Tag Archives: me me me

22 Aug

Paneling while light, but not white

I just got back from London, and would love to be uploading pictures and talking about two weeks spent in Europe, but I’m catching up on bills and getting into the swing of work. And my kids start Kindergarten. And the dogs need picked up. So I’ll be a little late.

However, a few people have pinged me about a couple of blog posts that reacted to the panel “Imagining Fantasy Lands: The Status Quo Does Not Need Worldbuilding.”

London Worldcon had a fascinating vein of programming with an openness to discussion about diversity, challenging status quo, and world viewpoints. Noticeably more so than past Worldcons. It’s a far cry from the first time I attended a worldcon, and there was just a sole obligatory ‘race in SF’ panel and that was the one (maybe only, outside corridor meet ups) place to find this discussion.

This panel was another one of London Worldcon’s varied pieces of interesting programming. It featured Mary Anne Mohanraj, me, Kate Elliott, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Victoria Donnelly, and Ellen Kushner. The panel description goes thusly:

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?

Two people in the audience were a bit taken aback. Blogger Not By Its Cover (I’m not sure of their name) was upset when I demurred talking about being ‘light but not white’ for the panel and was pressed by panelists to keep on the subject:

He repeatedly said in his response that he doesn’t usually like to talk about his experiences of race, that people outside the Caribbean find his presence in discussions of race disturbing and confusing, that he doesn’t have the energy to deal with that, and that he does not want to be an educator. What enraged me was that, in response to his saying this, a couple of his fellow panelists exclaimed that he absolutely should participate in discussions of race precisely because people found it so problematic and that even if he didn’t wish to participate…

Kate Nepveu also noticed this and commented on it in her panel notes.

So on this panel, I talked about the fact that looking white but not identifying as such due to my bi-racial background complicated discussions. I’m happy to engage in this in some situations and in certain contexts where I known I don’t have an audience that’s still struggling with race 101 level stuff, but for the panel itself I didn’t come prepared and wasn’t expecting to become a focus of the panel. Partly because I came a bit more prepared to talk about what went into creating a fantasy world and how it’s done more deeply, and because I wanted to interrogate and poke at pseudo-medieval constructs.

So, the panel swerved to a bit more of ‘how we authors’ try to deepen work and use our backgrounds to do it. Panels swerve quite often, but I was unprepared for this and tried to demur. I was tired, as I’d just come out of three weeks of travel (promoting Hurricane Fever, teaching a workshop, then a week in Spain, and finally London Worldcon). My ability to switch tracks wasn’t there, I was very exhausted. I was also trying to monitor the panel’s conversational flow and make sure the sole non-writer on the panel, our archeologist Victoria Donnelly, who was making her first appearance at a science fiction panel, was not overrun by us authors and our opinions (even though I was sure Mary Anne wouldn’t do that, I wanted to make sure, as I thought Victoria had a very interesting background we could gain a lot from).

So I demurred, and the panel thought that I might have interested things to say and they…

…keep in mind Mary Anne and Kate and have known me a while…

…pulled a bit at me.

On the panel itself the fact that the audience felt my reticence and responded was not surprising. I didn’t want to talk about the complications of being light not white as a working writer right there because sometimes I have to carefully consider the impacts of my words. And I was tired. So I was worried about making mistakes.

But we muddle our way through. I wasn’t upset with Mary Anne or any of my panelists at the time, just momentarily trying to change the entire set of ‘stories’ and conversations I had arrived with loaded into my mental ready-state.

So why was I reticent?

It’s that if I get up and talk about my struggles, in some cases I can easily negate the even harder struggles others have. Look, I look and ‘read’ white to most people (including non-whites). I therefore complicate discussions about diversity due to living in a culture that takes race as binary. Look, I see the president of the US and see a bi-racial dude from a mixed family background. Most Americans are all like ‘dude’s black.’ And so are a lot of non-white Americans.

