Cities at Sea
by Martin Simons

"'I am not afraid. I want to do something that has not been done before. It excites me to think that some day we may be able to alter ourselves radically and change the world.'"

Environmental disaster has pushed humanity onto enormous rafts that float along with the currents. Simons' post-apocalyptic version of a hyper-evolved floating world is a near utopia—and yet Sal is not happy. The young woman craves something more than the monotony of everyday life on her raft, even though it means comfort and success. Instead, she dreams of swimming with the fish and living with the water instead of above it. She is drawn to a controversial biotech lab specializing in body modifications, the likes of which would make Sal's dreams come true. But to become a part of that world, Sal must leave everything—and everyone—she knows behind. Cities at Sea follows her story as she makes that decision, and its consequences.

Part cautionary tale, part celebration of the survivability of the human race, Cities at Sea is a wholly believable and well-crafted narrative. Simons builds realistic characters, politics, science, and technology, and fleshes out the minor details of living on a city-sized raft. Despite the book's setting in the far future, many of the issues dealt with are relevant in our time. Chief among them is the idea of genetic modification: even in a world of routine genetic embryo testing and modifications, a new form of external genetic changes is approached by society as alien and unnatural. Yet at no point does Simons push his own ideals onto the reader; you are left to draw your own conclusions.

Even the idea of evolution itself is brought under a microscope. What does it truly mean to evolve? In Sal's case, to evolve she must look back to her primitive roots. This realization leads her through a journey that will test her ideals, and spark a change in the world as she knows it.


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