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Creator: Alastair Reynolds
Alastair Reynolds is a Welsh author of a number of sci-fi novels, which have the tendency to be about as far up Mohs Scale of Sci-Fi Hardness as it's possible to get while still remaining recognizably Space Opera. Of particular note is the almost total lack of Faster-Than-Light Travel in most of his books, despite their interstellar settings, and the extreme cultural and technological divergences shown.


His works include:


Tropes in Alastair Reynolds works (for Revelation Space tropes, see that series' page):

  • Alternate History: A pseudo-version of this is is used in the novel Century Rain, with Earth-Two, an exact copy of planet Earth in a different part of the Galaxy, on which the only difference is a 1940s-50s level of society and technology and the non-existance of World War II (it started, but the Nazi offensive bogged down in the Ardennes, bringing an early end to the conflict, with far-from-happy consequences). It is later revealed to be one of many 'quantum snapshots' of Earth at different time periods, all done by a mysterious missing alien race.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Blue Remembered Earth. The weird bit is that the mind reader is an elephant.
  • Brown Note: Comes in song format in the short story Digital to Analogue.
  • Diesel Punk: In a Film Noir variation, the quantum "snapshot" Earth in Century Rain.
  • Dreadful Musician: Averted in Century Rain: in an early scene the protagonist is walking into a superior's office while he plays a violin, with her Internal Monologue noting how grating and painful the music is. It is then revealed that she, along with a large portion of the rest of the human race, were infected with a designer-disease called 'amusica', which prevented people from enjoying music, to ruin their side's morale. After all, someone who can't appreciate music can't get patriotic fervor from their anthems, now can they?
  • Eldritch Abomination: Doubtless whatever it is that exists outside the megastructure in Pushing Ice.
  • Emergency Transformation: In Pushing Ice, near the end, Bella is killed and her brain damaged to the point that it can no longer be reconstructed, until Svetlana tells the alien doctors to fill in the gaps with her own brain patterns. This brings her back, but as a confused amalgam of two people.
  • Grey Goo: Caused the abandonment of Earth in Century Rain; one type of nanobots in the air to affect weather patterns went rogue, so they made nanobots to combat those, which went rogue, and so on and so forth. The Grey Goo is then weaponized decades later by the descendants of the survivors and used as a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Linked List Clue Methodology: The plot of Blue Remembered Earth.
  • Mechanical Evolution: Played with in Zima Blue. Zima was originally a pool cleaning robot, who was upgraded over decades by the descendants of his creator. Eventually, he does the upgrades on his own.
  • Neo-Africa: One of the primary settings of Blue Remembered Earth.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: In the short story Beyond the Aquila Rift, ships travel between worlds using an abandoned FTL network. The ships need to carry millions of tiny screens which project "runes" onto the ship's exterior, which the alien portal network interprets as where the ship wants to go.
  • Punny Name: The Rockhopper mining spacecraft from Pushing Ice. Its mascot is the eponymous cute species of penguin and... you know... the ship's routine flights involve "hopping" from one asteroid or comet to the next.
  • Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything: Lampshaded in Century Rain:
    "We call it a quantum snapshot, but that doesn't mean we have clue one about what was involved in producing it. That's just a name we give it to hide our ignorance."
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Century Rain, the transhuman Slasher faction identify themselves by a strange gesture in the air - a diagonal slashing motion followed by a poked dot.
    • There are at least two shout-outs to Book of the New Sun in House of Suns: the Vigilance's methods of immortality, and (Book of the New Sun spoiler) a robot with a human arm.
    • The entirety of House of Suns is constructed out of Alan Parsons Project references. Two antagonists that are featured prominently in the novel are Cadence and Cascade.
    • In his commentary on the short stories in Zima Blue, Reynolds acknowledges that the titles of "Cardiff Afterlife" and "Everlasting" are taken from the names of Manic Street Preachers songs.
  • Time Dilation: Ubiquitous; especially relevant to Pushing Ice.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: The Absence in House of Suns causes Andromeda to disappear.
  • The Unpronounceable: Slasher names in Century Rain. To speed up communication, they have modified themselves to have a Syrinx, so their names are literally unpronouncable to regular humans, who just don't have the necessary equipment to reproduce those sounds.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Zima in Zima Blue
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Essentially what kickstarts the plot of Pushing Ice.

Mike ResnickSpeculative Fiction Creator IndexAmelia Atwater-Rhodes
Ruth RendellAuthorsJ. K. Rowling

alternative title(s): Alastair Reynolds
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