Thursday, June 9, 2011

The World's Future Through a Sci-Fi Perception...

Book Videos TV, (2010). Ship breaker [Web]. Available from

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, (2010)

Interesting Facts: This is a sci-fi book based on the future when oil has been replaced and biodiesel is used.  The story is set along America’s Gulf-cost. It is categorized as a young adult book and is a Michael L. Printz Award winner. 

About the Book:Hundreds of years from now oil-tankers are no longer in use.  They are now broken down for parts by light crews who scavenge for copper wires just to make ends meet.  Nailer is a young boy who works light crew. He crawls in the dark ducts of these oil-tankers to scavenge for these copper wires, dangerous work indeed.  The recycled parts are then sold to giant corporations referred to as blood buyers.  Nailer’s mother died when he was much younger and since then his father has become a drunk, violent, abusive, and even murderous man.  Nailer seeks to strike luck one day in hopes of getting out of his miserable life.  To his surprise, he one day discovers a ship filled with treasures to scavenge.  The problem is that there is one survivor, a beautiful girl named Nita who also happens to be very rich.  He decides to rescue the girl in hopes that she will lead him to a better life; this decision is a great risk.  He will soon face the decision of staying loyal to his father or going up against his own flesh and blood. Since the story takes place in the future, oil has be used up, sea levels have risen, global-warming has had its effects, animals such as polar bears have become extinct, Orleans has been desolated, and hurricanes can now strengthen up to category 6. Perhaps one of the most interesting changes is that there is a new creation of half-men who are genetically made as a mixture of man, tiger, and dog.  These can prove loyal to their masters but can be deadly if they are after you.  Nailer and his new-found friend Nita will have plenty encounters with such half-men, some good and some not so good. 

Why read it?It should make readers think about the way we treat the earth and its resources.  To imagine a world in which resources are used up and parts of the world forgotten is unsettling.  I also appreciated the lesson in that sometimes the family we choose is closer than those whom we share a blood bond with.  The book offers plenty suspense and much to think about. I can see this being read along with Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes.

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