Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Ship Breaker is set on the Gulf Coast in a post-apocalyptic time frame after a series of events caused by climate change and the destruction of the barrier islands has completely submerged New Orleans and other towns on the coastline. The only oil available is that which is found in old reserves, such as the holds of old tankers. The waters of the Gulf are black with pollution. Sound familiar? Nailer and his light crew go into the bellies of these old tankers looking for anything they can scavenge. Life is all about meeting quotas and eeking out an existence day to day until, after a storm, Nailer comes across a newly wrecked clipper ship. He intends to scavenge it but finds instead a beautiful young girl, a swank, in need of rescue. And so the adventure begins.
As distressing as it is to reflect upon how we are treating our planet today it isn't hard to believe that in two hundred years something like this book may be our reality---pollution and lack of natural materials, piracy and scavenging, the haves and the have-nots. Bacigalupi, a Science Fiction writer new to YA literature, has given us a lot to ponder about our future and at the same time he has also spun a good, swashbuckling tale. In addition to a great story writer, as an educator I am totally impressed by Paolo Bacigalupi adding an Educator's Guide to his website for the book. Take a look at it. Good, huh? Also cool is his three minute video about the book and his inspiration for it. I found it to be very informative.
This book is one of the books in consideration for my Mock Printz event this coming January. I just placed a star next to the title. This one is going on the list.