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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.

Arctic Rising

Arctic Rising — (2012-2014) Publisher: Global warming has transformed the Earth, and it’s about to get even hotter. The Arctic Ice Cap has all but melted, and the international community is racing desperately to claim the massive amounts of oil beneath the newly accessible ocean.Enter the Gaia Corporation. Its two founders have come up with a plan to roll back global warming. Thousands of tiny mirrors floating in the air can create a giant sunshade, capable of redirecting heat and cooling the earth’s surface. They plan to terraform Earth to save it from itself — but in doing so, they have created a superweapon the likes of which the world has never seen.Anika Duncan is an airship pilot for the underfunded United Nations Polar Guard. She’s intent on capturing a smuggled nuclear weapon that has made it into the Polar Circle and bringing the smugglers to justice. Anika finds herself caught up in a plot by a cabal of military agencies and corporations who want Gaia Corporation stopped. But when Gaia Corp loses control of their superweapon, it will be Anika who has to decide the future of the world. The nuclear weapon she has risked her life to find is the only thing that can stop the floating sunshade after it falls into the wrong hands.

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Arctic Rising: A fast-paced near-future technothriller

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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” countries (Greenland can’t mine the stuff fast enough and has to import guest workers), which include the big players (Canada, the U.S. Russia, China), some consortiums of small players (the Caribbean islands fo... Read More

Hurricane Fever: Fast action amid climate change

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Hurricane Fever by Tobias Buckell

I very much enjoyed Tobias Buckell’s 2012 SF novel Arctic Rising, which was set on a near-future Earth dramatically affected by global warming. As much as I loved that novel’s main character Anika, I mentioned in my review that I wouldn’t mind reading a novel set in the same world but featuring one of its two excellent supporting characters, Vy or Roo.

Lo and behold, just about two years later, Buckell delivers Hurricane Fever, starring former Caribbean Intelligence Group operative Prudence “Roo” Jones, who made a brief but memorable appearance in the first novel. I’m happy to report that Hurricane Fever is another excellent near-future cli-fi/spy-fi/techno-thriller novel ... Read More

The Alchemist and The Executioness: Two linked novellas

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The Alchemist and The Executioness by Paolo Bacigalupi & Tobias Buckell

The Alchemist and The Executioness caught my eye as soon as it went up at Audible. (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 uninhabitable. Crews of workers must fight... Read More

Magazine Monday: Subterranean Online Summer 2011

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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 Read More

Magazine Monday: Clarkesworld, September 2012, Issue 72

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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 children behind. But then, they are not completely abandoned, for the digital world manages to interact with the bricks-and-mortar world to protect the chil... Read More

Magazine Monday: Subterranean, Spring 2013

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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... Read More

Magazine Monday: Forever Magazine, Issues 1-3

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Forever Magazine is a new venture by Neil Clarke, editor of the esteemed Clarkesworld. He explains in the introduction to the first issue of the magazine that it is a monthly publication focused on previously published works, mostly from this (still new) century. Clarke is the entire staff of the magazine. The Kindle subscription price is currently $1.99 per month.

The first issue opens extremely well, with a novelette by Ken Liu, “The Regular,” about a serial killer who targets high-end prostitutes. Ruth is a f... Read More

SFM: Kehrli, Flynn, King, Hirschberg, Resnick, Buckell, Clitheroe

Short Fiction Monday: There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. In honor of the U.S. Independence Day today, several of our stories deal with the theme of freedom — though not always in the sense one might expect.

 

“And Never Mind the Watching Ones” by Keffy R.M. Kehrli (Dec. 2015, free in Uncanny, $3.99 Kindle magazine issue)

This strange and gorgeous story sets out as a somewhat mundane tale. It begins with a post-sex ... Read More

SFM: Buckell, Krasnoff, Miller, Herbert

Short Fiction Monday: Our weekly exploration of  free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about, including some nominees for the 2016 Nebula award.

“A Militant Peace” by Tobias Buckell (2014, $2.62 at Audible)

“No nation has ever seen an invasion force like this.”Tobias Buckell’s short story “A Militant Peace” was published in Mitigated Futures, a collection of tales dealing with “the future of war, our climate, and technology’s effects on our lives.” Buckell’s story, as you can probably tell by the title, is about the future of war and I thought it was fascina... Read More

SFM: Wong, Shehadeh, Buckell & Schroeder, Sieberg, Anderson, Honeywell, Taylor, Rustad

Short Fiction Monday: Our weekly exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we've read that we wanted you to know about.




You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay, Alyssa Wong (2016, free at Uncanny, $3.99 Kindle magazine issue) 2017 Nebula and 2016 Hugo award nominee (novelette)


Alyssa Wong sets her novelette You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay in a Western mining town, focusing this second-person tale on Ellis, a young boy who works at the town’s brothel... Read More

SFM: de Bodard, Smith, Buckell, Steele, Pinsker, Barnett

Short Fiction Monday: Our weekly exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we've read that we wanted you to know about.

The Waiting Stars by Aliette de Bodard (2013, free to read online or download on author’s website). 2013 Nebula award winner and 2014 Hugo award nominee (novelette)

In this 2013 Nebula award-winning story, set in the 22nd century, Aliette de Bodard weaves together two narratives that at first seem unconnected but in the end, of course, are. The first concerns a woman’s exploration of a derelict spaceship in a graveyard of spaceships in an isolated corner of space controlled by the Outsiders. Lan Nhen’s Vietnamese-descended people build Mind-ships, ... Read More

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse

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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 ... Read More

METAtropolis: It’s just maybe something that sucks a little less

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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

Speculative Horizons: Feel good about buying this anthology!

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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 wil... Read More

Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories

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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... Read More

Schemers: Stories of complex plans and gut wrenching betrayals

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Schemers by Robin D. Laws (editor)

Schemers is a collection of short stories by an excellent list of authors: Jesse Bullington, Tobias Buckell, Ekaterina Sedia, Jonathan L. Howard, Nick Mamatas, Elizabeth A. Vaughan, Tania Hershman, Kyla Lee Ward, Robyn Seale, Laura Lush, Molly Tanzer, John Helfers, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, and Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer.  These are stories of complex plans and gut wrenching betrayals. It is a gr... Read More

Twenty-First Century Science Fiction: Packed full of excellent SF stories

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Twenty-First Century Science Fiction edited by David G. Hartwell

Twenty-First Century Science Fiction is packed full of excellent science fiction stories. I've been reading anthologies lately, partly to improve my own short story writing, and this is the best I've found so far. It contains stories by authors such as Paolo Bacigalupi, Cory Doctorow, Catherynne M. ValenteJohn Scalzi, Jo Walton, Charles Stross, Read More

More speculative fiction from Tobias Buckell

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.

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fantasy and science fiction book reviewsTides 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.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsNascence — (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.


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsMitigated 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):

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