Fiction by Paolo Bacigalupi

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Posted on Sep 22, 2008 in News, Ship Breaker, Writing | 33 comments

I’ve sold a book!

My agent tells me that I’m allowed to shout it from the rooftops. The book in question is SHIP BREAKER, a young adult novel about all of my favorite things: global warming, peak oil, genetic engineering, poverty and collapsed societies. You know, happy fun stuff. Fortunately, it’s also a ripping adventure. Joe Monti at Little, Brown is the cool guy who decided to buy it, in a two-book deal.

Now, I know I’ve been talking about my other book THE WINDUP GIRL aka the “big book” mentioned in an earlier post (all 150,000 door-stopping words of it)– that one is still in the works. Should be done by the end of this week or next as all I’m doing now is cleaning up sentences and typos.

But while I was working on the monster book, I decided to take a detour into this other project that I’ve been mulling for quite a while. SHIP BREAKER was the result.

Here’s a photo of the industry that helped inspire the story. It comes from Edward Burtynsky. I watched a documentary about him and the images of ship breaking stuck in my head. Click through to see more of his industrial landscapes.

Edward Burtynsky shipbreaking photo

The other set of inspirations came from cool technologies like the one shown below.

l’Hydroptere is currently trying to break the world sailing speed record and the 50 knot barrier with their trimaran hydrofoil.

And the contrast between these two images is pretty much what the story is about.


  1. Congratulations! That’s awesome. And it’s such a cool subject too.

  2. Paolo! That totally rocks! Congratulations, dude!

  3. Hey, congrats! I had lunch with Joe on Friday and he hinted that this might be a go–glad to hear it is official.

  4. Woohoo. I love Joe! You’ll have a great time with him. Congrats.

  5. So very looking forward to it.

    I think writing YA will be good for you and I think you will be very good for YA!

  6. Great news. Shipbreaker is one of those rare things, a novel the world needs. I’m so glad it’s getting into print sooner rather than later.

  7. YAY!!! Can’t wait ’til it’s in print and I can point people at it and say–is this an awesome book or what?

    Congratulations (again)!

  8. Very nice! Congratulations! I am rather enjoying Pump Six by the way. It was one of the few books I let myself take to Japan.

  9. Hey, congratulations!

    So you didn’t decide to turn it into two 75,000 word books after all? Good! I need something to hold the door open when I bring in groceries!

    Ahem. Seriously, that’s great! I am at Viable Paradise right now and should also be writing a story but instead I am blogmenting here.

    The shipbreakers are crazy. That’s a horrendous job. ANd I curse you for doing something with it before I could.

    Can’t wait to read it!

  10. That is FANTASTIC news! I can’t wait!

    Many congrats!

  11. Okay, confession time.

    I know it’s intended for a YA audience, but part of the reason this particular bit of news makes me so happy is that I’ll be able to read a Paolo Bacigalupi story that may not immediately make me think “He’s right. Kill all the humans.” :)

  12. Woo! Sounds great!

  13. Congrats, Paolo. :-)

  14. Congratulations, Paolo. A huge milestone for you.

  15. Congratulations! I love what I’ve read of that book — can’t wait to read the rest!!!

  16. Thank god you didn’t fuck it up.


  17. Congratulations–can’t wait to read it (or the big book, for that matter)!

  18. Congratulations, Paolo!

    (And Daniel, can you be sure Paolo isn’t trying to tell young adults to kill all the humans?)

  19. Sarah, nope, didn’t fuck it up. At least, not this time. It only took 13 years to stop fucking it up, but, you know, sometimes I learn.

    Daniel, yes, at times, the story is actually hopeful. At least for me. I save the despair for adults.

    And Ted, you’re such a cynic. Young adults killing all the humans is for the sequel.

  20. YAAAAAAAYYYYYY! Can’t wait to read it and its sequel. Congratulations.

  21. Huge congratulations. Can’t wait to buy it.

  22. Best news I heard all day. Those YA’s are going to ruin your life camping outside your house and trampling the lawn. Look what they did to JK, she’s a recluse now.

  23. WOOT! We will drink heartily at Mile Hi Con.

    Also, I see we have the same corporate overlords, your publisher and mine both being owned by the same international conglomerate behemoth.

    I think this makes us related or something.

  24. Even worse Carrie, your respective editors are old friends. The conspiracy implications are unlimited!

  25. Excellent! Soon, we will take over the WORLD!!!

  26. This whole publishing thing is a bit inbred, isn’t it?

  27. Congrats, Paolo!

  28. A little late in saying so, but hearty congrats to you! *happy flailing*

  29. Ah, yes, something set in the same richly textured, fascinating world that isn’t quite as grim, that sounds fun. When is the book out?


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