Hurricane Fever is one of the largest literary disappoints I’ves suffered through in a long while. To be clear, the book is perfectly acceptable, action oriented, fast paced, and the setting and plot are solid if not exceptional in some parts. The focus on more action driven, pragmatic characters even manages to shield the novel from the preachy exposition of most other climate related works. The Caribbean setting and the boat centric travel of the book, show a world that is both geographically and socially adapted to a new climate which brings me to the disappointment.
Everything in this book is palpable and vibrant. The land masses the movements, even the buildings are easily internalized and projected, allowing the reader to place the characters in an environment that feels natural. With all of this close and intricate detail any well written character could be made fascinating with minimal effort. The smallest amount of personality would echo off of each new situation eventually filling the space with one phrase that is large enough to carry that character’s existence within the story. Basically, any regular character can be made interesting by this world. Even one note character would be memorable due to an infinite amount of unknowable changes and situations that can be provided by the book’s universe.
Sadly, the characters of Hurricane Fever sort of miss the singular note they were intended to play and become either plot fodder or props. I didn’t feel anything towards any of the book’s central figures, I didn’t hate them, I didn’t like them; they weren’t unique, bad, or funny. They were just words, descriptions without any emotion. Normally, I hate exposition, or long breaks in the plot where the characters spend hours discussing the most boring aspects of their lives as a means to be accessible, but Hurricane Fever needed something endearing to happen and for sincerity to result.
Is it possible to be a benevolent and powerful leader? Does acting against something evil automatically make the actions themselves good? When we rebuild from rubble to sky while we use the same designs. These are my mild Atwood induced philosophical questions. The Year of the Flood, from its title to one of its most memorable characters, floats in allegory. /
The question that keeps gnawing at my brain is how much freedom is there in religion and how much freedom can we give it? If the routine and life of a garden and a charismatic leader allow you to fend off the pain of everything else and provide you with both security and perceived safety do the sources’ intention matter? And most importantly, does a man’s allegiance fall to his kin or to his god. It’s the idea of separation and individualism that strikes me about both religion and by extension Atwood’s The Year of the Flood.
It is my belief that the Atwood doesn’t think that the God’s Gardeners are to be ridiculed. They are people facing an unbelievable challenge by trying to structure their world in some way. Adam One is a man who believes that he is providing this structure by means of divinity. However, there is no question of who is in charge and whose views are to be agreed with, so the structured area becomes more sanitarium than sanctuary. The religious answers become doctrine, and sentiments of caring become lessons and warnings.
Now the themes of religion, influence, and maturing may seem better suited to a low-budget indie film, but they are the backbone of the climate debate. More accurately they are the reason that we are having a debate about a fact as if will power can change physics. The immediate des ri
community, and acceptance creates a vacuum of doubt and defensiveness. In a way our cult is one of denial, many of us worry about our immediate goals and them. We build our arks to transport only our ideals. However, we build arks with mud because we despise the effort of fashioning wood and why we can’t argue our boats afloat.
I’ve had one other class where blog posts and comments were a large aspect of the course. I think these posts allowed for deeper discussion that bounced back between classes and online writings. However, the written weekly reviews we had to complete was a new experience for me. I think I’ve mentioned before how I don’t really read all that much, and even when I do, I tend to read things very shallowly. Knowing that I had to write the reviews forced me to think about the story and character dynamics more than I usually would, which I appreciated. I also liked that I didn’t have to necessarily have a positive view on the books that we read and that there was freedom to share any and all feelings we had while reading the assigned books.
When I got time, I did skim over what other people thought about our readings for the week. I will admit that I often enjoyed reading Bobby’s reviews just because his writing style is so lively and has a clear voice (and also because 4 out of 5 times I agreed with what he thought). I found that most of our class generally had the same opinions over the books we read though, so there wasn’t much reason to read the details of each and every review each week.
This course itself wasn’t what I expected. I know I’m going to sound naïve for saying this, but I honestly didn’t think we’d be reading as much as we did. I mean, a book a week is a lot for somebody who doesn’t read too often in the first place! But I generally enjoyed being exposed to [most of] these different novels. I got to find out what I did and didn’t like, and I was actually excited some weeks to go back and tell my friends about some of the discussions we had in class. It obviously wasn’t the best class I’ve had at Temple since I’m not an English major and have little interest in science-y things, but it really wasn’t bad at all for what it was. I think a lot of that has to do with the class atmosphere. We had a good balance of funny, serious, and tense moments, which I think is necessary for any proper class.
When first starting Hurricane Fever I couldn’t help but laugh due to the fact that two characters you meet in the beginning chapters are named Roo and Seneca which just happens to be two characters from the movie The Hunger Games. Straying from that, I felt that Hurricane Fever was definitely one of the best books we read this semester. I thought Tobias S. Buckwell was successful in his efforts in creating an engaging, action-packed thriller with the seriousness of climate change constantly on the back burner, never fizzing out and being a constant issue in the story-line. Hurricane Fever is definitely a simple and quick read. I felt that the only parts of the story that generally confused me were one, being able to visualize the exact locations of the characters and two, being able to visualize his boat Spitfire. Ultimately I guess that just comes back to my own lack of knowledge of the Caribbean Islands and boats in general, but it still would of been nice to have better descriptions in the story. Overall, compared to the some of the other novels we read this semester such as The Collapse of Western Civilization, it was refreshing to read a book that was written in more a simplistic fashion that focused on intensity in the sense of action rather than overwhelming and often confusing science.
