Stephen Baxter

Literary Birthday – 13 November – Stephen Baxter

Happy Birthday, Stephen Baxter, born 13 November 1957.


  1. We seem to be young, in a very old Galaxy. We’re like kids tiptoeing through a ruined mansion.
  2. The past is a distraction, a source of envy, enmity, bitterness. Only the present matters, for only in the present can we shape the future.
  3. Sometimes people say that we’re living in the future, and time’s up for science fiction, but I think that never will be, because science fiction really isn’t about the future. It’s about change and present-day concerns.
  4. An ability to believe in things that weren’t true was a powerful tool.
  5. [Science fiction is] like an expression of the concerns of the time, hopes or fears. … it’s like therapy, you’re telling a story because you’re frightened of the future. (via)
  6. A short story of twenty pages is a lot easier to visualise than a novel of five hundred pages, and a lot easier to study. But paradoxically it’s just as hard in a different way.
  7. The short stuff requires quite different skills. The one hundred metres race is a whole different discipline from the marathon, and is not easier because it’s shorter. You have to sketch whole landscapes in a few words, characters in a few lines of dialogue. I’d recommend the early Niven as a model of how to do it. It’s a different art form, and the most essential technique is to revise, polish, revise, polish, over and over, until every word is the right word. (via)
  8. Having a science background helps me look for ideas, understand what’s going on, research, and so on. But it’s not essential.
  9. Try to conceive of stories you would like to read. What makes you drop everything and turn to a story? A grabby first line, good title, hints of a good concept… Write what would hook you. (via)

Stephen Baxter is a British science fiction author who has degrees in mathematics and engineering. He is the winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, as well as being a nominee for an Arthur C. Clarke Award, most recently for Manifold: Time. He is also known for The Long Earth series, which was co-written with Terry Pratchett.


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 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 12th November 2017