British Fiction Focus

After Clarke’s Heart: Covering The Medusa Chronicles

When Gollancz calls The Medusa Chronicles “one of the most anticipated SF books of 2016,” it isn’t overstating the case. A meeting of two of finest minds in modern science fiction, specifically Stephen Baxter of the Xeelee Sequence and Alastair Reynolds of Revelation Space fame, inspired, in turn, by another meeting—A Meeting with Medusa, even—which the former author calls Arthur C. Clarke’s “last great work of science fiction” and the latter terms “a touchstone text,” the forthcoming collaboration represents rather an embarrassment of riches.

A continuation of “the story of Commander Howard Falcon over centuries of space-exploration, interaction with AI, first contact and beyond,” The Medusa Chronicles has been a nearly-known quantity since its announcement in April. Now, on the other side of the summer—and what a waste of a summer it was otherwise—Gollancz today gave the rest of the game away by way of an updated blurb and an early look at the book’s classic cover art.

Howard Falcon almost lost his life in an accident… and a combination of human ingenuity and technical expertise brought him back. Not as himself, but as an augmented human: part man, part machine, and exceptionally capable.

The Medusa Chronicles charts his journey through time, the changing interaction between humanity and our universe, and combines moments of incredible action with unparalleled exploration of and expansion into space. A compelling read from the beginning, this is classic SF which has appeal for readers who like Gravity and The Martian.

I’d add to that somewhat reductive sales pitch that The Medusa Chronicles should be on the reading radar of anyone who’s ever even considered giving a shit about science fiction. It doesn’t get more exciting than this.

The-Medusa-Chronicles-by-Stephen-Baxter-and-Alastair-Reynolds

And how about that cover, huh?

A year or so ago I might have described it as dull, or simply traditional, but with the abstract rebranding of Alastair Reynolds’ Poseidon’s Children trilogy, this shiny spacescape makes me a very happy chappie, not least because that station seems to be smiling at me.

In case you weren’t already aware, February 18 is the date to save.

Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative ScotsmanStrange Horizons, and Tor.com. He lives with about a bazillion books, his better half and a certain sleekit wee beastie in the central belt of bonnie Scotland.

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