It is my pleasure today to welcome you to my stop on the Titan Books blog tour for Gareth L. Powell’s new space opera, Stars and Bones. Keep reading for a mini-review and a Q&A with the author! Many thanks to Lydia Gittins for sending me an ARC and inviting me to be part of the tour – all opinions are entirely my own.
2022 is the year Fab discovers how much she actually likes science fiction. Because there are just so many brilliant books in the genre releasing at the moment, and I’m lucky enough that I keep getting to review them. This was my first foray into Gareth L. Powell’s work, and I’m sure that it wont be my last. Stars and Bones is a highly character-driven story set in a future where humanity has been driven into space from a dying earth, to live on a fleet so-called arks. In this new society, Eryn is on a mission to save her sister – and perhaps all of humanity. It is a compelling story with strong characters – and a wonderful ship’s cat (yes, books with cats will make me fall in love with them instantly!). Honestly, if you like weird and quirky characters that can carry a story on their shoulders and make a plot that isn’t necessarily the most out there shine, this is definitely one that I whole-heartedly recommend. It is the sort of science fiction that to me is insanely comforting, and I’m already looking forward to rereading! (P.S. a story that has a British PM cause nuclear destruction through sheer incompetence is a winner in my book because I can’t resist black humour)
Add Stars and Bones to your Goodreads here, and order a copy via Bookshop here (affiliate link) – and read on below the image to hear Gareth talk about it (and get an impression of his wit, which permeates the book as well)!
RELEASE DATE: 01/03/2022
STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶
Can you pitch Stars and Bones in one sentence for our readers?
If you imagine Philip K. Dick got high and dreamt a crossover between Battlestar Galactica and The Thing, you’d be in the right ballpark.
One of my favourite parts of Stars and Bones were the characters and their relationships. Can you tell us a bit more about your process for them? And what comes first, the characters or the story?
I usually start with an idea for a situation, and then start searching around for the best characters to bring that situation to life. And then, once the characters start coming to life, their decisions and reactions drive the plot and final outcome of the story.
And what inspired the magnificence that is Sam?
I have a cat who spends a lot of time on my desk as I write, so I imagined what he’d say if he was in the story.
What role does humour play for you in science fiction?
For me, humour is part of everyday life. Funny stuff happens, and often at the most inappropriate of moments. So, if I’m trying to portray humans authentically, there has to be some humour in the mix—even if it’s only a way to lighten the tension in a horrific scene. I don’t write jokes or funny scenarios; the comedy arises naturally from the way the characters interact.
Is there anything you had to cut from the drafts that you’re sad about not having in the final version?
How was this writing and publishing experience different as a new project after a completed trilogy?
Writing a new story after spending three years on a trilogy is always a huge mental gear shift. You get used to working with the same characters, and suddenly you have to adapt to a whole new set, and a whole new universe. But that’s good. I can’t imagine writing more than three books set in the same world, as I’d worry I’d get stale. You have to shake things up now and again.
How are you celebrating the release?
Well, it’s March 1st so I’ll also be celebrating the patron saint of my forefathers, and attending an online speeding workshop, as I got caught travelling 26 mph in what I thought was a 30 mph zone, but which turned out to have a 20 mph limit.
Do you have a set writing routine?
I used to have a set routine, but the last few years have introduced so much chaos and upheaval into the mix that, like sleeping, I now write whenever the opportunity arises.
What books or other media have filled your creative well recently
I’ve been reading The Organised Writer by my friend Antony Johnston and hoping some of it will rub off on me, as I am a very disorganised writer.