's difficult to look back to when I started Chasm City, but I think there were two, or possibly three reasons for the change of tack. I'd just finished Revelation Space -- submitted it, anyway -- and although I'd done a couple of short stories immediately afterwards, I still didn't feel like diving back into another grand space opera; at least not one on more or less the same lines as Revelation Space. On the other hand I did want to work within the same universe, so I cast around for a mode that would allow me to do that and yet still feel like I was treading new ground. The notion of doing a noir-ish thriller appealed to me strongly, given my love of crime fiction. You're right to note that the Sky Haussmann subplot is the part of the book which most resembles Revelation Space, of course -- but even then, its grimier and lower-tech than anything in the earlier book.

The third reason, which may not have been a conscious factor at the time, was that it would be better if I didn't follow Revelation Space with a similar book. I'd be in danger of being characterised as someone who only does space operas of a certain type. But given that I didn't have a contract for either book at the time I started writing Chasm City -- and no sign of one on the horizon -- I wouldn't want to overstate the amount of thought given to the decision. It was pretty much a whim on a day when I started writing what I thought would only be a novella anyway.

NG: Sky's Edge, the planet where the action of Chasm City begins, is engaged in a civil war that commenced even before the colonists arrived, back on the generation starships that brought them. And it is a world with some notable indigenous Serpents, the hamadryads. Is there a theme of Original Sin in Chasm City? Is Sky's Edge a corrupted Eden?

AR: It's a nice idea, but -- unless of course it's the unconscious thing again -- I don't remember it entering my thinking during the writing of the novel. One of the things I do when I'm stuck for inspiration, or just trying to sort things out in my head, is to do sketches. I draw ships, cities, characters, life-forms, juxtaposing them until something clicks. The snakes came out of a sketch I did. But sin -- if not Original Sin -- is clearly a major theme of the book. If I had to nail the central one, it's the question of which kinds of sin are redeemable through later actions, and which aren't. That's not a science fictional question, of course -- but if you throw in the added ingredient of very long life, it becomes one. If you did something atrocious when you were young -- a cold, premeditated act -- how long would you have to live before the sum of all your later good actions outweighed that one evil act? A century? A thousand years? Or would it never happen?

NG: How easy was it to develop a protagonist like Tanner Mirabel, that strange mixture of the moral and the amoral?

AR: Those are the characters that have always appealed to me, in fiction anyway. I suspect that's true for most readers and writers. I just approached Tanner Mirabel the way I do with most of my characters, beginning with a first draft in which the characters were at best sketchily delineated. With each draft I try to differentiate them and round them out a bit -- make characters you can walk around and who have a bit of inner conflict. As the writing of Chasm City progressed, I found Tanner's character becoming steadily more amoral as the truth of events was revealed. I should add that crime fiction gave me plenty of role models to draw from, so it wasn't a case of plucking this character out of thin air; more one of transplanting an archetype from one genre to another. Tanner is an amalgam of several dozen crime novel protagonists -- James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux is in there, I think, since Tanner has a keen visual sense, and though he's laconic in his dealings with the other characters, he has a well-developed inner voice. Matt Scudder, too, from Lawrence Block's books. Tanner's an ex-soldier, too -- a lot of crime protagonists (and writers) served in Viet Nam, of course, so there's also that shared background.

NG: Chasm City is a diseased metropolis, a utopia gone radically to seed. What inspired your vivid portrayal of this warped locale?

AR: I can't, and wouldn't, claim any originality for it -- it's just a fusion of all the great, festering fictional cities I have loved. Nothing too surprising, either: Blade Runner's LA; Judge Dredd's Mega City one; the Radiant City of the Mr X comics...dozens of others. Also Port Talbot, the steelworks down the M4 from where my family still live in Wales. At night it's the most amazing sight -- mile on mile of illuminated chimneys, belching smoke and flames. Oddly enough, I've even heard that Ridley Scott's vision of LA in Blade Runner was itself inspired by a drive past Port Talbot, so it's all circular in the end.

Incidentally, I think the definitive diseased metropolis is now, without doubt, New Crobuzon, from China Miéville's Perdido Street Station. I didn't read that book until I was proof-reading Chasm City, and I'm glad I didn't -- I think I would have given up in despair.

NG: Would it be fair to describe Chasm City after the Melding Plague as a dystopia built on class differences? Is there anything of H. G. Wells's Eloi and Morlocks here?

AR: In a way, yes -- one of my earliest memories is watching, and being very chilled by, the film of The Time Machine. So if any SF work has affected my writing, it's that one. Consciously, though -- I don't know.

NG: Chasm City is ultimately a story of false identities, of the peeling away of layers of spurious consciousness; in this, it resembles, although very much on your own terms, The Book of the Short Sun by Gene Wolfe--a writer you certainly admire. Of course, you completed Chasm City before Wolfe's trilogy finished publication; but despite that, is there any correspondence between your text and his?

AR: The short answer is, unfortunately, yes. As you know, On Blue's Waters, the first book of the trilogy, was discussed extensively on the Wolfe mailing list. Around the same time, I was busy with one of the later drafts of Chasm City. I hadn't read On Blue's Waters myself at that point, but it quickly became apparent from the discussion on the list that Wolfe's book dealt with a similar issue of layered consciousness, although no one was exactly sure because In Green's Jungles and Return to the Whorl had yet to be published and the clues Wolfe had scattered in the text were ambiguous at best. Nonetheless, it was enough to make me stop reading the list, at least for the time being. I didn't want to be put off by the knowledge that Wolfe's treatment of the subject was bound to be superior to mine, so I decided I'd carry on in ignorance.

NG: In the latter stages of Chasm City, the secret history of the Galaxy unveiled in Revelation Space begins to emerge, if fairly obliquely, in the story of the grubs and their flight from the Inhibitors. Will this background feature more fully in future novels and stories? And will we re-encounter the protagonists of Revelation Space and Chasm City in that context?

AR: The big picture of the books and associated stories is ultimately the true nature of intelligence in the universe, as dealt with centrally by Revelation Space, and obliquely by Chasm City. It's certainly going to feature in future tales, but some will deal with it centrally and with others it'll be at best a vague theme lurking somewhere in the background. It's definitely not a case of me knowing all the intricate details of the big picture and slowly peeling back a bit at a time. Half the fun is in making it up, and making sense of arbitrary and at times throwaway assumptions made in earlier stories. Having said that, the next -- as yet untitled -- novel engages directly with this subject, along similar lines to Revelation Space. It takes the character Clavain, who's been in a couple of novellas, and sends him off -- together with a few friends -- first to Chasm City and then to Resurgam to investigate the aftermath of the events which happened in Revelation Space. Given that, it's almost inevitable that there'll be scenes featuring characters who've already appeared in one or other of the books. But I don't think Tanner will be one of them; he's had enough adventures for a while, I think.

(This interview originally appeared, in somewhat
different form, in Interzone, July 2000, and has
been updated by Nick Gevers and
Alastair Reynolds for its appearance here.)

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© Nick Gevers 12 May 2001