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Neuvel, Sylvain

Entry updated 20 June 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1973-    ) Canadian academic in the field of Linguistics and author, active in his professional field from the early years of this century. He came to sf notice with his first fiction, The Themis Files series beginning with Sleeping Giants (2016), whose child protagonist has been rescued from a giant Robot's hand deep Underground, and as an adult Scientist is in the forefront of a intense campaign to understand the ancient War between what may be robot civilizations, one of them destructively inimical to humanity, the other – it may be – extending a "hand" to Uplift the vulnerable inhabitants of Earth. Space Opera topoi shape the tales as the sequence progresses. His second series, the Take Them to the Stars sequence beginning with A History of What Comes Next (2021), is an Alternate History presentation of the space race, which progresses along lines insignificantly different from real-world history, but monitored by a small Pariah Elite of Aliens which survives in the form of a continually reproducing Clone mother-daughter dyad. Their reasons for attempting to Uplift the race may become evident.

Neuvel's most successful fiction may be The Test (2019), a singleton novella set in a Near Future UK; the protagonist, a political refugee from Iran with his family, is subjected to a surrealistically severe and sadistic set of citizenship tests involving Virtual Reality savageries. He becomes a UK citizen, though he has been profoundly damaged. In the world of the near-future UK, this is seen as a kind of triumph. [JC]

Sylvain Neuvel

born Quebec City, Quebec: 1973



The Themis Files

  • Sleeping Giants (London: Michael Joseph, 2016) [Themis Files: hb/]
  • Waking Gods (New York: Del Rey, 2017) [Themis Files: hb/]
  • Only Human (London: Michael Joseph, 2018) [Themis Files: pb/]

Take Them to the Stars

individual titles

  • The Test (New York:, 2019) [pb/Jonathan Gray]


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