Tobias Buckell is one of the hidden secrets of the universe. He writes science fiction space opera that is so packed with action and technology that it crackles like a bowl of rice crispies. The adventure and tension never let up from the first page through to the last. What hides behind the veneer of wild action and fascinating aliens is the fact that it’s also really good science fiction.
Buckell doesn’t spend much time on the morality of his characters, he lets us make up our own minds on that score (some of them sound like really nice people, some of them I would avoid like the devil himself). He also doesn’t waste any time telling us how the technology works or where the aliens came from or what led up to the enslavement of man by the alien Benevolent Satrapy. He lets us figure it out as we go along and the story gains considerable richness for it.
Ragamuffin is a sequel to Crystal Rain. Both of them feature Caribbean descendants in space, only notable because of how rare it is to see a non-white caste in science fiction.
Nashara is being hunted across space by the Satrapy because she possesses forbidden technology that could free humans from the totalitarian rule of the Benevolent Satrapy. Her flight downstream, through wormhole after wormhole, takes her to the dead end that used to be the wormhole to New Anagada. The wormhole was destroyed three hundred years previous by an explosion.
Buckell isn’t writing anything that will change your life or turn you into a philosopher over night. He is writing a story that is so fun to read that it feels much like falling down a long tube, propelled by a chain gun, hoping that he can land you safely when you get to the other end.
And maybe he will. And maybe some of your friends will live through it as well.