All this week we’re celebrating the release of The Lowest Heaven, a sci-fi short story spectacular which features some of the hottest names in modern genre publishing and contains exquisite celestial photography from the collection of the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
For your reading pleasure we have a High Five interview with one of the biggest SF authors in the world, Alastair Reynolds!
Alastair Reynolds holds a PHD in Astronomy and worked for the European Space Agency in the Netherlands for over a decade, before leaving in 2003 to pursue writing full-time. He is the author of many bestselling SF novels, the most recent of which is Blue Remembered Earth.
His next novel, On the Steel Breeze, will be released in August.
Alastair Reynolds’s story in The Lowest Heaven is called A Map of Mercury.
What was the inspiration behind your story in The Lowest Heaven?
By the time I came aboard all the good (ie interesting) planets had gone, so it was Mercury for me. No atmosphere, no moon, no possibility of life . . . what a boring place! But I decided to run with that. I was thinking about the Burning Man festival that happens in the desert in Nevada, and imagining something like that transplanted to the arid, sun-blasted surface of Mercury, only with cyborgs.
What is it that attracts you to science-fiction as a genre and what one sci-fi thing, be it book, movie or real life event, has influenced you the most?
I couldn’t imagine wanting to write anything else. Not sure what started me off – maybe an early viewing of the George Pal film of HG Wells’ The Time Machine? It’s not regarded as a good film but it blew my mind. I was also amazed by Fantastic Voyage, the one where they shrink a submarine and go inside a human body. It’s ludicrous but totally brilliant.
The age ol’ question, do you think we’re alone in the universe?
Sort of. It’s a big question and it needs a lot of unpacking. The universe is huge but it’s not infinitely huge and it hasn’t been around for ever and ever. So we might be the first intelligent species. Certainly, there’s no immediate evidence that anyone else is out there. But my position on this does depend on what day of the week it is, to some degree.
Finally, we say J for Jetpack, you say J for…?
If you want to know more about Alastair then check out his website here.
The Lowest Heaven is released this Thursday 13 June 2013 from Jurassic London. For more information check out the website here.