Christy's Reviews > Pump Six and Other Stories

Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi
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's review
Oct 20, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction-and-fantasy, short-fiction

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 near-future dystopias. Some are told from the perspective of the underclass and some from the perspective of the more privileged, but all explore a world in which humanity and the environment are fundamentally changed.

"The Fluted Girl," "The Pop Squad," and "The People of Sand and Slag" are all highlights for me, including not just fascinating science fictional ideas but beautiful writing and emotional weight. "The Fluted Girl" combines beauty, sensuality, and the horror of exploitation in a particularly effective performance scene; "The Pop Squad" explores ideas about the value of perpetual youth and of parenthood through scenes of violence and brutality; and "The People of Sand and Slag" pushes the reader to consider what really makes us human via a consideration of the value of animal companionship.

I hate to say too much about any of the stories because the experience of reading them is just as important as the ideas in them. So let me just say that Bacigalupi's stories are definitely worth reading.
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Reading Progress

October 20, 2008 – Shelved
October 20, 2008 – Shelved as: science-fiction-and-fantasy
October 20, 2008 – Shelved as: short-fiction
Started Reading
October 24, 2008 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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John Christy, you've convinced me to make this a book club selection for November...thanks!

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