Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Update

 I'd like to thank all who left kind comments following the news from January. Although it's been a difficult time for the family, rest assured I'm moving forward again and busy on several fronts.

My editor got back to me with comments on Inhibitor Phase well before Christmas, but with everything going on (it really wasn't a great time) I was unable to make serious progress on the rewrites until early this year. However, I've now turned them in, and I'm expecting to get the second set of queries back in a couple of weeks. The idea is that I turn them around by the end of March, which should allow for an August publication. Obviously that's a bit later than some of the dates you may have seen, but (as I'm sure will be understood) it's really nobody's fault, just the unavoidable consequence of a difficult period.

In the meantime I'm working on a new book, which as usual I'll say little or nothing about until it's near completion. It's not connected to anything else I've done, although it is science fiction and has elements of first contact, Big Dumb Object about it - but with what I hope is a somewhat novel approach.

Earlier this month I did a few Zoom panels as part of a virtual "Boskone" (the Boston-area SF convention that happens around this time of the year) and I enjoyed them tremendously. I don't think they're going to be archived, though. More generally I've had a lot of fun doing online events through 2020, and I imagine that sort of thing will continue for some considerable way into 2021. I'm doing something for Gollancz/Orbit in a week or two, then another session for my friends at the International Space University in Strasbourg later in March, and doubtless more opportunities will come up as we progress into the sunlit uplands of spring.

I mentioned Raised by Wolves a few posts ago, but what else have we been enjoying? I'm not sure "enjoy" is quite the word for something as gut-wrenching as Russell T Davies's AIDS-themed drama It's a Sin, but what a phenomenal piece of television it was, beautifully crafted and acted, and moving to a conclusion that was both brutal and life-affirming. Good stuff. We've also been keeping up with Sky Witness's Transplant, which is one of the better medical dramas I've seen in recent years. Unlike House or The Good Doctor (both shows I've enjoyed) Bash, the surgeon protagonist of Transplant isn't a high-functioning genius sociopath or an autistic savant; he's just a skilled, empathetic trauma doctor trying to make the best of use of his gifts after fleeing Syria. At least so far, he's not allowed to practise surgery due to difficulties in retrieving medical certificates from his former university, so he's depicted in a mostly diagnostic function. Along the way Bash has to look after his younger sister, deal with eviction, and do what he can to help a fellow refugee fallen on difficult times. It's well scripted, well acted and - although it obviously cuts corners to tell the medical stories in the frame of a single episode - at least feels realistically drawn. I'm glad to hear there'll be a second season. Other than that, we're late to the Nicola Walker/Sanjeev Bhaskar forensic crime drama Unforgotten, but we're catching up with the last season before the new one airs on ITV. Bhaskar for Doctor Who, anyone?



16 comments:

  1. Thanks for the update Alastair, looking forward to your upcoming novels and short stories. I love first contact novels, brings me back to one of the first SF books I read in the late seventies by A.C. Clarke (Rendezvous with Rama).

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  2. Hello Alastair, hope you and your loved ones are well in this difficult time.

    Really very excited about the new book - as prep I'm going to treat myself and reread Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap in the spring. The Inhibitors were a terrifying invention and I've never forgotten them!

    Unforgotten is absolutely top notch - you won't be disappointed - it has a dark authenticity to it that sticks with you long after. You should have a look at the first two series though as they were very good.

    We used to converse a bit on Twitter a few years ago but I got rid of that app when Brexit seemed to pollute the entire world - I've never been too convinced of social media anyway and only reluctantly keep Facefriend to contact relatives on the other side of the planet.

    A first contact book you say? Now that sounds intriguing...

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  3. Very eager for Inhibitor Phase, Al, and while I'm disappointed about the wait, I'm sure it will be worth it. I'm also very excited to see that you've got a Big Dumb Object book in the works, my favorite sci-fi sub-genre.

