Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tobias Buckell is one of those writers that is able to write in multiple genres. His collection Tides from the New Worlds contains 19 stories that span the spectrum of speculative fiction; science fiction, magical realism, alternate history and a strait up fantasy/sword and sorcery tale. I love it when I get a chance to re-encounter a author that I already like and am follow by getting my hands on a collection like this of short stories that had passed my by. In addition to the stories Tobias has added an intro to each, I like getting that kind of personal chit chat from an author (this probably comes from listening to podcasts); it creates a more intimate reading experience for me.
How did I get my copy - Graciously suppled by Tobias Buckell prior to ibooks version release some weeks ago.
I find it hard to choose a story that I would say is my favorite. I could say that its the first story The Fish Merchant since it guests his reoccurring rastafarian merc Pepper and shows how the everyman is largely unaffected by big events in the face of everyday concerns and worries, sadly he gets caught up in Peppers life. If I said that I would be overlooking the emotionally packed story All Her Children Fought in which a child soldier gets a parent for a short time to have important formative human contact. I could go on and on and have in other drafts of this review trying to find a way to describe the quality of Tobias’ stories without giving anything away.
It is not that he is an author that relies on a twist endings or shocks to get the reader, many of the stories I can see where the plot was going and it was the empathy I felt for the characters that made want to take the journey with them. His viewpoint characters are not paragons or great heroes of their time they are the regular people; they have problems, desires, goals and feelings even when they are robots, aliens or dwarves; I felt for them and despite the things I may not have liked about them; I wanted them to succeed. Though all the stories have a definite conclusion to the crisis that they pose Tobias left me thinking about what comes next and wanting a little more time with someone in that setting. Maybe this is why when I hear that there is a new Pepper story out there I’m so happy; he is a friend that I don’t always trust but its a happy surprise to find this friend in a story even if he is not the white hat wearing hero.
The other aspect of his writing that I like is the slight feeling of the alien that invades his stories. Tobias grew up in Grenada, the British and American Virgin Islands in circumstances that differ from most anglo american and british backgrounds I read. I can not say quantifiably what that really brings to his fiction but he does not read like any other white writer I have read and I appreciate that difference of vision. He may have grown up reading the same science fiction and fantasy that I did but he has come out producing something that has a unique slant that appeals to me.
This collection is a relatively inexpensive way to check out his vision if you have not read his fiction before; its 2.99 on both Kindle and iBooks and any one of the stories are worth that at least. Looking at it this way the 40.00 dollar pricetag on the limited edition hardcover is not a high price - I just wish I had the cash to spare at this time.
Thanks to Tobias for the copy - I really did love reading these and will read them again.
Check out his website here
You can sample a some of his work for free in various formats
go to Clarkesword Magazine here and here , and an interview here
and as of this writing at lightspeed magazine issue 2 has a new Pepper Tale here
Here is a list of the titles Tales includes in case tou have read Tobias before:
(Science Fiction) The Fish Merchant, In the Heart of Kalikuata, Io, Robot, Anakoinosis,Aerophilia,The Shackles of Freedom, Her, The Duel, Necahual, Toy Planes, All Her Children Fought
(Magical Reality)Four Eyes, Spurn Babylon, Trinket, Death's Dreadlock, Smooth Talking
(Alternate History)In Orbit Medieval
(Fantasy)Something in the Rock
Tides as touted above is now in e format from iBooks and Kindle for the meager sum of 2.99
Tides from the New Worlds is also available in print form from Clarkesworld’s through Wyrm publishing and runs 40USD.
Tobias Buckell is the author of four novels to date including Crystal Rain, Raggamuffin, Sly Mongoose, a Halo novel and many short stories. He is a writer that has written a wide range of genres and is still young yet... I for one can't wait to see where his career goes.