Agent Scully actor will use her 'ingrained knowledge and rhythm' for SF to pen multi-volume EarthEnd Saga
After delving into the paranormal for years as The X-Files' resident sceptic Dr Dana Scully, actor Gillian Anderson is set to create her own science-fictional universe – but this time in print.
Anderson has been signed up by American publisher Simon & Schuster to pen the EarthEnd Saga series, together with co-writer Jeff Rovin. The first novel in her series, A Vision of Fire, will focus on a child psychiatrist who treats children traumatised by war or natural disasters, and who comes across a "uniquely troubled" young girl.
"Over the course of spending time and helping her and investigating the origins of the girl's trauma, [the psychiatrist] begins to realise that the girl's behaviour is tied to much greater forces in the universe, and as the story unfolds, she must prevent destruction on a grand scale," Anderson told Entertainment Weekly.
The actor believes that after nine years "of living in a semi-science-fictional universe" – that of The X-Files – she feels she now has "an ingrained knowledge and rhythm for it".
"I enjoy writing, but don't usually allow myself the time, and I don't think I'd ever think to write something in this genre without the prodding of someone like Jeff. But I realised I had ideas hidden within me for a series and a lead character, in this case, a heroine," she told EW. "It was very clear to me that I didn't want to enter into the horror realm. That doesn't interest me. I also wanted a very strong female character, around my age. I would want to read something like that and I think other women would like to read … It's been a fantastic experience."
Anderson's debut science fiction novel is due out in October, when it will launch a new list dedicated to "literary and commercial speculative fiction" at Simon & Schuster, named Simon451 in honour of Ray Bradbury's classic novel Fahrenheit 451. The imprint, which for the moment will be US-only, will focus on digital-first publishing and ebook originals, with senior editor Sarah Knight believing that "within the science fiction and fantasy genre, ebooks and online communities are becoming the primary means of reading and discovery".
"With Simon451 we aim to give those readers what they want, when and how they want it," she said. The list will also experiment with serialised novels and short stories, said Simon & Schuster.
Literary agent John Jarrold, who specialises in science fiction and fantasy and represents award-winning writers in the genre including Chris Beckett and Adam Nevill, welcomed the move, putting it down to the strong performance of SFF in recent years.
"When I started the agency a decade ago, there were five major UK genre publishers. Now there are 11 (not counting smaller houses like Titan, Solaris and Angry Robot), so recent years have seen a great flowering – not least because of the success of George RR Martin's Game of Thrones on TV, showing various senior publishers that fantasy can go mainstream, and isn't just for geeks," said Jarrold. "Authors like Trudi Canavan, Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss have sold extremely well – in the top five on national bestseller lists, or higher – and SF authors like Richard Morgan, Charles Stross, Neal Asher, Alastair Reynolds and Hannu Rajaniemi have also had major sales success."
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