We follow Roo, an ex secret agent for Caribbean Intelligence, on an engaging adventure to get down to the bottom of his ex partner and friend Zee’s murder. Before this we are informed that Roo lives a simple life and has no family except for his nephew Delroy. All of this changes when he receives a call from “beyond the grave” from Zee informing Roo of his death and what Roo now needs to do. I found this book to just overall be fun and entertaining. It was pretty much the only book this semester that I truly could not put down. I personally feel that this book would benefit greatly as an action-packed film.
After finishing Hurricane Fever I have to say that this book was just…okay. I think it was an interesting, fast paced, action packed book that left me only slightly entertained. It felt more like a movie and less like a book. I found myself enjoying the overall story, but I also wanted more details overall. After reading posts from other people I can see that they really enjoyed that it was a story that wasn’t focused on climate change, but I found that I really wanted there to be more on climate change. The most important issue that the book discussed about climate change was the increasing amount of storms that they faced.
What I found to be interesting was the way that the characters were handling the climate change, especially in countries that were practically underwater. One of the more common facts about climate change that people know about is the rising water levels and how parts of countries will be under water. I thought it was interesting that in the book these countries still tried to survive and make life work in these areas that are halfway underwater and constantly hit with storms.
One thing that I really did like about the book was the fact that the book was set in the future, but it still felt like a world that I could understand and relate to. I also like the futuristic and upgraded things in the book, like the concrete houses to brave the storm, the quick healing first aid kits, and the wet suits that help people survive in the water. I thought these were really awesome touches to the story that made it futuristic, but still keep it grounded in a world that I recognize.
Overall this was not my favorite book, but I think it was successful in creating a realistic version of the world after climate change.
After reading Hurricane Fever and looking at some of the posts from my fellow classmates, I found I could relate the most to James’s post. Hurricane Fever was by far my favorite book simply because it focused on other themes separate from climate change while also coinciding with climate change. By developing a story that revolved around Roo, an ex spy, Tobias Buckell, was able to focus on not only man v. nature as is such with the constant hurricanes in the Caribbean but also man v man. Man v. Man in a sense that the story follows Roo as he tries to unravel the mystery of why his friend was killed. This also allowed the reader to get an insight into a number of issues coinciding with the human condition. What I mean by this, is how certain events have a strong influence on us as people and affect the way we act and live our lives. For Roo, he is influenced by the death of his friend and how he must discover what actually happened. Out of all the books we’ve covered, I think this one would do the best as a film because climate change is not the primary issue but rather a minor issue that affects how the story unfolds. Basically, climate change and more specifically the hurricanes stand as an obstacle for Roo and others throughout the novel. I’m actually surprised something like this hasn’t already been produced as a cinematic feature but I hope to see the likes of it in the future.
Glad that this was the last book because it focused not just on climate change in terms of nature but also on the human condition in regards to human viruses that have also been at the forefront lately.
Roo was a interesting character, he reminded me of a James Bond or Matt Damon type of guy. He lived on the edge and was not afraid of facing challenges that others probably would not take. He was able to get out of situations while others died or were badly injured. The type of weapons that he and Kit used I was surprised he was able to get away with firing and it all seemed like a private affair (no police, etc). Beauchamp was ruthless in his pursuit to rid society and to create a plaque to destroy the poor people on the earth. The idea to kill people so that the population can be reduced because as he states “We just breed with no acceptance of the consequences” speaks to a much larger idea of how we look at society, especially our poor.
My question is are there man made plagues, if so, are they being used on humans to help or hinder? Overall I thought this was a good book and would recommended to others.
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from Hurricane Fever when I picked it up and started reading. I was very confused when the second chapter switched over to Roo’s character and thought it was going to be switching back and forth between Roo and Zee (boy, was I in for a shock at the end of chapter two). I honestly didn’t think there was enough back-story explained before all of the action started, but perhaps it would’ve helped to read Arctic Rising prior to this work? I also thought it would’ve been extremely helpful if there was a map provided just because I’m a very visual person and have very little knowledge about any of the Caribbean islands. Besides those details, I didn’t find that much enjoyment from this novel.
I’ve read many other books where I felt the written depictions of action scenes are detailed and sufficient enough that I’m able to create a vivid scene in my mind, but this was certainly not the case for Hurricane Fever. The action scenes are very plainly written, in my opinion. I would’ve much rather preferred to view the depicted fight and chase scenes rather than read them, and that has all to do with the author’s writing style. I was bored with the cliché spy-like scenes and dialogue, especially with the corny ways most of these chapters ended. I almost thought that this work was a spoof of other spy and action novels (am I being too harsh yet?). The “twists and turns” of the novel were pretty predictable and overly dramatic. The whole arc of seeking revenge for a murdered family member only to find yourself in the middle of a much larger and more serious situation complete with the rich, powerful villain who truly believes he is helping the world, but is actually just crazed by the murder of his own family member, is so completely unnecessary and not enjoyable at all. The author tries so hard to keep the action scenes engaging and the plotline interesting, but his efforts are futile.
