The Alchemist and The Executioness by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell
The Alchemist and The Executioness caught my eye as soon as it went up at Audible.com. (Both novellas are now available in print from Subterranean Press.) Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell offering linked fantasy novellas that take place in a shared world? Bacigalupi's story read by Jonathan Davis? What could be more promising? (It turns out that had I been familiar with Katherine Kellgren, who read Buckell's story, I would have been even more excited about this one!)
In this shared world, the use of magic causes the growth of bramble, a fast-growing, pervasive, and deadly plant that has taken over cities, making them uninha... Read More
Tobias Buckell(1979- )
Tobias S. Buckell is a Caribbean-born speculative fiction writer who grew up in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has published stories in various magazines and anthologies. He is a Clarion graduate, Writers of The Future winner, and Campbell Award for Best New SF Writer Finalist.
The Alchemist and The Executioness by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell
At The Edge of the Universe, we review books that may not be classified SFF but that incorporate elements of speculative fiction. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.
Arctic Rising by Tobias Buckell
Tobias Buckell offers up a fast-paced near-future technothriller in his latest novel, Arctic Rising. Two strong main characters, an intriguing and just-detailed-enough future setting, and crisp, clear prose make it mostly a winner, with only a few flaws to spoil the fun.
Arctic Rising takes place roughly 50 years from now, by which time global warming has freed up most of the northern ocean, meaning the long-sought Northwest Passage is finally open for business. Which is good, as the lack of sea ice has also begun a boom in oil and other resource mining in the “Arctic Tiger”... Read More
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams
John Joseph Adams assembles a wide variety of apocalypse-related fiction in Wastelands. some of which are older than I am, while others are more recent. What you end up with is a diverse anthology covering topics such as religion, war, and exploration while containing horror, comedy, and a sense of wonder.
The majority of the stories are easy to get into. Some stories are more subtle than others. Overall, Wastelands is an enjoyable read and the selection seems balanced. Having said that, here are my top three stories:
"Bread and Bombs" by M. Rickert is one of the more horrifying stories in this anthology, and this is achieved through her characterization and commentary on society. It's easy to jump into Rickert's text and there is a foreboding established early on w... Read More
METAtropolis edited by John Scalzi
It’s not a utopia. It’s just maybe something that sucks a little less.
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and it turns out that all those eco-freaks were right all along. We humans destroyed the planet and now we’ve got to live with the mess we’ve made. Many world governments, including the U.S., have been essentially dismantled and large, mostly independent and self-governing city-states have taken their place.
Under the direction of John Scalzi, the story authors — Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Read More
Metatropolis by John Scalzi (editor)
Metatropolis is an interesting book, to say the least: in addition to being a "shared world" anthology, featuring stories from five authors working in the same "collectively-constructed" future setting, it's also (as far as I know) unique in that it was released first as an audio book (reviewed below by Kat) and only subsequently as a traditional "paper" book, first as a limited edition by Subterranean Press, and now in a shiny new edition by Tor.
The concept of the book's shared world is equally interesting: due to environmental change and political upheaval, the idea of national government has been superseded by something akin to city states, often self-governed or in partnership with other cities across the world, while outside the city walls the situation may be more similar to what you'd find in a post-apocalyptic novel. Each of the five stories collected in Read More
Speculative Horizons edited by Patrick St. Denis
Speculative Horizons is a lovely little anthology edited by book blogger Patrick St. Denis (of Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist fame). When the good people at Subterranean Press asked him whether he’d be interested in editing a short story collection, he understandably jumped on the idea (who wouldn’t?!), but asked that a portion of the proceeds be donated to breast cancer research. Not only is this an absolutely wonderful initiative, but it also means that you now have an excellent chance to buy a book and actually feel good about it.
This 128 page anthology contains five short stories by authors whose names many people who are interested in speculative fiction will instantly recognize: Read More
Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories edited by John Joseph Adams
Even people who don’t usually read science fiction will often be familiar with a few classic titles in the “dystopian SF” sub-genre. After all, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and of course the famous Aldous Huxley novel Brave New World are some of the few SF titles that have entered the mainstream literary canon to such an extent that they’ve become assigned school reading for many students. However, novel-length dystopian SF didn’t stop with those venerable classics, and can even be said to be thriving at the moment. See, for example, the recent success of Paolo Bacigalupi’s debut The Windup Girl Read More
Brave New Worlds (second edition) edited by John Joseph Adams
This anthology of dystopian fiction, edited by John Joseph Adams, contains stories from some of the greatest names in fantasy and science fiction, including Ursula K. LeGuin, Paolo Bacigalupi, Cory Doctorow and Kim Stanley Robinson. The first edition was reviewed by Stefan Raets and earned a five-star rating. I picked up the second edition to see what the new volume added.
