Out to Sea by R.W.K. Clark takes place a few years in the future, and is set on a cruise ship which is traveling on ocean waters which have been poisoned entirely by a massive chemical spill. The result of this horrific accident has rendered all sea life dead, and is also killing all plant life, but the chemicals also turned the water into some kind of breathtaking killer sideshow, which the cruise line willingly provides. Slowly, the entire planet is dying, but there are those who are wealthy and calloused, only taking these regular cruises to gaze at the beautiful, but deadly, liquid that is keeping them afloat. There is even a famous fireworks event on board which is used for the sole purpose of exploiting the hopeless situation even more, termed the Festival of Hues. The main reason this is one of the best science fiction books.
Here’s the deal.
Four friends soon find out what it really means to live in a world on the verge of extinction. This is a environmental awareness novel with a bit of a romantic suspense blended in to make it interesting. The main characters include Tripp Young, a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents are included amongst those who use the sea for personal amusement, and he despises it. His parents are Jim and Kate Young, who also happen to work for the company responsible for the spill; the same company who markets the waters for their appearance and covers up the truth about the danger. Another reason why ‘Out to Sea‘ is one of the best science fiction books.
It gets better.
Heidi Collins is Tripp's first-time love interest. The cute redhead feels the same loathing for the cruise ship and its indifferent, superficial passengers, but her parents hate it as well. This is a family with strong environmentalism ideologies. Heidi’s father is an environmentalist and the lead scientist who is on the main team working tirelessly to find a solution; the cruise is work for him. His position has been a benefit to Heidi knowing more of the truth than most teenagers want to.
You might be wondering.
Drake Nelson and Mike Harold are a couple of boys Tripp meets on the cruise, and a fast friendship forms; it is maintained even after Heidi joins the group. The boys are best friends from Michigan, and are as close as brothers. Drake’s parents also come to ‘gawk’ at the water, and they drag him along, but they allowed him to bring his friend so he wouldn’t be lethargic during the trip. Drake is smarter than he puts on, but he is also emotional, and as the book pans out, specific events put Drake in a dangerous and irrational state of mind. Mike is a quiet kid, who basically watches from the sidelines.
But here’s the kicker.
During the cruise, Tripp and Heidi also meet a retired couple named Raymond and Helen Goodwin. These wise old souls maintain brutal honesty about what is to come while teaching Tripp and Heidi how important it is to enjoy every second while you can. The short-lived relationship formed between these four takes place over only two conversations, but is eternally impactful on Tripp.
What’s the bottom line?
Basically, this book demonstrates the extreme to which indifference and complacency can go to, and it painfully accentuates the ripple effect of gross negligence and greed. It clearly shows how lives are irreparably damaged, and even stolen, through the indirect actions of others, as well as the depth of evil that can live in the human heart. It is a story that cannot possibly have a happy ending, and that becomes more and more obvious with each page that’s turned.
Put this book to your best science fiction books list.