Stephen Baxter on “The Venus Generations”

Xeelee: Endurance by Stephen Baxter
Xeelee: Endurance by Stephen Baxter

Q: Tell us about your story in Bridging Infinity?

Venus ought to be a twin of Earth. Instead, a little too close to the sun, a runaway greenhouse effect long ago removed all the water and covered it in an atmosphere as thick as an ocean. Even compared to Mars it’s a massive challenge to terraform – but a few thousand years from now a dynasty of engineers attempts it anyway, with disastrous personal results.

Q: What was the inspiration behind your story?

It’s set in my ‘Xeelee Sequence’ future history, in which I’m working on new novels. That sort of project generates its own ideas. I have a useful Venus in the far future; how did it get that way?

Q: What do you believe makes a good science fiction story?

Like all stories, sympathetic characters facing a strong dilemma. And ideally all aspects of the story deriving from a plausible bit of scientific speculation.

Q: What are you working on now? And if people like your story in the book, what other work of yours should they seek out?

I’m just finishing The Massacre of Mankind, a sequel to HG Wells’s The War of the Worlds. Out in January 2017. As for other work – look for Xeelee: Endurance, more recent short fiction in the Xeelee universe. And the first of the new novels, Xeelee: Vengeance, out in September 2017.

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