If you like: climate change * sabotage * crime
In Salt, extreme climate change flooded the world as a result of intense solar activity. The only survivors are those who happened to already be on seaworthy vessels at the time of the cataclysmic events. Many of those survivors have met up and created a flotilla of their crafts, making an attempt at survival. The changes have also allowed the escalation of microbes that make people sick if they do not vigilantly cleanse with salt water treatments. In spite of this, people still succumb to the mysterious illness. As though all these factors are not hard enough on survival, many differing factions are in constant disagreement about what is best for the flotilla. This results in constant fighting and sabotage.
Anything that results in disparate people coming together and depending on each other survival is rife with opportunity for trouble. Dramatic changes in the way the world operates often led to revelatory changes in fanatical beliefs. When the world seems out of control and unpredictable, some people will follow any strong leader, just to have someone to believe in. They need the comfort of having something bigger than they are to get them through the difficult period. Others are more pragmatic. These individuals know that they need to ration fuel, food, and supplies while trying to keep each person occupied with activities that will help them move forward. Others, perhaps those inclined toward nefarious activity before an event, will take advantage of new opportunities and exploit those around them to gain power in the tumultuous landscape. Though diverse opinions can help in finding solutions, having drastic and separate opinions makes it difficult to find a compromise. Rather than face what awaits them in the future, people often cling to old habits to cope. When only a small band of survivors remain, this lack of ability to come together could doom the entire race.
The mysterious illness in Salt is an interesting creation, but almost secondary to the central crime drama that unfolds. Part of the disagreement between the groups relates to the origin of the microbes and how they are best dealt with. The story focuses on the interactions between the different factions, and it is only after these murders and conflicts are resolved that the mysterious illness is explored. Reminiscent of the conspiracy behind Hugh Howey’s Wool, the murders and cover ups have far different motivations at their core than at their surface. Many people seek to do what is right, and that often means keeping secrets from the general group. Though widespread panic is a terrible outcome, secrets rarely stay hidden. Once they are revealed, it is nearly impossible to trust those in charge, whatever their original intentions were. At some point, the cost of keeping the secret will cause the individual to compromise themselves and their believes. It is impossible to keep the truth a secret without some significant consequence.
If you would volunteer to scout uncharted waters, read Salt.
Barns, Colin F. Salt: A Post-apocalyptic Thriller. Anachron Press, 2014. Kindle edition.