Thursday, February 28, 2008


Phil asks some questions about The Quiet War:

i've read six short stories in the sequence, Second Skin, Sea Changes.., Reef, The Passenger, Dead Men Walking and Making History. are there others that i may have missed? are you planning on gathering them all in a short story collection? i noted a reference to Greater Brazil in one of them which would tie the sequence in with 400 Billion Stars and your earlier novels although i can't work out the chronology.

The stories published so far are, in order of first publication:
‘Second Skin’ (1997)
‘Sea Change, With Monsters’ (1998)
‘The Gardens of Saturn’ (1998)
‘Reef’ (2000)
‘Making History’ (2000)
‘The Passenger’ (2002)
‘The Assassination of Faustino Malarte’ (2002)
‘Dead Men Walking’ (2006)

Another story, ‘Incomers’, is due to be published in April this year, in an anthology of stories for teenage readers, The Starry Rift, edited by Jonathan Strahan. So far, there are no plans to collect them together, I’m afraid. And apart from sharing a country called Greater Brazil, neither the stories nor the novels have anything to do with my earlier future history.

Although it’s possible to fit these stories into a rough chronological order -- ‘Making History’ is somewhere near the beginning of things and ‘Reef’ and ‘Second Skin’ are towards the end -- I wasn’t cunning or foresighted enough to work up a proper future history from the start. That’s why, when I started working on the background for The Quiet War and Outer Dark, I realised that I wanted to take things in a slightly different direction. (If I was cleverer than I am I wouldn't make my life so complicated.)

So the stories should be considered as a loosely affiliated set of fictions in their own right, rather than spinoffs, sidebars, or episodes waiting to be stitched together in some kind of fix-up. Although the novels share some of the background and history (and even characters) of the stories, the novels start from a slightly different place, in a slightly different timeline. And it’s my hope that the novels will benefit from the recent avalanche of new information about the moons of Jupiter and Saturn from Galileo and Cassini probes. I couldn’t have done this without them, not to mention Pioneer 11, and the two Voyagers, and of course the teams of scientists and technicians who designed and flew them, and gave form and names to the fantastic diversity of moonscapes they discovered.


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