late night science fiction blogging
Currently reading (slowly...) "Chasm City" by Alastair Reynolds. So far so good. Possibly very good.
Reynolds is one of the new post-punk, post-Thatcher group of UK science fiction authors who has taken up the mantle of hard, edgy science fiction (cf Stross, McLeod, Mieville, Hamilton and of course Banks). And just in time too, since US hard science fiction is in a lull, lots of fantasy, including EPF trilogies, lots of vampire porn filling shelfs in the SF sections, and lots of lite carnography (understandably, but man it gets tiresome). The great US hard writers are not pumping stuff out like they used to (cf the "killer Bees" - Bear, Benford and Brin [actually think I just missed hearing a talk by Benford on campus, ah well, no helping it]), but UK is just ripping (and Aussies too - Egan!). Probably make a good literature PhD thesis in a few decades to figure out why (or two, one to figure out the dip in the US, one to figure out the upswing in the UK).
Anyway, Reynolds is a PhD astronomer ( and still publishing science, damn, looks like local X-ray binary kinda guy), he is working at ESA in the Netherlands.
Haven't read all his stuff, 1.5 novels and few shorts so far, but that got him on my "to-buy-on-sight list; third novel is in the to-read pile. Hard, well written science fiction; good science, consistent and not too implausible near future scenarios. Worth a read or three.