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The Windup Girl [Paperback]

Paolo Bacigalupi
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 16.99
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Book Description

May 1 2010
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.

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Review

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 an alternate 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
By NeuroSplicer HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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.

RECOMMENDED!
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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
Format:Paperback
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
Format:Hardcover
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
Format:Hardcover
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 Complex and deep June 23 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A complex, well charactered, semi-apocalyptic potential future. Extrapolates many of the current geopolitical, environmental, genetic and human issues. No easy outs.
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4.0 out of 5 stars worth the Effort May 5 2014
By Heather Pearson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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. Amid all this despair, farmers in Thailand are growing crops lost to the rest of the world. This has brought calorie man Anderson Lake to try and find the scientist responsible. During his quest, he is introduced to Emiko, a Japanese created 'New People'. While the Japanese embrace these creche grown beings, the rest of the world barely tolerate these windups.

Coming from an environmentalist background, I was most intrigued by devastation to the global flora and fauna. A little snip here and little tinker there, and soon we have a cascading genetic crisis. I wish there had been more emphasis on this part of the story rather than on the windup girl and the political crisis that developed in the country. The one thing that most disturbed me was the level of corruption in all branches of the government. Bribes were required in almost every situation. You want a package cleared through customs, you pay a bribe, you want to get the union to do the work they've been hired to do, you pay a bribe, you want to do just about anything, you pay a bribe. As distasteful as this process is to me, it was fundamental to the development of this story.

This story really has me pondering how close we come to this type of disaster. Currently the Emerald Ash Borer is devastating the white ash trees across my area of Ontario. Loss of trees in the affected areas will be 100% (unless treated). This is horrific damage from a pest that was accidentally introduced to the area. Imagine if these pest had targeted a food stock instead of a tree.

I found this book was a bit hard to get into.
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Most recent customer reviews
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 5 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 8 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 8 months ago by Daniel Magyar
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable plot/setting, very weak character development
MINOR SPOILERS FOLLOW - INTENDED FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ALREADY READ THE NOVEL

The world that Paolo Bacigalupi paints in this novel is excellent. Read more
Published 10 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 11 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
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