Surprise, Amazon is not a neutral marketplace

I was reading an article on Seeking Alpha, a popular stocks and investment site that I use to track general info about my stocks, when I spotted this article about Amazon banning sales of rival video streaming devices:

There is no such thing as store neutrality. Amazon has all the right to forbid rival products on its online marketplace.

(Via Dear Tim Cook, Amazon Just Banned Your Apple TV 4 – Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) | Seeking Alpha.)

The Verge says Amazon’s decision is a baffling question, but it is so easy to understand. Apple’s decision to release a console gaming iOS TV device and its ambition to become a streaming video service provider are seen as threats by Amazon. Bezos, therefore, promptly exercised his prerogative to eliminate current and upcoming threats to Amazon.

I get a lot of flack for pointing out that Amazon is used as a ‘marketplace’ by authors and assumed to be a neutral marketplace by many (not all, lots of smart people out there).

But it isn’t a neutral marketplace. A lot of the Kindle Unlimited moves are really clever from a selling to readers and corporate standpoint (the monthly pot guarantees a cap on author earnings/payouts) [limiting royalties for some countries unless you sign up, limiting percentage Amazon pays you unless you do certain things just the way you want, people keep saying you get total control, but unless you sell on your own site, you get total control, but not total control of the portion you receive). Amazon is the biggest marketplace, hard not to make a living without it.

But no so much neutral.

They’re very careful to not step too far over. The Amazon brand is one of the most trusted by consumers in the world.

But I am always working hard to make sure I stay well diversified, even as I use the marketplace. As a good little author cockroach I’m always curious to see what gets the biggest marketplace to stir and change the rules.

New review of The Apocalypse Ocean

Hey, cool, a new review of The Apocalypse Ocean via SFF World:

Having just finished a read-through of all four Xenowealth novels I can recommend them in a heartbeat. This is science fiction at its most enjoyable, offering plenty to marvel at, while still giving food for thought.

(Via The Apocalypse Ocean by Tobias Buckell – Official Reviews – Science Fiction and Fantasy World | SFFWorld.)

This is still my favorite one star review of Arctic Rising

First of all, the protagonist, Anika, is a 5’11” Nigerian lesbian former mercenary. The sheer amount of suspension of disbelief with respect to this character is too much to ask from genre readers. There is a scene in the book where she lectures someone on the nature of “sexual orientation.” I would have liked to hear that lecture, because “sexual orientation” is a PC buzz word that no one really understands in the context of individuals’ multifarious sexual impulses, desires, and behaviors. Clearly this protagonist exists to further the political fantasies of the author.

(Via J. Dooley’s review of Arctic Rising.)

I just adore this.

It goes on from there.

This post appears to you courtesy of my trading ‘best of one star reviews’ with another author via email.

Pertinent, I love Casey Neistat’s videos. His feelings about haters are very similar to my own.

Baltimore Book Festival Recap

I got back late last night from Baltimore where I was the SFWA Guest of Honor. This year Sarah Pinsker took over running what I’m told is a constantly growing tent with what I saw was a great list of running panels and interviews.

Fran Wilde, the author the recently launched and great read Updraft, interviewed me about writing, sailing in fiction and much more.

The panels were a great deal of fun. I got to meet YA author Justina Ireland and catch up with Rosarium’s Bill Campbell, who’ll be turning Arctic Rising into a graphic novel series.

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Bill and I also snuck off next door to Baltimore Comic Con which was going down to walk around and check stuff out, as well as catch up on what was going on.

One of the panels I was really impressed by was Mike Underwood and Sarah Pinsker’s show ‘Dangerous Voices Variety Hour’ where they gave away prizes for audience members who guessed the right answer to science fictional and fantasy trivia, let the guest authors read some quick fragments of their work, and also got the authors to try and guess answers to win the audience members prizes. It was fun.

Double fun because I got to do the panel with Diana Peterfreund who is a great writer I’ve followed online for a while and enjoy reading. I wish we’d had more time to catch up, but the panel was fun.

Another fun moment was sneaking out with Scott Edelman Saturday night to go to Vacarro’s Italian Pastry Shop in Little Italy, where we caught up with each other. Scott was the editor guest instructor at Clarion in 1999 when I attended.

