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The Windup Girl
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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > December 2012 - The Windup Girl

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message 1: by Kat (new) - added it

Kat (KatZombie) | 2478 comments Thread for The Windup Girl.

Remember, reading from 1 Dec is not mandatory for this book - you can start at any time, or if you have read the book before, jump in on the discussion!


message 2: by Rusalka, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rusalka (Rusalkii) | 13001 comments So. Due to the first sentence in the book mentioning Mr Rus' favourite fruit ever (Mangosteens, and I read it out to him) he has decided we should all love it forever more. Lets see if the rest of the book lives us to his expectations ;)


message 3: by Judy (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 5750 comments Is he going to read it with you, Rus?


message 4: by Rusalka, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rusalka (Rusalkii) | 13001 comments We only have one copy and it is MINE!

(He will probably read it later)


message 5: by Deborah (new)

Deborah If it starts with mangosteen it's got to be good.

I'll be right back. I need to go make a change to the first page of my novel.


message 6: by Rusalka, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rusalka (Rusalkii) | 13001 comments ... I may need to go and spend an obscene amount of money on a mangosteen now...


message 7: by Judy (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 5750 comments Rusalka wrote: "We only have one copy and it is MINE!

(He will probably read it later)"


I guess that answered my question. LOL!


Cherie (crobins0) | 13066 comments I started reading it last night. Got up to where the giant elephant (Megladon?) just tossed Mr. Andderson against the factory wall and he is coming close to being squished.

Genetic engineering gone rampant, ocean levels have risen and coastal cities gone, everyone starving. Calorie monopolies. Seems to be what we are looking at in a few more generations if we don't stop Monsanto and others.


message 9: by Rusalka, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rusalka (Rusalkii) | 13001 comments Oh this is going to be an interesting book!

I'm about 120pp in and now I have gotten my head around the tech I am loving it on so many levels. Agree with Cherie's comment above. I abhor 99% of Monsanto's as an examples stuff. I can see however how looking at the small percentage of genetic engineering that I agree with could end up this way. Food for thought on risks and gains etc.

For me the really interesting bit so far is Hock Seng's past in Malaya. Anyone else's thoughts on this? I am much happier now I know who now is who then. And I can forsee this all happening in one way or another, although it could be anyone as the agitator.

And while I have had one chapter with Emiko, I love her already.


Travis sivarT (TravissivarT) | 5507 comments Pros and cons of monsanto cons. It is hard to regulate everything they do and rely largely on them providing truthful paperwork on results of experiments. The pros as i myself am a farmer is insect and pest control built in to the genes as well as great strides in drought tolerance and greater yields. Without these new technologies i would not survive. Especially in terms of pest control and drought. I use both seed with and without new technologies. There are specific guidelines to follow when using traited seed. My biggest complaint would be they push traited seed to hard every year it gets harder to find c onventional seed but to feed the population and with the current ethamol boom these technologies are essential but need better regulation. I'll see where this book ends up taking us. I read the
The Doomsday Key and that almost made me hate Monsanto myself


message 11: by Amber (new) - added it

Amber | 589 comments I picked this up from the library, but won't get to it until sometime next week. Sounds like a good one!


Travis sivarT (TravissivarT) | 5507 comments I'm only a dozen or do paged in but have I missed the definition of a nightshade or will it tell me further on or should I already know. Niightshade comes up alot and I'm confused


message 13: by Deborah (new)

Deborah I think it's a botanical term. Any plant belonging to the genus Solanum. Lots of plants. Some poisonous like belladonna. Also potato, tomato, eggplant.


Travis sivarT (TravissivarT) | 5507 comments That makes sense to the story. Not knowledgeable on growing much past corn and alfalfa and grasses


Travis sivarT (TravissivarT) | 5507 comments I knew it was smart to list the pros before I got too far into this. I sense by the finish it will be hard to see any pros of bio technology.


message 16: by Rusalka, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rusalka (Rusalkii) | 13001 comments I think there will still be some pros by the end of the book. They seem to have also used biotech in order to overcome a lot of disasters as well. But like most dystopian novels... it's gone a little too far.

Nightshades are a common name as Deborah mentioned. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanaceae Interestingly you have mandrake and nightshade itself in the family, along with veggies like capcicums, chillies, eggplants, then the semi-poisonous veggies like potatoes, then tobacco and of all things petunias. I do not understand botanists lol


message 17: by Travis sivarT (last edited Dec 07, 2012 05:14PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Travis sivarT (TravissivarT) | 5507 comments The Bt problem is always the conspiracy theory of are the companies creating diseases to sell more of their technology. The biggest issue is control. Wind, birds, bees little cross pollinating machines essential for plant life but so hard to control biotechnology because in order for it to be effective a small amount needs to be trait free so that pests and diseases dont grow immunity. As far as its use in animals I fail to see the purpose at all. Also thanks for the nightshade info.


