Saga Press Is Bringing Elizabeth Bear’s Next Big Space Opera to the U.S.


Some writers make a handsome living writing essentially the same book over and over—which certainly isn’t a bad thing (readers love to settle in with a book they just know they’re going to love). But then there are those authors who seem content only when their next book is nothing like their last. If any author exemplifies the latter type, it is Elizabeth Bear, who has jumped gleefully between the subgenres of science fiction and fantasy with each book or trilogy she releases—more than 30 books in 11 years, none overmuch like another. In 2018, after recent pitstops in the lands of epic fantasy and steampunk, she’s going back into space: that’s when Saga Press will publish Ancestral Night, a weird, wide-ranging SF saga in the mold of Iain M. Banks.

It’s the first half of a duology originally acquired by British publisher Gollancz in 2014; Saga and Gollancz aim to publish the book simultaneously on both sides of the pond. The blurb out of the U.K. was certainly enough to catch our attention…

A wild, big-ideas space opera that will appeal to fans of Iain M. Banks, Peter F. Hamilton and Al Reynolds from a John W. Campbell and multiple Hugo award winning author.

Haimey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz are salvage operators, living just on the inside of the law…

usually. Theirs is the perilous and marginal existence—with barely enough chance of striking it fantastically big—just once—to keep them coming back for more. They pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human—and alien—vessels.

A wild adventure across an imagined cosmos where every FTL journey creates its own mini-universe. A universe that is just waking up to the knowledge that a long- dead, hugely powerful alien species may still be around. Knowledge that could tip the perilous peace mankind has found into war.

“Elizabeth Bear is a brilliant writer, and I’ve admired her range and talent for years,” said Navah Wolfe, who acquired the books for Saga. “I’m thrilled to have the chance to work with her, and I couldn’t be happier to have Ancestral Night on my list. It’s exactly the kind of big idea space opera that Saga Press is looking for.”

Gollancz Publishing Director Gillian Redfearn is similarly enthusiastic. “We’re always looking for exciting new stories in SF, and Elizabeth Bear’s novels have always fizzed with ideas, passion, and character.
The chance to publish a new SF novel from her—especially one as exciting, fresh and gripping as Ancestral Night—and welcome her to Gollancz, is one we absolutely relish.”

For her part, Bear is just glad to be writing a book with a spaceship in it (consider this a plug for her Jacob’s Ladder trilogy; you’ll never look at generation ships the same way again).

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to write space opera again after being away from this end of spec fic for a few years,” the author said. “Ancestral Night is very much a book of my heart and gut, and I’m unbelievably excited and a little intimidated to be painting on such a big tapestry as, well, all of space and time.”

The only bad part about this announcement came up top: we can’t read this thing until the summer of 2018. That’s nearly two years from now. And here we are without a time machine.

In the meantime, why not peruse Bear’s backlist? There’s more than enough there to keep you busy.

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