All posts by Tobias Buckell

17 Sep

Rocket Talk, Episode 27: now with 100% more Karen Lord and Tobias Buckell

Karen Lord and I teamed up to chat with Justin Landon of Staffer’s Book Review for his Rocket Talk Podcast up at Tor.com:

“In this episode of Rocket Talk, Justin brings on Karen Lord and Tobias Buckell to discuss their most recent works, what they mean when they talk about Caribbean Science Fiction, and the challenge of reading western literature from a different point of view. Justin also manages to squeeze in some talk about how the two see series fiction.”

(Via Rocket Talk, Episode 27: Karen Lord and Tobias Buckell | Tor.com.)

16 Sep

The Los Angeles Review of Books reviews Hurricane Fever

This review digs down deep into All the Things I’m trying to do in my fiction. Honestly, all this is why I write the things I do. I’m grateful to all reviews of my fiction, but this is one of those rare ones where I feel like the reviewer was the person I wrote the book for, as they responded to all the various things I was trying to achieve:

Science fiction’s predictive powers are debatable, but Delany’s observation on the connection between the ‘economic heft’ of the presence of substantial numbers of black writers and our encounters with racial bigotry now appears spookily prescient.  N.K. Jemisin, for example, an African American woman who in 2011 won Japan’s Sense of Gender Award and whose work has been nominated for several other major awards, has been designated by one hate-filled economic competitor as ‘illiterate’ and ‘half-savage.’

Given this background, Buckell’s consistent efforts at creating marketable novels with crossover potential can be seen as revolutionary acts, attempts to stand the genre’s financial hierarchy on its head.  Technical competence and knowledge of one’s intended audience become tools for resisting erasure.

Buckell’s earlier Xenowealth series (Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, Sly Mongoose, and Apocalypse Ocean) included quite a few tributes to science fiction’s pulpy forebears and other related genres, notably post-Romero zombie narratives, steampunk, and juvenile dive fiction.  Harnessing the power of popular appeal in Arctic Rising and Hurricane Fever is mostly a matter of Buckell filling his storylines with typical spy/thriller tropes.  Using wealthy criminal masterminds, high-speed chases (on land and sea), and daring escapes, he has written books which can unquestionably be consumed as familiar, frictionless pleasures—but that’s not the only way to read them…

(Via The Shock of the New Normal | The Los Angeles Review of Books.)

If you’re curious as to why I write, or what I’m trying to do with my books, this review is about as damn close to a manifesto as I could imagine.

This response is pretty much why I write. I’m grateful.

15 Sep

Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy interview with me, Ramez Naam, and Paolo Bacigalupi

Ramez Naam, Paolo Bacigalupi, and me all bat climate change back and forth on Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast:

“‘When I started writing [Arctic Rising], I called it science fiction, because I thought the idea of completely eliminating the polar ice cap was science fictional, that’s pretty wild. A lot of the people who criticize climate change are like, ‘Oh, they’re way too pessimistic.’ And I’m like, ‘These guys are way too optimistic.’ IPCC was calling for possibly ice-free summers being like the wildest thing when I started writing. And so I started out with the science fictional scenario being ‘no polar ice cap.’ And by the time the book was in copy edits, IPCC was saying that they were willing to call a completely ice-free winter as well at some point in the human future, as their worst-case scenario. And it had gone from being completely science fictional—and scientists had it off the table—to being in their projections within the time I wrote that novel, and that’s just a year and a half.’”

(Via Leading a Double Life Turned This Woman Into a Best-Selling Author | WIRED.)

09 Sep

So about that Amazon 99 cent phone…

According to Amazon’s press releases about how lower prices *always* mean more success for books, because they’re just widgets and the cheaper they are the more units they sell, and the more I, the author, profits, this means that Amazon just had THE BIGGEST SUCCESSFUL PHONE LAUNCH EVER!

Right?

“Amazon has given up on trying to get you to pay $199 for the Fire Phone with a contract. Now the retail giant has brought the price down — way down.

The Fire Phone, Amazon’s first and only mobile phone, will now be available for just 99 cents with a two-year contract, the company announced on Monday. Available exclusively through AT&T, the deal also comes with a one-year membership to Amazon Prime and unlimited cloud storage for photos.”

(Via Amazon Just Slashed The Price Of Its Phone To 99 Cents.)

I’m looking forward to paying hundreds for my next iPhone. Because I actually want that, and I will pay for it. Maybe Amazon has opinions on what Apple should minimally price it at?

Meanwhile, others will pay other various prices for Android and Windows phones.

And it’s all good. A variety of prices (including diamond bedazzled smartphones for crazy money) is how markets work.

