Saturday, 4 December 2010

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi

Release Date: 02/12/10


Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko. Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-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 a 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, when said bio-terrorism's genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? In The Windup Girl, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi returns to the world of "The Calorie Man" (Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award-winner, Hugo Award nominee, 2006) and "Yellow Card Man" (Hugo Award nominee, 2007) in order to address these poignant questions.


To be honest, there has been a hell of a lot of hype out there about this title, firstly its been sold as the next big thing, but if you have had the chance to avoid the hype then maybe this review might help you make up your mind.

It is well written and the world is wonderfully creative in a near time bleak future however the author has a lot of problems with characterisation, speech and to be honest keeping things consistent throughout. That said, the characters are definitely interesting and whilst they may fall apart when examined closer they do help the reader get to where they have to go within the title.

Yet despite all the hard work that’s gone in, the tale feels like it’s a first part of so many more to come almost as if this first offering is just that, a setting the scene for the tale to get going in the second novel, which to be honest left me feeling a little cheated as when I get a title I want the full story now, a tale with no real movement alongside a serious lack of pace does leave the reader wondering whether the hype is worth all the work that’s gone on before. That said, I will try to read the next part as soon as I can but for the moment I’d perhaps suggest leaving off until a more rounded and honest opinion is out there as I feel that were this to be bought now, based purely on the hype, that there will be a lot of disappointed people on Christmas morning..

1 comment:

Jessica Peter said...

I definitely missed the hype (hadn't even heard of this book!), but it looks really interesting to me. I'm not a traditional sci-fi fan, but this has more of the future dystopian flair (rather than space and hard science) that I'm into lately.