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Paolini eyes sci-fi for next venture

Christopher Paolini is likely to turn his hand to science fiction for his next work, as the final book in his epic Inheritance Cycle series is published this week.

The series has sold 4.5m in export and UK sales, including 1.2m in the UK (TCM sales), since the first book Eragon was published in 2004.

The global English language print run for Inheritance (Doubleday Children's) is 3.5m. Speaking to The Bookseller, Paolini said: "It has lots of adventures and excitement but it's also touching and there are trying moments for the characters and some of the characters die. It's big, it's exciting, but it's intense and there's a certain bitter-sweet quality to parts of the end."

At 300,000 words, Inheritance is nearly double the length of Eragon but Paolini said his next book "will be a short story". The length of each tome stopped him from "taking a break" from the Inheritance Cycle to write one of the other "20 or 30 stories" he has been mulling over. He said: "I worried that if I stopped writing the Eragon books, I wouldn't finish the series. Also this is a coming of age story and I didn't want to be too far away from that when I was writing it." Paolini, who began writing Eragon aged just 15, turns 28 later this year.

For the author, the end of the series marks a "large personal and professional shift". "I want to move into a longer term career where each book may be not as popular as Eragon but may be popular in its own right." He has a number of books already plotted out across a range of genres including sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers and historical fiction, but his next story will probably be sci-fi. "I have two or three stories I'm particular fond of at the moment," Paolini said he may also try his hand at producing film or video games that "may or may not‚" be based on the Eragon books.

However, the author has also left the door open for a return to writing about the world of Eragon. "I have laid the ground for at least three separate novels in Brisinger and Inheritance, so I may return. I have put so much work into developing this world that it seems a shame not to do so again. But I would like to try other things first."