Top 89 Alastair Reynolds Quotes of 2020

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“I’m not a morning person: I can’t function until I’ve had a coffee – or several.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“We live in a science fictional world with things like cloning and face transplants, and things seem to be getting stranger and stranger.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I don’t think the computer will win the Booker, but no-one ever expected a computer to beat a chess grandmaster.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“When you’re writing stuff that’s already clotted with neologisms and trying to get across fairly abstruse concepts, you’re already putting a heavy burden on the reader.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I am playing in a playground that’s already been played in. I am always aware that a lot of the furniture in science fiction is second hand.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“We’ve had science fiction novels where China is dominant; we’ve had novels where India is dominant, and I suppose it’s all about getting away from that cliched old tired idea that the future belongs to the West.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I think I set myself on a course to become a scientist around about the time that Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’ series was on television, and there really was no going back for me at that point, and then I went on to study space science and then get my Ph.D., then go aboard and work in the European Space Agency.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’m always a little bit cautious around invented terminology because so much science fiction is off-putting to the uninitiated. You open up the first page, and it’s full of all these made-up words.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“One of the big breakthroughs I had as a writer was when I stopped agonising over every word.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I couldn’t ever write a straight crime novel: there’d be an intrusion of weirdness at some point.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“When I look back at many of the moments of wonder, awe, or terror that I’ve got from science fiction, it’s often been because I’ve been put in the head of one of the characters.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’m still bothered by the threat of nuclear war.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’m not massively fond of right-wing nutters or war criminals.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“To be remembered at all is an achievement of sorts.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I prioritise story over science, but not at the expense of being really stupid about it.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I always say that keeping abreast of science should never be seen as a chore. It should be something you do naturally. I don’t sit there reading ‘New Scientist,’ putting post-it notes next to ideas.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“If there’s a story I absolutely cannot tell without faster-than-light travel, then I am quite prepared to accept it – even though I don’t personally believe it is possible.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I think the danger with using the term ‘trilogy’ is that it sets up particular expectations in the reader’s mind.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I was never strong at maths, but I eventually got onto a university physics/astronomy course, and that led on to my Ph.D. and eventual employment.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’m fascinated by steam engines and with Victorian engineering generally, and as a corollary to that, I’m fascinated by the idea of long-lived technologies.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’ve never had much interest in spinoffery – the idea of writing in someone else’s universe generally leaves me cold – but ‘Doctor Who’ is different. I’ve grown up with it. It’s been part of my life since I was tiny, watching Jon Pertwee on a grainy black and white television in Cornwall and being terrified out of my mind.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I don’t know why, but American sci-fi writers seem to focus on the near-future, which has given us Brits a clear run at the most fascinating.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“For me, the distant future and far-off galaxies is where it’s at. That’s where my imagination can really come out to play.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“It’s true that my stories seem to deal with the end of the world. I’ve often been called the high priest of gothic miserablism, which is slightly unfair.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’m a wishy-washy ‘Guardian’ reader, but the last thing I want to do is force a political agenda down people’s throats. It’s not central to my work, unlike, say, China Mieville, who’s very politicised.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I always like Iain Banks science fiction stuff and William Gibson’s cyberpunk stuff from the 1980s.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“The first time I read a crime novel – I think it may have been an Elmore Leonard book – it took some time for me to realise how the genre worked. There were about 20 characters on the first page, and I wasn’t used to this. I started to enjoy it when I saw that was how crime books worked.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“There are similarities between historical novels and science fiction. Being thrown into the Napoleonic Wars is just as much of a different world as space.