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Pump Six and Other Stories (Pump Six and Other Stories)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  3,983 ratings  ·  549 reviews
Paolo Bacigalupi's debut collection demonstrates the power and reach of the science fiction short story. Social criticism, political parable, and environmental advocacy lie at the center of Paolo's work. Each of the stories herein is at once a warning, and a celebration of the tragic comedy of the human experience.
The eleven stories in Pump Six represent the best Paolo's w
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Hardcover, 239 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Night Shade Books
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Stephen
Besides brilliant, inventive and superb, the best way to describe Paolo Bacigulupi’s collection of short fiction is: G…R…I…M! Do not go into PB’s work looking for gumdrops and teddy bears, because his stories will bludgeon your mood until your happy is a bruised, battered mess. Still, this is one emotional spanking you will love, because Bacigalupi's prose contains some of the most colorful, intensely unique imagery being produced in SF.

The stories in Pump Six, almost without exception, concern
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Nataliya
Bleak. Overwhelmingly bleak. To the point where it sucks out all the happiness out of you, leaving you hollow and unsettled.

Memorable. To the point where it feels as if it's crawling under your skin to stay with you for a very long time.

If you have read The Windup Girl, the worlds that Bacigalupi creates in this collection of short stories - the themes, the mood, the settings - will be quite familiar to you. Two of the stories here, actually, are set in the same world as that novel, and one of t
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Tatiana
It took me a loooong time to get through this book, and not because it wasn't good, but because I was bloody scared of it. I would finish one story looking like this @.@ and then put the book aside for a while to get some courage to read another one.

Bacigalupi is the author who doesn't do safe and comforting. His visions of our future are brutal, unforgiving and totally too believable.

Let's take The Fluited Girl - for me the scariest story in this anthology. The idea Bacigalupi extrapolates her
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Catie
This volume makes me remember how much I love short stories. I love how they sneak up and punch you right in the eye, then leave abruptly without even explaining themselves. They don’t have much time, so they have to be blunt. I can really appreciate that.

I won’t summarize all of the stories, but they are all intense. They are all set in not so distant futures, but are all chillingly related to present day events. The calamities taking place in these stories are exaggerated (a bit), but what’s u
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Penny
This collection of short stories paints a very bleak picture of the future that I found quite disturbing. This is without doubt the darkest book I've ever read.

At first I was finding these stories so depressing and uncomfortable that I tried to take a break from them. I found that I couldn't. Perhaps they suit my current mood, but I felt that once I had a taste of this depth I couldn't stay away.

I didn't love every story in equal measure, but each one sent a shock up my spine and gave an insig
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Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
A complete slog. Why? Because Paolo writes about the inglorious in humanity with clear eyes and precise language. I'm reminded of a line: he'll show you your own heart in such a way that you would rip it out.

The Fluted Girls: disturbing view of a dystopia. disturbing view of sexuality.
The People of Sand and Slag: silicon-based people might have lost a little of humanity, but they feel it echo after they find a dog.
Christy
Paolo Bacigalupi's collection of short stories deals primarily with environmental and bioethics issues: the politics of food (“The Calorie Man”); water management (“The Tamarisk Hunter”); waste management (“Pump Six”); de-evolution (also “Pump Six”); and the manipulation of bodies, whether for entertainment or for longevity (“The Fluted Girl,” “The Pop Squad,” and “The People of Sand and Slag”).

All but "Softer," a meditative story of a man who kills his wife and the way he deals with it, are ne
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Evgeny
This is a collection of short sci-fi stories with most of them set in near future dystopia. The stories are very good, but depressing. I mean, 1984 type depressing. What really got me when I read this book is that none of the future possibilities described are not unlikely to happen, just like 1984 which I already mentioned. In fact, I would recommend reading this book to people just to see the possible directions we are happily going in. I also found last several stories to be very disturbing i ...more
Carlos
No conecto con Bacigalupi. Le reconozco imaginación en la creación del entorno, con la capacidad para bosquejar una disto pía verosímil en pocas páginas. Le reconozco capacidad para sumergirte en un entorno sucio donde la vida se ha convertido en supervivencia. No le falta habilidad para darte un retrato seco con economía de palabras y llevar el relato.

Pero creo que se deshincha en historias que no están a la altura de su entorno, en el que se difuminan. En cierto sentido es como hacer una histo
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Nicholas Karpuk
I've avoided short story collections for quite a while. My general glib answer is that by the time I'm invested in the characters, the story is over.