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  4. Always look forward to new material from you! Your new book sounds a bit like Rendezvous with Rama? Currently reading your Revenger series and really enjoying it!

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  5. Family events like this just make you re-assess don't they? Not necessarily a bad thing

    Spookily I just finished reading Rendezvous with Rama. I was surprised at how much it had dated for a book published in just 1973, not exactly the dark mists of time!

    The sci-fi ideas presented are still relevant, interesting and thought provoking but the language used, even the character names and some of the social comment didn't age so well. I guess I'm just spoiled by modern-day sci-fi authors

    Much luck with your upcoming projects too btw.

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  6. Ars Technica did an article about what books they would like seen turned into movies, so I went into to the comment section to make sure some of your works are recommended. Turns out there were multiple people recommending several of your books. I recommended the Prefect Dreyfus Emergencies because hard sci-fi space opera isn't the most accessible genre, but the Prefect Dreyfus books are basically police procedurals in a hard sci-fi world, which I feel would be easier for the average person to get into.

    There's definitely a desire out there to see some of your books turned into TV series or movies. It's not just a tiny group of nerds.

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    1. Thanks Joel. Something may happen one day, who knows. Not me!

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  7. This is not related to your post but I just finished reading your story “A Murmuration” in the Years Best Science Fiction Volume 1 edited by Neil Clarke and was blown away. As a former research scientist (recently retired) I could relate to the madness involved in publishing papers in refereed journals. I had somehow missed this story and was elated to know that it was nominated for a Nebula award.

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  8. Thanks! Nothing of mine has ever been a Nebula finalist, though. They have a system where anyone in the SFWA can "nominate" a story but that's not the sense that it's usually applied in other awards, where to be nominated means a formal shortlisting.

    There was a kerfuffle around this a few years ago when one or two writers started saying they were "Nebula-nominated" as if that had the same cachet as a Clarke or Hugo nom.

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  9. I was just reading the new Locus forthcoming books and I saw a listing for a Subterranean Press collection, "Belladonna Nights and Other Stories", dated October 2021. It was a nice surprise: are you able to confirm whether it's accurate? I hope there will be a UK edition too.

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    1. Hi there. Yes it is accurate. I haven't mentioned it until mow as I wanted to make sure I wasn't pre-empting an official announcement by Sub Press. There's no news of a UK edition yet.

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  10. Slightly off topic - i don't know if you have any interest in video games, but i have recently picked a small 2017 indie game caled "Echo" on steam sale - and i was suprised to see that the narrative themes, style and background seem to be heavily inspired by your works. I mean apart from the whole "planet-sized megstructure with interior modelled after baroque palace, managed by ancient, possibly malfunctioning AI, with legends told that it tests its visitors, granting them rewards if they are worthy" , there are dozens of minor details that make you feel the whole story would not be out of place in "House of suns" or revspace.

    Also the narrative does not spoon-fed you with the background and answers, you have to decipher it from bits and pieces of enviroment and dialogue. Which is refrshing compared to typical video game stories. And some of the visuals are really, really nice.

    Not a masterpiece by any means, it can be unpolished and janky at times, but pretty unique and entertaining piece of entertainment most people haven't ever heard about.

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/551770/ECHO/

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    1. Hi Mac - no, I'm not up to speed on video games and I wasn't aware of Echo. Hard to say from the description you give me - it could be that they're just drawing on the same themes and tropes that feed into my work. I get this a lot of with Mass Effect (which I've never played or seen) where people say it's "obviously" inspired by RS but I prefer to take the charitable view that there are a lot of shared influences out there.

      I play a few flight simulators and motor racing games but that's about it for me.

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  11. Hi there! I'm greatly enjoying your short fiction and i wanted to ask you are there plans for your fiction to be adapted for tv? Beyond the Aquila Rift is amazing, both story and episode.

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  12. Hello. Nothing in the pipeline right now. I'm glad you enjoyed BTAR...

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