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.

27 May

“One white cat shy of a Bond movie” -Publishers Weekly on Hurricane Fever

Publishers Weekly weighs in on Hurricane Fever, another positive early review:

In this near-future techno-thriller, monster Category 6 hurricanes and bio-warfare are the world’s two biggest threats. After thwarting an overheated anti-global warming scheme in Arctic Rising, Prudence “Roo” Jones, former agent of Caribbean Intelligence, returns to home waters. Drawn by the death of a colleague, Roo joins the dead man’s sister in poking into the business of a billionaire who employs neo-Nazi security. Navigating well-armed street gangs and insouciant rich people who throw “Hurricane Balls” to enjoy the storms, Roo doggedly pursues vengeance across islands hardened against the “new normal” weather and open to the new business opportunities. Buckell solidly links the political and the personal, both exemplified by subtle race-related interactions (for instance, at upper-crust parties, Roo is frequently mistaken for a servant). The scenes of sailing and spying action move quickly, and the climax, set on a supersized satellite-launching cannon, is one white cat shy of a Bond movie.