So I roll up and talk about how it’s personally annoying when people of all kinds don’t want to recognize me as bi-racial and that’s sometimes problematic. Here are writers struggling far more than I have who come from a legacy and background of far more vicious racism than can be even sometimes explained. So what if I’m left off most lists of diverse SF writers. Boo hoo, right? (And this has mostly been on my mind because I’ve been told by some that I’ve been taken out of articles or such for not being ‘properly diverse’ and just as someone who wants to be part of the tribe of diverse SF/F authors doing amazing things it pains to be excluded on a personal level, but on a larger societal level, shit, injustices against the people of diversity is vastly larger) People read me different than I read myself, I’ve been dealing with that for 35 years. It’s cool. But trying to talk about the complexities of it mean I can inadvertently suppress other narratives, right? I don’t get the *right* to say who gets on a list of diverse writers or how I’m considered at large, I can only keep conversing and trying to add to diversity and talk up good things. So when someone suddenly asks about the complicated nature of how I’m perceived or received in genre, or what my struggle has been, I freeze.

But even as that happens, I also get annoyed with narratives that try to require me to fit into a certain ‘type’ of diversity. It seems the white power structures like immigrant narratives and magical realism from brown-identifying folk. Man, is that ever true, and even allies can fit into this. There’s been a heavy pressure on me to drop doing the action and to write about magical immigrants. I’ve been offered book deals and better money, and it’s funny, I’ve had three editors in the last ten years point blank sketch out the outline of the same novel: immigrant from the Caribbean arrives in the US and does something magically realist.

So, you know, it’s complicated. I’m writing Caribbean Space Opera and have had historically black media *and* white editors tell me they’ll pay attention when I do a magical realist book and I want to keep doing what I’m doing and I’m slowly building this wide audience of people who are digging diverse characters in high octane adventures. Do I want to appear not grateful to make a living doing what I’m doing in public? No. I’m building something, and I’m trying to make sure I spend less time annoyed with people who don’t get what I’m up to and more time sharing excitement with those who totally get it!

So let’s end this positively. I’m all good. The panel was fascinating and was a sign of a fantastic convention (for me at least, I didn’t get to a ton of panels). I was delighted to be up there with amazing minds. And I’m impressed that the audience felt defensive on my part and thank them, but I bear no ill-will or negative feelings towards any of the panelists.

31 Jul

I will be a guest instructor at Clarion West in 2015

So here is the announcement:

“Clarion West is delighted to announce the names of the instructors for the 2015 Six-Week Workshop. Applications will open in December 2014. More information about the instructors and application instructions will be posted in the coming weeks.

Andy Duncan  2015 Clarion West Leslie Howle Fellow
Eileen Gunn
Tobias Buckell
Connie Willis
Nalo Hopkinson
Cory Doctorow  2015 Clarion West Susan C. Petrey Fellow”

(Via News |.)

So first off, what an amazing line up of instructors for 2015. I’ll be keeping some heady company.

One of the things I got to do was meet Clarion West organizers Neile Graham, Tod, and Huw at the Seattle book signing while I was on tour last week. And I have to say, it’s been so hard to keep this secret up until now, even thought I was talking to them the day before the news went out!

So I’m totally honored and amazed that I am now going to be an instructor at Clarion. Having been a new Clarion student myself in 1999, this is one of those ‘coming around full circle’ moments that sometimes happen in life.

It’ll be very, very odd being on the other side of the circle, though. I hope to do well by the students.

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.

24 Jun

A new Xenowealth short story will be in UPGRADED, Neil Clarke’s anthology about cyborgs

NewImage

Neil Clarke has revealed the table of contents for Upgraded, “An original anthology of cyborg stories edited by a cyborg.” What fantastic company I’m keeping. This is looking like it will be quite a vibrant anthology. And for those of you who are fans of the Xenowealth, there’s a new Pepper story in here.

