Bacigalupi won my heart with “Shipbreaker”, but I actually had this book on the shelf not too long before that was released. “Shipbreaker” is for theBacigalupi won my heart with “Shipbreaker”, but I actually had this book on the shelf not too long before that was released. “Shipbreaker” is for the YA market, and is about a post-petrol America, but that’s where the similarities end. “The Windup Girl” is an awful, wonderful future that is SO not for kids, about a new kind of slavery that may await our descendants if we keep going the way we’re going. This book just made me love him even more.
For those not comfortable about human trafficking, you probably shouldn’t read this book. Well, semi-human trafficking. You get what I mean. But even if you’re uneasy, the way Bacigalupi writes it is masterful, and only goes for the jugular with anything that might be considered triggery in the abuse catagory a few times when he could have gone wild with it the entire book. For that I thank him, it made things easier to digest.
This book is far in our future – or is it? Once again, we have a post-petrol world, a world where entire parts of countries and continents are covered by rising seas, and the Thai Kingdom is now the center of the world instead of America with its “generippers” (geneticists who literally rip the genes out of something to create chimera of anything – plants, animals, and now humans for sale) and the calorie companies, the new currency of the future. No longer oil, or dollars, or euro, or yen, but calories, and all the measures thereof. I had to pause at one early point in the book and wiki metric calorie count because I honestly couldn’t keep it straight, but once I did, it was smooth sailing from then on. The currency of the future is in joules, the measure unit of energy provided by calories, and fines are determined by how many you use versus how many you waste (for anti-pollution measures), and power everything from lightbulbs to factories.
Bacigalupi does not make this a beautiful, peaceful future. There is constant tension in the Thai Kingdom between everyone – the foreigners (farang), the Yellow Cards (Malay-Chinese), the gangs, the white shirts (bureaucrats, mostly in the inspector divisions), the market sellers, and the regular Thai people. So much tension that I was kind of on the edge of my seat going “Okay, who’s going to slaughter whom first?” the entire time. When it does happen (and I won’t say how or when), it was kind of a relief, with such a huge buildup. But again, it’s a subtle one, slowly pushing at the boundary of the already stress-taxed people in the book, until literally, all hell breaks loose.
I loved the characters. I want more out of this world, I’ll be frank – but I’m pretty sure we won’t be getting any more from the “Windup” universe. The characters were rich, but I want some kind of prequel telling us about how we got to this point of the calorie companies versus the world, and why everyone hates them (that’s kind of obvious, but still) – but considering what we got, I’m extremely pleased. The arc development of how the characters changed was excellent, and honestly, I couldn’t want more out of a futuristic almost-dystopic book. Seriously. It really is that good.
I could keep gushing on and on about how awesome Bacigalupi’s work is here, but for the sake of brevity, I won’t. Just go out and read it. Even if you’re not a sci-fi fan, go read it. It will teach us about how we can prevent such a future today, and about the basic nature of people (the human animal), period. The human animal. It sent chills up my spine for large portions of the second half of the book, and that’s pretty rare for me.
So, this has made my best of 2010 AND 2011 list, and it’s high up there on both. Congrats, Bacigalupi. Now get back to work on the sequel for “Shipbreaker”, and we’ll call it even.
(posted to goodreads, librarything, shelfari, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com) ...more
Everything that we fear may be coming in terms of religion, science, disease, famine, war, society...it's all been crammedThis book has blown my mind.
Everything that we fear may be coming in terms of religion, science, disease, famine, war, society...it's all been crammed into this novel and has been made to work spectacularly within its labyrinthine story. I literally could NOT put this book down and spent most of last night and today finishing it.
The best part about this book is, because it IS mostly science/medicine-based in plot, the facts regarding brain chemistry are correct. It's so very, very, very refreshing to have a book that involves science that is in the fiction genre that gets its stuff correct. Even if SLP is fiction itself, the rest of it is fact. And that makes for some very terrifying reading, more terrifying than any vampire or werewolf book could conjure in my mind.
Why? Simple. Because all of these things - species jumping, GMOs, martial law - can happen. And may happen within the next ten to fifty years. Huston has masterfully put together all of these pieces that are going on in our world today, tuned them up a notch, and served us chaos on a platter. And it's a wonderful and horrible chaos, one that has most definitely made me think about the 'what ifs' that may occur during my lifetime.
I kind of hope a sequel or companion story is written, because I would love to figure out what happened after the epilogue. Or rather, what happened between the final chapter and the epilogue.
A great way to kick start books that will be published in 2010....more
This book is far superior than the "TWILIGHT" series.
There, I said it.
Why, you may ask? Because the characters aren't quite fully formed, leaving theThis book is far superior than the "TWILIGHT" series.
There, I said it.
Why, you may ask? Because the characters aren't quite fully formed, leaving the reader to involve their imagination while reading. There's far more mental activity required to read this novel, and it's definitely worth the effort. One reason out of many (I could go on for pages), but you get the idea. It's her best work so far, and not recognized as such.
I can't wait for the sequel. That is, if she actually publishes it....more
The science was absolutely spot-on, but the author couldn't seem to find his voice, whether to stay in a non-fiction voice or in a fiction voice. I coThe science was absolutely spot-on, but the author couldn't seem to find his voice, whether to stay in a non-fiction voice or in a fiction voice. I couldn't last fifty pages within this one - and I was disappointed, because I'd been hearing such good, glowing things about it.
The science of the situation as explained in the book is its only saving grace, really. Such a shame....more
Very well-written, but a very sad future is painted in this novel. Get your anti-depressants and a box of tissues ready, because it's about to go downVery well-written, but a very sad future is painted in this novel. Get your anti-depressants and a box of tissues ready, because it's about to go down....more