Buckell, Tobias

Author Website | Reviews | Bibliography & Rights Information

To view the cover art for RAGAMUFFIN, please click here. You may also check out the artwork for CRYSTAL RAIN by clicking here.

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The Xenowealth Saga | Biblio. & Rights Info
Crystal Rain
Sly Mongoose

HALO Novels | Biblio & Rights Info
Halo: The Cole Protocol

Short Fiction | Biblio & Rights Info
Tides from the New Worlds (Collection, published by Wyrm)
Spurn Babylon (from "Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root," Nalo Hopkinson, ed.)
Death's Dreadlocks (from Mojo anthology, Nalo Hopkinson, ed.)
A Green Thumb (from Analog)
Tides (from Ideomancer Unbound anthology)
Nord's Gambit (from Switch.blade)




"An important collection, exploring themes of multiculturalism through SF and magic realist stories."

-- Locus (2009: The Year in Review)


It was on the basis of these early stories that Buckell was a finalist for John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, 2002.
Two stories, SPURN BABYLON and TRINKETS, were Honorable Mentions in Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, 2000 and 2001.

From "Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root" (Nalo Hopkinson, ed.)

"Somber, affirming ... stands out as one of the most powerful stories."

--Publishers Weekly

"Embodies the strength and spirit of the people within Caribbean literature."

--SF Site

From anthology MOJO (Nalo Hopkinson, ed.)

"One of the strongest ... reads like a folk-tale handed down through generations."


From "Analog"

"A nice crisp story ready for harvest."

--Tangent On-Line


"A delightfully well crafted tale that held me in thrall from beginning to end."


"Fantasy readers will enjoy the unique world, the well-told story full of believable feelings and conflict, and well-drawn characters."

--SF Reader

From Switch.blade

"Wonderfully imaginative ... moves brilliantly from spoof to surrealism -- and back again, to a smooth landing ... a must-read story, a special story, one of the gems of the collection."

--SF Reader

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"Buckell's promising debut. ...a twist that adds a sci-fi edge to this tale's mythological underpinnings."

--Philadelphia Inquirer

"Buckell does a nice job of setting the stage and the pages turn quickly. I'm still on board for Volume Two. The possibilities for the series are tantalizing."

--Contra Costa Times

"...[A] promising debut. It's a twist that adds a sci-fi edge to this tale's mythological underpinnings."

--Kansas City Star

"Buckell does a fairly smooth job unwrapping the plot."

--Tampa Bay Tribune

"Readers who like sieges, strategies and swashbuckling heroes will thoroughly enjoy this fast-moving tale."

--Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A fast-moving and thoroughly enjoyable tale that kept me reading almost non-stop."

--Midwest Book Review

"In this stellar debut, Buckell has created an amazing world. The plot is well-constructed and the writing is simply superb, particularly the dialogue, which is amazingly beautiful."

--Romantic Times

"Enjoyable...for a first-timer Buckell handles his interlocking narratives well and his characters retain their humanity."

--Publishers Weekly

"Buckell's debut captures the flavor of Afro-Caribbean culture in the lilting dialog of his characters and in their customs. An original tale with distinctive characters and a fresh approach to worldbuilding, this sf quest belongs in most libraries."

--Library Journal (Starred Review)

"Buckell's first novel conjures a vividly imagined world, spiced with intrigue and adventure that unfolds at a breakneck pace."


"An auspicious debut. Buckell's done what a first novelist needs to do: to make us want to know about his world, and more about his imagination. His announced next novel, Ragamuffin, is certainly worth looking forward to."


"A good old SF adventure story. His Creole background lends a colorful touch to his characters and dialogue, and his clever reworking of familiar tropes makes this a standout first novel."

--Locus (Short review)

"Crystal Rain is a totally engrossing, can't-put-it-down reading experience. The setting is superb, the characters are fascinating and DeBrun, the enigmatic Pepper and the conflicted Oaxyctl are one of the great fictional triumvirates. This is lush SF adventure in the C.L. Moore vein. Hopefully more installments are on the way."


"Even non-sci-fi readers will be bowled over by...Tobias Buckell's Crystal Rain... Violent, poetic and compulsively readable."

--Maclean's (Canada)

"A pepperpot of a delectable, enjoyable story...Buckell is a deft, assured storyteller who will, hopefully, continue to publish novel-length fiction with the same eye for intricate setting and rounded characterization he's exhibited here in his debut novel."

