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The Windup Girl [Hardcover]

Paolo Bacigalupi
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2009
Recipient of the Sturgeon Award, Paolo Bacigalupi's writing has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, and the environmental journal High Country News. His non-fiction essays have appeared in and High Country News, and have been syndicated into numerous western newspapers.

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Product Description


Bacigalupi is a worthy successor to William Gibson: this is cyberpunk without computers Time Magazine Not since William Gibson's pioneering cyberpunk classic, NEUROMANCER (1984), has a first novel excited science fiction readers as much ... Paolo Bacigalupi is a writer to watch for in the future. Just don't wait that long to enjoy the darkly complex pleasu The Washington Post An exciting story about industrial espionage, civil war, and political struggle, filled with heart-thudding action sequences, sordid sex, and enough technical speculation for two lesser novels Cory Doctorow This complex, literate and intensely felt tale, which recalls both William Gibson and Ian McDonald at their very best, will garner Bacigalupi significant critical attention and is clearly one of the finest science fiction novels of the year Publishers Weekly (starred review) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars RIDING THE EDGE OF DYSTOPIC BIOPUNK Jan. 9 2011
This was the first book I read in 2011 and I can say that the year started on the right foot.

The book setting is Post-Apocalyptic Bangkok, living on time borrowed from both the raising sea levels and the latest versions of food oligopolies biowarfare vectors. The world is slowly shrinking again, the initial catastrophic expansion caused by the exhaustion of the oil reserves. Nevertheless, the main sources of power still are, once more, beasts of burden and the weather.

Collapse of the economies of entire continents, chronic malnourishment, religious cleansings and an endless string of resistant terminal infections have pushed humanity to the very edge of existence. And yet, human greed and blind ambition still offer the impetus for the endless power-games that care not how many lives get trampled under its threads.

An American investor/spy after Thailand's only remaining bio-treasure; a shrewd and ruthless refugee trying to rebuilt his empire lost to murderous fundamentalism; government factions locked in a power-struggle to the death; and a seductively-designed Japanese Windup Girl that will unwillingly serve as the catalyst for the brewing explosion.

The book losses its 5th star because of its ending - and I will say no more to avoid any spoilers.
Other than that, a potent mix of William Gibson and Pierre Ouellette.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sci-fi book April 9 2012
By G. Larouche TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is an amazing example of dystopian sci-fi! All the prices and accolades were well deserved!

The story takes place in a pretty post-apocalyptic future Thailand, after genetically engineered food led to new strains of lethal diseases that completely changed the world. The story lines of different characters are cleverly interwoven and give a veiled picture of a highly corrupt and hierarchical society that considers "clean" food items and health regulations as top priorities. The common point between the American rep of one of the big calorie companies, his accountant, a Thai police officer and other minor characters is the wind-up girl, a human-like creature that fascinates and/or repulses everyone. Her actions and the importance she takes in some of the characters lives drive the novel.

I do not want to give anything away, but this was a great read, from the first to the last page! The writing is beautiful and solid. The world created by the author is richly detailed, thought-provoking, and sometimes, creepy in an unnervingly familiar way. I love this book and highly recommend to sci-fi fans, or anyone who enjoys a good dystopian novel.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing read Aug. 2 2010
By Patrick St-Denis TOP 1000 REVIEWER
With everything that has been said regarding Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl, I was certainly expecting a quality read. Yet it's much more than that. Simply put, The Windup Girl could well be the finest science fiction novel of the year.

Here's the blurb:

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko...
Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.

What happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism's genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? In The Windup Girl, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi returns to the world of "The Calorie Man" ( Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award-winner, Hugo Award nominee, 2006) and "Yellow Card Man" (Hugo Award nominee, 2007) in order to address these poignant questions.

The worldbuilding was impeccable. I was fascinated with the way Bacigalupi portrayed a dystopian Bangkok and the rest of Southeast Asia.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Windup Girl Aug. 2 2010
By Roland
Paolo Bacigalupi is a relatively new name in the genre, but obviously one to pay close attention to. His debut, The Windup Girl, won first the Nebula for best novel, and then - just a few days ago - the Locus for best debut novel. It is also a finalist for the Hugo, and in my personal opinion fully deserves to win.

The Windup Girl is a "biopunk" story, set in a world where Global Warming has raised the sea levels and Carbon fuel sources are almost depleted. Biotechnology is the dominant science, and its forerunners are the "Calorie Companies" - megacorporations that control most of the world through the iron grip of food production. No natural sources of food could survive the engineered plagues and pests that ravage the ecosystem, and only the Calorie Companies have the knowledge and resources to stay ahead of unstoppable mutations, various new strains and their rivals' newest bio-threats. To add insult to injury, most of those threats are deadly to humans as well, and so people live in constant fear of plague and starvation.

The story is set in the city of Bangkok in the Thai Kingdom - one of the last countries thriving without the help of the Calorie Companies whose representatives are forbidden to set foot on its soil. The Thai possess an unimaginable treasure - a seedbank holding specimens of the extinct natural flora - and the megacorporations want to get their hands on this genetic wealth. But the triumvirate running the Kingdom - the Somdet Chaopraya, regent of the Child Queen; General Pracha, head of the Environmental Ministry; and Akkarat, leader of the Trade Ministry - are holding the threats at bay.

Into this tapestry are woven the stories of five characters.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great sci-fi read!
Exceptional. Find myself going back to re-read several times now.
Published 3 months ago by Charlain Shields
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to judge by its (excellent) cover.
This guy can write. Check out THE DROWNED CITIES which is even better.
Published 3 months ago by Scissorpaws
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex and deep
A complex, well charactered, semi-apocalyptic potential future. Extrapolates many of the current geopolitical, environmental, genetic and human issues. No easy outs.
Published 4 months ago by Joe Church
4.0 out of 5 stars worth the Effort
Set in a future time when the world's plants and animals are subject to an endless cycle of disastrous mutations has put mankind's food supply at risk. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Heather Pearson
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever Science Fiction
Bacigalupi creates an immersive alternate future with ambiguous morality and twisted technology that is enjoyable to visit. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Craig Jenkins
1.0 out of 5 stars Somebody buy Paolo a thesaurus.
The story is tedious, pretentious and a bit distasteful. But the real undoing is that in every exchange of dialogue, the only adjectives used to describe the characters are... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sixtyliner
4.0 out of 5 stars solid read and sobering perspective of enviro post-apocalyptic world
An overall good read, although the title is a bit misleading focal point.

Bacigalupi provides a solid science fiction with a perspective on the world after global... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Daniel Magyar
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable plot/setting, very weak character development

The world that Paolo Bacigalupi paints in this novel is excellent. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Rook
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read
This was the first (and hopefully last) book I didn't finish not because I didn't like it, but because it felt like it was written in another language. It was probably good. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars The Windup Girl
The Windup Girl -- Great scifi of a dystopia future. I won't give away details, but it is written quite well with a great vocabulary of words and is a pretty fast read. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2012 by Joel Andrews
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