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.