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“In crime, I like Ian Rankin and James Lee Burke. As for historical books, I enjoy Bernard Cornwell, Patrick O’Brien, and C. S. Forester – anything with battleships!”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Like everyone else, I read newspapers and ‘New Scientist’ and try to put my finger on the trends which we can just see emerging now that are accelerating and might take off.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I come at it from a different angle of attack with each novel, searching for the technological texture the story demands. There isn’t a recipe; it’s more of an instinct.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Sitting here at the beginning of the 21st century, we’re only 200 years into the industrial revolution. We don’t have an enormous dataset to draw on, so whatever shaped curve we’re on, we’re only at the beginning of it.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“You have to be able to invest in your own creations, to suspend your own disbelief in order to be able to write them. We all have to draw the line somewhere.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“What works for me is simply to read a lot of stuff throughout the year – not with a particular story or theme in mind, but just because you never know what might be useful or interesting in the long run. I much prefer to just absorb a lot of stuff and let the old unconscious chew down on it over time.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Most of the time, when I get an idea that hinges on some science ‘thing,’ it will have been because of something I read or encountered months or years earlier rather than in the last few days.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“There is so little SF drawn from modern scientific thinking, in any discipline, that I’m much more cheered by the successes than the failures, most of which are forgivable.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“There is enough material in the Kuiper Belt to build anything out there. We could gobble up all the little asteroids, filtering out all the volatile materials, leaving us with bits of rock and using that to make some incredible structures.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Dreams of warp drives and hyperspace are just that – dreams.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“From apparently superluminal radio sources in deep space, to the neutrinos that were supposed to be arriving ahead of schedule at the Grand Sasso experiment in Italy, every apparent exception to Einstein’s ultimate speed law has turned out to be a phantom.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“It’s a novel experience to have one of my books read by a reading group.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“My mother was a part of a reading group, but they would never come near science fiction because they think it’s not for them.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Science fiction can be very relevant, could be good literature.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“’Doctor Who’ is part of my science fictional DNA. You could take it out of me, and I’d probably still have ended up being a writer, but almost certainly not the same one.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“My early memories of ‘Who’ are clouded by time and confused by repeats and reissues. I have no direct recollection of the first two Doctors and none at all of the first season of the Pertwee era. By the last two seasons of the Third Doctor, I was properly hooked.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’m not actually that bothered about the ‘science fiction-ness’ of ‘Doctor Who.’”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I watched ‘Who’ with a mixture of affection and exasperation through the eighties, always ready to cheer on the Doctor but seldom feeling that the series was playing to its strengths. Some of the adventures, revisited on DVD, turn out to be better than I remembered – others just as infuriating.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’ve always been attracted to Pertwee’s portrayal of the Doctor as dashing man-of-science, charming, sceptical, and rational.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Above all else, ‘Doctor Who’ still seems to me to offer near-infinite scope for the writer. It must be the least constraining of televisual properties.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Daleks scared the hell out of me, to the point where I wouldn’t go round to another boy’s house because he had Dalek wallpaper in his bedroom.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“As a science fiction writer, it’s hard to think of a more stirring theme than the origin and ultimate destiny of life in the universe.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I couldn’t think of anything more pointless than reading a piece of fiction written by a robot.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“The idea of a computer winning the Nobel Prize for physics is not too unlikely, citing a computer as joint recipient. It’s obviously not a huge leap to think of something similar happening in fiction.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’ve always had ideas for more books than I can write.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I didn’t have a huge amount of security when I was a scientist from one contract to another. You’re always thinking, ‘Am I going to have a job this time next year?’”

