Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

I enjoyed The Windup Girl sufficiently that when LT kindly loaned me a copy of Mr. Bacigalupi’s newest, I eagerly gobbled it up over a quiet weekend on the Third Coast.

Ship Breaker is set in a not-so-distant future Earth in which the petrol has run out, the seas have risen, and the delta between the rich and poor has continued to increase to near third-world levels everywhere. In the ruined beaches near the wreckage of Orleans, Nailer and his friends work as ship breakers, stripping valuable copper and metals from the carcasses of derelict ancient tankers. Their existence is a hard, cruel one, where the strong take what they can from the weak and only the lucky or clever survive for long. Many cyberpunk staples appear, from rampant amphetamine abuse to organ harvesting syndicates, though the networks and AI that likely exist somewhere out there are far beyond the reach of Nailer and his illiterate village of scavengers.

When a massive “City Killer” storm deposits a strange bit of scavenge int.Nailer’s world, he is propelled into an adventure. The novel has a bit of young adult bildungsroman learning and growing, and likely has only about a PG-13 rating, but is still sufficiently violent to feel gritty.

Good world creation, good sci-fi. I’m looking forward to his next novel, The Drowned Cities.

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