We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Success! You're on the list.


If your name is Brock Garner, you have a limited number of employment options: (1) coke-addled adult-film star, (2) stunt double for coke-addled action-film star, or, of course, (3) “renegade oceanographer…at the center of the storm.” In Sea Change, Rockville, Md., author (and real-life oceanographer) James Powlik’s debut novel, morally centered marine specialist Brock Garner—to me, never just Brock; never just Garner—must stop a deadly (and mutated) strain of Pfiesteria from infiltrating Seattle’s water supply. While Powlik’s slow-moving environmental menace—think the Blob with water wings—has been exaggerated for entertainment purposes, nonfictional Pfiesteria has recently been responsible for seasonal fish kills—and very sick humans—in the Chesapeake Bay. Similar in appearance to alga and found in warm, brackish waters, Pfiesteria stuns its prey, then begins de-fleshing its victim with a fat-soluble toxin. With the safety of the Pacific Northwest, the country, and the world in jeopardy, only one man can outsmart this wicked jelly-beast. Don’t be afraid to cry out his name: Brock Garner, porn-movie stud or not, has time for us all. Powlik reads from and signs copies of his book—and gives you a new respect for dinoflagellates—at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at Barnes & Noble, 3040 M St. NW. Free. (202) 965-9880. (Sean Daly)