Review by John for: Arctic Rising ~ by Tobias S. Buckell (2012)
A futuristic eco-thriller set in a world where global warming has all but melted the Arctic ice cap, causing a mad rush for the natural resources that have now become accessible.
About: It is the near future, and man’s refusal to tackle the causes of global warming has resulted in worldwide havoc. The arctic ice cap has virtually all melted, sea levels have risen dramatically, and many islands and low-lying areas have disappeared under water. Meanwhile, the world’s supply of oil has almost run out and people are increasingly reliant upon the wind and the sun as sources of power.
But in the far north, the results of global warming are enabling an economic boom for some. The retreating ice is opening up vast new sources of energy and raw materials, and what used to be the fabled ice-bound Northwest passage is now a super-busy shipping lane. The Scandinavian countries, Iceland, Greenland and Canada are becoming economic super-powers, and Northern Canada is now a thriving and wild new frontier – as is the last remnant of the polar ice, which has been augmented by a man-made land mass renamed Thule.
Anika Duncan is an airship pilot for the United Nations Polar Guard, trying to patrol and police the teeming North Canadian waterways. When she discovers a strong radioactive source on a passing ship, a train of events is set in motion that brings chaos and potential catastrophe. On one side the fabulously rich Gaia Corporation is trying to use new technology to roll back global warming; but set against it are countries fearful of Gaia’s ability to use the technology as a superweapon. And then there are some shady forces in the background whose identities and motives are not clear. Anika becomes inextricably mixed up with a grand showdown that is centered on Thule.
John’s Thoughts: Arctic Rising is based on a strong vision of what the world could become and there are lots of great ideas threaded throughout the book. I particularly like his thoughts on the chaotic new frontiers that could open up due to global warming, and the new balance of power that might result. I also liked his ideas around the impact of dwindling oil reserves and the use of alternative power sources.
The story itself is fast-paced and very easy to read. There is a clever plot line and enough twists and turns to keep on pulling the reader along. There are some interesting characters (especially one of the baddies) and I like that the heroes are not of the typical white male variety. Overall, it’s an enjoyable read.
The main problem I had with it is that is becomes just a bit too “James Bond-ish” for my taste, with outrageous action sequences and with Anika and her small gang of outsider buddies fighting against overwhelming odds to prevent dark forces using superweapon technology. It even ends with …… well, I can’t say, but I couldn’t help thinking of the endings of various James Bond movies. And all along you just know that Anika will succeed.
I’d rate this book 3.5 stars. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes futuristic thrillers and also anyone interested in what global warming might do to us. Oh yes, and if you like James Bond, give it a go.
Tor Books; February 28, 2012; Hardcover; 304 pages.
Now for the giveaway:
We have one copy for a US address courtesy of the publisher. You do not need to follow the blog to win this book, but you must fill out the Google form completely.