Friday, August 20, 2010


POD, by Stephen Wallenfels, 2009.  One morning at 5 AM gray black spheres dot the sky, and any human or car outside is instantly zapped in a flash light "no explosion, no ball of flame, just gone".  Strangely animals and plants are not affected.  Those who are caught in buildings must find a way to survive, like 16 year old Josh and his father trapped in their house in Washington, and 12 year old Megs caught in the parking garage of a hotel in California.  Although the pods seem menacing, the human beings in the story are often more scary.  If you like Science Fiction straight up, (no fantasy funny business), or you like survival stories this book will dish it out.  The ending is surprising, and satisfying.  This is Mr. Wallenfels first book.  According to his website, he is currently working on POD 2.  My rating: 4 stars
Stephen Wallenfels website

Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi, 2010.
Nailer Lopez lives on a Gulf Coast beach in a dystopian future.  To survive he works on a crew that scavenges beached ships and oil tankers for wire, scrap metal, and fuel.  It is a harsh, primitive, and dangerous way of life.  Out in the distance Nailer can see the modern clipper ships that fly over the waves, and longs to be on one.  In this future world there are also human/dog hybrid slaves, crews who salvage body parts, the very wealthy "swank", and the very poor.  At the center of the story is Nailer's love/hate relationship with his abusive drug-addicted father.  One day a storm shipwrecks one of the clipper ships.  The wreck could be Nailer's "Lucky Strike", however, he discovers the owner, a girl, still alive in the wreck.  Thus begins a series of events that require Nailer to make life and death decisions, in this fast paced gritty Sci-Fi adventure story.  My rating: 4 stars

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