--SFF World

"Infused with new life and excitement. Buckell's plotting is sturdy and swift with nary a longuer. For a thrilling adventure set on a unique world, this book couldn't be bettered."

--SciFi.com (Paul Di Filippo)

"A fast-paced pulp-style adventure ... a very satisfying first novel with a different and refreshing setting."

--Emerald City

"There's a great old-school pulp-adventure essence to Crystal Rain ... what Buckell does right, I'm happy to say he does breathtakingly right. Most effective is the evocation of place. His setting feels alive. There is real texture to Nanagada, its people, villages, back alleys and crowded markets. You can almost feel the humidity. Buckell's use of the sea as a critical setting is brilliantly handled, too...I can definitely say that there's nothing else on the racks right at this moment quite like it, and that Tobias Buckell is a name to add to you 'watch this writer' list."


"[Buckell's] first novel, CRYSTAL RAIN, is the sort of thing that will have readers watching for more. [He] has displayed a gift for imagination much greater than one book can hold. Sequels would surely please many readers, but if he imagines as thoroughly in new and unconnected novels, they too will please."


"The hard part [of writing a novel] is a combination of fast pace with some glossy writing and intriguing characters. And I've noticed that this is a skill that science fiction writers are picking up. Case in point: the debut novel from Tobias S. Buckell, Crystal Rain."

"I was actually quite surprised at how fast-paced the book was. I was glad to see, however, that as I was burning through the story, Buckell got each moment and each twist and turn exactly right."

"Buckell writes that stuff with panache, and there's some remarkably strong science fiction in there too... [He] has way more atmosphere and colour in his story than an equivalent sf book... It takes a great deal of care to create something so balanced."

"This gave me quite a joyful feeling as some new twist came into play and the world wrenched into a strange direction."

--The Cultural Gutter

"Once the world sank in and permeated my mind, I couldn't put the book down. Like all good books, it only got better as it progressed, all the way to the end."

--GreenMan Review

"Buckell has done an excellent job with his first Sci-Fi novel. This story is complex, fresh, and interesting--and wide open to a sequel."

--Children's Literature

"An impressive debut...with unique creatures, characters, and advanced technology; Crystal Rain blends plenty of action, suspense, culture, and science fiction. Buckell has created an interesting world that I'm looking forward to reading more about in his sequel Ragamuffin."

--SciFi Chick

"A galloping read that throws the reader into an alien world that they won't want to leave. I may have just found my new favorite sci-fi author."

--Graeme's Fantasy Review

"This is an exciting and imaginative debut from author Tobias S. Buckell. The story features characters that are carefully nuanced and thus, wholly believable. The ending, though logical, is truly heartbreaking."


"Tobias Buckell combines old world with new in his novel CRYSTAL RAIN. While the rich cultures, drawn in part from Caribbean history and lore, echo a familiar landscape, he brings it out of the Earth milieu and into a bold new universe where technology and tradition collide. I enjoyed his colorful characters and musical use of language; his voice is fresh and entirely readable."

--Karin Lowachee

"CRYSTAL RAIN is refreshing and imaginative, an exotic stew of cultures, myths, and technology."

--Kevin J. Anderson

"After making the Campbell ballot for Best New Writer with his short fiction, Tobias Buckell delivers on that promise with his first novel."

--Mike Resnick

"There's a nova in the skies: Tobias S. Buckell is a dazzling new voice, and CRYSTAL RAIN is an explosive debut. Read it!"

--Robert J. Sawyer
Hugo Award-winning author of HOMINIDS

"An alive, exciting story. CRYSTAL RAIN is a great launch to Buckell's career as a novelist; more, please!"

--Nalo Hopkinson

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"Buckell represents an important force behind the genre's change... Buckell's work deals with complex racial issues in a way worthy of the self-proclaimed "literature of ideas" head-on, with no visible flinching while still managing to give its readers a rollicking good time."

--Seattle Times

"A thrilling fast-paced sci-fi adventure novel with some interesting themes, and one that I would recommend to anyone interested in speculative fiction."

--The Caribbean Review of Books

"The characters are solid, the action well done, and all in all, RAGAMUFFIN is a winner."

