FRIDAY 11 MARCH 2016
7PM PLYMOUTH ARTS CENTRE
Bar Facilities Available in the Arts Centre
ENTRY IS FREE BUT PLACES ARE LIMITED
TO BOOK: www.nevill-powell.eventbrite.co.uk
– See more at: Literature Works website
Next week, on Weds 24th Feb, my BSFA interview has been moved to The Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8ND. All other details remain the same (7pm start, free entry, interview to be conducted by Peter F. Hamilton).
Hope to see you there!
Here’s a video of me reading my short story, Ride The Blue Horse, which was originally published on Medium.com in July 2015.
Click here to read the original story.
‘The Last Reef’ appeared in issue #202 of Interzone in February 2006.
This was a huge deal for me at the time, and looking back, I can see that short story as pretty much the place where it all started for me. Since then, I’ve published a short story collection and five novels – not to mention another five stories in the magazine. So, thanks Interzone. And thanks to everybody else who’s played a part over the past decade.
Ten years in the business. That seems like a milestone worth celebrating!
As part of my mission to really get my act together in 2016, I’ve decided to start a monthly newsletter to keep you lot up-to-date with book news, writing progress, new short fiction publications, and anything else I think might be of interest. I’m sure there will also be exclusive content, early notification of upcoming events, and maybe even a competition or two. If you would like to sign up, simply enter your email address in the form in the sidebar to the right of this post, or click on this link: https://tinyletter.com/GLPowell
When I wrote my own space opera, The Recollection (2011) it was a labour of love. In many ways, The Recollection was the book I’d always wanted to write, and I poured into it a lifetime of science fiction influences and daydreams. It was a homage to those iconic space pilots of yesteryear, and an attempt to write an updated, contemporary space opera.
Now, having finished a trilogy of books set in the near-future, I am once again returning to the space lanes with a novel that I hope will be the first in a new series of fast-paced space adventures. While I’m working on it, I’ve also been looking back at some of the best the sub-genre has to offer.
Below, ranked in no particular order, are my ten most essential space operas:
1) Nova by Samuel R. Delany – A swaggering, heady smash-up of gritty space opera and serious literary ambition, Nova takes the tropes of traditional space opera and bolts them to a self-consciously mythical framework.
2) The Centauri Device by M. John Harrison – Harrison’s revisionist attempt to destroy the space opera genre spawned instead a renewed interest in grimy spaceports and down-and-out antiheroes, providing a key influence for the ‘New Space Opera’ of the 1980s and 1990s.
3) Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks – A rollicking adventure featuring space pirates, shape changers, sentient ships and interstellar war, which somehow also manages to simultaneously provide a deep and acutely painful meditation on the moral and emotional futility of conflict.
4) A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge – Famous for the author’s vision of a galaxy segregated by ‘zones of thought’ – areas in which certain technologies, such as FTL and AI, simply won’t work – A Fire Upon The Deep also presents us with a vision of a galaxy-wide Internet ‘chat room’, and the terrifying incursion of an artificial super-intelligence into human society: perhaps the definitive use of the Singularity in space opera.
5) Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds – In a dark universe filled with the ruins of older, vanished civilisations, gothic spacers schlep between worlds in vast, decaying ‘lighthuggers’, their lifetimes stretched by relativistic time dilation, their goals to shape the comparatively ephemeral planetary civilisations they encounter, and to gain a competitive edge over the other lighthugger crews plying their wares along the same lonely space lanes.
6) Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie – The all-conquering, multi award-winning story of a murdered starship’s quest for vengeance, and the human body in which it now finds its consciousness trapped.
7) The Reality Dysfunction By Peter F. Hamilton – When roguish space captain, Joshua Calvert, comes up against a seemingly supernatural force, humanity faces its gravest and seemingly most-inescapable threat yet. Seamlessly blending gritty space adventure with outright horror, this thick volume forms the first instalment of the massive Night’s Dawn trilogy.
8) Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey – In the colonised solar system of a not-too-distant future, political tensions between Mars, Earth and the Belt threaten the stability and future of humanity. When the crew of an ice mining vessel are attacked by a stealth ship, the incident starts a seemingly-inevitable countdown to war.
9) Space by Stephen Baxter – Robotic aliens arrive in the solar system but seem to have no interest in talking to the people of Earth. Former NASA astronaut Reid Malenfant launches himself towards the system’s outer reaches in a bid to make contact, and to discover the truth about the many waves of alien settlement that have already passed over our worlds.
10) The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. A space opera that has all the classic ingredients: a beaten up ship; a crew of misfits; and a galaxy filled with danger and adventure. Like Ann Leckie’s book above, this is also a debut, and one that, like Ancillary Justice, promises great things ahead.
These ten books are my personal selection of the ten most essential space operas on my book shelves. If you’re a fan of the genre, I’m sure you have your own list tucked away somewhere at the back of your mind. Does it agree with this one? Feel free to leave your personal selections and suggestions in the comments below…
This year, you will be able to find me at the following events:
22 Feb: BristolCon Fringe. Shakespeare Tavern, Princes St, Bristol. 7:00pm. Live reading, free entry.
24 Feb: BSFA Interview. The Reliance, 336 Old Street, EC1V 9DR. Peter F Hamilton will be questioning me in front of a live audience in London.
25-28 March: Mancunicon, Hilton Deansgate, Manchester. The annual British Science Fiction Association Easter Convention (or Eastercon).
23-25 Sept: FantasyCon, Grand Hotel, Scarborough. FantasyCon by the sea.
29 Oct: BristolCon. The South-West’s friendliest convention.
— Jamie-Lee Nardone (@JamiedoesPR) January 6, 2016
L-R: Martyn Waites, Paul Cornell, Peter Newman, Pete Sutton, Gareth L. Powell, Joanne Hall, Cavan Scott.