Global warming has been a theme for many science fiction authors lately, but none have done it better than Tobias Bucknell in Arctic Rising..
In the not too distant future, global warming has remade the earth. The polar ice cap has nearly melted, and corporations are racing to claim the oil that has become accessible in the newly navigable oceans. In the meantime, airships have become popular for government use and there is a huge upsurge in the use of wind turbines and other forms of natural energy in the recreated population centers. Floating cities have sprung up around former oil derricks and people have adapted to circumstances. Life goes on.
However, the situation has just become more perilous. A “green” company, Gaia, has come up with a plan to combat global warming using thousands of tiny mirrors suspended in the sky to redirect heat and cool the earth’s surface. They plan to terraform the earth and thus save it. Or have they, instead, created a super-weapon that will destroy us all?
Anika Duncan, an airship pilot for the United Nations Polar Guard, learns of all this after she is shot from the sky while investigating a ship that is showing up as radioactive when it shouldn’t be. When she discovers that the ship was smuggling a nuclear weapon which has now disappeared, she is intent on finding it and on getting revenge for her partner, who died as a result of the incident.
Anika finds herself, with her potential lover Vy and a freelance spy nicknamed Roo, caught up in a huge intrigue of corporations, governments, and cabals set on stopping the Gaia Corporation, even if it means using the nuclear weapon. In a world where it is nearly impossible to decide who is right and who is wrong, the good from the bad, ultimately it is up to Anika and her friends to make the decision and decide the fate of the world.
This book is full of swashbuckling technical adventure and Anika is an incredibly strong female lead character. She is quite possibly the most admirable black lesbian hero of any science fiction novel I can think of. (There is, by the way, no actual sex in this book.)
Bucknell’s world-building is exceptional, and altogether, Arctic Rising is one engrossing, thrilling, totally enjoyable read.