--Contra Costa Times

"Buckell plays with Caribbean and Aztec cultures, bending their exotic flavor to technology-flavored ends. Though the ending is never in doubt, the twisty ride getting there is a lot of fun."

--Publishers Weekly

"First-class space adventure, with tip-top characterization, action, and world-building. May Buckell enjoy a long, productive career."


"A well written fast paced tale."

--Midwest Book Review

"A compelling sophomore effort from Buckell. He's taken a number of hoary sf tropes and breathed new life into them. His worldbuilding is beyond solid and his characters are sympathetic and highly memorable."

--Romantic Times

"Part of the Sci Fi Channel's 'Essential Book' series, [Ragamuffin] establishes the author as a signature voice of Afro-Caribbean speculative fiction. Fans of Nalo Hopkinson should enjoy this colorful and vibrant tale of the 'good fight.'"

--Library Journal

"Exciting and inventive. The story is too rich and interesting to spoil. It's space opera, of course, but a heavily tetured one. Buckell is quickly proving himself a writer to shelve there with C.J. Cherryh, Alastair Reynolds, Dan Simmons and those few other writers who have managed to adopt the advantages of mainstream literature without giving up the skilled storytelling and sense of wonder of old style SF."

--Critical Mass

"Quite impressive. Buckell is not simply repeating himself but expanding on his first book and building his talents. The real fun of Ragamuffin is the complex universe and backstory, developed through hints in the first book and made more concrete in this one."

--SF Revu

"Tobias Buckell comes as close as anyone in the opening chapters of this book to reproducing the frissons of one of my favorite novels: Earthblood (1996), by Keith Laumer and Rosel George Brown. The sense of humans downtrodden by aliens, with the lone-wolf protagonist bravely fighting to restore the race's glory--all of that comes across delightfully, and it's grand stuff. Like Laumer and Brown, Buckell also has a keen grasp of sensory detail. His future environments are incredibly rich in smells, tactility and visuals. One gets instantly immersed in the sense of a truly lived-in future.
"Buckell keeps all his plates spinning wildly and entertainingly enough to make the whole scenario ultimately a cohesive, comprehensible and entertaining one. This book is full of wild-eyed action...feats of bravery, exotic beings and odd ways of thought, startling uses of technology and bold manifestos on freedom."


"There's a reason these novels are being touted as this season's 'sci-fi must-haves.' Don't miss out."

--GreenMan Review

"[Buckell] demonstrated again that adventure and well-written, high-concept speculation are not as mutually exclusive as they seem to be these days. With CRYSTAL RAIN or as a standalone story, RAGAMUFFIN is first-class science fiction."


"It's just as fast paced and thrilling as in the first book. I read Ragamuffin nonstop and was only sorry when I closed it that I'll have to wait again to spend more time in this splendid universe."


"We're got ample evidence here that science fiction is alive, well and kicking ass."

--The Agony Column

"Hard hitting and fast moving, "Ragamuffin" sucked me in at the first page and left me gasping for breath by the time it finished. "Ragamuffin" was great fun to read and I look forward to seeing more of Tobias Buckell's work in the future."

--Graeme's Fantasy Book Review

"Buckell is one of a number of young writers who are redefining the genre, creating amazing new books and stories the likes of which the science fiction world hasn't seen in far too long. Both Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin are excellent places for new readers to discover the current sf genre. These books are accessible for readers unfamiliar with the genre, yet deep enough to be enjoyed by even veteran sf readers. I predict that in the coming years new readers will enter the genre thanks to excellent books like Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin--books which are fun to read yet also examine life from the big-picture view unique to science fiction. I have seen the future, and it's going to be an amazing science fiction ride!"

--Monsters & Critics

"Buckell is a powerful new voice in science fiction, filled with the lyrical accents of Jamaica and highlighted with shades of Aztec culture."

--Curled Up with a Good Book

"If Crystal Rain hinted at the promise of Tobias Buckell's inchoate talents, Ragamuffin is the delivery. Ragamuffin shored up Toby Buckell's stature as a leader... It's adrenalizing fun all the way through."

--SF Reviews

"A thrilling ride, particularly one of the most exciting chase scenes I can recall...This is grand space opera on a human scale."


"A very satisfying read, providing me with a lot of entertaining hours spanning over the 300 odd pages. An enjoyable novel with memorable characters to whom I look forward meeting again in the next novel Sly Mongoose. An accomplished second novel by a clearly talented author."

