From SCI FI Wire:
12:00 AM, 29-FEBRUARY-08
SF author Alastair Reynolds, whose novel The Prefect
is a finalist for this year's British Science Fiction Association Award, told SCI FI Wire that the book combines the tropes of SF and crime fiction.
"As an avid reader of crime novels and a fan of TV shows such as 24, I liked the idea of doing a kind of police procedural story," Reynolds said in an interview. "Along the way I couldn't avoid straying into areas related to security and civil liberty--big issues right now."
is a thriller about the Glitter Band, a halo of 10,000 space habitats orbiting a planet in another solar system in the early decades of the 25th century.
"A handful of habitats drop offline unexpectedly, severed from the instantaneous mass-democracy system which binds the rest of the Band," Reynolds said. "As the Prefects investigate--they're the effective police force, although there are only a thousand of them--the crisis escalates until it threatens the entire society. The story then becomes a race against time to save the Glitter Band from at least one, and possibly two, hostile artificial intelligences."
The universe in which The Prefect
is set runs on hard SF principles, but it's not a book full of equations. "The science isn't foregrounded; of all my books, this may be the one where I never had to do even the most basic calculation, beyond keeping tabs on the body count!" Reynolds said. "The characters are mainly security operatives, so they're not overly interested in how things work, just what they can do for them."
Reynolds has just finished writing House of Suns
, a stand-alone novel set 6 million years from now, at a time when humans have crossed and recrossed the galaxy many times. "It's about a group of starfaring clones, 'the shatterlings,' who face sudden and vicious persecution by an unknown enemy," Reynolds said. "It's got robots, weird post-humans, galaxy-spanning travel and lots of different environments. It's probably my wildest, most space-operatic book to date." --John Joseph Adams