Last week, in my article about Elizabeth Bear’s upcoming novel Ancestral Night, I included a quote from Publishers Weekly about the current “space opera resurgence.” The most common response to that piece has been, “There’s a space opera resurgence?”
You know, I think there might be. Just in the last few weeks we’ve talked about Gareth L. Powell’s Embers of War books, Jesse Mihalik’s Polaris Rising, Lisanne Norman’s Sholan Alliance series, Alastair Reynolds’s Shadow Captain, Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings, Tom Toner’s The Amaranthine Spectrum trilogy, Marina J. Lostetter’s Noumenon series, K.B. Wagers There Before the Chaos, and a whole lot more. That’s a critical mass of space opera, especially for a site that pretends to mostly cover fantasy books…. so yeah. I kinda think there’s a resurgence.
The latest evidence landed on my desk earlier this week, in the form of a new review copy from Tor. It’s the debut novel from British author Andrew Bannister, the first in a promised trilogy, and it received some enviable attention in the UK when it was first published there three years ago. Here’s the notice from The Guardian, from their May 2016 roundup of the Best Recent Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels.
Space opera lends itself to the depiction of grand dimensions and great duration, but it’s one thing to talk big, quite another to present a vast universe through the eyes of fully rounded characters without the former overshadowing the latter. Many a novice has floundered, their vision ill served by technique. Fortunately, debut novelist Andrew Bannister comes to the genre with his talents fully formed in the ambitious, compulsively readable Creation Machine, the first volume in a trilogy. Fleare Haas, the maverick daughter of the industrialist tyrant Viklun Haas, is imprisoned in a monastery on the moon of Obel, her crime to join rebels opposed to her father’s ruthless regime. Her escape from prison and her headlong race across the galaxy to the Catastrophe Curve is just one of the novel’s many delights. Creation Machine has everything: intriguing far-future societies, exotic extraterrestrial races, artificial galaxies and alien machines dormant for millions of years. Bannister holds it all together with enviable aplomb.
Tor has scheduled the sequel, Iron Gods, for publication in July. It will be followed by Stone Clock. Here’s the back covers for the first two.
The Creation Machine will be published in the US by Tor on March 5, 2019. It is 329 pages (plus a 32-page excerpt from Iron Gods) and is priced at $16.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 in digital format. The cover was designed by Stephen Mulcahey/TW.
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