Permafrost, my new novella from Tor books, is published today.
Here's the description:
Fix the past. Save the present. Stop the future. Master of science fiction Alastair Reynolds unfolds a time-traveling climate fiction adventure in Permafrost.
2080: at a remote site on the edge of the Arctic Circle, a group of scientists, engineers and physicians gather to gamble humanity's future on one last-ditch experiment. Their goal: to make a tiny alteration to the past, averting a global catastrophe while at the same time leaving recorded history intact. To make the experiment work, they just need one last recruit: an ageing schoolteacher whose late mother was the foremost expert on the mathematics of paradox.
2028: a young woman goes into surgery for routine brain surgery. In the days following her operation, she begins to hear another voice in her head... an unwanted presence which seems to have a will, and a purpose, all of its own ? one that will disrupt her life entirely. The only choice left to her is a simple one.
Does she resist ... or become a collaborator?
To reiterate, this is a novella, not a novel, so you're getting around 34,000 words of fiction, spread over about 180 pages. Were you so inclined, you could easily read it in a long sitting. I mention this because (based on prior experience) there do always seem to be some readers who expect a novel's worth of content from what is clearly marketed as a novella, and feel disgruntled when the actuality fails to meet their expectations. (These categories are somewhat arbitrary, and definitions vary, but as far as the majority of SF readers are concerned, a novella lies somewhere between 17,500 and 40,000 words. My earlier story Slow Bullets was about 45,000 words in its initial form, but we very deliberately reduced it to a shade under 40,000 just so there'd be no ambiguity about its nature.) So, please, be aware that what you're getting here is equivalent to around six or seven short stories, and perhaps a third of a typical novel, and about a tenth of a big fat doorstopper.
Writing in Locus, Liz Bourke called the story elegant, and described it as an enjoyable, engaging and thought-provoking novella, while also saying that she found the handling of time travel original. In Library Journal, Tina Panik called it "outstanding" and compared it to Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach trilogy.
Here's a link to Tor's page for the book:
And Barnes and Noble:
Other retailers are available.
Will there be an audiobook version of this?ReplyDelete
Finishing up Peter Watts' The Freeze-Frame Revolution today. Perfect timing to jump into another novella!ReplyDelete
... and I'm just finishing a Scalzi. Time for a delectable Reynolds.Delete
Received my copy yesterday and will get to it once I finish reading Terminal World. I love reading your novellas as well as novels; it keeps us fans happy until the next novel drops in !ReplyDelete
+1 for news on an audiobook version sir!ReplyDelete
Sorry, I should have answered the earlier query. There's nothing in the pipeline just yet.ReplyDelete
Do you know if there is going to be a hardback edition at any point. Paperbacks just don’t sit well in the collection, plus mine is already battered from a couple of readings.ReplyDelete
Just finished the novella and was blown away, loved the characterization, setting and pace. Would love to see you write a full novel on time travel. On a side note I also finished reading Century Rain and Terminal World and really enjoyed them both.ReplyDelete
I thoroughly enjoyed it Al. I was interested in how you would make time travel that little bit more believable and in line with your other more grounded in science work, and you again did it with a wonderful concept and idea. Plus you created a very believable post climate change/environmental/ecological breakdown disaster world.ReplyDelete
I loved this one just as much as I did Slow Bullets when it came out. Whilst I really enjoy the long(er) books, novellas do seem to play to your strengths.ReplyDelete
I really enjoyed Permafrost! Your take on time travel and its mechanics gripped me (I love your idea of causal lag), and the twist involving the dog was quite the gut punch. Also, I've had a fascination with Russian history and culture since early in high school, so I appreciated the setting.ReplyDelete
Unrelated question: I'm going to be releasing some music digitally soon, and I was wondering if I could use the name "Gentian Line" for my record label (when you're unsigned, you can write whatever you want in that field when submitting to online streaming services). It'd show up at the bottom of the album on places like Apple Music and Spotify as something like "(c) 2019 Gentian Line". Is this okay with you?
Thanks for the kind words. Steve. Yes, you're more than welcome to use that name.ReplyDelete
Great, thank you! You've got a knack for coming up with cool words/phrases; your books contain many potential names for bands, albums, labels, etc.Delete
This novella is awesome! I loved the sly reference to the neuroscientist Gregory Berns' research training dogs to sit still in MRI machines so he could image them in real time and show -- again -- that they're conscious, sentient beings with real emotions and thoughts.ReplyDelete
Steve Adams is right, AR, you come up with some awesome names and phrases. I was thinking of "borrowing" the words "Deep Navigation" for an electronica project I'm working on.
And finally, I saved this novella for my flight over to Tokyo a few weeks ago, to distract me during at least some of those brutal 14 hours. It did the trick, so thank you for that.
Hi Nik - thanks! No deliberate reference to Dr Berns, by the way - just a suspcion that something like that might have been done.ReplyDelete
You're welcome to borrow "Deep Navigation", by the way, as I already borrowed it myself. It's a nod to the former industry of my area of South Wales:
Hah! In my mind, "Deep Navigation" seemed like something mysterious and dangerous, like navigating beyond the human bubble of space toward the center of the Milky Way. Or maybe navigating beyond the galaxy into dark intergalactic space. Now that the mystery's been solved, it still sounds awesome.Delete
I have always enjoyed the way you incorporate animals and animal cognition into your stories, whether the mad dolphins in Chasm City, the Tantors in the Poseidon's Children trilogy, Derek the t-rex, or the avian Amarantine in RS. It seems to me we humans spend a lot of time thinking about alien psychology, but we have real "alien" minds right in front of us, and there is so much to learn.
If you haven't read about Dr. Berns, the story of how he got dogs to sit still in MRI machines -- and why he did it -- is really interesting:
I enjoyed PERMAFROST. There is, however, something a bit problematic about a first person, past tense narrative by somebody whose memories change along the way.ReplyDelete
Read your fine work Permafrost. I think it is the most poignant thing you have ever written. Looking forward to the third installment of your "The Revenger Series". Any chance you will return to the Revelation Space universe?ReplyDelete
Thanks for the kind words, and I hope you enjoy Bone Silence. The book after that is indeed going to be a return to the Revelation Space universe.ReplyDelete