THE GRAVITY PILOT, M.M. Buckner, Tor, $25.99, 320 pages, ISBN: 9780765322869, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
I read for pleasure. I read for the “sense of wonder” that science fiction brings. SF means SCIENCE Fiction, not SPECULATIVE Fiction as too many people are trying to rename it and stake their own claim to it without paying their respects to those who came before. Buckner is one of those authors that shows homage and respect and tells a tremendous story while doing so.
In the near future, when the earthquakes have moved the coastline, Cyto is the addictive virtual reality craze of the day and the father/daughter team that wants to control the content. Into their lives comes Orr Sitka, a young skydiver who becomes a celebrity after a reckless dive that makes him a star. While doing this, he loses the love of his life, Dyce, to a job in Seattle.
As Dyce dives into her job as a wiki-librarian, and becomes a Cyto junkie, Orr is diving for the holos that are posted on Cyto to create more junkies. Orr becomes more and more reckless and when he attempts to rescue Dyce, he is rebuffed by her and tricked out of his earnings by the media mogul. Orr and Dyce are living in a hellish world and it’s going to take amazing strength and planning to see them reunited.
Buckner creates tremendous yet fragile characters. Buckner tells an amazing story with characters that come off the page and live in the scenes of the readers mind. She reminds me of the best of Tiptree and LeGuin as well as Herbert and Heinlein. THE GRAVITY PILOT is not a book to be skimmed through, it is one to be savored and the structure of her landscape to be savored and considered. This should be on the short list for the Nebula and Hugo this year. (Thanks to Bob Eggleton for giving me thoughts to ponder based on a Facebook thread we had going,)