SUPERSHIP by Noel Mostert
Kirkus Star


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Serialized in The New Yorker and as the November BOM selection, Supership deserves a widest possible readership. The story of hundreds of grotesquely massive oil tankers now plowing the world's seas is as solemn a warning as we'll get about the inevitable death of all oceanic life in our lifetime unless tremendously strict international maritime laws are soon agreed on. Mostert -- who has sailed on one of these tankers -- holds little hope for this global agreement, since the greed of shipping magnates is as monstrous as their badly-made ships. What's more, larger, and still larger, and still larger behemoths are already blueprinted, financed and either under construction or about to be. The pollution given off by the present tankers is unimaginable but frighteningly particularized here. Beyond faintest doubt, many of these tin cans are bound for disaster, and can produce firestorms equal to atomic bombs that can wipe out cities and great areas of wooded coastline. They are also used for transporting chemicals (liquid oxygen among others) that can lay a fog that destroys all life in New York City or Nova Scotia or a sizable area of the British Isles. Mostert writes with acute feeling of the incompetent, fearful crews managing the untested, unseaworthy floating Frankensteins, and he evokes an eerie nightmare poetry of the deeps. Read it, rage, and telegraph Washington.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Knopf