Ray Nayler’s 2022 The Mountain in the Sea is a stand-alone near-future tale of first contact.
In a triumph of human achievement, high ‑tech trawlers have scoured the oceans, transforming them from over-crowded seas full of thriving life to pristine deserts. As catches plummet, new ways are discovered and deployed to track down and catch the tiny remnant of a once-rich ecosystem.
While this is good news for consumers, it’s bad news for people like Eiko, kidnapped and enslaved on an automated fishing boat. Humans are slightly cheaper than new machinery.
It’s worse news for the entities living off Con Dao, for they are not human. This is a world in which humans are merely economic cogs while non-humans are simply food.