Thursday, July 25, 2013
Title: Ship Breaker
By: Paolo Bacigalupi
When whole cities lie beneath the waves and there isn’t a drop of petroleum left on the planet, will the pace of life finally slow and congeal into a more natural order, where family and loyalty are key and sailboats drift lazily across the sea? No way. Bacigalupi’s raw, violent, hyper-capitalist post-apocalyptic vision feels like an all-too-real extrapolation from our current world. Yet there is great hope here in the form of the young protagonists, who surprise even themselves by choosing to uphold inner principles they didn’t know they possessed. Nailer is a scavenger, point man on a “shipbreaking” team of impoverished children small enough to fit down air ducts and pull up precious scrap from the rusting hulls of beached oil tankers. Nailer’s existence is about obtaining profit from ruin and doing so faster than the next gang of scavengers on the beach. One day, Nailer finds a recent shipwreck of incredible value that also contains one small human survivor. The decision he makes that afternoon will change the course of his future, and possibly even the future of the planet.
Ship Breaker is a thrilling, visceral story whose characters and contexts you will not forget.