After reading a few really quality short story collections lately, I've reevaluated that stance. My real problem is distrust.

You have to trust that the editor, or in this case the writer, have good taste and vision when they pick what's placed within the collection. When it's a single writer's stories this becomes much easier.

Investment comes quickl
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Stefan
Paolo Bacigalupi burst onto the scene in a big way with his excellent SF novel The Windup Girl, which rightfully won both glowing reviews and major awards, and followed it up with a great YA novel, Ship Breaker. Both books are set in near-future dystopian settings in which the ruined environment plays a big role. Given all of this, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Paolo Bacigalupi’s first collection of short stories, Pump Six and Other Stories, is 1) also excellent and 2) continues the t ...more
Jonfaith
After pawing through the first story in Pump Six, I imagined it would constitute serial penalty kicks for the grim master. Having just completed the final, titular story, I found Bacigalupi less-than-Lampard but still able to fill the net. Maybe I'm a poor keeper.

Shoving aside my aversions to both stories and matters that involve outer space, I was certainly moved by the philosophy of the collection as a whole. We perceive these threats in our trends our habits, our waste. We don't dare ponder
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Jeanette (jema)
This one was a surprise to me. I must say I didn't expect much when I bought it but it was the months book over at the sci-fi and fantasy book club here at GR and I had some money over from x-mas.
I knew he had written The Windup girl, but I kinda thought that was some steampunk novel.
I was wrong. Some of the stories in this collection takes place in the same world as that novel (that I haven't read yet but will - soon)
It is a bleak dystopia where humanity is stripped of what makes us human.

Whil
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Lightreads
Specfic collection, with a tilt towards smart, scary near-future dystopias. People keep comparing him to Ted Chiang. It's accurate in that they're both really good short storyists, but Bacigalupi is doing fundamentally different things than Chiang does. These stories stress-test individual pieces of what we think of as our normal infrastructure – safe drinking water, reproduction, renewable food sources. A few selections, with links to the stories where available online. I recommend the whole co ...more
Rebecca
If you're not a fan of the well-thought-out dystopia, this book is not for you. These stories are grim. Set in worlds where the oil has run out, chemical buildup causes massive birth defects, and worse, these are the cautionary tales that give environmentalists nightmares. At the same time, they're lyrical, rewarding, and for all that they play with world-shaking cataclysms, focus on the best of stubborn, resilient humanity.

For fans of The Windup Girl, there are two stories here from that univer
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Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

In Pump Six and Other Stories, which won the Locus Award for Best Collection, Paolo Bacigalupi treats us to these ten excellently written biopunk stories:

"Pocketful of Dharma" (1999) — a young street urchin finds a digital storage device which contains some startling data. This is Bacigalupi’s first short story — and it’s impressive. I love the premise of this story and its ambiguous ending. It would be fun to see Bacigalupi extend this one into a novel.

"T
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David
None of the stories in this collection were bad, and some I would rate 4 or even 4.5 stars individually, but nothing really impressed me like the The Windup Girl did. I think my greatest disappointment was the similarity of all the themes: Bacigalupi writes dystopian stories about humanity's greed and selfishness and environmental devastation, and that's all he writes about. Two of the stories in Pump Six are from the same world as The Windup Girl, and most of the others easily could be. He's a ...more
J.P.
A fantastic collection of stories but heavy on the dark and gloomy. Simular to the theme you'll find in The Windup Girl. Makes most dystopian stories seem like a picnic in the park with crumpets and ladyfingers by comparison. Be that as it may, it's outstanding.
Paolo
Wrapping this book up in only one word is easy: disturbing. I use this word in the most positive way I can think of. This is one of the best books I have read in a while and definitely one of the best short story collections I have ever read.

Each of these stories is set in different future versions of Earth where different ecological/social catastrophes have occurred. Where most authors struggle to build just one convincing post-apocalyptic or dystopic scenario, Bacigalupi effortlessly presents
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 Jo Ann
Normally short stories leave me rather cold. I guess it's because they always seem to have these dead-end endings. You know what I'm talking about, where the author doesn't seem to understand that just because it's a short, it doesn't deserve a proper conclusion. Bacigalupi's writing style is different, his stories have a way of leaving you feeling satisfied and disturbingly creeped-out at the same time.

This anthology is a collection of apocalyptic nightmares, except for two. We are shown futur
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Tim Hicks
Wow. Harlan Ellison meets Edgar Allan Poe.
Don't read this if you're having a tough month.
Don't read this if you're squeamish.

