Agathafrye's Reviews > The Windup Girl

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
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's review
Apr 07, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: scifi, literary, steampunk
Recommended for: hardcore scifi readers, dystopian fiction fans

Wow, this book took me a LONG time to read. Very dense, detailed, unique, thoughtful and masterfully written first novel. Mr. Bacigalupi managed to craft a story without a main character to speak of, and there were a whole lot of characters to keep track of, but somehow he made it work. Set in the future, in Thailand, in a world where genetics companies a la Monsanto (ironically based in Iowa) with names like AgriGen and PurCal have taken control of the world's food supply by creating viruses that only the genetically modified foods they provide can withstand. The Windup Girl tackles issues of ethics, class, race, politics, religion, science, and greed in a way that I haven't seen in a work of fiction in a long time. My only critique of this book is that there are so many characters that it is at times hard to follow the storyline, and the addition of many new words (Bacigalupian, Thai, and Chinese) make for a lot of three-pages-forward, two-pages-back action. I'm glad I persevered- this book takes you places you've never been before.

Anderson Lake is sent by AgriGen as a spy of sorts to sleuth out the new virus-resistant fruits that are popping up in Thailand despite AgriGen's concerted efforts to prevent them from existence. Lake, under the guise of a factory owner, meets and becomes fascinated by Emiko, a manufactured windup girl. The windups, also called "heechy keechy" or "new people," are obedient androids created in Japan to serve in the work force as secretaries, servants, and sometimes military assassins. Windups have become the newest ethnic minorities in Thailand, lower even than the "yellow card" Chinese immigrants that populate the slums of Bangkok. Emiko is forced to perform in a nightly sex show where she is humiliated in front of an audience to earn her keep. Anderson, against all good judgment, enters into a relationship with Emiko; their union starts a chain reaction which culminates in a sudden and vicious civil war.

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Reading Progress

April 7, 2010 – Started Reading
April 7, 2010 – Shelved
April 24, 2010 –
page 83
23.12% "this one's taking a while..."
May 14, 2010 –
page 279
May 18, 2010 –
page 314
87.47% "Nebula Award FTW!"
May 21, 2010 – Shelved as: scifi
May 21, 2010 – Shelved as: literary
May 21, 2010 – Finished Reading
September 11, 2010 – Shelved as: steampunk

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Glenn Let me know how it is... I had it in my hand the other day but didn't check it out, too much home already that I don't have time to read.

Agathafrye Will do, Glennsie! So far, so good.

Glenn It sounds like you liked it! I'll have to dive in soon. Reading The Ask now. AWESOME but definitely aimed at the mid-life crisis male reader, so I'm not sure what you'd think. Reality Hunger up next after that, then maybe this.

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