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Ragamuffin (Sci Fi Essential Books) Hardcover – June 12, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Sci Fi Essential Books
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765315076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765315076
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,675,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in the same far-future universe as Crystal Rain (2006), in which the ruling alien Satrapy has confined humanity to the fringes of a confederation of worlds linked by wormholes, Buckell's second SF novel provides plenty of gun play and close calls for his heroes. The Satraps now seek the all-out destruction of the Raga, descendants of an Earth island culture. A young Raga woman, Nashara, attempts to evade capture from a determined pursuer, just as the wormhole to her home, Nanagada, mysteriously reopens. Meanwhile, the aliens who control Nanagada struggle for power, Teotl against Loa, while humans play them against each other, hoping to break their iron control. As the political situation destabilizes, Nashara and her friends appear, and total war for the right of humanity to live free becomes inevitable. Buckell plays with Caribbean and Aztec cultures, bending their exotic flavor to technology-flavored ends. Though the ending is never in doubt, the twisty ride getting there is a lot of fun.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The sequel to Crystal Rain (2006) shows Buckell living up to its promises as the Benevolent Satrapy continues to be anything but on all 48 worlds it dominates. On most, the humans who survived Earth's destruction huddle on the social fringes. The Ragamuffins are different. They are tolerated as something between a pirate brotherhood and a resistance organization. The satrapy becomes less indulgent when they sprout a cyborg leader, Nashara, and suddenly show the potential for real damage. The resulting conflict is first-class space adventure, with tip-top characterization, action, and world-building. May Buckell enjoy a long, productive career. Green, Roland
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Tobias S. Buckell is a Caribbean-born speculative fiction writer who grew up in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He now lives in Ohio.

He has published stories in various magazines and anthologies. He is a Clarion graduate, Writers of The Future winner, and Campbell Award for Best New SF Writer Finalist. His work has appeared in the Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies. His novel Ragamuffin was nominated for the Nebula and Prometheus awards.

You can visit his website at www.TobiasBuckell.com.

Customer Reviews

Yet as I read on, Buckell did a wonderful job at bringing the reader into the story.
Dan Tres OMi
She carries inside of her human body a weapon that could very well tear down the foundations of current civilization.
Shaun Duke
I stuck with this book for nearly 200 pages before giving up, and was largely confused the whole time.
Sheela Kamath

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By H. Grove (errantdreams) TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Tobias Buckell has created a grand and fascinating universe within the pages of Ragamuffin. He clearly excels at universe-building and character creation; everything he details positively comes alive, whether it's a dying space habitat, a distant alien Satrap, or the sheer chaos of facing a copy of one's self and having a chat.

Surprises and revelations flow naturally and aren't used to artificially ratchet up the tension or bolster the pace. This means that if you figure something out in advance, it doesn't cause an anticlimax or rob the story of its momentum. The story is fast-paced and intriguing, and I had difficulty putting it down once I started (in fact I first picked it up during a lull in something else, and ended up putting that first activity aside because the book was too engrossing).

The characters are amazing and fascinating, every bit as much so as in Crystal Rain. In most authors' hands the League of Human Affairs would have been a one-dimensional organization, but in Buckell's hands even it comes alive with personality. We're reunited with John, Jerome, and yes, even Pepper, who are dealing with a whole new (and very different) invasion of Nanagada by the Teotl. Not only do we enjoy the presence of old friends, but we get to watch them grow and change in new and different ways as they face new difficulties.

Crystal Rain was an absolutely stunning debut, and Ragamuffin is a wholly worthy successor. It's a touch slower in places due to the background provided on some of the aspects of the world, but not enough to detract from the novel in my opinion.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Mountjoy on August 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ragamuffin, the sequel to Crystal Rain, tells the story of Nashara, an enhanced human and living weapon who may hold the key to freeing humanity from the rule of the Satrapy. Ragamuffin takes the series in a new direction; Crystal Rain was largely a steampunk novel set on a world which had lost its technology. Ragamuffin shows us this universe from a different angle, from which we can see the technology that drives everything. Gone are the airships and trains of Crystal Rain; here we see space stations, orbiting habitats, and wormhole-jumping spacecraft. We see space battles, politics, and the shape of a galaxy in which humans are considered dangerous and are therefore enslaved or isolated.

All of the characters are very human and believable (even those who aren't, technically, human). Regardless of where a character falls on the antagonist/protagonist scale, everyone we meet is somehow a sympathetic character. The antagonists, who sometimes do horrible things, never act for evil ends; nobody here is a bad guy in his own eyes. Pepper makes a reappearance, and we get to learn more about him and see him in action again; I'm hoping he appears in Sly Mongoose, the next book in this series.

Ragamuffin deals with science in fun ways. Everything seems real, because the author never cheats with physics. Everything that's explained, is explained well, accurately, and -- importantly -- quickly (not in pages-long infodumps). Some things aren't explained, but because everything else makes so much sense, we take their workings for granted.

The author has many moments of cleverness in the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dan Tres OMi on August 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I had no clue that Ragamuffin was a story written in the Benevolent Satrapy universe. Tobias Buckell wrote a book that was set in the same universe entitled Crystal Rain. At first, I was confused as to what was going on. Yet as I read on, Buckell did a wonderful job at bringing the reader into the story. Thus, Ragamuffin could be read as a stand alone book. Buckell does a wonderful job of meshing Carib folklore with science.

Imagine a universe in which humanity is enslaved by an all powerful race called the Satraps. They rule the universe with an iron grip. Earth has been cut off from the rest of humanity by an enclosed wormhole. Each alien species under the Benevolent Satrapy is held in place by conditioned members of their own race. Yet there remain a group of ragtag smugglers called Ragamuffins who like their modern counterparts wear long locks and speak in patois.

Long ago, humans on earth placed one hard bet and created ten identical women from the DNA of a legendary hero who hid secret weapons in their wombs. They were able to penetrate the Earth wormhole and infiltrate the rest of the universe. It was a long shot but it was the best chance of overthrowing the Benevolent Satrapy. Nashara, the protagonist and the only survivor of the original ten must convince the Ragamuffins and other humans to join forces to overthrow the aliens once and for all.

As a sci fi head, I still find talk of wormholes to be way over my head. Buckell, however, explains the concepts of wormholes in layman's terms. The pacing of the book is slow which allows for character development. Ironically, Buckell keeps the Satrap a mystery as we learn that several humans do not realized that they are enslaved. This detail demonstrates Buckell's skill as a writer.
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