Creative writing Science Fiction

Don’t miss Alastair Reynolds’s wonderful sketches for his Revenger trilogy

Most authors only publish their notes and sketches when a series hits the big time, but space opera author Alastair Reynolds has given away a treat for fans of his Revenger trilogy.

If you haven’t read the Revenger novels, they’re an intriguing, swashbuckling trio of far future adventures. Though they feature solar sail ships, weird aliens and pirates, they’re subtly grounded by Reynolds’s background in astrophysics. Scientists-turned-authors often feel the need to explain the science mid-story; Reynolds just makes it work.

A space pirate sailship from the Revenger series, by the author, Alastair Reynolds.
Space piracy, Revenger-style (Image: Alastair Reynolds)

As with many authors, Reynolds like to sketch as well as making copious notes, but he can cobble together a decent sketch. I can’t draw to save my life, so I prefer to use tools like HeroForge to create my characters (and if anyone knows a good tool for sketching up spaceship designs and floorplans, please share them in the comments).

With the third and final part of the Revenger trilogy published earlier this year, Reynolds has released a selection of sketches and notes covering characters, space stations, spaceships and other features of the Congregation universe. It’s an unusual addition to his blog, Approaching Pavonis Mons by balloon, which — as he says — is “occasionally science fiction but mostly frogs and bats.”

Reynolds became one of the leading lights in contemporary British SF with his outstanding hard SF series, Revelation Space. If you like this kind of thing, there are sketches from the Revelation Space universe on his publishing website at, along with some impressive Photoshop artwork for the series.

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