Monday, May 18, 2009

Review: Tides from the New Worlds

Tides from the New Worlds
by Tobias Buckell

Format: Hardcover, 293 pages
Publisher: Wyrm
Cover Design: Brian Dow
Release Date: April 2009
ISBN-10: 1-890464074
ISBN-13: 978-1890464073

Tides from the New Worlds is a collection of Tobias Buckell’s short stories. Tobias Buckell burst onto the scene almost three years ago with the publication of his novel Crystal Rain. The science fiction novel, set on a future world and populated with descendents of Aztec and Afro-Caribbean cultures, marked a new and unique flavor in science fiction. Buckell’s next two books Ragamuffin and Sly Mongoose have established him as a fresh new voice in space opera and speculative fiction as a whole.

There are twenty-one short stories in Tides from the New Worlds. Most have been published in various venues such as anthologies and magazines except for “Something in the Rock”, which was written exclusively for this limited edition. The stories range from pure science fiction to fantasy to historical fiction, and to somewhere in between. A few take place in a universe already familiar to fans of Buckell. Others are separate, yet the discerning reader can glimpse echoes of ideas present in his novels. One of Buckell’s strengths as a writer is his characters and all of the stories in this collection reflect that.

I am not providing summaries on all of the stories. Instead I will limit myself to the ones I enjoyed the most. All of the stories are good and these three are my favorite.

The absolutely gorgeous cover of this collection features a scene from the story “Tides”. Siana is a young girl who lives in a stilt-village far out into the ocean and one day she returns from looking for shells to discover that her sister has returned home from the Coastal Wars. At first, Siana is resentful of her siblings return, but magic soon forms a bond between them before a tragic event changes her life forever.

“Something in the Rock” is a tale about a dwarf who leads a mission to rescue a group of trapped miners except that they find far more than they bargain for deep down in the earth. Something of a horror story, the story explores what happens when you face a terrible threat yet are unable to trust your own senses.

In “Necahual”, a young soldier from the League lands on the planet New Anegada to save it from the threat of alien invasion. However, nothing is quite what it seems. The natives don’t necessarily want his help and there’s a slight problem with the Aztecs.

Tides from the New Worlds is a must-read for all fans of Tobias Buckell. Strongly recommended.

Rating: 8.5/10

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