Author Christopher Paolini is best known for Eragon, his popular fantasy novel about a young hero and the bond he forms with a beautiful blue dragon. Eragon kick-started the Inheritance Cycle, which concluded in 2011. But earlier this year, Paolini returned to the world of Alagaësia with the short story collection The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm. When EW spoke with Paolini about that book in January, he mentioned that he was also working on a “massive sci-fi novel.”

EW can now exclusively reveal details about that book. Paolini’s sci-fi debut will be titled To Sleep in a Sea of Stars and will be published by Tor Books on Sept. 15, 2020.

Here’s the initial plot description: “During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, xenobiologist Kira Navárez finds an alien relic that thrusts her into the wonders and nightmares of first contact. Epic space battles for the fate of humanity take her to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and, in the process, transform not only her—but the entire course of history.”

“Routine survey mission” is always a fantastic starting-point for engaging sci-fi stories, having provided the basis of classics like Alien and The Left Hand of Darkness. Paolini has been working on To Sleep in a Sea of Stars for 10 years, “figuring out the science and the characters and most importantly, the story,” so rest assured it will be its own unique saga. Fans of Eragon shouldn’t worry though: The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm wasn’t the end. There’s still more to come from Alagaësia. “There’s a good chance that readers are going to get a whole lot more of Paolini in the near future,” the author told EW in January.

Hear more about To Sleep in a Sea of Stars from Paolini in the video above.

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