Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's calorie representative in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, he combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs long thought to be extinct. There he meets the windup girl - the beautiful and enigmatic Emiko - now abandoned to the slums. She is one of the New People, bred to suit the whims of the rich. Engineered as slaves, soldiers and toys, they are the new underclass in a chilling near future where oil has run out, calorie companies dominate nations and bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.
And as Lake becomes increasingly obsessed with Emiko, conspiracies breed in the heat and political tensions threaten to spiral out of control. Businessmen and ministry officials, wealthy foreigners and landless refugees all have their own agendas. But no one anticipates the devastating influence of the Windup Girl.
Noted short story writer Bacigalupi (Pump Six and Other Stories) proves equally adept at novel length in this grim but beautifully written tale of Bangkok struggling for survival in a post-oil era of rising sea levels and out-of-control mutation. Capt. Jaidee Rojjanasukchai of the Thai Environment Ministry fights desperately to protect his beloved nation from foreign influences. Factory manager Anderson Lake covertly searches for new and useful mutations for a hated Western agribusiness. Aging Chinese immigrant Tan Hock Seng lives by his wits while looking for one last score. Emiko, the titular despised but impossibly seductive product of Japanese genetic engineering, works in a brothel until she accidentally triggers a civil war. This complex, literate and intensely felt tale, which recalls both William Gibson and Ian McDonald at their very best, will garner Bacigalupi significant critical attention and is clearly one of the finest science fiction novels of the year.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great read and hugely imaginative
I enjoyed this book, well paced and written and great to have the reader fill in the gaps about the nature of the future world.
I think the book has wide appeal, recommended!
I stumbled across this book in a bookstore in Knutsford in the UK whilst taking a quiet Sunday walk with my wife. The cover grabbed me first, followed by the unpronounceable-looking author surname. I read the whole first chapter in the bookstore, imagining the non-existent disapproving glances from the book sellers.
I've just finished the novel and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was maturely written, had some decent characterisation, and above all completely sucked me into the world. I found the science believable, astonishing and above all, very clever.
I'd recommend this to everyone; especially if you are reading this review as a potentially first foray into science or speculative fiction. It rocks, and I'll look forward to the author's next novel.
The best book I've read in ages. Very highly recommended.