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Group Reads Discussions 2010 > "Windup Girl" Gibson's Successor?

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message 1: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 27 comments Time Magazine selected The Windup Girl as one of the top 10 fiction books of 2009. In his review, Lev Grossman wrote, “Bacigalupi is a worthy successor to William Gibson,” calling the story “cyberpunk without computers.” Do you agree or disagree with his assessment?


message 2: by Dana (last edited Mar 01, 2010 04:14PM) (new)

Dana (rhysiana) | 39 comments I'd say that this book is definitely (going to be) part of a "-punk" movement of some sort, but describing it as "cyberpunk without computers" seems too misleading. The short story he wrote also set in this world, "The Calorie Man," is in Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, so it seems there's a large-ish movement toward redefining current sf's terms.


message 3: by Rick (new)

Rick Pasley (hikr3) | 12 comments I think the comparisons to Gibson are fair, but to call this cyberpunk is a reach. I think rather that if William Gibson were writing future climate catastrophe books, they would be very much like The Windup Girl. Good author comparison but people are just taking it one step too far.


message 4: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 27 comments I sometimes wonder: Do you think the more "punk" gets thrown around as an appellation, the less impact it will have in defining a sub-genre or movement?

It's like tacking "-gate" to the end of any political scandal. Eventually, the term disassociates from its roots. Who of today's generation or beyond would be able to name Watergate as a hotel and offices?


message 5: by Dana (new)

Dana (rhysiana) | 39 comments Ryan wrote: "I sometimes wonder: Do you think the more "punk" gets thrown around as an appellation, the less impact it will have in defining a sub-genre or movement?

It's like tacking "-gate" to the end of any..."


While I don't doubt that there is a marketing aspect to the desire to add -punk to the ends of new subgenres, this book does actually qualify as -punk, in that it "the characters [are:] marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures..." Taken from Lawrence Person's definition of cyberpunk (quoted here). While not every single character in the book is marginalized, you can certainly say that of the title character, and this future is definitely a dystopia.


message 6: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (Sandikal) I would say that Paolo Bacigalupi is much more in the Ian MacDonald or China Miéville mold than William Gibson.


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard (MrRedwood) | 162 comments Sandi wrote: "I would say that Paolo Bacigalupi is much more in the Ian MacDonald or China Miéville mold than William Gibson."

I'd agree that the feel of Bacigalupi is very similar to Miéville, the near-future earth of the former makes him a much more interesting writer to me. Peter Watts' Rifters series is similar: dystopian future with evil corporations (see Starfish), but Watts sets his stories closer in time to us, and is less bio- and more techno-.


message 8: by CV (new)

CV Rick My impression after reading Wind-Up Girl was, "Wow, I haven't felt like this since reading Diamond Age by Stephenson. It was quick, smart, deep, and filled with the kind of idealized prose that others want to emulate. I don't know about being Gibson's successor - although I have not liked anything Gibson's done in several years, but I do feel that Bacigalupi is treading in the path Neal Stephenson once took.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology (other topics)
Starfish (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

China Miéville (other topics)
Paolo Bacigalupi (other topics)
Ian Macdonald (other topics)
Peter Watts (other topics)
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