The only parts I slightly enjoyed were Kat’s/Kit’s and Jacinta’s remarks and comments which I found broke tension and were humorous, though I’m not even sure they were intended to be funny. For example, when Kat comments on Roo’s gold bars in his ship: “You have bars of gold in your ship […] who does that?” (167). However, Kat’s character was revealed to be just as cliché as the rest of the novel when her true identity is uncovered, disappointing me yet again. This novel really did just try way too hard to be interesting, and it ended up being corny and poorly written (unless you’re totally into the predictable spy novel type, in which case you should ignore this whole review and all of my biases).
Overall, I thought Tobias Buckell’s Hurricane Fever was an okay read. The plot wasn’t extremely complex and was a bit predictable, which isn’t always a bad thing, depending on your mood and what you’re looking for in a book. I didn’t mind guessing what happened next, because it propelled me further throughout the book (i.e. helped me finish it faster). Some of the writing was a bit choppy. Sometimes characters would have whole paragraphs of dialogue without being properly introduced, and other times we’re left to infer what’s going on, when a simple line of exposition could’ve helped connect the dots. Another semi-small part of the book that tripped me up were the mechanics of sailing, since I’m not in any way familiar with it, but luckily that wasn’t the focus. And yes, some parts were cheesy and cliche, but most action novels are, so…
The genetic terrorism, and the racial motive to the plague was an interesting twist. It was like Beauchamp’s twisted version of a racial cleansing, though I’m still confused as to how it only targets people of color, or people with even the slightest amount of melanin. Zee died from it, but it’s repeatedly said that he could pass for white? I read Buckell’s acknowledgements where he said he purposefully left that part out so no crazies would get any funny ideas, but I’m still curious as to how something like this would even succeed.
Roo as a main character still feels like a bit of an enigma to me. And I think it’s because he’s missing some interiority. I get that he’s fueled by vengeance for Delroy, but I feel like his pain is never really addressed? He just jumps in headlong and goes on this kill-or-be-killed mission (and makes SUPER big mistakes) all in the name of his nephew. It’s a valiant effort, but the vengeance arc gets tiring after a while, especially since I think adding some of his feelings would’ve made the reader even more sympathetic for him. Buckell does an excellent job describing the physical pain Delroy is in, but I found that the emotional part was severely lacking about Delroy’s death, about the racial angle of the genetic terrorism, and also about the microaggressions he repeatedly faces from (white) people assuming that he’s the help at all those fancy functions.
One thing that really amazed me were Roo’s resources. I know he was in the CIG, but it’s never really discussed how much he was paid for being a part of it (or maybe I missed that part?). He promises Jacinta heavy metal (did he ever come through on that? If not, God help him). And he also promises Elvin (RIP) three years worth of income and shows him all the gold he has, which he says was a gift. I know there was a book before this one, but I’m still wondering where in the world he’s getting all these resources and money from.
Would love to see this as a movie on the SyFy channel.
“Hurricane Fever,” the fast-paced action/thriller written by Tobias Buckell, was certainly an entertaining quick read. The novel focuses on “Roo” bent on revenge, investigation and a nothing to lose mentality. The hurricanes themselves could very well be another character in the book, and cause much chaos to the islands/boats that Roo, and others inhabit. I am perhaps bias in the fact that my favorite novels, are indeed this type. Anything action, suspense and tension driven enthralls me. I enjoyed the setting, (present-day) in this novel, more so than a future that I can hardly envision (ie “The Wind Up Girl”). “Forty Signs of Rain”, having the same (more or less) ‘present day’ pretense, was realistic, and also effortless for me to conceptualize. Combining climate change and a revenge story worked well together for this conspiracy Roo set out to unearth in the novel. As the LA Book Reviewer (Nisi Shawl) says, “Weaponization, genetic targeting – it’s not giving too much away to say that such dangerous concepts are fleshed out easily enough here that readers will readily understand how chillingly close they are to becoming real.” In this type of novel, the reader is able to get easily engaged with the plot, characters and their overall purpose, along with seeing the devastating effects of climate change that envelop the story, even if it’s just to move the story towards its conclusion. I believe Shawl sums it up nicely saying “So this book can be read as a liberating re-visioning of the spy and near future ecothriller genre in addition to as a story falling comfortably within their boundaries.” Shawl goes on to say if “Hurricane Fever” were made into a movie, “that movie would earn even more than the book could…” I feel that is quite true of this type of story, action plays well on screen, even with climate change and ‘ecoterroism’ at the forefront. Would more people pay attention to it? Maybe. I do think this type of novel could be a good segway by bringing some larger issues to the forefront of people’s minds.