Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi

Fantastic, disturbing near-future sci-fi. Gene mutations and spread of genetically modified food that bears diseases that taint 'natural' crops has left the world in a famine, while rising sea levels have destroyed most coastal cities. Bangkok, however, due to massive engineering and successful wars between Thailand and it's neighbors, survives in a surreal animal power driven nightmarish state, and the machinations and plottings of some expatriate corporate types with a need to get their hands on the imperial seed bank drive the plot for the most part. The windup girl of the title, Emiko, is a Japanese creation abandoned after her owner left her in the city, and her 'life' has become a nightmare. Questions of civil rights for artificial life are hard to look at in a novel where humans suffer this much, but miraculously, Emiko's struggles are as agonizing, if not more so, as the humans she was created to obey.

1 comment:

Brasil said...

Paolo Bacigalupi won a lot of acclaim and awards for his novel "The Windup Girl" when it came out in 2009. The story's expansion of current trends in agriculture, business, and science make for frightening realism. The sad stupidity and greed that drives many of the characters is also so common that it is scary to think we may never learn our lessons and let history keep repeating itself. The complex plot, multiple characters, and intensely detailed setting add to the sense of seriousness and keep you pressing forward.