Thursday, June 2, 2016


Another Young Adult novel. I'm not a fan of the category. Back when I was in high school, during the Nixon administration, the YA label meant you were in for a propaganda piece that was designed by parental authorities to make you see the error of your ways and cut your hair, stay away from drugs, study hard, and become a productive member of society. So, of course I would run like hell and find something like Dangerous Visions, Zap Comix, or Tropic of Cancer to read.

I didn't know what to expect from Daniel Haight's Flotilla. My prejudices had me hesitating. Then the author told me to prepare to have my mind blown.

I like having my mind blown. It's what I look for in good entertainment. This guy thinks he can blow my mind with his novel? Let's see . . .

Well, I'm happy to say that Flotilla is a certifiable mind-blower.

The teenage alcoholic hero, fresh out of rehab, goes working for, and with, his dad on Colony D, a mariculture complex of linked ships cruising the Pacific, both cultivating and harvesting fish. It's a fantastic world of its own, spawning rowdy subcultures. It's one of the most original and believable – you can practically smell it – visions of futuristic society I've seen in a long time, and I'm a bit of a junkie for these kind of things.

And it's all about people who work for a living. Not just the sort of jobs nice kids from good families have to dress up in nice clothes for; these folks get dirty, soaking wet, and risk their lives. Working class science fiction! I love it! Haight describes himself as a “working class geek” – we need more like him.

And if I can offer some advice to you youngsters out there, this is a good book to read right NOW. It shows how to survive in an ever-changing world, and deal with personal problems, and family. And when things get apocalyptic – it keeps happening, get used to it – you've got reflexes in place that will keep you from freezing up, maybe help you create a brave new world that's better than the one that's collapsing around you.

You'll need those reflexes. No matter who wins the election.

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