ON THE STEEL BREEZE is only ten days from UK publication, and at least one bookseller seems to have copies in stock already, although they may not yet be for sale. Having just returned from America, and with my post still to be collected from my neighbour, it's entirely possible that there might be a finished copy in my mail as well. I'll find out soon enough. It's always a sobering moment, the first time you hold the end product. Months or years of work, distilled into a rectangle of card and paper. This is it - no more changes now.
It seems odd to have said so little about this book, but I swore some time ago that I would avoid talking it to death before publication, a trap I suspect I fell slightly into with Blue Remembered Earth. On the other hand, I'm genuinely excited to see what the world makes of it. And, of course, not a little nervous about that same reception. This is the middle book of the "Poseidon's Children" trilogy but, from my standpoint at least, it feels like quite a different book to its predecessor. In my more pretentious moments, I've suggested that this is the darker second movement of a symphony, and there's no doubt that, in parts, the book is markedly more violent and dystopian than Blue Remembered Earth. If BRE explored some unabashedly utopian ideas, then OTSB offers a sort of critique or reflection on where some of those trends might end up given another century or two of development. Yes, stuff goes wrong in this book. Bad stuff happens to people, people do bad things to each other, and there are deaths - quite a lot of them, in fact. That's not to say that it's an out-and-out dystopia, any more than the real world of 2013 is. But there's a good deal of peril, there are ominous developments, and things that we might have thought we understood at the end of BRE turn out to be ... otherwise, and not always in ways we might have wished.
I'm tempted to say more (in fact, I've just deleted a paragraph of expository waffle, telling you all about Chiku Akinya, my central character) but I shall refrain. In the meantime, the prologue and three chapters of the novel are now available to read on the Gollancz website, and here are the links:
Hope you enjoy these excerpts, and (if you soldier through them) that they provide some incentive to read the whole book.
Really looking forward to reading this! I pre-ordered my copy of this along with Stephen Baxter's new book Proxima from Amazon! And I didn't even have to read the preview chapters before hand!ReplyDelete
Very much looking forward to it (bit of a massive understatement, really)!ReplyDelete
I ordered my copy a while back from Amazon.ca. Unfortunately I have to wait until November 5th. I am really looking forward to it..ReplyDelete
I pre-ordered this back in May and am so looking forward to it, especially now that I've been teased by the three first chapters.ReplyDelete
House of Suns sequel next pls :DReplyDelete
Can't wait to read it :) BRE had so many tantalising features, like the exoplanet seen on the telescope array.ReplyDelete
Though I do have to agree with the commenter above that another novel in the HOS universe would be fantastic.
Out in Australia (saw it at the book store) but I'm waiting for the Kindle copy.ReplyDelete
I am hoping there's more hard sci-fi in this one than BRE.
I was really looking forward to this book after Blue Remembered Earth, but after reading the preview, I'm even more excited! I really like the Green, Red, Yellow, concept, and it's a great hook for the novel. Thanks for all of the hard work you put into producing such great stories!ReplyDelete
Already have it pre-ordered. Can't wait!ReplyDelete
I grabbed Revelation Space from the public library a year ago. You are now my favorite fiction writer. I'm looking forward to On The Steel Breeze eagerly. Thanks for all of your work!ReplyDelete
I'll soon have 2 of your books to read by X-mas! Yay!ReplyDelete
very much looking forward to this...like the sound of it. Ominous is good. Does the kindle version lag in the available date? Amazon has Thurs (in us) for the hardcover. I might have to check my local independent bookseller for this one if the kindle is going to be long time coming.ReplyDelete
Any word on when the electronic version will be available state side? I preordered the hardcover through Amazon however today they pushed the release date back to June 3, 2014, they'd listed September 26th for some time prior. I've ordered a copy through someone there in the UK but it will take 2 - 3 weeks to get here and i'd love to get a head start on it.ReplyDelete
Regardless i'm greatly looking forward to it!
