Monday, March 09, 2015
I have something to admit that is likely not a surprise to anyone who pays attention to what I read and review here at the blog (but let’s face it, how many people are actually paying attention to that). I’m rather limited in what I read – it’s mostly fantasy, and generally some form of second-world fantasy. Yes, I read some SF in there, some urban fantasy, some historical fantasy, some thrillers, and a few books that are either all or none of those and find themselves described with trite phrases like ‘transcends genre’. I say this because even though we in the SFF world certainly claim Tobias S. Buckell as an SFF author, some of his latest books are much more thriller/adventure/spy books that have as much in common with the books of Clive Cussler and Tom Clancy, and those fall outside of my typical sphere of reading. But that doesn’t mean that us SFF fans shouldn’t be reading those books – especially anyone who is looking for some form of near-future SFF that actually presents a very possible future that doesn’t immediately become overly post-apocalyptic.
Hurricane Fever is Buckell’s second book about a not-to-distant from now world where climate change has changed everything. His first book of the vein, Arctic Rising (my review), follows a young UN pilot who becomes wrapped up in a global conspiracy. In Hurricane Fever, Buckell focuses on a secondary character form Arctic Rising, the Caribbean spy, Roo, who is forced out of retirement and becomes wrapped up in a global conspiracy. Yes, these books are full of the typical spy thriller tropes that we’ve all come to love, and there are not a few jabs poked at those that have popularized that genre, most obviously James Bond.
The difference is that Hurricane Fever (and Arctic Rising) are very smartly written. They feature non-standard protagonists doing things just as well as the white guys. The future world is eerily possible – the socioeconomic, political and military possibilities presented are scarily likely. Seas have risen, balances of power have shifted, the weather is crazy, and drones change everything. This is the future.
And it’s shown through the lens of a good, old-fashioned, shoot’em up spy thriller. Smart and fun. It doesn’t get much better than that.