- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; Reprint edition (December 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765358735
- ISBN-13: 978-0765358738
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 64 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,140,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Arctic Rising: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – December 24, 2012
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“Tobias Buckell is stretching the horizons of science fiction and giving readers a hell of a lot of swashbuckling fun in the bargain.” ―John Scalzi, bestselling author of Old Man's War
“Buckell delivers double helpings of action and violence in a plot-driven story worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster.” ―Publishers Weekly on Sly Mongoose
“Buckell's world-building, full of strong Aztec and Caribbean elements, is spectacular; the story, finely tuned and engrossing.” ―Booklist on Sly Mongoose
“Zombies. Interplanetary battles. Alien races. A hero that can destroy a city in a single bounce. What's not to love? Light enough for a beach read, smart enough for bedside, this novel can be enjoyed on multiple levels.” ―RT Book Reviews on Sly Mongoose
“Buckell represents an important force behind the genre's change. Buckell's work deals with complex racial issues in a way worthy of the self-proclaimed ‘literature of ideas': head-on, with no visible flinching, while still managing to give its readers a rollicking good time.” ―The Seattle Times
About the Author
Tobias S. Buckell is a Caribbean-born writer who grew up in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Halo: The Cole Protocol.
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The story starts with a Coast Guard blimp being shot down by some bad guys after the blimp crew detects nuclear material on their ship and goes down to investigate. Various factions and organizations then want to get to the pilot to either (a) figure out what's really going on, or (b) prevent the pilot and her allies from figuring out what's going on.
Most of the action takes place inside the Arctic Circle as the various organizations face off and as various loyalties change. Buckell does a good job of keeping the story moving and not overdoing the action sequences until the very end. Buckell has created some interesting characters and "towns", and it would be interesting to see where he can take them in future stories or books.
The action literally never stops. The plot seems to be all about the action... but it's lacking the depth of background that would make some of the plot twists and turns more sensible or even comprehensible.
I really like the world described- it's well-thought-out and plausible as a near-future result of current trends. I just wish the characters and the plot had been equally well-thought-out.
The characters and plot do hearken back to James Bond stuff- meaning that the plot has "unexpected" twists and turns that work as long as one doesn't think about them too much. The characters, too- similar to Bond- are cardboard stand-ins for people. These are not necessarily a problem in a thriller; one generally doesn't expect much more there.
It ended on a cliff-hanger, which I don't much appreciate. I might well read the next one in the series though... but only because I'm fascinated by the world, in particular Thule and the Carribbean, and I'd love to see how they play out on the world stage.
Note: despite its "thriller" similarity to Bond novels, this one features a black, lesbian protag. That's not all she is... but her relationship with a rescuer does help her get out of various kinds of trouble, in a sort of dea-ex-machina way. Still- I DID love having a thriller hero(ine) NOT be a straight white dude!
So, on the one hand, the vision of the near-future Buckell offers is interesting: throughout the book, we see hints of frequent war in the third world, balancing the industrial needs for petroleum to make products vs. transportation needs for oil, the economic boom to the Arctic, and the political battles over resource deposits in the North. These things form the backdrop for a book that is about telling a story, not about deepening a character. Thus, on the other hand, this book is not about character studies or delving deeply into a philosophical/ethical position. In many places, the characters are not fleshed out, nor entirely believable. In sum: it was an enjoyable diversion that asked "what if," but not a work of "literature" that presumed to have the importance of _1984_. The book could definitely have been better with a competent editor, but despite this, the tale was fun to read.
That being said, Buckell's introduction of the issue of geoengineering was great. This topic is a rich one for science fiction, and I imagine Buckell's book is a sign of more to come. As much as it might be mocked, his introduction of an independent company using technology to reduce the albedo of the earth merely borrows and exaggerates actual scientific work. And private companies have, in fact, attempted to start operationalizing geoengineering schemes in the few years. So, readers should be aware that the plot twists and discussions echo many of the ethical conversations in the scientific literature about geoengineering currently.
Some other reviews complained about the editing; for what it's worth, either they were wrong, or it's been improved.
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