Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Arctic Rising, Tobias Buckell

Tobias S. Buckell's Arctic Rising takes place in a near future where climate change has opened up the NorthWest passage, and many parties are struggling to control the economic and ecological prospects of the rapidly growing region.
The novel is a finalist for the Prometheus Award, for which voting is going on now, but the libertarian aspects of the story are not very prominent.
Government and independent agents and agencies play various parts. The protagonist works for the UN Polar Guard and her zeppelin was shot down when she inadvertantly observed a nuke being shipped through the passage. More out of duty to a comrade who was killed in that attack than loyalty, she helps chase down the eco-terrorists who were in the process of releasing a swarm of global-warming-fighting flying mirrors. The adventure, drama, and chase scenes are well told, and the characters are interesting. The science fiction is thin.
The story is not particularly anti-government; about the best I can say for its libertarian bona fides is that the government isn't the strongest force on the scene. Some of the government agents and agencies pay little attention to people's rights, but showing this in the middle of a variety of emergencies isn't a good way to make a strong case.