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A gritty, high-stakes adventure set in a futuristic world where oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer.
In America's Gulf Coast region, grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota-and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life....
In this powerful novel, Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.
Or else across the rough Atlantic to Africa and Europe. Its hydrofoils were retracted, but with the carbon-polymer hull shattered, Nailer could see into its workings: the huge gears that extended the foils, the complex hydraulics and precision electronic systems. The ship’s deck was tilted toward them, showing a Buckell cannon and the high-speed reels for the parasails. Once, when Bapi was in a good mood, the man had told Nailer that the big cannon could send a sail thousands of feet into the
sounds came from behind, and then Pima appeared. “Damn,” she said. “Too bad.” “Pretty, huh?” Pima laughed. “Didn’t know you liked corpses.” Nailer made a face of disgust. “If I want a girl, there’s plenty of live ones, thanks.” Pima grinned. “Yeah, but this one won’t slap you like Moon Girl did when you tried to kiss her. Lips look a little cold, though. Kiss that one and she’d take you down to the Scavenge God’s scales for sure.” “Ugh.” Nailer made a face. Pima spent too much time around
find the lever. Or maybe the lever hadn’t been there after all. Some people couldn’t see any farther than themselves. People like Sloth. People like his dad. Richard Lopez wouldn’t hesitate. He’d slash the rich girl’s throat and take the rings and shake the blood off them and laugh. A week ago, Nailer knew for a fact that he could have done the same. This swank girl wasn’t crew. He didn’t owe her anything. But now, after his time in the oil room, all he could think of was how much he’d wanted
at Nailer. “He’s alive?” “What’s it look like?” Moby answered. “ ’Course he’s alive. Unless he’s a zombie, walking dead. Woooooooo.” He laughed at his own joke. Pima distributed metal tins to the adults, rice and red beans and ground sausage spiced. Nailer watched the food as it was passed around, entranced. It was astonishingly good eating. He didn’t remember the last time he’d seen so much meat passed around so casually. As the food was handed to Moby and Tool, Nailer found himself
drowning. But the safety was temporary. Soon the duct would give way and he’d sink again, his lungs filling with oil, thrashing and gurgling— Calm down, you idiot. Nailer considered trying to swim again, but discarded the idea. It was just his mind playing tricks, fantasizing that the liquid all around was actually water. But oil was different. It didn’t support a body, no matter how much you wished. It just swallowed you up. Nailer had seen a man on heavy crew drown that way. He’d thrashed