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The Windup Girl [Hardcover]

Paolo Bacigalupi
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 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 500 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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Plot, characters, setting--awesome on all counts. A challenging read at the beginning, but the rewards are many, up until the very strong ending. This novel has been nominated for the upcoming Nebula Award. Past the first 25 pages or so, I found it extremely hard to put down. Couldn't find anything weak in it. I won't forget those characters.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genetically Modified Dystopia March 26 2010
Windup Girl is the first novel by Paulo Bacigalupi. After reading this book, I have become an instant fan of his work, and look forward to his follow up. Windup Girl is imaginative, and extremely well written. The Thai terms, and some sci-fi jargon make the first few chapters a bit of a challenge, but once you get into the story, it moves along quickly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Clever Science Fiction Jan. 20 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bacigalupi creates an immersive alternate future with ambiguous morality and twisted technology that is enjoyable to visit. Would have been 5* but in retrospect, i don't know that I felt a connection with the characters that grew throughout the novel, and (without ruining the twists) they don't all stick around to grow with.

More a compelling world and an interesting plot than a character driven or emotive experience. You can see that he has the potential to do even more, and that will indeed be a treat.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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 warming and genetic engineering disaster. The characters are well managed with motivation and action in sync and the political situation is believable.

Glad I read it.
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By Rook
Format:Kindle Edition

The world that Paolo Bacigalupi paints in this novel is excellent. The concept of energy becoming infinitely precious in its own right, rather than as a basic tool of production, was especially fascinating. While most characters consider having enough food to eat to be a comfortable position, the very richest characters have access to limousines powered by liquefied coal. It is especially telling when one character, ever conscious of conservation due to the life he has led, rides in such a vehicle, and describes it as an obscenity due to its wastefulness. People think primarily in terms of joules, calories, and currency, rather than time and effort, which our modern western society seeks to minimize.

Their lives of deprivation turn them towards survival as a primary goal. Correspondingly, labor is cheap, while food, electricity, and fuel are extremely expensive. This shifts the perspectives of the characters, giving a fascinating glimpse at Mr. Bacigalupi's imagined future. I really enjoyed the world he crafted, and I wish I could have spent more time there, because I feel like there are many more places in addition to Thailand where stories can be told, and where people live radically different lives in this world. I hope he does more with this universe.


Where the novel fails, as far as I am concerned, is in the field of character development.
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Most recent customer reviews
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 5 months ago by Sixtyliner
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 8 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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Memorable, Quite Credible, Dystopian Post-Cyberpunk Literary Debut...
One of the finest novels published in 2009, Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Windup Girl" is a compelling dystopian future post-cyberpunk novel which vividly imagines a world coping with... Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2012 by John Kwok
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and feasible biopunk
The Windup Girl is one of the those rare novels for which a sequel is definitely warranted, the risk of course being that it wouldn't live up to its spectacular predecessor. Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2012 by OpenMind
4.0 out of 5 stars A for The Windup Girl
Disclaimer: Reviews will mainly concentrate on novels that I enjoyed, and in writing them I will attempt to be succinct and to avoid all manner of spoilery comments. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2011 by Zafri M.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Steampunk Novel
Well this book includes mystery sci-fi steampunk and well developed characters all in a distopian future world. Read more
Published on Nov. 22 2011 by fastreader
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This is a very detailed and believable future world. It might not appeal to hard sci-fi fans but it is self-consistent. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2011 by David Cameron
4.0 out of 5 stars Multi Kulti Blade Runneresque
I think this book is a vision of a possible future where the world is undergoing a process of entropy, systems failing everywhere, and there are people who have been displaced... Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2011 by Leong KEN
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