Reviews: Buckell, Tobias

Hearts as Black as Coal

The Trove — Tobias S. Buckell

Tobias S. Buckell’s 2018 The Trove is a standalone SF adventure novel.

Interstellar travel has not eliminated social stratification. Earth is home to oligarchs whose wealth is hard to measure. In contrast, the wealth of Jane Hawkins and her two mothers, Sadayya and Tia, is very easy to measure: it is the Nelson Inn, located in the unfashionable part of Sargasso Port. Customers are few, the inn is struggling, and Tia is slowly dying of an incurable disease.

A more prosperous inn would have turned away rigger Villem Osteonidus. Not only does the cyborg lacks any personal charm, he’s a drug addict. But the Hawkins Inn needs every customer it can get. Villem gets a room, one his hosts expect him to occupy for only as long as it takes for the drugs to kill him.

Villem has far worse problems than his addiction.

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Very definitely a hell below

Sly Mongoose — Tobias S. Buckell
Xenowealth, book 3

Tobias S. Buckell’s 2008 novel Sly Mongoose is the third book in the Xenowealth sequence. Now, you might ask “why start with the third book?” There is a very straightforward answer: I wanted to read a book that gave me license to gratuitously embed this image:


Also, this specific book and I have some history, which I will get into later on.

Chilo isn’t Venus but it’s a lot like Venus, from the dense atmosphere to the furnace temperatures down on the ground. The good news is that like Venus, Chilo does have a region where the temperatures and pressures won’t immediately kill humans. The bad news is that region is thirty kilometers above the surface.

Which brings us to the balloon-cities of the sort featured in that gratuitously embedded image above.


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A Rising Tide

Arctic Rising — Tobias Buckell

Tobias Buckell’s 2012 novel Arctic Rising takes us to a global-warming future in which the arctic is increasingly clear of unsightly ice … as well as the animals that used to live there. Open seas mean access to all the resources of the north; ports are springing up all around the Arctic Ocean. Prosperity abounds in Canada and other, less important, nations!

But someone always has to be a spoilsport. Possibly because Canada’s benefit is the bane of most of the rest of the world, which must cope with rising sea levels and increasingly savage storms.


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