the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Tobias Buckell’ Category

This past Saturday, I had the wonderful experience of seeing Tobias Buckell at a local bookstore.  He spoke about his youth in the Caribbean, growing up on a boat (and having very little space for books!), being very in tune with weather and weather changes, and moving to the United States after a devastating series of hurricanes destroyed his home. Without a doubt, Toby Buckell is one of the most authentic people I have ever had the honor of meeting.

He talked a bit about his newest book, Arctic Rising, and how he serendipitously had perfect timing for a near-future thriller about climate change. A life time lover of all things James Bond, Arctic Rising has plenty of winks and nods to 007 fans. The book is getting rave reviews, you should check some of them out!

While I love the idea of techno-thrillers, I often find that I prefer that style of story on the screen. Luckily for book snobs like me, Buckell has his far-future scifi adventure space opera Xenowealth series, which started with Crystal Rain in 2006 and thanks to a Kickstarter project will soon have a fourth book for fans to devour.  I’ve got a copy of Crystal Rain waiting for me at the library, and after hearing Buckell talk about the series  I can’t wait to dive into it.  And he did graciously sign my copy of Robots:The New AI anthology. His short story, A Jar of Goodwill, was one of my favorite entries, it was just so wonderfully and unexpectedly strange, and I love that!

Beyond the name dropping and link splatting, I actually have a point to this post:  In the past year I have been ridiculously lucky in having opportunities to meet authors. And in some cases, I only had to drive down the road to the local bookstore.

if you are reading this blog, there’s a good chance you have these same opportunities.

Do you have family owned bookstores in your town? Ask to be put on their mailing list, or check out their website. chances are, they have authors come in a few times a year.  Libraries do this too, sign up for their newsletters. As do the big guys like Barnes and Noble. Even if it’s an author you’ve never read, but maybe only ever heard of, go.  that’s how I got completely hooked on Sarah Zettel.

do you live in a bookstore desert? Order everything off Amazon and haven’t stepped foot in a brick and mortar store since before your kids were born? Library only brings in authors of genres you aren’t interested in?  Authors like to travel too, see the sights, drive eight hours up the highway.  check out the websites of your favorite authors, see if they have a schedule of where they are going to be and when. Tweet them and ask them.

You’d be amazed at how many cool authors live not too far away from you.  You might have to drive an hour.  They probably drove six. It’s worth it. go.

still can’t make it happen?  well, there’s always Skype.

Robots: The Recent A.I., edited by Rich Horton and Sean Wallace

published in 2012 from Prime Books

where I got it: purchased








For no good reason, I’ve never read much short fiction. I’ve had mixed luck with anthologies in the past, and that is a terrible reason to shy away from short fiction. Good thing I ran into Robots: The Recent A.I., an anthology so packed with my favorite authors that I felt like a kid in a candy store.  Authors such as Cory Doctorow, Cat Valente, Lavie Tidhar, Tim Pratt, Rachel Swirsky and more whipping up near and far future tales of an aspect of science fiction that is near and dear to my heart: artificial intelligence. How could I possibly say no? Most of these stores have already appeared elsewhere, but I had only ever heard of the Valente and Doctorow titles. Blazing big and bold on the cover is the word “robots”, but artificial intelligence is so much more that a metal machine that can have a conversation with you or play chess.

These are the stores about the new holy grail: creating an artificial intelligence that is so close to human we can’t tell the difference.   When an AI is so close to human you can’t tell, where is the line between ownership and freedom? Where is the line between loving someone and being programmed to love that person?  For a discussion about cold hard programming, where every decision comes down to a sharply defined one or zero, these are some mighty emotional and sensual stories. Some are told from a humans point of view, others are from the point of view of an AI. These are not your Papa Asimov’s robot stories, and it’s suddenly about more than playing chess.

It’s one thing to program a machine to believe that it is a human. It’s an entirely different thing to deal with the consequences. Frankenstein’s monster indeed.

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Arctic Rising, by Tobias Buckell

Published in 2012

Where I got it: borrowed











Anika Duncan was just doing her job.  As an airship pilot for the United Nations Polar Guard, her job is to watch the waters. For drugs, human trafficking, and radioactive material. In the not too far future, the ice has started to melt, the Northwest Passage has opened, and floating bergs and barges all the up on the pole act as a loosely conglomerated not-country called Thule.

On a routine mission Anika’s instruments pick up something they shouldn’t. And then her airship is fired on, killing her co-pilot.  At first, the government goes all out to find her attackers and find out what they were smuggling, but before long the terrorists disappear and she’s told there was absolutely nothing on their ship.  But she knows what she saw on her instruments.  On the run and with few friends to help her, Anika heads north in hopes of learning what was on the ship and who her true friends are.

Once the action starts in this eco-thriller, it never stops.  Imagine a Bond movie where Bond and the beautiful ass-kicking Bond girl got melded into one character, and you’d have Anika Duncan. As a pilot with the UNPG, she can fly any airship and shoot any gun. She never backs down, and has no idea what she’s gotten herself into.  From the islands of Northern Canada and all points north, whoever thought so much could happen in the Arctic Circle?

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About this redhead, etc.

Redhead is a snarky, non-politically correct 30-something who reviews mostly science fiction and fantasy and talks about all sorts of other fun scifi and fantasy geekery. She once wrote a haiku that included the word triskaidekaphobia.

This blog contains adult language and strong opinions. The best way to contact her outside of this blog is twitter, where she is @redhead5318 .

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.