Cities at Sea
Official Stuff –
Author – Martin Simons
Pages – 228
Publisher – Martin Simons
A thousand years hence, all the major cities of the world are at sea, floating on huge rafts, using ocean currents to navigate. Sal, a young girl on the Sydney raft, training as a navigator, visits Shanghai which is the largest raft city of all, on holiday. She hopes to find the famous genetic scientist, Jezzy, who will modify her body to give her gills. She wants to be like a mermaid, free to live in the sea with the fish. She does meet the old woman but when she leaves her laboratory is arrested as a deserter and mutineer. She is flown back to her home raft for trial. After a tribunal she is released after all to join Jezzy and like many others, is modified as she desired. There is a strong public reaction against Jezzy’s operations. In fear of being marooned to die on land, Jezzy and her young changelings break away their section of the Shanghai raft away drift off independently. Sal finds a lover and gives birth, but a violent storm damages the raft severely and they struggle to avoid sinking. They can survive only by beaching themselves. Sal, the young navigator, plays an important role in achieving this. The remnants of a land based tribe are encountered but more dangers must be faced from marauding gangs of pirates. The rafters make plans for rebuilding their city and returning to the sea.
My Rating – 2 Stars
*I received a digital copy of this novel free from Netgalley on behalf of Martin Simons*
I hate reviews like this.
Ok here it goes…
The world has flooded and not much actual land remains. The cities of the world exist on giant floating rafts that house millions of people. Everyone looks to same (beautiful and brown skinned) and speaks roughly the same language. There is no crime and very little sickness. People are free and encouraged to have sex with everyone because there is no chance of getting pregnant until the government says you can.
Sal lives on the Sydney raft and has always wanted to swim with the fishes. After doing some random scientific research she’s comes across Jezzy’s experiments that can turn people into creatures that can live on both land and in water. Sal is very much interested and when she makes this known to her superiors, she is very publicly arrested and questioned for her decisions.
Once released she ultimate decides to go with Jezzy to become a fish-lady-mermaid-thing (Called Sea Sprites). As Sal begins her transformation, the news of her arrest and decision spreads across the raft cities and thousands of young people are interested and it also kicks up some very heated debates on if Jezzy’s experiments are morally wrong.
The lab soon becomes overrun with new applicants and Sal and other “originals” must take a leadership role.
There is also a plan to split up the Shanghai raft into three smaller rafts because the city has grown too big. Once that happens, a new Captain takes control and wants Jezzy replaced and her fish children experiments to be ended.
Jezzy and her staff anticipated this, and began plans to separate the lab and have it be its own raft city. This works…sorta. The lab city is considerably smaller than the regular raft cities and is unable to handle large storms; the raft is damaged and Sal and her crew must figure out a way to keep the sea sprites alive and Jezzy’s dream going.
So. The premise of this book was really cool. The raft cities and how they function to the prospect of a genetically altered species that can live on land and water. This story is kinda the Little Mermaid in reverse.
However the execution was…well…lacking.
The writing is very simplistic, almost childish. Everyone talks like this! All the time! And they say hehe and haha! And they just randomly have sex! But nothing is ever described, the sex is put like this “They joined sexually. They took interest in each other sexually. There was touching.” Actually there is more mention about how everyone is expected to bang like bunnies than actual plot development.
And living on the raft boats there are no issues, no problems, its perfect Utopia. Though she’s arrested, things go her way. The transformation goes perfectly for Sal. Her pregnancy goes perfectly. She finds love even though committed relationships are not the norm in their society.
The first half of the book was heavy on the dialogue and the second half was almost no dialogue and more or less an instruction manual on how to fix a sinking ship. The whole book from beginning to end is described in the summary. (Though I don’t remember any pirates) The ending of the book is also in the summary as it ends with them beaching themselves.
There is no character development; no character has a backstory or defining characteristics. There were a lot of typos and grammar mistakes in my version.
Overall I didn’t like this book. It was pretty disappointing, but as always, feel free to read and form your own opinion. I’d like to hear your thoughts if you do like the book!