Friday, 11 January 2019

Trying to give the light the slip

Yesterday saw the UK publication of my new novel Shadow Captain, which will be followed by the American edition in a few days.



This story is a direct follow-on from Revenger and advances the story of the Ness sisters as they come to terms with their new situation. In contrast to the first book, which was very much Arafura's account, this one is told from Adrana's point of view and I hope offers a distinctly different voice and sensibility. While the creation of any book will present its challenges, I certainly had my fair share of enjoyment in the writing, and I found it fun to dig deeper into the implied universe of the Congregation, while exploring the sisters' relationship as each confronts new challenges and difficulties. I'm now nearly done with the successor, Bone Silence, which - even if it might not be the last word on the Congregation - will wrap up this particular extended adventure in the lives of the Ness sisters.

Because I'm invested in the writing of the follow-up, and at a rather critical part of the process, I thought it might be wise to avoid reviews of this one, at least until the new book is delivered. If only I had the moral fibre. I can report that Locus liked it, as did SFX, and early reader reactions seem to be broadly positive, for which I''m grateful.

https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9780575090637

https://soundcloud.com/orionbooks/sets/shadow-captain-by-alastair-reynolds

https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/alastair-reynolds/shadow-captain/9781549171369/

In the meantime, have some musical accompaniment.


Al (wishing all the very best for 2019).


34 comments:

  1. Looking forward to reading it and other stories set in the Congregation universe!

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  2. Looks like we only get paperback edition here in the US :-(
    Looking forward to reading this!

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    1. I ordered the hardcover from the UK. I prefer to read the UK editions of books written by British authors anyway.

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    2. Hardback now available for the US version.

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  3. Popped by hoping for a blog post and instead found a book! I confess that Shadow Captain's publication had slipped my mind. A reason to visit Waterstone's tomorrow ...

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  4. Congratulations on the release! I look forward to the 15th.
    Great tune, too, I always get the piano motif stuck in my head when I think about the Congregation.

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  5. Is it just me or do I keep seeing references to King Crimson across your work?

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    1. And a Triffids one too if I'm not mistaken, which may or may not have storyline potential in this series. Really enjoyed the book - now for the wait for the next one!

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    2. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there's a Triffids nod in there somewhere (hi Mike!).

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  6. Really enjoying the book so far and delighted to hear there is anoter in the works

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  7. This was the first book I pre-ordered ever! I have started reading it (after doing a re-read of Revenger in preparation). Hopefully we'll get a chance to see you at events around London sometime soon?

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    1. Nothing definite in the calendar, I'm afraid - perhaps a bit later in the year.

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  8. Still waiting for my copy to arrive, but I convinced my wife to read her first AR novel (Revenger) and she's enjoying it a lot. Looking forward to reading it and Bone Silence in a year or two (?).

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  9. My copy should arrive any day now! Yay!

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  10. FYI, your official website doesn't seem to have mention of Shadow Captain...

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    1. My fault; I've been lax in updating it lately and I'm having some trouble with Wordpress at the moment.

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  11. My UK edition is waiting for me 1000 miles away, having been delivered Monday, whilst we visit our newborn grandson. I can't wait to read it when I return home next week.

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  12. I've just finished Shadow Captain, and it’s definitely one of my favorite books you’ve written.

    Spoilers ahead:



    In particular, I love how vividly you brought the gloom and rot of Wheel Strizzardy to life. I found both the environment itself and the characters the Ness sisters meet on the Wheel to be particularly compelling.

    For some reason, I can’t stop picturing/hearing Doctor Eddralder as Brennan Brown (he plays Robert Childan in Amazon’s adaption of The Man in the High Castle). If the Revenger sequence is ever adapted for the screen, I think he’d be perfect for the role.

    If you have the time to answer a question, I am curious: I remember you mentioning that you went back and added another section to Shadow Captain after having completed it. Was the book originally meant to end after Adrana, Arafura, and company’s immediate departure from the Wheel? I think Shadow Captain would have felt more self-contained had it finished at their escape from Strizzardy, but I like that you ended the book by raising the stakes so high, it makes it feel as though I’m being launched right into Bone Silence.

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  13. It ends where it was always meant to end, but in the original submission I did indeed stop not after their departure, even though my intention had been to continue on to what became the eventual ending. I was tired and too close to the story to realise I'd "snatched" at a premature ending (in my view). HRF Keating talks about the temptation of snatching at an ending in his book on crime writing, and it's always struck me as a very valid observation.

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    1. That's really interesting, I like Keating’s use of the word “snatch”. It's certainly something that happens to me when making music, particularly when dealing with deadlines. It's all too easy to get so close to a song or a record I’m working on that I lose track of what serves it best; I'll sometimes feel as if I've completed something only to realize (either through the passage of time or, more often, through the feedback of others) that I've missed something critical.

      Anyway, I quite like how you ended Shadow Captain, and I appreciate the insight into your process.

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  14. I’ll keep and eagle eye out for the book in bookshops here in NZ. I’d like to use this opportunity to thank you for your contributions to science fiction. If my personal enjoyment is anything to go by, you have easily reached the upper echelons of science fiction mastery.

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  15. I started really getting in to age-of-sail historical fiction (especially O'Brien) right after and in large part because of Revenger, and it's been so cool now reading Shadow Captain with much deeper appreciation for the vein of homage that I hope I'm not being presumptious in thinking I see throughout this series.

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    1. No, that homage is very conscious - in fact I read several O'Briens back to back as I was working on Shadow Captain, as well as a little Austen (who I think was also O'Brien's literary model). I hope you go on to enjoy a lot more age-of-sail stuff.

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  16. My UK copy arrived yesterday -it's beautiful to look at, and I expect to enjoy what's inside just as much. All the best for the works in progress and the new year!

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  17. Alastair, I couldn't wait for the American publication, so ordered a copy from the UK. I'm impatient that way, especially for your stuff. As an interesting side note, even with shipping to the US, it still cost a little less via Amazon UK than Amazon US.

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  18. Just a note to thank all the kind people who have ordered the book, and I hope it goes down well.

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  19. Fantastic addition to the world you've built. I'm looking forward to Bone Silence and hopefully more from the Congregation!

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  20. Clearly don't get back here as often as I'd like as I had no clue you had a new book coming out! Was doing my traditional first day of school (aka child free) perusal of the local and voila! New novel! That's what I call winning. Haven't read it yet, currently in Hate Week prep, followed by the other 20 novels in the "to be read" pile. This may be bumped up the list though. Just saying.

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  21. Just finished the Shadow Captain after re-reading the Revenger. I loved Revenger and really enjoyed the follow-up. Looking forward to the third installment and hope to find out more about the quoins, the congregation and shadow occupations !

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  22. I am fascinated by the subplot of the quoins. Bosa claimed that the quoins actually contained the recorded consciousness of aliens who lost a war. The name suggests that the quoins have a quantum, entangled nature (and this appears to be true at the end of Shadow Captain).

    The other thing that I find interesting abut quoins is that they are a limited currency, like gold or Bitcoin. Currencies where the supply is limited can result in deflation, since people resist spending the currency since it may be worth more in the future than it is "today". This means that people will tend not to invest, but will just hold onto the currency.

    The other feature of limited currencies like gold is that they are also subject to inflation when significant new sources are discovered. In the case of the quoins, when a large cache is discovered in a bauble.

    All of these themes are present in the books, but they were not strongly expanded on. Perhaps in the sequel?

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  23. Another great book! I thoroughly enjoyed it, & couldn’t believe how fast I was at the end. Looking forward to the next instalment. Thank you.

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