The fun thing about writing science fiction is that you posit something fairly wild, and then you start extrapolating out from that what if as rigorously as you can to see where all the consequences take you.
When I was originally reading the research for Arctic Rising, I was reading a lot of reports by the US military about their own estimates of how much ice would be in the Arctic in forty or so years. At first, their worst case scenario was a lot of melting in the summer. So when I set out to write Arctic Rising I thought, hey, let’s say mostly all gone in the summer except for some bits kept alive by refrigeration cables and ingenious humans… with a polar bear reserve in the middle for sentimentality’s sake.
By the time I was done writing the book, the general consensus from the same sources was that my science fictional scenario was going to be real.
Now everyone is pointing me to this article in the Guardian about the fact that the Arctic Ice is particularly low on the Atlantic side this year, even more than expected.
After so many years of writing about stuff that is well around the corner, it’s a bit freaky to have people constantly emailing links saying ‘check this out, your book needs to come out as quickly as possible!’
And the fact is, the loss of the ice is actually the very beginning of the story. It’s just the fact on the ground. We’ve already warmed everything up the point where accelerated ice loss is enough of a fact that oil companies have put in the paperwork to drill for Arctic Oil, shipping companies are building northern deep water harbors and getting ready to expand their shipping routes, and the phrase ‘Arctic Tigers’ is getting readied for the nations that will benefit.
But what is really interesting to me, as a writer, is who is going to live up there once that happens? And how are they going to react to what is going to be a very different geopolitical world?
I tried to answer some of that in Arctic Rising, or at least, tackle with some of the ideas that have occurred to me as a result of all this reading.
ARCTIC RISING is a sci-fi techno thriller that addresses near-future concerns about the melting of the Arctic Ice Cap and the geopolitical tensions that could arise if this were to occur.
The Arctic Ice Cap has all but melted away. 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 to create a giant sunshade, capable of redirecting heat and cooling the earth’s surface. They plan to terraform the Earth—but in doing so 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. Intent on capturing a smuggled nuclear weapon that has made its way into the Polar Circle, she finds herself caught up in a plot by a cabal of military agencies and corporations who want Gaia stopped. And when Gaia loses control of their superweapon, it will be Anika who has to decide the future of the world. The nuclear weapon she has risked her life to find is the only thing that can stop the sunshade when it falls into the wrong hands.
Tobias Buckell has an incredibly unique story to tell. Born in Grenada, he is the third generation in a family of sailors who lived a life of adventure aboard boats, traveling the Mediterranean and Caribbean. When hurricanes destroyed his family’s boat and forced their move to the states, Buckell found himself in a place quite different from the sea: Ohio—and he’s been there ever since.
In 2002, Buckell won the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award and was nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer the same year. He sold his first novel at twenty-five, the ground-breaking Crystal Rain, which was a Locus bestseller and followed by two novels in the same universe: Ragamuffin—nominated for both the Nebula and Prometheus awards and Sly Mongoose. In 2009, Buckell reached New York Times bestseller status with Halo: The Cole Protocol. In addition to his novels, Tobias’s experiences in the publishing world—and various other topics—are documented on his weblog, which reaches thousands of readers each month.