Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    Nobody in Particular kcf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Arizona, USA
    Posts
    579

    Arctic Rising by Tobias Buckell

    I really enjoyed the latest from Tobias Buckell. Excerpt from my review below.

    Thrillers are generally good, fun reading, but not necessarily a place to expect the best writing. The writing is usually adequate, but it’s the story and the action that dominate. In Arctic Rising the story is action-packed with compelling characters and it’s got quality writing. This is a smart thriller – Buckell has done his research. And for a book that set in a time reacting to the consequences of global warming, it’s not the didactic global warming research you may think of. The United States military has done lots of contingency planning based on what could happen in the future due to global warming – Buckell takes these studies and uses them to create a convincing story through the eyes of middling UN pilot of a new socio-economic order of nations and corporations battling it out in the arctic. There are spies, there are mercenary soldiers, there is a criminal underworld. There’s torture, redemption, hopelessness, nano-technologic wonders and an errant nuclear bomb.

    All of this is told from the viewpoint of Anika, an unlikely character to be at the heart of a thriller. Buckell could have stuck to the tried and true protagonist – a white American guy from the coast, or even a nice white American girl from the Midwest. Instead, Buckell looks to his own mixed routes as an immigrant from the Caribbean and chooses a female protragonist who is from Nigeria. The perspective of Anika as someone from the developing world and her interactions with an independent spy, Roo, from the Caribbean are a fascinating touch. The lingering effects of colonialism are present, the distrust of the big developed nations and their corporations is palatable and the repeated jabs to the presentation of international espionage from James Bond are hilariously sharp.

    Equally refreshing is the inevitable love story subplot. As the story progresses, Anika develops a potential relationship with an underworld boss. Only as cliché as this could be, Buckell throws expectations a curve ball with Anika being a lesbian. The story could have easily been told with a traditional man-woman love story, but instead it’s a same-sex romance. And the best part – it’s just there. This isn’t some big statement and it doesn’t control some critical part of the thriller plot. The romance just happens to be same-sex, and it’s presented as being as normal as apple pie. I look forward to the day that such a romance is normal enough to not merit mention in a review like this.

    And Anika is wonderfully strong protagonist. She’s tough and vulnerable. She’s conflicted about her feelings for Vy and what she owes a criminal boss who has seemingly selflessly helped her so much. She has an interesting past as a pilot and was even something of a child soldier. She’s a victim and a survivor. But she doesn’t lay down and take it, and she doesn’t rely on a rescuer – to the best of her ability she stands up to take as much control of the situation as possible.

  2. #2
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Near Cows in the Garden State
    Posts
    10,898
    I liked this one a lot, too. One thing Tobias pulled off very well was that he packed a lot of themes and ideas together and it all came off rather matter of factly, very smooth, if you catch my meaning.

  3. #3
    Nobody in Particular kcf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Arizona, USA
    Posts
    579
    Rob, I agree. Good stuff - he walked a fine line very well.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •