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Ship Breaker Hardcover – May 1, 2010
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—A fast-paced postapocalyptic adventure set on the American Gulf Coast. Nailer works light crew; his dirty, dangerous job is to crawl deep into the wrecks of the ancient oil tankers that line the beach, scavenging copper wire and turning it over to his crew boss. After a brutal hurricane passes over, Nailer and his friend Pima stumble upon the wreck of a luxurious clipper ship. It's filled with valuable goods—a "Lucky Strike" that could make them rich, if only they can find a safe way to cash it in. Amid the wreckage, a girl barely clings to life. If they help her, she tells them, she can show them a world of privilege that they have never known. But can they trust her? And if so, can they keep the girl safe from Nailer's drug-addicted father? Exciting and sometimes violent, this book will appeal to older fans of Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies" series (S & S) and similar action-oriented science fiction.—Hayden Bass, Seattle Public Library, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* This YA debut by Bacigalupi, a rising star in adult science fiction, presents a dystopian future like so many YA sf novels. What is uncommon, though, is that although Bacigalupi's future earth is brilliantly imagined and its genesis anchored in contemporary issues, it is secondary to the memorable characters. In a world in which society has stratified, fossil fuels have been consumed, and the seas have risen and drowned coastal cities, Nailer, 17, scavenges beached tankers for scrap metals on the Gulf Coast. Every day, he tries to “make quota” and avoid his violent, drug-addicted father. After he discovers a modern clipper ship washed up on the beach, Nailer thinks his fortune is made, but then he discovers a survivor trapped in the wreckage—the “swank” daughter of a shipping-company owner. Should he slit the girl's throat and sell her for parts or take a chance and help her? Clearly respecting his audience, Bacigalupi skillfully integrates his world building into the compelling narrative, threading the backstory into the pulsing action. The characters are layered and complex, and their almost unthinkable actions and choices seem totally credible. Vivid, brutal, and thematically rich, this captivating title is sure to win teen fans for the award-winning Bacigalupi. Grades 8-12. --Lynn Rutan
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Action...and plenty of it. It starts off fierce and never lets go. I sort of felt like that kid in the never ending story pulling the blanket over my head, clicking on my flashlight and looking to find Falcor. It's that good.
The setups. When something is alluded to in the beginning, it comes rearing right back around in the most satisfying way. This book made me realize this is always the thing I'm looking for. I almost want to play a game of hide and seek with my books. You lay some information down and I'll try to put the pieces together. I can keep up, I promise. Paolo Bacigalupi delivered these fun little finds over and over again.
This world. The most fascinating part besides just the scary realness were the hybrid creatures. This leads me to Tool (my favorite character.) He reminded me of The Hound (Sandore Clegane) from Game of Thrones. If this ever gets made into a movie HE MUST BE CAST. So he's this hybrid mix of a dog, tiger, and hyena made into a super predator that's actually a man. I won't go into all the details, but imagine this and then imagine him have redeeming qualities. I just loved him.
Nailer's father was also up there as far as interesting characters. His story-line and how it played out with Nailer in the end was one of the most satisfying things to read in the whole novel.
Also, this story is weaved among the waves in that a lot of it takes part on the open sea and it reminded me of Charlie St. Cloud with all the boat-speak, but in a cool world gone wrong scenario.
Only complaint? The term "pain blossoms" was beautiful the first time and should have been omitted the later five or six times. Too small of a complaint to even affect my enjoyment of this amazing novel.
The first of three books, and what a start to an incredible journey! The characters are multi dimensional and drive the plot. the twisted landscape they drive through is well brought with many dangers, and also an assortment of truly evil folks.
Pay close attention to Tool, as he ultimately becomes the driving force. But the other characters are also flawed and important.
This is a great trilogy, so go start reading it now!
Bacigalupi's first novel, The Windup Girl, won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards (the top literary prizes in the field, chosen by the fans and the writers respectively). It's one of the best sci-fi novels I've ever read -- and I've read a lot of them. This tour de force was followed by two young adult novels, The Drowned Cities and Ship Breaker, both of which I found to be excellent examples of the craft and in no way limited by the author's intention to write for a young audience.
All three stories are set in a post-apocalyptic world that I gather to be sometime in the 22nd Century. Humankind's failure to arrest global climate change and our unstoppable addiction to fossil fuels have drowned nearly all the planet's coastal cities and left most of the human race living hand to mouth in abject penury while a lucky few -- in China and the United States -- wallow in luxury because they control trade with armies of genetically engineered "half-men" bred for speed, strength, and loyalty.
Ship Breaker relates the story of Nailer, a small, 14- or 15-year-old boy with a homicidal father and a job as head of a crew of children and teenagers who are salvaging copper and other metals -- and an occasional gallon of oil -- from the derelict oil tankers run aground on beaches along the Gulf Coast. Following one of the killer storms that hit the coast virtually on a weekly basis, Nailer and his boss, a 16-year-old girl named Pima, stumble across a wrecked clipper ship that belongs to one of the trading companies that dominate the planet. Inside, they find a beautiful girl of about Nailer's age who is clearly a "swank" raised in unimaginable wealth and privilege. The three young people, together with a renegade half-man named Tool, flee the fury of Nailer's father (who covets the precious salvage on the shipwreck). Thus begins their adventure in search of the swank girl's father and a secure new life for Nailer.
If you enjoy science fiction, you'll love this book.
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