Category Archives: Writing

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.)

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 →
18 Jul

My London Worldcon panel schedule

I’m on some amazing panels with amazing human beings at the next Worldcon, in London:

Signing

Friday 11:00 AM

Settling the Alien World

Friday 12:00 – 13:30, Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL)

Here are three star systems, each with a planet potentially habitable by humans. One is Mars-like — probably lifeless, and needs warming and water before we can live there (or we need to adapt ourselves). One is Earth-like, with similar biochemistry even (score one for panspermia theory), but so far as we can tell, no sentient organisms. And one is Earth-like but with early industrial cities. What narratives do we imagine for humans arriving in each system? How might humans be shaped by the life and landscapes they encounter? And how might questions of contact, colonisation or cohabitation be tackled in each scenario?

Imagining Fantasy Lands: The Status Quo Does Not Need Worldbuilding

Friday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 11 (ExCeL)

Fantasy world-building sometimes comes under fire for its pedantic attention to detail at the expense of pacing or prose style. Do descriptive passages clog up the narrative needlessly, when reader imagination should be filling in the gaps? Where does that leave the landscapes and cultures that are less well represented in the Western genre: can world-building be a tool in subverting reader expectations that would otherwise default to pseudo-medieval Euro-esque? If fantasy is about defamiliarising the familiar, how important is material culture – buildings, furnishings, tools, the organisation of social and commercial space – in creating a fantasy world?

SF: What It Is, What It Could Be

Friday 19:00 – 20:00, Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)

SF as a genre is both loaded and contested, bringing with it decades of controversies, assumptions, prejudices, and possibilities. What do the genre’s various practitioners and consumers think SF is? Are we speaking the same language, or talking past each other? How do perceptions of SF – in terms of who can write it, who can consume it, and what kinds of stories can find a market – create or reinforce realities? Is ‘core’ SF still about space exploration and colonisation, or is there room for other types of stories? If SF is ‘dying’, as we’re frequently told, what does that mean and in whose interests are the preparations for its funeral?

Reading: Tobias Buckell

Saturday 20:00 – 20:30, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)

Kaffeeklatsch

Monday 12:00 – 13:00, London Suite 4 (ExCeL)

07 Jul

The Del Rey UK edition of Hurricane Fever is also out

The Del Rey UK edition of Hurricane Fever launched over the weekend as well. If you’re a reader somewhere in the UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand, it should be available!

The Del Rey UK site has buy links and more.

A storm is coming…

When former spy Roo Jones receives an unexpected package from a dead friend, he’s yanked out of a comfortable retirement and is suddenly embroiled in a global conspiracy involving a weapon that could change the face of the world forever.

But as one of the largest hurricanes to hit the Caribbean begins to sweep through the area, Roo just may find that time is running out – not just for himself, but the whole world…

Perfect for fans of action-packed espionage, Hurricane Fever is a kinetic techno-thriller for a new generation.

I’ll be in the UK and will appear in two places to sign. I’ll be at Fantasy in the Court, at Cecil Court in London on August 12th. I’ll also be at London Worldcon (LonCon). I’m hoping to be able to sign some Del Rey UK copies at both locations!

01 Jul

My latest novel, Hurricane Fever, is now for sale at eBook outlets and brick and mortar stores of your choosing

Hurricanefever

Today’s the big day. The launch of Hurricane Fever, my latest novel.

Here is a buy link to B&N.

Here is an Indiebound link that takes you to your nearest Indie bookseller.

What is Hurricane Fever about? Here’s the summary:

A storm is coming…. Introducing a pulse-pounding technothriller by the New York Times bestselling author of Arctic Rising

Prudence “Roo” Jones never thought he’d have a family to look after—until suddenly he found himself taking care of his orphaned teenage nephew. Roo, a former Caribbean Intelligence operative, spends his downtime on his catamaran dodging the punishing hurricanes that are the new norm in the Caribbean. Roo enjoys the simple calm of his new life—until an unexpected package from a murdered fellow spy shows up. Suddenly Roo is thrown into the center of the biggest storm of all.

Using his wits—and some of the more violent tricks of his former trade—Roo begins to unravel the mystery that got his friend killed. When a polished and cunning woman claiming to be murdered spy’s sister appears, the two find themselves caught up in a global conspiracy with a weapon that could change the face of the world forever.

In Hurricane Fever, New York Times bestselling author Tobias Buckell (Arctic Rising, Halo: The Cole Protocol) has crafted a kinetic technothriller perfect for fans of action-packed espionage within a smartly drawn geo-political landscape. Roo is an anti–James Bond for a new generation.

