Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ship Shape

The ice caps have melted. There are category 6 hurricanes called "city wreckers". And we've run out of oil. It's a brave new world, folks. Welcome to the world of Ship Breaker.

In the land of "have-nots", we meet Nailer/Lucky Boy. He works light crew on marooned oil tankers stripping out copper, aluminum, and other precious metal we can no longer mine. It's hot, dark, dangerous work. And when a duct gives away, Nailer finds himself swimming in an old oil pocket. In most cases, this would be considered a lucky strike. A pocket of oil, if he can keep it a secret from boss man, could set him up for life. But he has to get out first. It's a fight for life he wins, but he loses the oil. Still his high sliding father (a crystal meth addict) decides to keep him around a little longer.

In the land of "haves", we meet Pima/Lucky Girl. She earns her nickname by surviving a city wrecker in her posh boat (while the crew all dies). But she'll need more than luck to keep away from her uncle who wishes to use her as a pawn to force her corporate big-wig dad to hand over his company.

When her uncle's goons enlist Nailer's dad to help, they both flee to find someone still loyal to Pima's father. Pima has to learn quickly to survive in a non-gilded world. Nailer wrestles with loyalty and wonders if he's destined to be the lethal killer like his father. Can good actually triumph in a world that has fallen into such evil?

If dystopian novels like The Hunger Games leave you begging for more, check out Paolo Bacigalupi first novel. It's crazy intense. And frighteningly plausible--okay probably not. I hope not? Ugh. Anyway, this afternoon I was watching a train pass and briefly wondered if I could hop trains like Pima and Nailer do. If that's possible, what else? ;-)

Good book. A little unsettling end. (No nice bow, but it's in the way of happy.) And it will make you think.

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