Crystal Rain

Crystal Rain

By: Tobias S. Buckell

When I first heard about this book, by a Caribbean born author who now lives in Ohio, I was a bit skeptical.  I mean, come on.  A sci-fi book with flying ships, and characters that talk in a Caribbean accent?  Sounds a bit funky to me.  However, it was Buckell himself that won me over and made me decide to at least give it a try.  Buckell is one of those authors who has embraced the 21st century, ditched the typewriter, and has a blog ( and even a twitter (@tobiasbuckell) account.  Not only that, but neither of them is merely there for presence sake.  The guy is approachable.  And, in my opinion, a pretty good guy.

So, as I mentioned, the book is about a bunch of characters that talk in a Caribbean accent.  Well, that and a bit more.  They all happen to be descendants of Caribbean settlers who settled the little island on the planet that they are on.  Unlike some books I’ve read that start off in new worlds, Buckell found a great pace for releasing the information to the reader.  He doesn’t info-dump all the back-story on you all at once, but instead lets it trickle in little by little, making sure you have just what you need to make everything make sense.

The story itself is a bit more shallow than some of the books I’ve read recently.  By that, I mean that there aren’t more than a couple of sub-plots going at once (or at all).  Depending on your point of view, that could be a good or bad thing.  I, personally, don’t mind.  I can read either way, but a book with only a few sub-plots makes for pretty easy reading.  You can easily slip into the story and enjoy it, rather than having to sometimes flip back to find a key bit of info that you missed that suddenly became important.

Overall, the book is well written, the characters are well played, and the world is fleshed out to a deep enough degree that it becomes real within the story.  It’s original, and has flavors within it that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else. And it’s those flavors that make it a very readable book.

Scalzi on Finding Time to Write

One of my biggest issues with writing is finding the motivation and time.  By which I mean finding the motivation to make the time instead of sitting down in front of the TV or reading.  Of course, most of the advice that you’ll find from established writers is that if you want to be a writer, you’ve got to write.  John Scalzi, a writer whose writing I admire, had some choice words for people like me today.

So: Do you want to write or don’t you? If your answer is “yes, but,” then here’s a small editing tip: what you’re doing is using six letters and two words to say “no.” And that’s fine. Just don’t kid yourself as to what “yes, but” means.

There’s plenty more in his post.  A bit of a tongue lashing reality check for aspiring writers everywhere.  A deserved one in most cases.  And goes back to one all important fact.  If you aren’t making time for something that you “want” to do, do you really want to do it?

It must be the day for this sort of advice too.  Tobias Buckell did a nice video on writing tools in which he says something along the same lines.