Very much looking forward to OTSB, and as others have said a sequel to HOS would also be great :)
Keep writing, keep inspiring,
If I had a criticism of BRE it's that I would've enjoyed more of a raw/dark tone. More heroes erring towards anti-hero territory. More characters we could love to hate.
You're damn good at that stuff!
OTSB sounds like an ideal recipe.
I thought you might appreciate that when I go look at the preorder page for the hardcover version on Amazon US, the picture shown is this book. I laughed for about five minutes. :)ReplyDelete
Al, any idea what's going on with the stateside release of OTSB? Amazon is saying June 3, 2014!ReplyDelete
Are you planing any signings in the UK? (say in FP?)ReplyDelete
Last night I experienced “On the Steel Breeze” for real. Not the aforementioned book but the source, Shine on you crazy diamond, played live by Pink Floyd tribute band Brit Floyd.ReplyDelete
I guess living where you do Al, getting to concerts isn’t easy. But if you like the Floyd, this band is one to watch www.britfloyd.com I forgot they were a tribute band…aided by the two guitarists who look like David Gilmour at age 30 and age 45!
I saw the real Floyd live back in the 80's in Melbourne. Sat right underneath the pig. Grandiose, much like Al's books.Delete
Read it, loved it! More please (don't care what, shorts, sequels, new universes, just more).ReplyDelete
A Whale in a space suit!!
Been a huge fan of yours since that first uncorrected proof of Revelation Space i managed to get my hands on. Loving the Poseidon's Children trilogy so far but have most of my phalanges crossed that you will return to the HOS and Pushing Ice universes at some point.
Just finished. Quite liked it. Very much looking forward to the conclusion.ReplyDelete
The prose in the prologue (and, without spoiling, there's a good reason why it feels different than the rest of the book) is reminiscent of Wolfe. It's one of those prologues you should go back and read when you've finished the novel.
so, yes, hello alastair. some time ago i started reading the first book in this series (something about elephants, and more importantly, some bits of Africa. it took me a while due to other commitments, but on completion i was hooked, reversed several pages and finally understood what it was all about (something about elephants and robots). after baking some cakes and firing some dead pigeons into my neighbour's garden using some tescos carrier bags and lolandi trees (not sure about the spelling on the trees), i settled down and pestered Amazon Kindle Store for the next installment. as luck would have it, Amazon Kindle Store rewarded me with my initial purchase of blue remembered earth by informing me that i would need to part with over 8 pounds (more than my cleaner earns in 45 minutes) to receive the next elephant story. to add injury to insult and with maximum injury (i fear amazon were spinning round dancing and halooing in their amazon shaped bubble) they lowered the price of blue remembered earth to £1.49 thereby pointing their laughing pixelated chin at my accumalated previous reynolds cyber-purchases. i've therfore resorted to reading house of suns for the fourth time. When will in the steel breeze be available at a reasonamazonable price do you think? I've got an unimaginable amount of plastic letters in a big bag, if you could arrange these in the pattern of a steel breeze at little under 7 pounds (UK) I would appreciate it. I live in a tree. all the best, Emilya. xxxReplyDelete
I have yet to read this book. I have been checking Amazon frequently for the last couple of weeks for a kindle release in the US. Does anyone know when this will come out for kindle?ReplyDelete
I've read On The Steel Breeze once, and will likely re-read it again at greater leisure to reflect on some aspects of it -- machine-human relations and the idea of the Surveilled World.
Just one small question: What's the next book going to be called?
Thank you, Alastair, for yet another profoundly enjoyable book. There's no deep and sustained pleasure quite like reading a great new novel by a favourite author, and "On the Steel Breeze" delivered the goods as your books always do. You have a great gift.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the kind words on the new book. Kwok Ting Lee: the next book is still awaiting a title.ReplyDelete
Dan, I'm one of your long time US readers. I haven't read quite everything you've published, but almost. I suppose I haven't read your trunk novels yet, but then... Anyway, I couldn't wait for the slow molasses pace of the US publication so I ordered through the UK Amazon site. Something I've done with a few others of yours. It's on it way and I can't wait.ReplyDelete
Cheers and happy holidays.