09 Sep

How do economists change what they say based on money

HBR has this great article about the impact of money on economists and what they have to say about economics:

“To be an economist, you kind of have to believe that people respond to economic incentives. But when anyone suggests that an economist’s views might be shaped by the economic incentives he or she faces, that economist tends to get bent out of shape. This happened perhaps most famously in the documentary Inside Job, in which filmmaker Charles Ferguson posed his questions to the likes of Glenn Hubbard and Rick Mishkin as tendentiously as possible in order to spark just such reaction. But it’s actually pretty common to hear economists saying things like — this is from the usually no-nonsense John Cochrane of the University of Chicago — ‘the idea that any of us do what we do because we’re paid off by fancy Wall Street salaries or cushy sabbaticals at Hoover is just ridiculous.’

It is perhaps ridiculous to suggest that economists do what they do only because of the prospect of consulting gigs or think-tank stints. Economists are human beings, with diverse motivations. But it is definitely ridiculous to suggest that such rewards have no impact at all. Economists are human beings, and human beings respond to incentives. Right, economists?”

(Via Have Economists Been Captured by Business Interests? – Justin Fox – Harvard Business Review.)

This is fantastic.

08 Sep

Catching up

It seems like yesterday I was taking selfies while riding a cable car across the Thames to the O2 Centre, but I’ve been catching up on All The Things since getting home a couple weeks ago.

2014 08 18 15 44 48 HDR

Meanwhile, the twins started Kindergarten. Which is wild. Everyday they’re heading out with bags on their backs that seem bigger than they are, and they’re riding the bus. Emily takes them in with her on the way to school, and they ride a bus to the sitter and wait for her to get off work. Finding out they were riding a bus on their own was my first parental ‘wait, what?’ moment where I felt this was all happening a bit faster than I was ready for.

Photo copy

Now that we’re back home and slowly getting back into our routine for the new year I’ve managed to finish the rewrite of the pseudonymous novel PS-1 and, I think, tackled all the edit notes.

Which means I’m now back into my edit notes for the novel Island in The Sky which needs done ASAP and doing background stuff for my contribution to Storium. I’m soooo close on both fronts.

Meanwhile, I’m still doing some interviews and promotional items for Hurricane Fever (I’d love to do some more podcasts/audio interviews or video interviews, as those are easier on my hands than typed out interviews!). I’ll be signing in Kalamazoo, MI this weekend, along with Jim Hines, at Kazoo books. We’re hoping we’ll get a great crowd!

08 Sep

Solar in Texas is hitting parity, an interesting inflection point

Link via Robert J. Bennet on twitter. Solar is hitting parity. Some people’s heads are going to explode

“But the Barilla project is unique in Texas because its developers – confident that their electricity can compete on the open market – have forged ahead without signing a power purchase agreement, which would guarantee a buyer for their energy. 

Texas, because of its size and intense radiation, leads the nation in solar energy potential. Much of that resource is in the state’s western half, according to the State Energy Conservation Office. The industry has long struggled to get a foothold in the state, as policymakers have provided fewer incentives than other states, and solar energy currently makes up a tiny fraction of Texas’ energy portfolio.

But improving technology has driven down the price of solar power, making it more competitive with other resources­ – even without incentives, developers say. “

(Via West Texas Solar Plant Comes Online | The Texas Tribune.)

29 Aug

Food in Toledo, Spain

These are croquettes. I’d never had them before.

I’m now a fan.

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I love to sample different kinds of food and not have too much of the same thing. Spain, with Tapas and ‘raciones’ and various serving sizes has an approach to food I really dig. They also keep my kind of schedule, eating dinner at 9 or 10pm and staying up late.

Toledo seems down with Mazapan (Marzipan). An almond paste confectionary. Another first for me. I sampled a lot of it:

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For breakfast I’d often eat ‘tortilla,’ which is egg, potato sort of baked together. They also sensibly serve you queso manchego as it’s own dish, which I did often.

Bread and olive oil is popular. I like.

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Jamon Iberico, it was usually sliced fresh. In this case, right near our table:

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There was more food than that. I was terrible in that I usually just started nomming without taking pics. Emily did a better job, as she wanted pics for her students (she teaches Spanish), but I don’t have all her photos of all the amazing food.

28 Aug

Check out The Apocalypse Ocean’s amazing, 100% all new cover (plus PDF version)

The Apocalypse Ocean, the fourth book in the Xenowealth series, now features new cover art that puts it closely in line with the other books. It was designed by Jenn Reese of Tiger Bright Studios, and it’s awesome. Check it in it’s full glory:

Buckell TheApocalypseOcean

In addition to the new cover being updated on this website and buy pages, I’ve updated the eBook itself on all the major services with the new cover. I’ve also added a small bit of back matter encouraging people to sign up for my newsletter. Something I should have done.

Here’s the buy page, with all the buy links (except the one I’m not listing in solidarity with Hachette authors). Note, if you buy TAO directly from me via the Gumroad link, there’s also a PDF version you have access to. People have been asking about that, so I’ve finally created a version there.

Links:

The Apocalypse Ocean

The Apocalypse Ocean

Series: The Xenowealth Series, Book 4
Humanity continues to gain control of the Forty Eight Worlds as they deorbit wormholes and join the many worlds and civilizations together. But as they do so, they must deal with the horrors of past injustices as humanity forms new societies out of the wreckage of the old. More info →