Futuristic and perhaps all too real as the world still rushes headlong into climate crisis, Sean Rabin takes a somewhat cynical and almost satirical look at just what may and could happen when things go too far in The Good Captain.
Rena captains the good ship Mama; she can taste, feel and understand the seas of the world. She is a child of the ocean, a person who has seen the best and worst of humanity and grieves endlessly for the carnage that has been wrought on the oceans of the world. Oceans that no longer have sharks, whales, schools of fish and sea birds.
Her crew is made up of a many talented young and not so young people, who have all got a somewhat interesting and often tragic backstory, but are passionate about trying to change what seems to be the end of ocean life. They are almost without fault, idealistic, loyal to Reva and the cause.
The story begins with the abduction of ‘cargo’ from a location in Tasmania. One of the team is badly injured, dying on the way to rendezvous with Mama. What is it all about is the first query, which eventually is explained, as the ‘cargo’ turns out to be the former Prime Minster of Australia, Angus Wallace Thompson who believes he is being held for ransom.
Days come and go with the crew struggling to cope with the loss of Roope, the wild seas, the internal anguish of living life in a world that is ever-changing and the hopelessness of one small vessel and a tiny crew trying to change an environmental disaster.
As the rendezvous draws closer, Rena’s apparent care for human life, verses that of the creatures of the ocean becomes more apparent; her ruthlessness at disposing of fishing trawlers, her obsessive control over her ship and crew, is heartless, almost cruel which comes to a confrontational climax which is as unexpected as the rest of the story has been up to this final point.
From a conceptual perspective, as with so much else in this storyline, the vessel Mama is futuristic; it is the womb from which all life stems. The concept Rabin has come up with both from a marine craft and medical science perspective makes for fascinating reading. While it could be considered this type of technology is far into the future, the thought is delivered that while this is fiction, just how much of the technology that is contained within ‘Mama’ is, in reality, already in use.
Riveting and confrontational Rabin has delivered an unforgettable story in The Good Captain which all to readily could be a small peek into what could be considered as a bleak environmental future, but also takes a tilt at extremist behaviour and the negligence of Government to accept that climate change is a very real event, occurring now.