Don't let anybody tell you there's no money in writing science fiction. Revelation Space and Pushing Ice author Alastair Reynolds just got a £1 million book deal (about $1.65 million) from his publisher, Gollancz.
It's not quite as massive as it sounds at first — that £1 million is for ten books over the next ten years, so it's only £100,000 per book. But that's still quite a sweet advance, and as Reynolds himself points out, the deal "gives me a huge amount of security for the next ten years." It does mean he has to put out a book a year, but Reynolds, who quit his job as a scientist with the European Space Agency to write full-time starting in 2004, says he's proved over the past decade that he can meet deadlines. He's already written eight books during that time, a few of them while he was still at the ESA.
Says his editor Jo Fletcher at Gollancz:
We don't sling that sort of money around lightly. Al's got big ideas for the future and we wanted to make that happen, but it's also a signal to the publishing industry that we're taking him seriously, and that they need to... He is very good at characterisation, he is very good at complex plots and he's very good at making you feel the vastness out there. He's got the whole package.
The big book deal does sort of confirm Reynolds' status as one of the giants of the new British space opera. And it's especially interesting because I don't get the sense that he's quite as big a name in the U.S. as he is in the U.K. Reynolds' most recent book, the Clarke Award-nominated House Of Suns, only just came out in the U.S. months after its debut in England.