What I found was that the entire first edition was intact. Three stories were added, along with a study guide featuring questions for some of the stories if you wanted to use this in a book club (I w... Read More
Xenowealth — (2006-2012) Publisher: Long ago, so the stories say, the old-fathers came to Nanagada through a worm’s hole in the sky. Looking for a new world to call their own, they brought with them a rich mélange of cultures, religions, and dialects from a far-off planet called Earth. Mighty were the old-fathers, with the power to shape the world to their liking—but that was many generations ago, and what was once known has long been lost. Steamboats and gas-filled blimps now traverse the planet, where people once looked up to see great silver cities in the sky. Like his world, John deBrun has forgotten more than he remembers. Twenty-seven years ago, he washed up onto the shore of Nanagada with no memory of his past. Although he has made a new life for himself among the peaceful islanders, his soul remains haunted by unanswered questions about his own identity. These mysteries take on new urgency when the fearsome Azteca storm over the Wicked High Mountains in search of fresh blood and hearts to feed their cruel, inhuman gods. Nanagada’s only hope lies in a mythical artifact, the Ma Wi Jung, said to be hidden somewhere in the frozen north. And only John deBrun knows the device’s secrets, even if he can’t remember why or how! Crystal Rain is the much-anticipated debut novel by one of science fiction’s newest and most promising talents.
Tides From The New Worlds — (2010) Publisher: Caribbean born novelist Tobias Buckell established himself as a gifted new voice in science fiction with his stunning first novel Crystal Rain. Now, in his first collection, Buckell demonstrates his strengths in the short form, offering readers a collection of stories that are compelling, smart, wonderfully imagined, and entertaining. Tides from the New Worlds contains 19 stories that range from multicultural science fiction to magical realism, some in print for the first time.
Nascence – (2011) Publisher: New York Times Bestseller Tobias S. Buckell has published 45 short stories in various magazines and anthologies. But in the process of learning how to sell those 45, he wrote over 100 short stories that failed in a variety of ways while learning the craft. In Nascence, he reprints 17 failed stories written from 1996-2004 and details some of the major failings of the stories that led him to abandon them, and what he learned from those failures moving forward. Nascence isn’t just a look at how stories fail, but also a look the beginnings of Buckell’s fictional worlds and the stories he was trying to tell at the very start.
Mitigated Futures — (2013) Publisher: Twelve science fiction stories about the oncoming future, each of them representing a possible glimpse of what could be just around the corner… or much further down the corridor. These stories previously appeared in places like Clarkesworld Magazine, The Year’s Best SF, Subterranean Magazine, and in various anthologies. They deal with the future of war, our climate, and technology’s effect on our lives.
Short stories and Novellas (these have been previously published elsewhere):
Subterranean Online’s summer issue is devoted to young adult fiction, but the authors seem to have taken that directive as license to be subversive. It’s been true for a while now that the only thing “young adult” about most “young adult” science fiction, fantasy and horror is that the protagonist is not an adult. The stories just as entertaining for 50-year-olds as for 15-year-olds, and the themes are by no means limited to the worries of teens. This issue makes it clear why so many genre readers pay no attention to the labels slapped on books these days, but browse around the entire bookstore for the best stuff. But it’s more than that: many of the stories in this issue are exceptional.
“Queen of Atlantis” by Sarah Rees Brennan is one o... Read More
Clarkesworld Magazine is a monthly electronic publication with a strong focus on science fiction, though it also publishes fantasy. In addition, it has an unusual emphasis on nonfiction. The September issue, No. 72, contains three stories, all of which are science fiction, two nonfiction articles, and an interview.
“The Found Girl,” by David Klecha and Tobias S. Buckell, opens this issue. It is about those left behind when the mass of humankind upload themselves into a digital, immortal existence. Unfortunately, many of those are children, a circumstance that is not explained; it seems odd that parents would leave their chi... Read More
The spring issue of Subterranean is exceptionally strong, even for a publication known for its excellent fiction. The six long pieces in this issue seem to be somewhat thematically linked, most of them having taken some form of art as their theme.
In “Painted Birds and Shivered Bones” by Kat Howard, an artist named Maeve has gone for a walk, seeking both fresh air and perspective, when she sees a naked man crouched beside a cathedral. She reaches into her purse for her phone, but when she looks up again, the man is gone. In his place is a beautiful white bird. How could she have confused a bird, no matter how large and beautiful, with a naked man? Regardless, the bird proves to be a remarkable inspiration, and Maeve is soon working on a series of paintings of mythological birds. But what of the bird who inspired her? Maeve is not finished with him. He is a man under... Read More