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'Ship Breaker' by Paolo Bacigalupi - A Post-Apocalyptic Adventure

Updated on September 10, 2014

'Ship Breaker' by Paolo Bacigalupi - A Science Fiction Post-Apocalyptic Adventure

New Orleans has been totally destroyed by storms and rising water. New Orleans II has also been decimated. And MissMet (not named New Orleans 3 out of superstition) is now half covered with water. That is when the book Ship Breaker begins. Taking place in a future where the earth has changed wildly due to pollution and climate change, Nailer and his crew live and work on a dirty oil covered beach taking apart giant old oil tankers piece by piece for salvage. There seems little chance to change their lot, until a "lucky strike", a modern clipper ship, crashes on a nearby shore.

Ship Breaker is an amazing book that shows a cold hard world that evolved from the decisions that we make today. I can't say enough good things about this book. It is continuously captivating in its plot, characters, and setting. While written as a young adult book, it certainly won't let down any adult reader. I would suggest this book to anyone who likes an adventure, and highly recommend it to young adult guys.

Ship Breaker Book Trailer

This is an amazing book trailer that gives a good feel for the book. It represents the half-men a bit more werewolf-like than I imagined from the book. Don't be confused by that. This is not a werewolf book.

Paolo Bacigalupi Describes the Inspiration for Ship Breaker

Paolo Bacigalupi speaks here about what what things inspired this book, and what he hoped to accomplish with the story.

Issues in Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker is not a happy and fluffy young adult novel. It hits upon issues that are heavy and complex. Issues are not presented frivolously; they are important to the stories and the characters. They are presented in a very real way, stays appropriate for a young adult audience.

Issues touched upon in this book include: domestic abuse, drug addiction, violence, slavery, child labor, the effects of global warming & climate change, betrayal, sexual abuse (eluded to briefly), religions, literacy, guilt, business ethics, and world economics & politics.

This is a book I would recommend for someone high school age or older. Mature middle schoolers may possibly like the story, though I'm not sure they would get all this book has to offer unless read in a class where things are discussed and questions can be answered.

Learn More About the Ship Breakers of Bangladesh - 60 Minutes - The Ship Breakers

As Bacigalupi described, it was the ship breakers of Bangladesh that inspired a good portion of this book. 60 Minutes did a program on these workers.

Before hearing about this book, were you aware of the ship breaking industry that exists today?

See results

What do YOU know about Ship Breaking?

The shipbreaking industry is not just part of a sci-fi novel set in the future.

This industry exists today on the oil covered beaches of several impoverished locations such as Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.

People today are breaking down these massive ships in bare feet on oil covered beaches, in conditions unimaginable.

Someone Will Make This Book into a Film

I have no doubt.

This book is exactly the kind of book that converts into an amazing movie. It describes visually interesting settings throughout the book, and has fascinating characters that would translate well to film. There would be such contrast on the big screen to see the dirt and grime of the beach but then the modern clippers in the distance. Seeing the tops of the buildings, "the Teeth", from New Orleans peaking up out of the water would be a jarring image, and the half flooded urban scenes would be great on screen. I would love to see how they intrepret the descriptions of the half-men and implement them for a film.

I don't know who will be the one to pick this movie up and turn it into a movie, but whoever does will surely have a blockbuster on their hands.

More Great Books By Paolo Bacigalupi

Paolo Bacigalupo has written several great sci-fi books. One of my favorites is Windeup Girl which won several awards as well.

© 2011 kab


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    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 4 years ago

      I do like post-apocalyptic novels so I may have to get this one. Alas Babylon is another good one although it's older.

    • Christene-S profile image

      Christene-S 6 years ago

      I might check this out once I'm finished with the third book in the Hunger Games.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      You have done a phenomenal job on this book review. Love it!