The Windup Girl

The Windup Girl

eBook - 2009
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Winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel, a new edition of the break-out science fiction debut featuring additional stories and a Q&A with the author. Anderson Lake is AgriGen's Calorie Man, sent to work undercover as a factory manager in Thailand while combing Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. Emiko is not human; she is an engineered being, grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in this chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe. What happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits and forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly-acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century. In this brand new edition celebrating the book's reception into the canon of celebrated modern science fiction, accompanying the text are two novelettes exploring the dystopian world of The Windup Girl, the Theodore Sturgeon Award-winning "The Calorie Man" and "Yellow Card Man." Also included are course-work questions for use in the classroom, and an exclusive Q&A with the author describing his writing process, the political climate into which his debut novel was published, and the future of science fiction.
Publisher: Made available through hoopla, 2009.
[United States] : Night Shade Books, 2009.
Characteristics: data file
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: hoopla digital

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a
armchaircynic
Aug 29, 2017

I had seen this book when it first came out and kept wanting to read it. I'm glad I checked it out of the library rather than buying it like I had initially planned. I love sci-fi but this was definitely not my cup of tea. I found the world building too slow and the author did not explain what Calorie Companies were until much later than I would have wanted. I spend the first third of the book being absolutely confused by what was happening. Overall I would not recommend it.

i
isaachar
Aug 24, 2017

In the future, long after the primary sources of energy, oil and gas, have been mostly depleted, the world's governments collapse unto themselves. Energy now comes from natural resources and human energy, stored in bio-engineered 'kink springs' and measured in calories. Bioengineering companies have become as powerful as governments, and a combination of corporate warfare and environmental irresponsibility has resulted in most of the worlds natural foodstocks dying off or becoming biologically contaminated through hybridization. The world relies on bio engineering companies to create disease resistant, high calorie foods to feed humanity. And that's just the background setting!

This was really hard to put down. Bacigalupi has become my favorite 'dystopic' future writer. The stories seem outlandish when being described, but the world he lays out seems very realistic and possible once you get into the story. The writing reminds me of the British science fiction show 'Black Mirror', in that it shows the subtle horrors that the near future could hold. A terrifying future created by technology and industry rather than war. Once I read this, I had to read 'The Water Knife' from the same author, which also takes place in a 'soft dystopian' future. It wasn't until I started reading his short story anthology 'Pump Six' that I realized that each of these stories might take place in the same world, only at different points in the future and on different continents. Great stuff!

r
Rubicat
Aug 06, 2017

I didn't finish this - I was not intrigued enough to make time for this before I had to return it. I only made it through the first 50 pages.

p
PearlyBaker
Sep 17, 2016

I literally own two hats that are indicative of how much I despise talking politics with opinionated, fundamentalist republicans and democrats. I have one that says, "I'm with Her" and one that reads, "Make America Great Again." I don't really wear them I just repeat these statements and hardly anything else when I'm around either group. Growing up Mormon I run from any fundamentalists who claim to be the "right" party, religion, recovery group etc. I don't think this novel got everything right about the future we face thanks to GMO's, pollution, climate change, resource depletion, and over population. However I do believe this is probably the most likely scenario I've read to date. And if you really want to be scared into action read The Sustainability Secret at the same time.

PimaLib_CinthiaT May 11, 2016

This is the "best" concept of the last days scenarios I've read so far. I love his ideas, especially the clones.

e
Eosos
Jan 25, 2016

I liked that it was different, that it was not set in a Western culture, that most of the characters weren't based on British or American backgrounds, that the world was so very different from my own.
Other than that, I didn't like any of it. The characters were one dimensional, like incomplete caricatures of what they could have been. The writing was florid and the story was lacking a good flow, it changed from character to character but didn't manage to create any feeling for them or their issues and problems and the resolution was too fast, after all the build up and creation, it was torn apart and finished in record time.
It was too bad, I really loved the premise but for me, it didn't deliver.

m
mariahnightfire
Oct 09, 2015

The author spent many years traveling and mentioned he lived and worked in China; I found the sprinkling of pinyin and inserts of Buddhism refreshing in a US SciFi novel, and it made the book more realistic for me. The hard to swallow and haunting scenes of Emiko warn the reader of a future of designer sex slavery. Overall an interesting look into the future of imperialism and agribusiness as humans discover how to alter and control the world they live in. A great book with relevant ideas.

a
Authorita
Sep 28, 2015

It describes a future poised by the effects of genetic manipulation, global warming, food scarcity and overpopulation along with interesting characters, stunts and explosions. I won't be surprised if it is turned into a movie some day.

h
harolddarling
May 09, 2015

Unfortunately, the dystopian background was undefined. Essential terms and concepts referenced throughout the novel were not explained, making the narrative difficult to follow. For example, the term"blister rust" was referenced dozens of times, but what is it? Aggressive editing and re-writes to would have greatly improved this novel.

j
Jsmackenator
Mar 25, 2015

Is it fair to rate this even though I didn't finish it. Well, I guess I think so. The fact that I couldn't get passed 50 pages, I think says something about the book. This one was talked about so much that I was excited to read it. But then, disappointed. I think my biggest problem with it was that it just didn't seem to get off the ground. Lot of time telling you about things without getting into what the story was about and why we should care. But still, a lot of people liked it, so you might as well give it a shot. I did. To each their own.

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armchaircynic
Aug 29, 2017

armchaircynic thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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morgapol
May 01, 2014

morgapol thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

6ATE4are Sep 18, 2012

6ATE4are thinks this title is suitable for 19 years and over

storiesnyc32 Jan 04, 2012

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jsl
Dec 12, 2010

jsl thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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