20 May

5 books that evoke life aboard a ship

Well, today seems to be the day for lists of five for me. A while back Locus asked if I’d write up a list of five interesting books. I decided to list five books that evoke life aboard the cramped confines of a ship for me:

I grew up on a boat. Tight quarters, sparse living. It wasn’t living aboard a spaceship, and it wasn’t military naval service, but it was a taste of what it’s like to keep your own environment with you. I also spend time working around crew on other ships of various sizes. And one thing that resonates with me are books that give me a taste of crew-life.

Merchanter’s Luck by C.J. Cherryh

Probably one of my favorite crew-life books, I encountered the Science Fiction Book Club edition of this 1980′s SF novel in the back of a storage room I was cleaning out for someone when I was a teenager in the US Virgin Islands. I lifted it for myself at lunch and it somehow found its way home with me.

The depictions of merchant crew life aboard the future’s version of aging tramp steamers grabbed me by the eyeballs and didn’t let me go. Cherryh thinks through the issues of watches, varying personalities, relationships, and the constant struggle of the little guy against larger corporations and military conflicts.

My biggest complaint? You can’t buy it as an ebook right now. Which is just criminal. I’d buy a copy in a split second.

You can see the other four books and why I listed them at Locus.