The Windup Girl Hardcover – Sep 1 2009
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WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARD, THE NEBULA AWARD, THE LOCUS AWARD, THE COMPTON CROOK AWARD, AND THE CAMPBELL MEMORIAL AWARD
It’s ridiculous how good this book is. . . . Bacigalupi’s vision is almost as rich and shocking as William Gibson’s vision was in 1984 . . . I hope he writes 10 sequels.”
Lev Grossman, TIME
Reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s Blade Runner.... densely packed with ideas about genetic manipulation, distribution of resources, the social order, and environmental degradation ... science fiction with an environmental message, but one that does not get in the way of its compelling story.”
Sacramento Book Review
This complex, literate and intensely felt tale, which recalls both William Gibson and Ian McDonald at their very best ... clearly one of the finest science fiction novels of the year.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A captivating look at a dystopic future that seems all too possible. East meets
West in a clash of cultures brilliantly portrayed in razor-sharp images, tension-building pacing, and sharply etched characters.”
Library Journal (starred review)
"When it hits its sweet-spot, The Windup Girl embodies what SF does best of all: it remakes reality in compelling, absorbing and thought-provoking ways, and it lives on vividly in the mind."
"Bacigalupi never slides into moralism or judgement ... Ultimately that's what makes this debut novel so exciting. It's rare to find a writer who can create such well-shaded characters while also building a weird new future world."
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Fantastic. Very much like a Phillip K. Dick story. The author paints a vivid and personal picture of life in Bangkok in a bustling future.Published 13 months ago by Jay Jennings
Boring . . .after resisting until page 350 I ended up reading the rest of the plot on wikipedia. Maybe I had too many expectations...anyways, did not work for me.Published 16 months ago by luther
Exceptional. Find myself going back to re-read several times now.Published on July 16 2014 by Charlain Shields
This guy can write. Check out THE DROWNED CITIES which is even better.Published on July 16 2014 by Scissorpaws
A complex, well charactered, semi-apocalyptic potential future. Extrapolates many of the current geopolitical, environmental, genetic and human issues. No easy outs.Published on June 23 2014 by Joe Church
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 morePublished on Oct. 22 2013 by Sixtyliner
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
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