Tobias Buckell announced yesterday that Tor Books is planning a full relaunch of his lauded Xenowealth series, beginning with Crystal Rain. This initiative includes a new branding approach for the series, and a major departure from the original adventurous covers.
We wanted to make sure the books say that they are space adventure. Space opera.
And ain’t it just gorgeous?
Buckell commented on the stylistic change for the new covers, which come about at the expense of some wonderful artwork from one of the industry’s leading artists, Todd Lockwood. “The original Todd Lockwood covers for the books are awesome,” he said. “But when we talked about relaunching the series in trade, one of the things I raised was the fact that booksellers had been telling me that Todd, amazing that he is, is usually associated with Fantasy.”
The first volume in the series, Crystal Rain shares a lot of thematic and structural similarities with fantasy adventure, the sequels, Ragamuffin and Sly Mongoose are more firmly planted in recognizable science fiction, something Buckell and Tor recognized was a potential branding issue, despite the Lockwood’s lovely art.
“With this visual rebranding,” Buckell explained, “we wanted to make sure the books say that they are space adventure. Space opera.
I’m an enormous fan of Buckell’s work, and I was always disappointed by Tor’s initial poor handling of a series with, I believed, the potential to appeal to a large audience of science fiction and general fans. With the recent resurgence in science fiction popularity (at least among the most engaged fans), thanks to authors like Ann Leckie and James S.A. Corey, it feels like the time is ripe for Buckell’s series to be reintroduced to a hungry audience.
Buckell also confirmed more news about the Xenowealth series is coming in the pipeline. There are “lots of pieces of the puzzle are coming together,” he said. The new edition of Crystal Rain will in December, 2014, with Ragamuffing and Sly Mongoogse coming shortly afterwards in 2015.
Tobias Buckell is best known for his adult Science Fiction, including the Xenowealth novels and, most recently, Arctic Rising, a near-future eco-political thriller. So, naturally, his next step is YA. Right?
From Publishers Weekly, via twitter,
Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Tor Starscape has acquired The Island in the Sky, a debut YA novel plus a sequel by SF author Tobias S. Buckell (Halo: The Cole Protocol). The book follows a Caribbean boy, Kadie, who gets the opportunity to travel to the stars when a starship arrives on Earth offering lottery slots to volunteers in exchange for leaving alien diplomats behind. Publication is tentatively set for winter 2014. Joe Monti at Barry Goldblatt Literary did the deal for North American rights.
Though it might feel like something of a departure for those who are familiar with Buckell’s adult novels, I think YA will be a wonderful fit for his tone, writing style and the adventurous nature of his novels and short fiction. I’m also glad to see him ‘returning’ to a Caribbean setting. Buckell was raised in Grenada, a small island nation in the Caribbean, and his first novel, Crystal Rain was set on an alien world settled by relocated Caribbean refugees, providing a tone and culture to the characters and setting not often found in Science Fiction. Sign me up when The Island in the Sky is released next winter.
Global warming has transformed the Earth, and it’s about to get even hotter. The Arctic Ice Cap has all but melted, and the international community is racing desperately to claim the massive amounts of oil beneath the newly accessible ocean.
Enter the Gaia Corporation. Its two founders have come up with a plan to roll back global warming. Thousands of tiny mirrors floating in the air can create a giant sunshade, capable of redirecting heat and cooling the earth’s surface. They plan to terraform Earth to save it from itself—but in doing so, they have created a superweapon the likes of which the world has never seen.
Anika Duncan is an airship pilot for the underfunded United Nations Polar Guard. She’s intent on capturing a smuggled nuclear weapon that has made it into the Polar Circle and bringing the smugglers to justice.
Tobias Buckell first came to my attention with the release of Crystal Rain (REVIEW), a crackin’ SF adventure with a Caribbean flare. The sequel, Ragamuffin (REVIEW) proved that Buckell was no slouch by expanding his universe and showing nice versatility as a writer without relying on ballooning word counts. Since then, his novels have always been firmly on my radar.
His newest novel, due out Feb. 28, 2012, is called Arctic Rising and presents another side to Buckell’s storytelling. While it’s not related to his previous novels, Arctic Rising is sure to be a smart eco-thriller with no lack of frenetic action and a torrid pace. I’m eagerly awaiting my change to jump in.
Centuries ago, the fifty-mile-wide mouth of the Lancaster Sound imprisoned ships in its icy bite. But today, the choppy polar waters between Baffin Island to the south of the sound, and Devon Island on the north, twinkled in the perpetual sunlight of the Arctic’s summer months, and tons of merchant traffic constantly sailed through the once impossible-to-pass Northwest Passage over the top of Canada.
A thousand feet over the frigid, but no longer freezing and icechoked waters, the seventy-five-meter-long United Nations Polar Guard airship Plover hung in a slow-moving air current. The turboprop engines growled to life as the fat, cigar-shaped vehicle adjusted course, then fell silent.
Inside the cabin of the airship, Anika Duncan checked her readings, then leaned over the matte-screened displays in the cockpit to look out the front windows.
You can read the first two chapters of Arctic Rising on Tor.com.