It comes out next month:

Contents:
Introduction by Neil Clarke
Come From Away by Madeline Ashby
No Place to Dream, but a Place to Die by Elizabeth Bear
Married by Helena Bell
A Cold Heart by Tobias S. Buckell
Honeycomb Girls by Erin Cashier
What I’ve Seen With Your Eyes by Jason K. Chapman
Wizard, Cabalist, Ascendant by Seth Dickinson
Seventh Sight by Greg Egan
Negative Space by Amanda Forrest
Mercury in Retrograde by Erin Hoffman
Tongtong’s Summer by Xia Jia
God Decay by Rich Larson
Always the Harvest by Yoon Ha Lee
The Regular by Ken Liu
Coastlines of the Stars by Alex Dally MacFarlane
Fusion by Greg Mellor
Memories and Wire by Mari Ness
Oil of Angles by Chen Qiufan
The Sarcophagus by Robert Reed
Synecdoche Oracles by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
Tender by Rachel Swirsky
The Cumulative Effects of Light Over Time by E. Catherine Tobler
Small Machine by Genevieve Valentine
Collateral by Peter Watts
Taking the Ghost by A.C. Wise
Musée de l’Âme Seule by E. Lily Yu
About the Authors
About the Editor
Cover art by Julie Dillon

24 Jun

Hurricane Fever West Coast Book Tour

Hey, in addition to my having a new book out, I’m going to also be visiting some book stores to talk about the book and sign copies! Tor is sending me out to the West Coast. Here is the schedule:

-Hurricane Fever West Coast Book Tour:
—-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.

23 Jun

Hello reviewers, I have a new book out: Hurricane Fever. Please reach out to me if you don’t yet have a copy

Hello reviewers and commentators and book people.

I’ve tried not to be annoying about this, but I do feel obligated to put the word out that I have a new book coming out.

It’s coming out next Tuesday. July the 1st.

It’s called Hurricane Fever. Here’s the book’s dedicated page.

Here’s the US cover:

Hurricanefever

Here’s the UK cover:

9780091953539 large

Under my press kit are images of me that are high res, and high res book photos. Anything missing? Let me know.

How can you get your hands on the book? Leah Withers at Tor.com is my publicist at Tor (Leah.Withers@tor.com). Alice Hill is my publicist at Del Rey UK (AHill@eburypublishing.co.uk).

The book is also up at Net Galley, if you have a Net Galley account as a reviewer.

If you do not yet have a copy via those means, I have some author’s copies, and some advance review copies, of both UK and US editions (and some author’s copies of the US editions yet to arrive) and I can send you an eBook of the ARC as well.

If you’d like to review Hurricane Fever, then, please fill out this form so I can get your particulars and plan to try and get a copy in your hands!

I’m also happy to talk on podcasts, video, via phone or email, just email me at tobias@tobiasbuckell.com to work out the particulars!

05 Jun

Cover reveal for OLD VENUS, which includes a short story of mine

205772 600

George R.R. Martin has this to say on his livejournal:

The Venus of Leigh Brackett, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Roger Zelazny, C.L. Moore, and Isaac Asimov.

Those who miss the place (like me) will be able to return there next spring. OLD VENUS, an original anthology of retro-SF stories set upon the lost Venus of old, will be released by Bantam Spectra in hardcover on March 3, 2015. We just got our first look at the cover:

My story PALE BLUE MEMORIES will be in this. Very excited.

28 May

The Humble Bundle eBook Bundle IV is live! Get amazing books, support charity! Name your own price!

Humble Bundle is a super cool idea. You name your own price, help support charity, and get cool stuff. The Humble Bundle eBook Bundle IV features a collection of great eBooks, including novellas by me and Paolo Bacigalupi (The Alchemist and The Executioness) if you pay more than the average amount for the bundle.

Hb4

Check it all out. And name your own price. You can even choose how much goes to charity and how much goes to the author and/or Humble Bundle.

More details:

Nine digital literary works. Humble eBook Bundle 4 is here with a wonderful mix of literature and graphic novels. Pay what you want for The Sword & Sorcery Anthology with contributions by Charles R. Saunders, Glen Cook and George R. R. Martin, March: Book One by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, and Wizzywig: Portrait of a Serial Hacker by Ed Piskor.

Those who beat the average price will also receive From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi, The Executioness by Tobias Buckell and Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind.

Pay $10 or more and get everything plus Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw and Lovecraft’s Monsters with contributions by Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Joe R. Lansdale and edited by Ellen Datlow.

Pay what you want. Separately, this instant eBook library would typically cost you more than $55, but we’re letting you set the price!