Tuesday 21 June 2011

Onto book 2

While we're going through the slow process of editing BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH, I've begun to make tentative inroads into the second novel of the trilogy. I have a title, but I'm not telling the world yet - I may well change my mind.

IF BRE deals with the colonisation and exploration of the solar system over the next 150 years - along with some snapshots of life on Earth, in a peaceful, prosperous post-climate change future - then the second book leaps ahead several hundred years, into the middle of a centuries-long interstellar expedition to an extrasolar planet, a little of which we already learn about in BRE. Not to give too much away, but it's a kind of generation ship story - except there are lots of generation ships, launched over many years, forming an entire spacefaring community stretched across many light years - a bit like the flotilla in CHASM CITY, scaled up a thousand times. The Akinya family, who feature in BRE, show up again in the new book, although there are not really any overlapping characters.

I've often been asked about my working methods, and I've usually answered that I don't do a great deal of pre-planning, preferring to hew out a first draft through blood, sweat and toil. This time, though, I'm taking exactly the opposite approach, blocking out the book on a chapter by chapter basis before I write a word of prose. It may all end in tears, but I'm interested in shaking up my processes every now and then, and I think this will be a good experiment to try. I've tried the elaborate planning thing twice before, with REDEMPTION ARK and THE PREFECT, but in both cases I don't think I got the plot sufficiently well nailed down before diving into the writing. This time I'm determined to resist the temptation. We'll see how it goes.


  1. The Green Hills of Earth? I reckon you're working your way backwards for Earth the colours KSR did for Mars.

  2. I did think of that, thought it might be a bit cheeky! I also thought blue/green/turquoise but I've already done turquoise. As it stands I don't think there'll be a colour in the title of the second book, or mention of Earth.

  3. Looking forward to reading book2 with process in mind! Thanks for the update and good luck with the temptation.

  4. This is your first series I'll actually be forced to wait in between installments for. Not looking forward to that. Any idea on a publication date for the first one?

  5. Hi Jimmybing - the Uk edition of the first book is still scheduled for Jan 2012, and I think the US edition will follow in May.

  6. Interesting that you mention Redemption Ark and The Prefect as your most pre-planned books, because they are probably my 2 favourite books of yours Al! I assume because the planning paid off.

  7. Hey you,
    Just wanted to say was great meeting you properly this weekend..;-) I should have stayed the sunday - the trains were totally borked so took hours...

  8. Excited!! I cannot wait to read book 1 nevermind book 2. Saying that a day after I have finished book 1 i'll be clamouring for book 2.

    Was great listening and chatting to you at alt.fiction (A great event).

    My hardback of Revelation Space is back in it's pride of place... still unsigned... I'm an idiot and really will not loose my pen next time.



  9. Belatedly - good to see you too, Sarah - I enjoyed the whole weekend, and would happily do another Alt.Fiction.

    Steph: thanks! Hopefully we'll meet again and I can sign that copy of RS for you. Probably worth more *unsigned*, mind...