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The Windup Girl
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2010 Reads > TWG: Where the line should be drawn?

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Nemaruse Neoxeekhrobe Hulkonnowolf | 33 comments Regarding the gene research thing? Cloning?


Nemaruse Neoxeekhrobe Hulkonnowolf | 33 comments And I do find it very weird that the writer never once says the word cloning in the book. I mean geneHacking and ripping and Windups but NO cloning.

Is he against cloning. I am.

But that is an interesting observation. And this alone, even though I did not liked the book that much, makes me want to read other stuff from this writer.


Rick Pasley (hikr3) | 71 comments I don't think anything in the novel was technically cloning. Everything was gene manipulated to be sterile and altered. I don't think there was anything or anyone that/who was simply a copy of an earlier iteration. Everything that had been "produced" by humans has new traits introduced, such as sterility or resistance to disease.

The novel does introduce some interesting topics to discuss, such as the ethicacy of selling seed stock that will not reproduce to starving peoples, or intentionally introducing diseases in order to kill off naturally occuring crops so people will be forced to purchase gene hacked seed stock.

Personally the thought of genetically modified foods scares the hell out of me, not because I fear any inherent flaws or dangers, but because of the lack of ethics faceless corportations can show in the pursuit of profits. Cloning is less frightening to me, but only because I have yet to see the flawed ways it can be used in the pursuit of profit and power.


message 4: by Nemaruse (last edited Mar 16, 2010 09:38PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nemaruse Neoxeekhrobe Hulkonnowolf | 33 comments Rick wrote: "Personally the thought of genetically modified foods scares the hell out of me, not because I fear any inherent flaws or dangers,..."

It does scares me. People believed many things many years back(but after the advent of computers) that later were proven wrong. Many guessed/thought things that were not true.

And when we are being proven wrong even though we did use computers, I think there is a big chance that we will never know every thing and many times miss things that would open our eyes later.

No I am not against learning, I just don't want to fix what ain't broken. I think that prioritizing is better and I feel that what we already have as food is FAR more enough. We don't need MORE. Yes we do need treatments to some big diseases.

So I don't see any point in improving food? why not first improve humanity and then anything else?

The opinion that I guess I am trying to state here is that, as much effort(mainly funds, brain power) we can put towards medicine, we should. :)


Nemaruse Neoxeekhrobe Hulkonnowolf | 33 comments Added a poll in the poll section.


Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Fahad wrote: "So I don't see any point in improving food? why not first improve humanity and then anything else?"

Attempts to improve humanity have an unfortunate habit of ending with piles of skulls. We are what we are, and that's not going to change.

On the other hand, if we can gengineer wheat that has 25% more yield per stalk, feeding 25% more people per acre of land, that's great. As long as Monsanto doesn't screw it up.


message 7: by Rick (last edited Mar 17, 2010 09:40AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rick Pasley (hikr3) | 71 comments Sean wrote: "As long as Monsanto doesn't screw it up"


See, there is where my fears begin! I don't trust any corporation whose only goals and motivations are profit to not screw it up. I can easily imagine a time of inherently sterile wheat and rice so consumers have to buy the seeds over and over regardless of their poverty or starvation. No, I do not trust Monsanto or any other corp to not screw it up!



Nemaruse Neoxeekhrobe Hulkonnowolf | 33 comments I agree with both of you, Sean(Attempts to improve humanity have an unfortunate habit of ending with piles of skulls...) and,

Rick(...I don't trust any corporation whose only goals...).

Thats why I said 'as much effort' as we can. :)


message 9: by aldenoneil (last edited Mar 19, 2010 04:30PM) (new) - added it

aldenoneil | 1000 comments If you've not seen Food, Inc., watching won't allay any fears; it's terribly relevant, and depressingly not science fiction.


message 10: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
Food, Inc., from Netflix, is sitting next to my computer (right under Gentlemen Broncos). I'm still a bit afraid to watch it.

The Windup Girl's take on genetic engineering is interesting because on one hand, there's a clear depiction of the exploitive evils of the calorie companies' crop monopolies, the engineered plagues, etc.

On the other hand, there's Emiko. The book did an excellent job of making her a multi-dimensional, sympathetic character -- to the extent that the prevailing societal opinion that 'windups don't have souls' seems ridiculous. The book certainly makes the case that she should not be treated as a sub-human 'thing.' And is she just another victim of the evils of genetic engineering? Because there's...

