Pepper makes an appearance in each of the stories in this collection, but the rest of characters – some readers will recognize from Buckell’s Xenowealth novels – are developed, fascinating people of color that readers soon care for and want to do well. But in this tough world, it is often hard to get by.|
Xenowealth: A Collection is a great diving board for new readers to delve into this world and quickly get hooked.
Hey, the people at Snugboro Films worked really hard on the 15 minute short film of All Her Children Fought, and we released it to the internet on Youtube last year.
That means it’s eligible for the Hugo.
Most folk voting are looking at series television made in New York or L.A. But this 15 minute film might be of interest, and I just wanted to signal boost that if you’ve seen it and liked it, and you vote for the Hugos, then I’d love it if you considered it.
The people at Snugboro worked really hard on it, so I just wanted to shill a bit harder than usual to make sure I get this bumped back up to people’s attention:
Locus Magazine has two reviews of Xenowealth: A Collection in the March issue.
The first review is by Karen Burnham:
Buckell has a very important goal: to tip the tables and ask us to empathize with the colonized instead of the colonizer. To be the ones with our lives disrupted, whether by alien invasion or mercenary violence. And yet the political and cultural subtext of these stories never overwhelms their primary goal: to be stories with plenty of action, intrigue, and characters to care about, stories that are enjoyable at the same time that they are thoughtful. Buckell is particularly strong at short length; his previous Kickstarter-funded collection, Mitigated Futures, is packed-full of near future SF that pair excellent world-building with action-packed plots. Fun SF is great, smart fun SF is even better, and Buckell continues to provide it.
Rich Horton also weighs in on Xenowealth: A Collection, focusing on the original story in the collection:
I thought ‘‘Ratcatcher’’ particularly good, as it follows Pepper, the series’ most important character, on a desperate mission through vacuum to a wormhole-traversing train, where he hopes to confront a brutal alien killer, but instead must deal with a bitter veteran cop who knows something of his violent history. Cool future tech and powerful action mix very well.
Caribbean Beat Magazine is the in-flight magazine of Caribbean Airlines, and they recently did profiles of me, Nalo Hopkinson, Karen Lord and RSA Garcia and our writing:
How is speculative fiction specifically relevant to the Caribbean?
We have to have a literature that envisions ourselves in the future. If we don’t have that, then we force ourselves to live only in the present. There’s nothing wrong with the present, but we have to have something we’re working towards, or that we’re warning ourselves away from. That’s what science fiction can serve as.
Publishers Weekly reviewed Xenowealth: A Collection and said nice things:
Fans curious about the background of Buckell’s Xenowealth tetralogy (lastly The Apocalypse Ocean) have crowdfunded this collection of nine glimpses into an exciting future. First, technologically superior aliens “pacified” Earth and brought it into the Benevolent Satrapy, a tightly controlled empire of 48 worlds. Then, rebels whom the aliens had scattered through the stars established the totalitarian League and plotted to exclude or else exterminate their masters. Finally, the Xenowealth evolved into a system that would let humans and aliens live together. Most of these stories feature Pepper, a cybernetically enhanced mercenary who usually intervenes with a maximum of deadly force whenever he imagines human values are threatened. Sometimes he fights cruel alien monsters, and sometimes men whose obsessions have made them even more dangerous. Buckell draws on his experiences growing up in the Caribbean to effectively describe what life feels like for powerless people at the fringes of massive events, and these taut but thoughtful scenes of the human race’s uncertain progress reward careful reading. (BookLife)
Pretty nifty. There are more reviews to come, as I’ve seeded a number of ARCs out there into the wilderness. I know a few people passed on reviewing a Kickstarter short story collection, but I know we have a few more of these coming.
I also hope to have some details on what independent book stores will specifically be carrying the collection.
Clay Kallam has nice things to say about the collection, and recommends reading the Xenowealth collection in the first regular review of Xenowealth: A Collection.
He does lead off with this:
The brave new world of publishing can affect even the successful, including Tobias Buckell, author of “Xenowealth” and “Arctic Rising” books, who now must resort to crowdfunding to get all of his works into print.
I’m grateful to Clay for recommending the books.
To dig into why I did the Kickstarter, as opposed to selling it to a publisher: I make more off the Kickstarter. I’d talked to one publisher about it, and they turned it down. And I’ve run the numbers. A mid list author like me, for a short story collection, can expect something like $1,000-$5,000. $5,000 is high for a short story collection. The received wisdom is that short story collections don’t sell. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
And to be fair, readers do seem to prefer longer pieces.
The reason I didn’t shop the project around any further was that I knew I could make more rolling my own. Xenowealth: A Collection got $7,105 on Kickstarter. Yes there were fees, shipping, printing costs, but there were also more preorders via backerkit. There were a lot of eBook preorders once I put that up as well.
When all is said and done, this will be a project that is looking likely to break $10,000, which leaves me quite delighted. Who would have offered me 10K on a short story collection?
The follow up question is: why don’t I do more novels this way?
Well, so far, there have been more advantages doing it the other way. Monetarily. But also growing my reach and audience. The Apocalypse Ocean is not the most I’ve made off a novel in all the publishing methods I’ve tried (crowd funding/direct digital/medium press/NY Publishing), but it’s middle of the pack. But, having roughly tripled what I could expect to have made on the short story collection, crowd funding is a tool in my kit that I can deploy if things ever flag elsewhere. If I have to flip that switch, I am happy to. I’m grateful to my readership for sticking with me in all the ways I publish things.
I made a lot of mistakes while doing this Kickstarter last. I’ve made due note of every single one. I was originally going to write a post called ‘All the ways I crashed and burned on my 3rd Kickstarter’ but that’s no positive learning and moving forward, it’s me feeling bad for myself. And the truth is, I don’t need more negativity. Mark what failed, avoid in future, learn. Always learn. The biggest error was a messed up print run using the wrong paper for the collection. After I sorted that out, I used the extra copies as advanced reader copies, sending them out to reviewers.
The fact that Xenowealth: A Collection is being reviewed by the San Jose Mercury News shows that there is a lot of potential, and the experience is ending up positive.
Authors Daniel José Older and Walter Mosley will speak on Wednesday, Feb. 3, followed on March 3 by a panel of award-winning authors discussing the expectations of science fiction and fantasy produced by Caribbean writers.
I can’t wait to be in California for this.
Imagine me twirling around in a rain of confetti made by left over packing material…
I made a promise to myself to get the much delayed limited edition hardcovers out before today, and I just barely got them all slipped into the mail yesterday and a last few stragglers in early this morning.
But that’s not why you’re here.
The general eBook has been in the hands of early Kickstarter backers for a while now, and the trade paperbacks went out a while back too.
All of you who missed the Kickstarter are wanting to get your hands on it. The limited edition hardcover will only exist for the Kickstarter backers (plus some extras I have on hand in case anyone gets a mangled one and I need to do customer service), but the eBook and trade paperback are now available to all.
The full Xenowealth book page is here, but you can click the summary and buy link below to access all the versions:
Amazon hasn’t fully merged the eBook and paperback’s pages yet, but if the popup confuses you, here is a direct link to:
So there we are.
As I mentioned in my newsletter, books live and die by word of mouth, so all signal boosting is super appreciated…
I’m totally psyched to note I’ll be an author guest at the Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair in St. Croix this April.
This’ll mark the first time I’ve been down the VI (where I went to high school) as an author.
Other guests include Salman Rushdie, Earl Lovelace, Jamaica Kincaid, Elizabeth Nunez and more!
So that’s a thing that’s happening…