Ian Tregillis, author of the critically-acclaimed Milkweed trilogy (Orbit), has been interviewed for the Agony Column Podcast. In the interview, Ian discusses how he went about writing and planning the series, the research he conducted, and the fascinating real-world inspirations that went into the series.
Here’s some of what Rich Kleffel wrote in his introduction to the podcast:
‘With Bitter Seeds, The Coldest War and now Necessary Evil, Ian Tregillis managed to set a new standard for speculative fiction. When I sat down to talk with him, I felt a bit in danger of coming unstuck in time. But Tregillis is the most grounded, down-to-earth physicist I have ever met… The real problem with discussing The Milkweed Triptych is that having read it, one wants to keep it as much a mystery as possible for other readers, so that they can enjoy the machinations of the both the author and the characters. The power of these books is that the reader feels that the characters are enough their own men and women to have their own plans, independent of the whims of readers or author… I suppose it comes as no surprise that Ian Tregillis is smart and well spoken. There an air of informality in our conversation that I really liked. I’m already looking forward to his next novel and set of novels — yes, he works that far in advance — a well as our next conversation.’
All three novels in the Milkweed Triptych – BITTER SEEDS, THE COLDEST WAR, and NECESSARY EVIL – are out now in the UK, published by Orbit Books.
Here’s just a small snapshot of the praise the Milkweed novels have received…
‘BITTER SEEDS grabbed me from the first pages… one of those novels I could not put down until I finished it and reread it immediately to get the subtler nuances I missed on my first read… Based on writing quality and main characters, BITTER SEEDS (A++) is hands down the best debut of 2010 so far. It is also the one novel of 2010 I would recommend to anyone who believes that speculative fiction cannot compete with “literary” novels, while having a strong core-genre content.’ — Fantasy Book Critic
‘The engrossing second book in Tregillis’s Milkweed Triptych… Tregillis ably mixes cold war paranoia with his mythology, also nicely expanding characters (particularly Gretel)… The monstrous, extra-dimensional Eidolons add a genuinely convincing menace that transcends the more banal evil motivations of the political game players, although Gretel’s more complicated motivations really drive the action. A few nice twists keep things interesting, and the cliffhanger ending sets up the concluding volume quite well…’ — Publishers Weekly
‘Independently intelligible sequel to the dark fantasy BITTER SEEDS, something like a cross between the devious, character-driven spy fiction of early John le Carré and the mad science fantasy of the X-Men… Despite the jaw-dropping backdrop and oblique plotting, the narrative is driven by character and personal circumstance, the only possible drawback being certain important developments that annoyingly take place offstage. Grim indeed, yet eloquent and utterly compelling.’ — Kirkus (Starred Review, “Best of 2012”)
‘With NECESSARY EVIL… Ian Tregillis triumphantly concludes his astonishing, brilliant, pulse-pounding debut trilogy, The Milkweed Triptych… This is a book that veers precipitously from unexpected and chilling ruminations on the inherent evil of precognition; to the questions of loyalty and betrayal so thorny that they need a time-travel loop to really be explored; to spy-thriller action sequences that will keep you up under the covers with a flashlight, turning pages and unable to sleep. This is a remarkable set of books, and with all three in hand, would make a fabulous spring read.’ — BoingBoing
Ian Tregillis is represented by Zeno in the UK and Commonwealth, on behalf of Kay McCauley of Aureous Inc., in New York.