When a 22-year-old Alaskan completes a record-breaking skydive from the Mesosphere, a cunning talent scout lures him into making ever more dangerous skydives as content for a voracious social media. But while he wins international sports fame, his ex-girlfriend falls into social media addiction in a distant city. In the end, he must decide how much he will sacrifice to save her.
“Buckner is the first clear-cut new star of twenty-first century SF.”
— Robert J. Sawyer, award-winning SF author
“One of the best writers working in our genre today.”
— Chris Moriarty, Fantasy and Science Fiction
“Greatest skydive of all time! If a writer can write, you got your money’s worth. But every so often, the writer can sing, and then you’ve found a story you’ll never forget. Buckner can sing like Billie Holiday.”
— Spider Robinson, award-winning SF author
“Buckner tells an amazing story with characters that come off the page and live in the scenes of the reader’s mind. She reminds me of the best of Tiptree and LeGuin… The Gravity Pilot is not a book to be skimmed through, it is one to be savored.”
— Barry Hunter, reviewer
The action sequences are utterly convincing and immersive, but this book also explores other big issues: addiction – both on a personal and a societal level; the exploitation of the young by the old; the evils of corporate ethos, profit above all else; and the nature of love and sacrifice
— Julia Reynolds, reviewer
“This story kept me hooked – and boy it was a good read. It also gave an interesting look as to what the future could hold for technology. Considering some people have internet addictions now, this story pulls that to a whole new level. The landscape is great– drippy ceilings down below Seattle, platinum colored smog that requires oxygen masks, and much more.”
Reviews of The Gravity Plot
Buckner’s best work yet. By Julia Reynolds
From the book jacket description it’s not apparent that this is a hard SF novel, but that is what Buckner has delivered with THE GRAVITY PILOT. This is a layered story set against the backdrop of ecologic disaster 50 years in the future. On the surface it is the quest of a professional skydiver to rescue his girlfriend from the clutches of addiction and corporate greed. The action sequences are utterly convincing and immersive, and the author presents a fascinating prediction about how we’ll interact with the internet in the future. But this book also explores other big issues: addiction – both on a personal and a societal level the exploitation of the young by the old the evils of corporate ethos, profit above all else the nature of love and sacrifice. I really enjoyed Gravity Pilot and I’m still thinking about it after reading it last week. It’s just a terrific SF novel by a writer at the height of her powers.
I bit the bullet, and I’m glad I did. By DystopicReader
When I first read the description, I was a tad skeptical as to whether or not the book would be a good one. As an avid reader of “futuristic” stories, I decided to give this novel a go. This novel really surprised me with the vivid imagery and the story itself. This book provided me with a story that kept me hooked for the time it took to read – and boy it was a good read. It also gave an interesting look as to what the future could hold for technology. Considering some people have internet addictions now, this story pulls that to a whole new level with devices called Oculars, that allow one eye to be logged into the net at all times. The landscape that the book described was a great one – drippy ceilings down below Seattle, platinum colored smog that required oxygen masks, volcanic calderas, and much more. In short, this book provided a transition into a different reality that followed a young man going to great heights (and depths) to further his career and save his girlfriend from the net. If you weren’t sure about this book, do give it a chance and a read, and then a second to really get what went on.
GoodReads – 4 Stars
THE GRAVITY PILOT is an excellent science fiction novel with many layers. It’s a love story (drawing loosely from the myth of Orpheus), a sports novel, and a dystopian tale. The main character, Orr, is an Alaskan skydiver who makes a record-breaking jump that catapults him to stardom. That same jump has caused him to lose his girlfriend, Dyce, who had asked him to choose between her and diving. Dyce leaves Orr and Alaska to take a job in subterranean Seattle, and with her departure, Orr loses a bit of himself. Dyce finds that the job of her dreams is more of a nightmare, and she becomes one of the countless people who are addicted to fully immersive simulated worlds. Trying to explain any more of the plot than that would give away too much — the story builds and plunges, dips and dives, and carries the reader on a path similar to some of the jumps that Orr makes. I definitely recommend it to science fiction fans.
Owlcat Mountain Review
While mythology is a rich mine for fantasy, it doesn’t often come into play in science fiction. That’s too bad, because science fiction as a genre carries many of the same themes and plot arcs as fantasy. So you can imagine how excited I was to find that M. M. Buckner has written a novel that draws heavily on the Greek myth of Orpheus. THE GRAVITY PILOT follows a skydiver and the love of his life as each descends into their own personal Hell.
Orr has given his life to two things: skydiving and his girlfriend Dyce. But when a botched stratosphere dive turns into a record-breaking mesosphere jump, he’s quickly contracted to make jumps to be filmed for a virtual reality world. Dyce can no longer take his obsession with the sport and takes a job in the underground city of Seattle, where she becomes addicted to fully immersive virtual reality and is a slave to the company who makes it. I was pleased to see how many different levels Buckner was able to weave into this story. It functions as a sports story, with the descriptions of skydiving and the training and terminology that go along with it. It’s a cautionary tale about the dangers of rampant technology, with the scenes of people helplessly hooked into the full-immersive sims. It’s also a cautionary tale about turning a blind eye to the state of the world’s environment.
HYPERTHOUGHT is a story infused with elements of the myth. There’s so much going on that trying to describe it would take too long. This is a book that you need to read at our own pace and digest in your own way. Rest assured, it’s a rewarding experience. If readers can let themselves take the story for what it is, they’ll find a richly layered story. The disparate threads mesh together, forming a detailed tapestry of love, loss and the forces that draw you towards your destiny. Read this novel to discover why we are all gravity pilots, falling towards our own personal Earth.
Amazing Story. Review 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.