Here is a blog post I wrote for Tor.com about doing some of the research in Barbados for the book.

I was born in Grenada, an island further to the west of Barbados, both of us at the southern tip of the sweep of the Caribbean as it curves down toward South America. Only Trinidad and Tobago lie between Venezuela and us. And all that time growing up, I had no idea that a lost, but no less major and fascinating chapter of humanity’s early attempts to get into orbit lay just one island over from me.

Here is my West Coast Tour Schedule:

—-July 25th: Comic Con panel Vengeance and Villians (San Diego, CA)
—-July 26th: Comic Con signing at Tor Booth (San Diego, CA)
—-July 27th: Borderlands Books reading/signing (San Francisco, CA)
—-July 28th: University Books reading/signing (Seattle, WA)
—-July 29th: Mysterious Galaxy reading/signing (San Diego, CA)

In addition, I’ll be attending DetCon in Detroit and London Worldcon.

My full schedule, as always, is in Appearances.

If you’re interested in reviewing it, details are here.

And here’s what it feels like the day before a book launch.

Thank you to all who’ve pre-ordered copies, or helped spread word of mouth, as first week sales do make a big difference to momentum. Thanks to all bookstores carrying it, and thanks to all my readers. Here we go again!

30 Jun

My latest book, Hurricane Fever, launches tomorrow, and even though I’ve been through six book launches I’m still nervous as hell

You’d think by now I’d be rather blasé about all this. Why yes, I do have a book coming out tomorrow. Yes, I’ve done this six times already with other novels, nine times if you count launching an anthology I’ve edited and three collections.

By launch number ten I should be ready to throw a little soiree in town where I sip cocktails and entertain people with witty anecdotes. Or whatever it is suave writers who launch books do.

Instead I’m utterly unprepared and feel like the guy at the top of a roller coaster. “Oh shit,” I’m thinking, “Here we go again!” and, “No turning back now!”

I wrote a tight book. As tight as I could. And I’m hoping it doesn’t leave people much room to take a breath before they’ve slingshotted through Prudence Jones’s world of heavy weather, spies, and corporate conspiracy. I dwelled on two islands that have a special place for me, and hope I communicated some of their uniqueness. And I certainly shared my love of boat life.

But the roller coaster feeling comes from all the things I wonder if I should have done instead. Should I have dwelled further on world building? Should I have included more POVs? Will people who loved Anika in Arctic Rising feel short changed that she isn’t in here? Did I… Did I… Did I… did I do enough. I worked on the book as hard as I could, so I know that is behind me. But now, there begin the worries about whether I’ve sent out enough copies. Do enough people know the book exists.

Does it have a chance out in that cruel, cruel cold world?

I perused a listing of all the other science fiction and fantasy books out there that launch this month by Locus. Books that aren’t just vying for reader’s attention, but for the attention of reviews, coverage, and buzz. Great books, some them ones I’m looking forward to reading.

And I wonder, did I do enough? Should I be doing a gazillion blog interviews? Should I get on the street corner with a megaphone and start assailing random passer’s by? Do I buy ads? Do I…

…a thousand what ifs and possibilities, worries that I could have done more the last couple months to help the book, swirl around my hindbrain.

But, I’ll be spending time on tour. I have interviews lined up. I’ve put up the Batsignal telling people I’m here. And, at some point, because this is the 7th (or 10th) time I’m doing this, I also know: it’s time to also get back to work.

Because I’ve sacrificed a month or two on doing *nothing* but promotion to try and help a baby book, and at some point, like a mama deer, I know that damn book has to just get up on its own two wobbly legs and stand. Or it won’t be able to escape the wolves of indifference. Either I wrote a good book and it will generate interest and readers, or it won’t.

Two nights ago I finished writing my 10th novel. I’m going to be spending a good chunk of time while traveling to promote Hurricane Fever doing edits on the YA novel Islands in the Sky. And sometime next month I begin working on the 11th novel.

Because the buzz doesn’t start unless there is a book out there to buzz about. And while no promotion isn’t ideal, I do have to take a deep breath and realize I can’t, all by myself, get people to be excited and spread the word. Either people are invested in the book and things will happen.

Or they won’t, and I work on a book that will.

And that is my state of mind, the night before my 7th novel launches, that I need to be chill. Relax. And trust the book. And also OMG please for the love of all that is holy read my book.

That is all.