Alastair, not sure if you got my last message in the main thread, but I wanted to apologize for the "Dan" thing. I had been on chat with a friend named Dan, and I had a dyslexic moment.Delete
Sorry Alastair, I was simultaneously engaged in an online chat with a friend named Dan, and I guess I had a dyslexic moment.ReplyDelete
Hello Alastair. I have just finished Blue Rememered Earth on audiobook. I mostly listen to audiobooks in my car and at works cause I don't really have much time to do any real reading outside of vacations.ReplyDelete
Anyway, I was wondering when the audiobook if "On the Steel Breeze" is released? I can't find any information about it anywhere.
Hi Alastair, really, *really* have enjoyed all your books to date. Well written, deep characters, fascinating extrapolation into futuristic concepts, not to mention the grandiose story lines.ReplyDelete
Just out of curiosity, you once mentioned in a blog that you 'threw away' most of your initial penning of OTSB, re-writing the majority of the book due to you not liking the book's direction. Does that thrown-away prose form part of a contiguous story with the published OTSB, or would it be contradictory in style and plot? Just wondering if you would ever consider a 'directors cut' of the book like some authors do.
Thanks Dave. No, there's no way to make a director's cut of the old material as it would be directly contradictory to the final story. Most of it is sort of vaguely similar to what is there except that the point of view is different. Anyway, the book is long enough as it is.ReplyDelete
alistair, it's nearly 114 years since my last post. i'm not sure i ever mentioned that i originally bought the entire revelation space tomeage before going on a camping trip to Hale. I was naive to think i could complete all the necessary reading within 5 days. in fact i barely completed the first chapter of the first book what with all the wind and camping stuff i had to endure. it was however an unforeseen godsend to have such a weighty compilation of paperbacks with which to secure the flappy tent during a particularly flapsome windy episode. there i was rotating about the apex of the tent like a whispy witch, all the time being secured to my left by revelation space, to my right by redemption ark and to my rapidly alternating north / south by 700 pages of Absolution Gap. several months later i read them all in relative calm, and although i don't remember much about the details, i will always be grateful for the day they saved my life. i could be washed away over some godforsaken cliffs. thankfully i'm not, and it's all thanks to skade, clavain and several kilograms of dead trees. thanks again.Delete
Do you know why your US publisher would push back this book until June 2014? It's one thing to give your countrymen a few weeks head-start and I totally get that, but it's quite another to have to wait almost a year since the original publication date to get this book. I like to read on my kindle so ordering it from the UK is really not an option for me or others like me. Please have a chat with them if you're so inclined and get back to us.
bl**dy hell, Alistair. i was looking for a new kindle book the other day and [as you know i'm very keen to get the next elephant novel] steel breeze was there at 4 pound something so i put it in my pixel basket and continued to trawl through their library of science fiction which sometimes had some swords and magic people which i think is fantasy and is not my emilya-bag atall - hence it took me some time. in all the confusion i forgot to purchase and to be honest i was distracted by Embarassing Bodies on C4 at the time.ReplyDelete
2 days later i resurfaced and went back to buy it again and they'd hiked the price up to a random £6.02 which it remains at this very day. needless to say, I had the last laugh as i bought alan partridges biography instead. once it drops again to another reasonable random price i'll be right in there with the purchase button. i'll keep you posted on my progress. all the best, emilya.
Just finished the book, thanks for the good read... But I suggest you come to visit Kilimanjaro. We have a spare bedroom here in Moshi. At the moment elephants on the Tanzanian side don't get a view of the mountain, but I guess if you kill off the humans....ReplyDelete