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...the book's end, where Gibbons makes the offer to make New People 'children' from a sample of Emiko's hair, children that could be stripped of her arbitrary built-in defects (stutter motion, overheating) - which would be cloning with modification, I guess.

Gibbons, who is presented as pretty much evil personified when Kanya meets him, is with Emiko (despite her initial hatred for him) presented as a possible liberator for her and her kind. And if he did so, would New People supplant homo sapiens in the way Gibbons suggests? Gibbons' offer to Emiko could be meant as just another example of his evil, but the book left me sympathetic enough with Emiko that I wished for freedom for herself and her kind -- yet realizing such a thing could be deeply troubling for the future of humanity in Bacigalupi's world.

Despite being voiced by a despicable character, could Gibbon's opinion that humans tinkering with themselves is inevitable be shared by Bacigalupi? Would fanatical white shirt-like organizations be the only way to resist the results of such work, once such a genie was out of the genetic bottle? The Windup Girl raises those questions in provocative ways.


Thomas Masterson (zaphod717) | 39 comments Yeah, sterile rice and wheat aren't science fiction they're science fact (google terminator seeds). And Monsanto won't sell anything else to starving folks in Asia or Africa.


Micah (onemorebaker) | 1071 comments Despite being voiced by a despicable character, could Gibbon's opinion that humans tinkering with themselves is inevitable be shared by Bacigalupi? Would fanatical white shirt-like organizations be the only way to resist the results of such work, once such a genie was out of the genetic bottle? The Windup Girl raises those questions in provocative ways."

I thought so too. I really enjoyed this book and found myself asking these questions. Some people can not be stopped from tinkering where others think they should not. With all of the work and research that is being done world wide, I believe it is just a matter of time before we start hearing about these experiments.

The question for me is should they be forced to do this freely, out in the open? Because if we say you cant do that, will they not just go underground and continue on?


Nemaruse Neoxeekhrobe Hulkonnowolf | 33 comments Its all about your house(city, country). Just keep it clean and well secure from the negative/evilness of all things, including every thing from cloning to human tinkering, you performed your duty.

That being said, IMHO, can't force either way. What you can do(once again, your door) is to make sure you make a statement that if some one wants to do this in your house, they will have to move out. Let others know and if you are lucky, soon they won't have even the underground to take shelter.

The aim should be the least, in this case and that is to keep our own house clean and pray.


message 14: by Ben (last edited Mar 30, 2010 12:43PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben | 116 comments I am extremely skeptical of anti-biotech sentiments. The Green Revolution of last century saved potentially billions of lives, and genetically engineered seed crops will be one of the best means of combatting global warming (specifically ones that require less machine based effort to produce and deliver). Luddism in science fiction vexes me.

Also, I don't see anything particularly wrong with cloning. I can see problems with genetically engineering a person to be a slave, like Emiko, or merciless unstoppable killers or whatnot, but a clone would just be a person who was genetically identical to another person. A pretty weird thing to do, but not, in and of itself, harmful.


message 15: by Mikebliv (new)

Mikebliv | 11 comments I am for science as any non-Luddite. However, you have to take into account the science of what you're supporting e.g. in many cases, the crop yield is improved by making the plant resistant to pesticide (by adding animal genes in it), and then dumping a lot of pesticide on it to get rid of bugs. In the interests of making money quickly, and with lobbying, they release this pesticide-drenched Frankenstein of a plant for us to eat without enough testing to know if it's safe to eat in the long term.

You also have to take into account the legal bullying that companies like Monsanto have done where it's almost impossible for farmers to buy unmodified seed.

So it's not the science that's wrong, it's what we, as greedy humans, do with it.


message 16: by Sean (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Ben wrote: "I am extremely skeptical of anti-biotech sentiments. The Green Revolution of last century saved potentially billions of lives, and genetically engineered seed crops will be one of the best means o..."

True. Just look at Harry Harrison's Make Room! Make Room!, which is set in a nearly identical world to Windup Girl, but in the far future year of 1999. The wrong predictions are absolutely hilarious, particularly with the energy shortages and famines wracking the world. Harrison based the book on the predictions of Paul Ehrlich, who didn't take any account of (A) birth control and (B) improved agriculture.

The problems with biotech aren't inherent to the tech, but to the companies involved. Invalidate gene patents and you'd do away with a lot of the problem.


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