The Gravity Pilot – GoodReads Review

Kristie’s review from GoodReads
[four stars]
“The Gravity Pilot” is an excellent Science Fiction novel with many layers. It’s a love story (drawing loosely from the myth of Orpheus), a sports novel, and a dystopian tale. The main character, Orr, is an Alaskan skydiver who makes a record-breaking jump that catapults him to stardom. That same jump has caused him to lose his girlfriend, Dyce, who had asked him to choose between her and diving. Dyce leaves Orr and Alaska to take a job in subterranean Seattle, and with her departure, Orr loses a bit of himself. Dyce finds that the job of her dreams is more of a nightmare, and she becomes one of the countless people who are addicted to fully immersive simulated worlds.

Even in the future, in a world that has nearly been destroyed, people still love their sports stars and a father/daughter team are quick to jump on the chance to exploit the young skydiver. They use his talents to create more complex and addictive sim games, and the plot builds as Orr tries to save himself as well as Dyce.

Trying to explain any more of the plot than that would give away too much — the story builds and plunges, dips and dives, and carries the reader on a path similar to some of the jumps that Orr makes. I definitely recommend it to Science Fiction fans.

GRAVITY PILOT: Book Review by Barry Hunter

M.M. Buckner, Tor, $25.99, 320 pages
ISBN: 9780765322869,
reviewed by Barry Hunter

I read for pleasure. I read for the “sense of wonder” that science fiction brings. SF means SCIENCE Fiction, not SPECULATIVE Fiction as too many people are trying to rename it and stake their own claim to it without paying their respects to those who came before. Buckner is one of those authors that shows homage and respect and tells a tremendous story while doing so. (more…)

WATERMIND: Review by Norman Sinrad

Reviewed in Asimov’s Science Fiction
Post-Genre Speculative Fiction by Norman Spinrad

…Buckner’s first novel, Watermind, though published by Tor, a long-standing last bastion of genre science fiction of literary quality (and that is by no means a contradiction in terms) is, I would contend, the sort of post-genre speculative fiction (and that is not necessarily a contradiction in terms either) we are seeing more and more of in these latter days.

There is a superficially hard SF premise, namely that the profligate dumping of all manner of electronic garbage into the Mississippi River system—cell phones, batteries, motherboards, television sets, microchips, solar cells, whatever—has combined with the superabundance of complex chemical sludge and microorganisms therein to create a kind of electro-organic hybrid organism, the Watermind of the title, a bioelectronic neural network evolving into a kind of sentience. (more…)

WAR SURF: Book Review by Byron Merritt

“A Wonderful SF Read.”
Review by Byron Merritt

Merritt Not having read any of this author’s previously hailed works (Hyperthought and Neurolink), I approached this science fiction work as a Buckner virgin. Being a bit of an SF buff myself (writing some and being the grandson of Frank Herbert, author of Dune), I always approach authors new to this genre with a grain of salt
poised on my tongue. But here, I need not have worried.

Buckner layers War Surf with so many ethical, moral and religious undertones that I dare say any reader will find enjoyment on some level within these pages. There’s an underlying current dealing with mortality and the need for the rejuvenation of youth. There’s advanced biological technology that may or may not be helpful. There’s the recycling of humans in great nutrient vats. And, toward the end, there’s the obvious “eat and drink of me and you will live forever” religious parallels to Catholicism. (more…)

WAR SURF: Book Review by Nancy Fulda

“It Blew Me Away”
War Surf Review by Nancy Fulda

This week I read M. M. Buckner’s War Surf.

Wow. Waaaaooooow. I don’t know if it’s because Buckner’s a stellar author, or because I’ve been reading so much slush lately that my literary expectations have dropped, or because Buckner’s style is so different from the Bujoldian novels I typically read but, man, it blew me away.

This is not idle praise. Picture me in bed at ten PM, idly thumbing through the pages, thinking the teaser on the back doesn’t sound all that thrilling, thinking “This looks like military sci fi. I don’t usually like that stuff.” Imagine me opening to the first chapter and discovering that it’s written in first person, one of our major Baen’s Universe pet peeves. Now hear me grumbling to myself and thinking, “Well, Jason Sizemore gives Buckner high praise. Might as well give it a chance. One chapter. That is all.” (more…)

NEUROLINK: Book Review by John C. Snider

Neurolink Review
from Scifidimensions by John C. Snider

In the mid-23rd century the earth is in quite a pickle. The environment has been overwhelmed by global warming and pollution: the air and oceans are considered poisonous; the populations huddle together in enclosed cities in the far north and south. Society itself is overwhelmed by nearly omnipotent corporations, and the vast majority of humanity live as “protes” – protected employees who eke out a living under the boot heels of the “.Coms”.

Dominic Jedes is a scion of the ruling elite, the cloned son of Richter Jedes, president of ZahlenBank. The elder Jedes has extended his lifespan to nearly three centuries, using genetic treatments and repeated organ transplants. But no amount of money can prevent the inevitable, and when Richter dies he cheats death by having his consciousness transferred into a Neural Profile (NP for short), “a new kind of bank for storing a person’s mind.” (more…)

NEUROLINK: Review from Entertainment Weekly

Neurolink Review
from Entertainment Weekly by Noah Robischon

Twenty-third-century banker Dominic Jedes must cope with a high-tech replica of his tyranical deceased father as well as a worker rebellion on a sunken submarine. Log-line, Wall Street meetes The Empire Strikes Back. Source of angst, the workers expected Jedes to offer a deal to rescue everyone, but “he was a banker, not a miracle worker.” Key concepts, utopian recycling, bio-modification. Lowdown, Dante’s Inferno goes cyberpunk in Buckner’s toxic future tale of working-class bravado. A-.

HYPERTHOUGHT: Book Review by Galen Strickland

by Galen Strickland,

This is the first novel from M. M. (Mary) Buckner, from Ace Books, one of the most prestigious publishers of SF. I agree with the quotes above; it is a very impressive debut, and I look forward to further works from her. If I had been her editor, there might have been a few minor changes, but for the most part this is a book I think we will be hearing about next year when it comes time for awards nominations (although lately I have begun to wonder if I have any idea what appeals to other readers and writers). [Added note: this book was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, presented to the best novel published as a paperback original, however it did not win.] (more…)

HYPERTHOUGHT: Book Review by John Snider

Book Review: HYPERTHOUGHT by M.M. Buckner
by John C. Snider,

By the mid-21st century, global warming has rendered the surface of the Earth uninhabitable. The population live mostly in crowded underground cities far from the equator, breathing processed air – their governments run by draconian mega-corporations called “.Coms”.

Jolie Sauvage caters to the very “Commie” overlords she despises, arranging thrilling tours of the surface using special “surfsuits”. When Jin Airlangga Sura, the movie-star son of the lord of Pacific.Com, joins one of Jolie’s tours, she finds herself smitten by him. He is not the haughty socialite she expected – indeed, he appears to have a kind heart and a burning desire to change the oppressive society created by the likes of his father. Jolie introduces Jin to her friend Judith Merida, a kooky-but-seemingly-harmless “doctor” who claims to have developed a nanotech procedure that will allow patients to experience reality at the quantum level. Jin sees this as the perfect opportunity to find a way to solve the world’s problems – but Jolie sees it as a quick ticket to a frontal lobotomy! Is “hyperthought” possible, or just one of Dr. Merida’s cons? (more…)