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M.M. Buckner

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Gravity Pilot (Excerpt)

Please enjoy this excerpt from M.M. Buckner’s The Gravity Pilot, coming from Tor Books on March 15. In this novel, the author of Watermind tells the story of a couple torn apart by opportunity, both accidental and ambitiously sought, in a polluted and gritty future. The following excerpt details the reckless gravity dive that sets everything in motion.

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See him glide into the blue dance. Watch him soar on thermal swells. Feel the crosswind skew him sideways through drenching Arctic clouds, and he steers, banks, treads the shining air, till down down down the eternal spiral curve he falls….

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AAD. Automatic activation device, opens parachute in emergencies.

Orrpaaj Sitka lay stretched on his back, visualizing his skydive. Light gray eyes. Windburned skin. Stinky gym socks. Clean soap in his ears. High up in a geodesic dome, he rested on an I-beam and squinted through the glass at Alaska’s winter sky. Forty meters above the concrete, one leg dangling free, his body made small twitches as he practiced the moves in his mind. Twenty-two years old, and how he could narrow his focus. The sun, the clouds, the shaping forces of the universe all centered on one event: his skydive that day. No other notion could stick in his head. Not on that day, surely not. He swore to himself that nothing else mattered, but he was lying.

[Read more]

Scary Monsters…In Our Food?

Here’s the perfect set-up for a sci-fi thriller: Tiny invisible aliens invade our bodies and deconstruct our flesh from within. Surely, this movie came out in the 1950s. The plot sounds soooo familiar. But who knew the terrifying warmongers would ride in on a dab of peanut butter?

Or tainted hamburgers? Tomatoes? Wheat flour from China? Hot peppers from Mexico? Even Popeye’s favorite wonder chow —spinach? Red Alert: We’re being attacked by creepy creatures in our groceries!

[Read more about alien intruders in our food…]

The Carbon Footprint of Reading

Every time I go book hunting, I think of the poet Muslih-uddin Sa’di.

Sa’di was a 13th century Persian who influenced the 19th century New England Transcendentalists.  You remember those guys: the Emerson-Thoreau crowd who believed you could find the truth only by transcending the material world and drifting into a state of pure intuition.  Or something cool like that.

Anyway, the poet Sa’di wrote a verse that has stayed with me for years, and I silently recite it every time I plop down my credit card to buy another stack of books.

If thou of fortune be bereft,
And in thy store there be but left,
Two loaves, sell one, and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

Picture this.  Your 401k just crashed, your mortgage feels like a black hole, and this morning your company announced another round of layoffs.  Would you sell your last loaf of bread to buy flowers?  Well, substitute “books” for “hyacinths,” and I’m there.

[Read more about the booklover]

Global Warming is Good for Us!

The Arctic may be ice-free by the summer of 2040. Polar bears are toast. Coral reefs are bleaching and dying. Our engines of progress are exhaling CO2 faster than the surrounding greenery can absorb it. All this is good news for humans.

No, we can’t expect an endless tropical sailing vacation, a.k.a. Waterworld, nor a frosty winter wonderland, as in The Day After Tomorrow. Much better, global warming will train us for a brilliant future in space.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts severe hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, flooding and wildfires in the next few years, plus large-scale food and water shortages, not to mention an end-of-days scenario for a heck of a lot of wildlife.

[And this is good for us, why?]

Social Life 2.0

From George Orwell’s “big brother” to Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, science fiction continues to raise alarms about an all-seeing government eye peeping on our private social exchanges. But George O. might find it ironic how willingly we simplify the task. These days with social networks, we’re doing surveillance by crowdsource.

Call it the homophilic urge, we humans feel a yin to communicate, and online social networks are spreading like sunlight. We share photos, conversations, political agendas, the names of all our friends—we love it.

[Read more…]