Cherie (crobins0) | 13066 comments Got to get to bed to get some sleep before the toppler starts in the morning but I thought I would make an update. I got to page 146 today. I think I have finally gotten a handle on what is going on. Yes I was interested in Hock Seng's past too, Rusalka. It will be interesting to see where this goes. I like Emiko too, but feel sorry for her - guess we are supposed to. It is slow reading for me with all of the foreign names and places and new people being introduced every few minutes. Can't wait to see what happens next, but I am putting this one aside until after the toppler. I have some crafts, an audio book on CD, a magazine and MAYBE The Age of Miracles lined up for tomorrow.


Travis sivarT (TravissivarT) | 5507 comments As I am heading for the finish line on this one something is still bothering me. As I read on I keep thinking a little more depth of the situation will be told but the author doesn't seem to go into great detail on much. I think what would of made this book better would have been a forward or some background information in the beginning. It seems we are just thrown into the story with a kind of jerky writing style that jumps very randomly from one person to the next. I understand not wanting to let all the secrets out with too much info, but there is just not quite enough information for my liking.


message 20: by AmyK (new) - rated it 4 stars

AmyK (Yakyma) | 1014 comments I'm only halfway through the book and I agree with Travis. I have felt like that from the beginning, and I think I even mentioned to my mom that it would have been great if there was a forward or something to tell us how the events unfolded up to the point where we started reading. I have Pump Six and Other Stories on my ABC list to read specifically for the stories "The Calorie Man" and "The Yellow Card Man"


Travis sivarT (TravissivarT) | 5507 comments I gave this I feel a generous 3 stars only because he put enough action in the ending to keep my attention. Even at the finish it seems a lot of the details he provided were rather useless to the story. Left many things unanswered on science. Violence he can describe muchmore detailed it seems.


Travis sivarT (TravissivarT) | 5507 comments The other thing is the back of the book claims it to be of Anderson and the windup girl yet I felt Jaidee and Hock Seng were the two main characters.


Cherie (crobins0) | 13066 comments Finished the book last night. I gave it 3 stars. I was surprised at some of the turn of events, but by the end, I was tired of being dragged all over the city from one thing to the next and did not care about any of it. I wanted more from Hock Seng, but he was consistantly meh. I did not like the ending at all.


message 24: by Deborah (new)

Deborah I was struck by some of the violence. Particularly the violation of Emiko. I always admire when an author is willing to step out of your comfort zone and confront you. But I found that I skipped over those parts and I don't think it negatively impacted my understanding of what was going on. So... I don't know.

There were things I really did like here.

I liked the complication and interplay. I also liked the examination of the concepts of karma and dharma, the way one event flowed into the the next and gathered momentum.

Finally, (view spoiler)


Travis sivarT (TravissivarT) | 5507 comments Deborah to answer your question I personally viewed it as an illusion caused by guilt. I think the answer can vary though depending what religious background you choose to view it through.


message 26: by Cherie (last edited Dec 18, 2012 10:18AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cherie (crobins0) | 13066 comments I think the violence and violation of Emiko was part of what put me off about the story, Deborah. I guess it had to be part of the story, because it was what, drove her to do what she did.

All of the violence and killing between the waring factions and the wanton massacre and distruction of all of the innocent people was just too much for me. I guess I could not get past all of that.

The whole business about the New People not having a soul and how much the "real" people despised them was
interesting. The antimosity between the Yellow Card Chineese and the Thai people too. It was always about the haves and the have nots and how callous they were to each other.

All in all, it was NOT a pretty future!


message 27: by Rusalka, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rusalka (Rusalkii) | 13001 comments I finished the book last night. I went to bed with it at 10.30pm and wouldn't go to sleep until i finished it (luckily right on midnight so not too bad).

I actually really enjoyed it, as much as one can a book that is presenting a future that is not beyond imagining.

I agree a bit more information about the Contraction and how we ended up there would have been welcome. But I felt that it wasn't too hard to work it out. Climate change, rising sea levels, near exhaustion of fossil fuels, genetic engineering and the subsequent control of food sources through corporations. Not too far off really...

Emiko's story I felt a lot of emphathy for. I think there was an element that we needed to hear the violence and hatred that she was constantly subjected to in order to understand (view spoiler)

In regards to the main characters, I felt there were 5 overall. And for a 500pp book that's not unreasonable. I felt that it was Anderson and Emiko as hinted in the back of the book, but also Hock Seng, Kanya an Jaidee.

I really enjoyed going into Kanya's story and her own back story and where she had ended up.

Finally, while Hock Seng himself annoyed me at times, I felt for him and his story as a refugee. The story of Malaya and the Green Headbands is not again unimaginable with the rise of extremists of all different types of religions, especially in SE Asia. The interaction between the Malayan Chinese and the Thais I found heartbreaking. The contempt and thinly veiled malice. The control through labels and cards. I worry as the last two governments in Aus have had such terrible policies on refugees that this is not such a dystopian future for us, it may be tomorrow...

I gave it 4 stars. Thanks guys for reading it along with me!


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