--Fantasy Book Spot

"Buckell is an action-packed, fun author of both subtly and brevity...RAGAMUFFIN builds on the strengths of CRYSTAL RAIN in a huge escalation of scale. These Caribbean-inspired books are loads of fun with something to offer all fans--highly recommended."


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"Buckell delivers double helpings of action and violence in a plot-driven story worthy of a good blockbuster."

--Publishers Weekly

"An edgy, engaging science fiction novel... light enough for a beach novel, smart enough for bedside, this novel can be enjoyed on multiple levels."

--Romantic Times

"Buckell's world building, full of strong Aztec and Caribbean elements, is spectacular; the story, finely tuned and engrossing."


"If the Hernandez Brothers of Love and Rockets fame could channel Arthur Clarke and Hal Clement, they'd probably write like Tobias Buckell. His multicultural protagonists and point of view, combines with his hard-SF inclinations and expertise, conspire to deliver freshly conceived and spicy-flavored space opera. Having established this unique voice from the get-go allows him to focus on plot and characterization anew with each succeeding volume. It seems to me that Buckell his prepped for a quantum leap in the next book of this series, and he can surely make good on that prospect."

--Sci Fi Weekly

"I enjoyed the fast paced action and clever plot found in Sly Mongoose. This third book in Buckell's universe is my favorite."

--Midwest Book Review

"Anyone hankering for a book that is pure front-to-back action is likely to peg this as the space opera of 2008... Tobias Buckell improves by an order of magnitude with each story he tells."

--SF Reviews

"An excellent sf series... don't miss this spectacular SF offering."


"An outstanding book, and one I'd recommend to any science fiction fan."

--Fantasy Book Spot

"Great world-building and fast action make this an excellent book to keep you diverted -- but also to make you think too."


"After the Aztec-alien dirigible battles of CRYSTAL RAIN and the grand-scope space rebellion of RAGAMUFFIN, I initially was skeptical of SLY MONGOOSE. Could Buckell keep cranking out good books on a yearly basis? The answer is "Holy crap, yes!"... While the author does write sequels he doesn't write the same story twice. That's a trememdous accomplishment, and SLY MONGOOSE is hopefully a harbinger of even greater things."


"Beautifully written and thoroughly engrossing."

--Critical Mass

"If you enjoy science fiction, it's hard to go wrong with Sly Mongoose and its predecessors!"

--Errant Dreams

"Space opera that's full of heroes, strange alien races and cool looking spacecraft."

--Graeme's Fantasy Book Review

"Not just a very good science fiction novel, [SLY MONGOOSE] very easily borders on great. I wouldn't be surprised to see Buckell garner another Nebula Award nomination for another terrific novel."

--SFF World

"Buckell has done it again! SLY MONGOOSE is a highly entertaining and energizing story... one I highly recommend you read and give pride of place on your bookshelf."

Grasping for the Wind

"A strong and vibrant third book from Buckell... it pushes all the right buttons, delivers on all its promises, and manages to be quite gory while avoiding sensationalism. If you have never read Buckell, SLY MONGOOSE is a good place to start, and I recommend you do."

--Adventures in SciFi Publishing

"You'll enjoy this one. Buckell has once again given us a very readable adventure with excellent plot and characters."

--SF Revu

"With tightly woven narrative threads, fleshed characters, thriller pacing and a bit of cosmetic steampunk thrown in for style, SLY MONGOOSE is a rollicking example of how action adventure need not be shallow."

--ComicCon Magazine

"It's been a while since I've read books so fast and enjoyed books so much. Buckell's writing just gets better and better and the overall plot of his universe is building."

--SF Crow's Nest

"An entertaining space opera filled with intriguing scientific possibilities, good characterization, intricate political maneuvering, and lots of derring-do and adrenaline asskickery. Buckell keeps the action moving while providing interesting characters that the reader cares about."

--SciFi Dimensions

"Another Buckell book nigh-impossible to put down once you've gotten into the action. Highly recommended."

-- Green Man Review

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  1. CRYSTAL RAIN (2006, Tor)
  2. RAGAMUFFIN (2007, Tor)
  3. SLY MONGOOSE (2008, Tor)
  4. #4-5 Under Contract to Tor

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