― Alastair Reynolds

“When I’m working on one book, part of my imagination is thinking ahead to the next one.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Science fiction writers aren’t short of ideas. You can read a book, and it sets off a chain of thought processes, so it becomes a response to other people’s books.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“A lot of science fiction is very accessible and very readable, but a lot of people are justifiably put off by the covers of spaceships – though that never put me off.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I had an artistic streak and was good at painting and drawing and also very good at English, but I did want to be a scientist. The education system means you have to choose physics or Shakespeare. It can’t be both.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I despair of reality television, but I’ve never met anyone who watches it. Or people say, ‘I watch it, but I hate it.’ I’ve never met anyone who loves it. It’s like, it’s there, and we have to accept it.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’ve always loved far future SF, so it was more or less a given that I would one day want to write in that form.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’ve been enthralled by deep vistas of space and time ever since watching George Pal’s film of ‘The Time Machine,’ while an early encounter with Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘The City And The Stars’ cemented my love for books with a scope spanning millions of years.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I hope that ‘House of Suns’ functions as an independent novel.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I had – and continued to have – great fun exploring the Revelation Space universe, but it was always clear to me that I wanted to write other kinds of books, even within what might be termed the fairly narrow overlapping genre categories of hard SF and space opera.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I was really impressed by ‘2312.’”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Speaking for myself, I really struggle to pinpoint whether I became a scientist because I like science fiction, or did I gravitate to science fiction because I identified strongly with scientists.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“When I was a kid, I was reliably informed that we’d have gone to Mars by 1985, and of course it’s 2012, and we’re still really no closer to a human expedition to Mars, but that shouldn’t detract from the amazing achievements that are being done on a day-to-day basis by robotic envoys.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“If the Chinese are the first to the asteroids or the first to Mars, good for them, as far as I’m concerned.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“One of the dangers of science fiction, particularly bad science fiction, is that you have these scenes where the characters turn to a blackboard and start explaining how this faster-than-light drive works, or something like that. We never really have those conversations in real life. That’s not part of the way we interact as human beings.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“If you’re creating a whole universe, even if it’s a universe squeezed into a solar system, you have to use a little bit of sleight of hand.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I used to be a strong believer that we would eventually colonize the solar system the way it’s been done in science fiction many, many times: bases on the moon, Mars colonized, move out to the outer planets, then we go to the next solar system and build a colony there. I don’t know now – I’m not as convinced that’s the way it’s going to pan out.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Why would you need to expand beyond the solar system if you already have access to all the information you need, and you’ve essentially insulated yourself against a planetary apocalypse? Maybe that’s enough.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’ve always been skeptical of the idea that sentience is going to be an exclusively human attribute.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I would much rather we concentrated on the immediate, still-potent dangers, such as nuclear weapons, runaway climate change, and so on. Sort those out, then worry about Hal 9000.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“If you do a certain amount of work every day, it will eventually become a novel.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I don’t like a lot of what’s published as hard SF. Much of it is right-wing, reactionary crap.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“As an SF writer, you’ve got the infinite toolkit of the writer at your disposal.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“The one thing that really terrifies me is we’re going to get a signal from space that clears it all up: ‘OK, this is how the universe works, guys.’”

― Alastair Reynolds

“As a kid, I’d buy novels with these magnificent Chris Fosse covers which showed an enormous contraption hovering over a planet, and you’d always think ‘Where’s that going to come in?’ And it never did! It was always slightly disappointing when the contents of a book never lived up to the cover.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I just start writing, and in the process, one hopefully comes up with ideas and solutions and explores all the little nooks and crannies.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“When I was writing ‘House Of Suns,’ there were a few writers I had in mind as role models, the main being Gene Wolfe.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“In the ‘Revelation Space’ books, the spaceships are a bit old and rusty, and things go wrong, and they don’t work quite how they’re meant to. And people asked why I did it this way, and groping around for an explanation, I said that I grew up in Barry, this post-industrial sea town full of rusting infrastructure.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’m just happy to have some American readers – enough that it’s a viable proposition for my books to appear there.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“I’m a genre writer – I chose to be one, I ended up one, I still am one, and I’m not writing transgressive, genre-blurring fiction. I write ‘core SF’ – it may occasionally incorporate horror or noir tropes, but it’s not pretending to be anything other than what it is.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“You can’t underestimate the importance of cover art.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“It’s not healthy to obsess over every data point, every review or reader comment. I think the first few times you see someone writing about you, you have this massive emotional response to it. But after a while, it all just fades into the background noise.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“No idea should be discarded completely, but – as one might imagine – it does take a degree of ingenuity to find a new spin on something as hackneyed as the ‘Adam and Eve’ story. But if you think you’ve got the chops for it, there’s no reason not to try.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Ideas have a certain gestation period that can’t be forced.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“Don’t keep rewriting and polishing something if it isn’t setting the world on fire: start something new instead and consider the earlier story a learning experience.”

― Alastair Reynolds

“In some respects, big ideas can be a bit too big for a short story – especially if you’ve only got a couple of thousand words to play with, and you need room for other stuff, like character, description.”

― Alastair Reynolds
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