Graham's Reviews > The Windup Girl

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
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Sep 24, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, dystopia, sci-fi, technology, cybersteampunk, owned, favorites
Read from December 25 to 27, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

Everything I hoped it would be and more. Bacigalupi paints the picture of a world in which rising seas have swallowed New York, Mumbai, New Orleans, and Rangoon, and where only the coal-powered monstrous pumps of King Rama XII prevent the similar fate from befalling Bangkok. Where the "calorie men," representatives of the midwestern agricultural combines that released the blister rust plagues into the wild, whose "U-Tex" and other genetically-engineered crops are the only defense against the diseases created by the same men, and the sterility of which forces India, Burma, and the other starving nations of the world into semi-feudal servility. Where the combustion engine has been replaced by kink-spring power wound by men and elephant-derived megadonts, where the exertion of labor to power the world requires the fuel of food, and calories are the currency of the realm.

In the midst of this, a former Japanese pleasure construct - the titular "windup girl" - discovers instincts and desires beyond the total obedience and urge to please that has not just been bred into her, but programmed into the very fiber of her being. An accidental übermenschen trapped among a peoples who regard her as trash, she represents a future that she can't even understand yet.

It is a rich portrait, indeed, and Bacigalupi excels at the alternate history/speculative fiction techniques of hint-dropping and hastily-sketched background details that he doles out like candy along a forest trail. But you'll want to go where he's luring you.
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Reading Progress

12/26/2011 page 170
47.0%

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