Christopher's Reviews > The Windup Girl

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
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's review
Jul 31, 2013

it was ok
bookshelves: alternate-history, fiction
Read in June, 2012

I very nearly abandoned this book several times. The world is interesting, combining global warming, peak oil, and Monsanto-like agribusiness going horribly wrong. The idea of a paramilitary equivalent to the EPA and CDC rolled together has a certain appeal.

My problem is the title character, Emiko the windup girl. She is a 'new person' built by the Japanese to provide labor in an aging population, in her case as a personal assistant and companion. She has both nature (dog DNA) and nurture (training since birth) forcing her into obedience and submissiveness. Our character is a cast-off, thrown away by her patron because she would cost too much to ship back to Japan. Now she is on the streets of Bangkok where her mere existence is considered illegal and the populace feels she has no soul.

Essentially, she is a walking, talking rape fantasy. She'll do anything she is told and will freeze at the sound of "tone of command". She is ashamed of her submissiveness and what she is hates what she is made to do. The idea of a woman with no true free will, who can never reject you, who is shy about what your desires but will acquiesce if you just take a firm hand. It is all so very puerile - the type of fantasy dreamed by a 14 year-old boy too afraid to ask his classmates to the dance.

I'm not saying that the premise is impossible. If we make artificial humans, which seems inevitable, sex-toys are almost certainly going to be among the first models, and those models will almost certainly be female, demure, submissive, and have perfect skin. That doesn't make any of this right. I wanted to shout "grow the fuck up!" at the author. Stop viewing women as things to be purchased or stolen. Stop obsessing about girls and try meeting people. Being in love with a real person is orders of magnitude better than any fantasy fembot will ever be.

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message 1: by Eric (new)

Eric Jackson ooo! I've been wanting to read that for awhile!

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