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I got to meet a number of new folks like Emmie Mears, Anna Kashina, KM Szpara, catch up with others like Keffy, Annalee Flower Horne, Bud Sparhawk Michael Underwood, Tom Doyle, Karen Burnham and Anne Gray. Met Anatoly Belilovsky again, who I met at Nebula but had forgotten (so sorry, man). I grabbed some interesting dinners, and hopefully didn’t say anything too silly.

John Appel gifted me with some locally made dark rum for the trip home, and helped me get to the airport after I was only able to spend 15 minutes at the last panel:

My thanks to Sarah Pinsker for all her organizational work and making sure I got to where I need to, Summer Cullen of the festival for travel arrangements, and all the sponsors and organizers of the Baltimore Book Festival for bringing me in.

I was recently interviewed on the podcast Creators Cast by Scott King. Check it out…

I recently did a two-part podcast interview with Scott King:

I sit down with science fiction author Tobias Buckell. Tobias is a New York Times Bestselling author and has been nominated for a both a Hugo and a Nebula

(Via Creators Cast: Tobias Buckell! – Scott King.)

Arctic Rising to be Adapted into Graphic Novel

Rosarium Publishing will be adapting Arctic Rising into a graphic novel series.


The press release is winding its way around the internet and twitter, but here are the details:

The first of twelve issues of Tobias S. Buckell’s Arctic Rising will be released digitally in February 2016. Keith A. Miller (Manticore, Triboro Tales, and Infest) is writing the adaptation and the art is being done by comics newcomer, Tommy Nguyen.

Buckell states, “I believe in creating diverse futures, and writing Arctic Rising was important to me because it attempts to tackle both the ecological issues I see just around the corner and the diverse peoples who will be affected (and who will be trying to solve the problems we leave them). Partnering with Rosarium to create the graphic novel is a tremendous opportunity, as I think they share a similar yearning for more diverse futures. I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

“Arctic Rising is such an action-packed thrill ride, turning it into a comic book seemed like a no-brainer almost as soon as I cracked the cover,” says Rosarium Publishing head, Bill Campbell. “This adaptation is a dream come true.”

The Baltimore Book Festival happens this weekend, and I’m a guest!

This weekend I’ll be appearing at the Baltimore Book Festival as the SFWA guest of honor, which is really nifty. I’ll be on some panels and at a meet the authors event, as well as signing books and being generally available. So if you live within a decent travel distance of Baltimore, I hope to see you there!

The list of science fiction and fantasy related events at the Baltimore Book Festival can be found here. Sarah Pinsker (and many others) has been hard at work pulling together authors and panels for the event for what looks like many months, now.

Here are some of the panels I will be on:

Friday 4 PM: Literary Salon – interviewed by Fran Wilde


Saturday 12 PM Dangerous Voices Variety Hour
A fast-paced quiz show in the vein of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me! brought to you by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Win free books and learn things you never knew about your favorite authors.

Panelists: Tobias S. Buckell, Sarah Pinsker, Michael R. Underwood

Saturday 4 PM Future: Charming? Baltimore City as a template for futurism.

What does Baltimore look like in the future? SFWA Guest of Honor Tobias Buckell and a panel of writers, futurists and social designers discuss Charm City’s future through the lens of the engineer, the writer, and the activist. Panel led by Jason Harris (“Redlines: Baltimore 2028”).

Panelists: Anatoly Belilovsky, Tobias S. Buckell, Jason Harris, Nia Johnson, K Ceres Wright

Saturday 6 PM Meet the Author Social

Rub elbows with your new favorite science fiction and fantasy authors at this annual event!


Sunday 11 AM Design Your Own World

Join us in a Rousing Game of Stump the Panelists with a Worldbuilding Mashup – Audience Participation Encouraged. Learn what goes into creating fantasy and science fiction worlds.

Panelists: Tobias S. Buckell, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Anna Kashina, Don Sakers, Alan Smale


3 PM We Need Diverse Books: The Next Chapter

Books with diverse characters, written by diverse authors, are a focus of the We Need Diverse Books campaign. Readers are clamoring for books about and by people of color, LGBTQIA people, people with disabilities, people of different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. What’s next for the industry? Our authors talk about diversity, representation, and the next steps.

Panelists: Tobias S. Buckell, Bill Cambell, Justina Ireland, KM Szpara, GL Tomas

Come out and say hello!