Everybody wants more optimistic science fiction, but the near future is full of nightmare scenarios like global climate change. How do we get around that? Alastair Reynolds has one idea: a 22nd century saga set after the climate's already changed.
In a way, it's not too different than what Gene Roddenberry did with Star Trek: Create an optimistic future a couple centuries out, after a period of upheaval in the nearer term.
Reynolds tells Cosmos Magazine:
It's actually one of my most optimistic stories so far. It's about the future of space exploration in a 22nd century post-climate change world. We've gone to Mars and back to the Moon. Africa is the main economic and technological super power - it's post China, post India.
It's about the equivalent of a modern 'Gates' family of Africa - this rich family of technology pioneers. They have two kids who are sort of expected to carry on in the family business, but they want to break away and do their own thing.
The book explores the past few hundred years of space exploration that we've missed. I think space exploration is so important to our survival as a species and I am a big advocate. I visited the Kennedy Space Centre two years ago and was totally inspired - it's what inspired me to write this book. I wanted to look at the future of space exploration in a positive way.
And there are lots of positive things in the book - I sort of wanted to look at the world after we've gone through all the climate change. The Sahara is a large solar catching region.
I assume he means "post-China, post-India" in the sense that their economic domination has come and gone, not that they no longer exist.
Much more from Reynolds, including why he thinks we should get cracking on colonizing the Moon ASAP and how he creates memorable characters, at the link.
Top image by Willyam Bradberry/Shutterstock. [Cosmos Magazine]