Guest Post: “Writing Exodus, or: How to take on too much and learn to love it” by Alex Lamb

LambAlex-AuthorPicExodus, the third novel in the Roboteer series comes out this month. It was, by far, the most difficult creative project I’ve ever undertaken, and also, probably because of that, the most satisfying. Never have I teared up so much whilst writing, or laughed so hard, or felt such terrible tension. Why was it hard? There were many reasons, both personal and creative. In this post, I’ll do my best to share them.

The most obvious cause of my problems was that I had set myself up with an almost impossible challenge. Before I wrote Nemesis, the book that precedes Exodus, I had made the decision that the trilogy would need to answer the enormous question that I set up in Roboteer:

What is the difference between an intelligent species that survives, and one that wipes itself out? Continue reading

Guest Post: “Demand Quality Aliens!” by Alex Lamb

LambAlex-AuthorPicI’ve always been fascinated by aliens. From about the time I could talk, I’ve been obsessed with them. For a while, growing up, I was convinced I was one. Now, as an author, I love writing about them.

Over the course of my adult life, I’ve also had an unusual amount of exposure to the science of things alien. I studied artificial intelligence at university, married an astronomer, and recently worked as a researcher in Princeton’s biology department, doing research on abiogenesis. I’ve had the chance to talk to scientists studying exoplanets, researchers at SETI, exobiology, and other wonderful people working in a host of related fields.

Having that science under my belt makes me want to get extraterrestrials right in my novels. It makes me a little fussy about them. And because I care, I want you to get fussy too, dear reader.  Continue reading

An Aside: On a Bit of a SF Buying Binge…

I seem to be on an unusual sci-fi purchasing kick at the moment. Or, if not actively purchasing/pre-ordering sci-fi novels, I’m filing them away on my To Buy list, or on my Amazon wishlist. Today, I purchased Becky Chambers’s The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet — which was recently published by Hodder.

This is a little bit strange, because I don’t really read much sci-fi. Sure, I read almost everything set in Black Library’s Horus Heresy series (which is becoming a tad drawn-out), and I used to read every Star Wars novel I could get my hands on (as long as it was set after New Hope). But, over the past couple of years, I’ve cooled on SW novels (mainly because I haven’t really liked any that I’ve tried to read over the past couple of years). This has left a rather gaping SF hole on my shelves. Save for a mere handful of SF novels by Richard Morgan, Rachel Aaron, and … well, actually I think that’s about it… I just don’t read much SF. I read the first book in James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series, Leviathan Wakes (Orbit), which was pretty good.

This fleeting observation made me look at my various lists and TBR pile, and it looks like there are going to be some interesting SF book in the next few months. Alongside Chambers’s novel, above, I recently acquired an ARC of Kim Stanley Robinson’s next novel, Aurora (Orbit, July 9th), which I’m really interested in reading; and also Justina Robson’s The Glorious Angels (Gollancz). I also pre-ordered Jason LaPier’s Unexpected Rain (Voyager, May 7th), and will probably buy Jamie Sawyer’s The Lazarus War: Artefact (Orbit) in the not-too-distant future. Looking a bit further ahead, Rob Boffard’s Tracer looks interesting (Orbit, July 2nd), as do Mike Brooks’s Dark Run (Del Rey UK, June 4th), Alex Lamb’s Roboteer (Gollancz, July 16th – I’ve preordered this, only £1.99!) and Al Robertson’s Crashing Heaven (Gollancz, June 18th). There’s also J.P. Smythe’s Way Down Dark (Hodder, July2nd). And, of course, there’s Ernest Cline’s Armada (Century, July 16th)… [Details for all of these titles after the break.]

So, maybe I have a few months of (uncharacteristic) sci-fi reading coming up?

Continue reading