Do read it if you enjoy finishing a short story, saying "Wow," and finding you can't start the next one till the wheels stop spinning from the previous one. You won't forget this book.

And yes, it stands apart from his others. There is overlap, but nothing is lost if you haven't read his other work.

As I read these stories of dystopian futures, I thought "of course he go
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Sherry Roit
Disturbing. Visceral at times. Elegant prose. Not for the faint of heart, or anyone looking for happy stories, that's for certain. Absolutely dystopian, sci-fi/cyberpunk/bio-punk, choose your favorite descriptor. Bio makes perfect sense. But it crosses into the others as well. It SHOULD disturb you. It should make you think about the grey areas of morality, particularly when faced with a completely different world than you know.

I like it for that alone. It made me consider. Think. It was differe
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Matija
A decent collection of sci-fi short stories, Pump Six etc. is notable for its lack of green little men. No sir, you will find no green little men descending onto Earth to blow us all up, only to be eventually thwarted by humanity's ingenuity, or else Will Smith. And thank Bacigalupi for that.

Instead, Bacigalupi focuses on topics that we are much more likely to experience first hand in the not so distant future. Genetic engineering, for example. Patent trolling. Megacorps taking over (like we're
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Mark
This author doesn't seem to understand anything about human motives. At no point in any of the stories in this book did I come close to identifying, empathizing, or feel like I shared a genetic heritage with any character in any story.

The settings were almost well constructed, but again, they were predicated on choices by society which couldn't ever remotely occur. Beyond that, the science was bad (well, mostly non-existent, but the science which existed had all the nuance of depicting hacking o
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David Hebblethwaite
I have heard a lot about Paolo Bacigalupi, much of it good; and I thought it was about time I got acquainted with his work. I’ve started with what built his reputation – his short fiction. Pump Six is a collection of ten stories, presented in chronological order of publication, and dating as far back as 1999. From reading it, I’ve discovered that (with a few reservations), Bacigalupi’s work deserves to be spoken of so highly.

Right from the start, Bacigalupi shows himself to be a great writer of
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Faire
I have got an issue with this book. It is well written, forcing the reader to get a ride through very original mix of future worlds that have only one thing in common: they are depressive as hell. Unless I missed something there was not one story that would be positive - all of them fell in one of two categories: either something went wrong with the world in a big scale (running out of fuels, being locked in distopy ruled by companies owning intellectual property on the only plant breeds that ar ...more
David
I admire Bacigalupi's writing, and Pump Six and Other Stories is on par with Ship Breaker and The Windup Girl -- although most of the stories in Pump Six are more closely related to The Windup Girl as far as setting and tone go. What I mean by that is that most of the stories in Pump Six are set in a pretty dismal future in which gene-hacking and/or global climate instability have wreaked havoc on the world. Read individually, each can be seen as a warning about the path we're on, environmentall ...more
Sarah Sammis
I've wanted to read Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi since I read the titular story in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008. I finally found a copy via Link+ and got it read over the holidays.

The book has ten stories, two of which are in the same world as The Wind-Up Girl, a book I bought over the holidays and plan to read this year. Those two stories are "The Calorie Man" and "Yellow Card Man."

Although not all of the stories are set in the same universe or timeline,
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Oscar
Tras ‘La chica mecánica’ y ‘El cementerio de barcos’, Paolo Bacigalupi nos ofrece una recopilación de relatos, mezcla de ciencia ficción especulativa, biopunk, postapocalipsis y distopía. La mayoría de dichos cuentos están ambientados en un futuro cercano, predominando el medio ambiente y las clases más desfavorecidas. De ahí, que los desastres ecológicos, la pobreza, la crítica social y la denuncia política, centren la atención del autor.

Estos son los once relatos incluidos en ‘La bomba número
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Jeanne
Sci Fi – WOW talk about taking the present into the future in ways which have never, and probably never would, occur to me. Leaving me in thought & making me consider becoming an activist in environmental/political arenas before his possibilities become our (or our children's) realities. Not offering solutions, just possible outcomes of current trends.
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Paolo Bacigalupi’s writing has appeared in High Country News, Salon.com, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. It has been anthologized in various “Year’s Best” collections of short science fiction and fantasy, nominated for three Nebula and five Hugo Awards, and won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best sf short story of the year.

His debut nov
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More about Paolo Bacigalupi...
The Windup Girl Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, #1) The Drowned Cities (Ship Breaker, #2) The Alchemist Zombie Baseball Beatdown

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