Earphones Award Winner (AudioFile Magazine)
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.
BONUS AUDIO: In an exclusive introduction, author Paolo Bacigalupi explains how a horrible trip to Thailand led to the idea for The Windup Girl.
good book, narration could be better
The narration was too slow and lifeless. So I doubled the ipod speed and was able to enjoy the book more. With 2x speed, it sounds more like a suspenseful terror! I do give some stars for the narrator's pronuciation efforts tho.
A riveting and lush adventure, right to the end
The characters and story arcs that wind through this far future Thailand drew me in completely and my attention was always rewarded. Vivid motivations played out in a post-oil, gene-hack culture, this story is a world you'll enjoy visiting now more than when it supplants the one we know. Superb narration is just gravy.
Despite the author's name, which sounds like a surfer from Rio De Janeiro with excessive amounts of chest hair, Paolo's created something like a William Gibson version of biotech with a twist. The twist is that, where Gibson mixed his cyberpunk with edgy high tech tinsel, this is biotech after the oil (and other easy energy depletion) crash... gene hacked vegetables fighting rampant (and also gene hacked) mutating blights, calorie companies looking for resistant strains to feed a starving world, genetically engineered 10 ton elephants replacing heavy machinery, clipper ships and dirigibles, the high-knowledge low-tech world after ecological disaster and global warming take a massive toll on civilization. And that's all in place by chapter 4. It all hangs together along with a cast of characters that seem real, set in Thailand with a combination of exotic and familiar that's a perfect background for the real weirdness... a world tottering on the verge of total ecological and economic collapse. Add to that a narrator that does an incredible job of giving each character a unique pattern of speech that really brings them to life, and you have one of the best audiobook's I've ever listened too.