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Pump Six and Other Stories [Kindle Edition]

Paolo Bacigalupi
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Paolo Bacigalupi's debut collection demonstrates the power and reach of the science fiction short story. Social criticism, political parable, and environmental advocacy lie at the center of Paolo's work. Each of the stories herein is at once a warning, and a celebration of the tragic comedy of the human experience.
The eleven stories in Pump Six represent the best Paolo's work, including the Hugo nominee "Yellow Card Man," the nebula and Hugo nominated story "The People of Sand and Slag," and the Sturgeon Award-winning story "The Calorie Man."


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bacigalupi's stellar first collection of 10 stories displays the astute social commentary and consciousness-altering power of the very best short form science fiction. The Hugo-nominated The Calorie Man explores a post–fossil fuel future where genetically modified crops both feed and power the world, and greedy megacorporations hold the fates of millions in their hands. The People of Sand and Slag envisions a future Earth as a contaminated wasteland inhabited by virtually indestructible post-humans who consume stone and swim in petroleum oceans. The Tamarisk Hunter deals with the effects of global warming on water rights in the Southwest, while the title story, original to this volume, follows a New York sewage treatment worker who struggles to repair his antiquated equipment as the city's inhabitants succumb to the brain-damaging effects of industrial pollutants. Deeply thought provoking, Bacigalupi's collected visions of the future are equal parts cautionary tale, social and political commentary and poignantly poetic, revelatory prose. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Bacigalupi's stellar first collection of 10 stories displays the astute social commentary and consciousness-altering power of the very best short form science fiction. Deeply thought provoking, Bacigalupi's collected visions of the future are equal parts cautionary tale, social and political commentary and poignantly poetic, revelatory prose. (Starred Review, named to PW s Best-of-the-Year list) --Publishers Weekly

These are not subtle stories. Bacigalupi makes no secret of his social attitudes, but he handles political commentary with grace and packs a lot of thought into quite a small space. These pieces aren t just platforms for cultural critique; they re solid, fascinating world building. ... Fortunately, Bacigalupi still allows the future some possibility for redemption. Every story is well worth rereading. --Booklist

Bacigalupi creates believable, detailed, lived-in futures that just happen to portray an ugly set of sunsets for humanity on Earth. ... Bacigalupi is what you might call the anti-Heinlein: There are no saviors or competent white men in his worlds, just occasions for survival. He s a truly dark bard, in the spirit of Ellison at his most vivid and cynical. --The Daily Camera

These are not subtle stories. Bacigalupi makes no secret of his social attitudes, but he handles political commentary with grace and packs a lot of thought into quite a small space. These pieces aren t just platforms for cultural critique; they re solid, fascinating world building. ... Fortunately, Bacigalupi still allows the future some possibility for redemption. Every story is well worth rereading. --Booklist

Bacigalupi creates believable, detailed, lived-in futures that just happen to portray an ugly set of sunsets for humanity on Earth. ... Bacigalupi is what you might call the anti-Heinlein: There are no saviors or competent white men in his worlds, just occasions for survival. He s a truly dark bard, in the spirit of Ellison at his most vivid and cynical. --The Daily Camera

Product Details

  • File Size: 472 KB
  • Print Length: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books; Reprint edition (February 1, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0071CX7V4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,509 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Stories from a Very Possible Future May 10, 2008
Format:Hardcover
I first read a short story by Paolo Bacigalupi in High Country News. It was "The Tamarisk Hunter" about a man named Lolo who removes the weed trees from a water hungry Southwest and who has a darker secret. It was well written and very plausible to those who know the tamarisk (or saltcedar, as it is also called) and the water problems of the southwestern border states. I then found this collection titled "Pump Six and Other Stories" in the local library.

These are dark stories of a Dalai Lama in a datacube, a modified human, a world of scavengers, a cultural conflict, genetically engineered life forms, population crises, life in a future Thailand, murder and a polluted world, as well as the tamarisk hunter. To a large degree these are cautionary tales - tales of what might be, if we take no action or take the wrong action. The biggest fear is that they will happen despite anything we can do and the author does not relieve us of this fear. Finally, these are finely crafted stories of the very near and far futures of human existence and they will leave you very uneasy. For all that, they are well worth the reading.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ecology of Fear February 14, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Once in a while you stumble across a writer who isn't a big name, but you're convinced that he must have many existing books that are ripe for discovery, because in the first one you find so much experience and maturity. Well this is actually Paolo Bacigalupi's first book and I'm already salivating for more, as he has unleashed what has to be the most bodacious speculative fiction debut in recent memory. The short stories here are from Bacigalupi's periodic and consistently award-winning submissions to various magazines and anthologies. (Watch for his debut novel in late 2009). Bacigalupi's stories are mostly near-future dystopias, but he has a unique specialization - dystopias caused by current environmental problems or challenges in international relations.

For example, "The People of Sand and Slag" and "The Tamarisk Hunter" feature near-future humans who have gone to terrifying lengths to adapt to the ruination of the world by our current pollution patterns, and "The Calorie Man" shows a disturbing worldview based on the little-known current social problem of the creeping corporate control of farming practices. "The Pasho" and "Yellow Card Man" are allegories of globalization and the slowly developing misery to come from this modern ideological craze. Another high point here (in a collection full of high points) is the beautifully disturbing "The Fluted Girl," a tale of body modification gone mad. Bacigalupi's stories are consistently haunting but often with open-ended conclusions, giving the reader a feeling of possible hope amidst ecological and social chaos. If you're into modern speculative fiction and distressingly believable dystopian visions, keep an eye on Paolo Bacigalupi. A star is born. [~doomsdayer520~]
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio version January 11, 2011
Format:MP3 CD
In Pump Six and Other Stories, which won the Locus Award for Best Collection, Paolo Bacigalupi treats us to these ten excellently written biopunk stories:

"Pocketful of Dharma" (1999) -- a young street urchin finds a digital storage device which contains some startling data. This is Bacigalupi's first short story -- and it's impressive. I love the premise of this story and its ambiguous ending. It would be fun to see Bacigalupi extend this one into a novel.

"The Fluted Girl" (2003) -- a young girl is at the mercy of her cruel and ambitious mistress. There's a scene in this story that's eerie, chilling, and strangely beautiful. Another ambiguous but satisfying ending.

"The People of Sand and Slag" (2004, Nebula nomination, Hugo nomination) -- three colleagues are surprised to find an extinct species: a dog. Although this one was nominated for a Nebula and Hugo and has some fascinating ideas, it lacks Bacigalupi's usual subtlety and feels a bit heavy-handed.

"The Pasho" (2004) -- an educated and enlightened man returns to his primitive village. This one has a surprise ending that was really well done.

"The Calorie Man" (2005, Theodore Sturgeon Award, Hugo nomination) -- set in Paolo Bacigalupi's Windup world (the setting for his multi-award winning novel The Windup Girl), generipping and bioterrorism have destroyed the world's food supply, leaving an oligopoly of a few biotech firms. It took me a while to get the feel for this blighted world, partly because I was listening on audio and couldn't see the words (e.g., At first I didn't realize it was "joules" and not "jewels"). Once I read a couple of pages of the print version at Nightshade's website, I was fine and loved it. This is excellent world building.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing, depressing stories January 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
There are some books (and stories) that you want to like... but can't. Unfortunately, this collection of Mr. Bacigalupi's work falls squarely in that category for me. These stories are lush - many of them set in the same near-future dystopian world. There are a lot of good things in these stories as well. The storytelling is lush and skillful. The characters are NOT the run-of-the-mill white, middle-class Americans you so often end up seeing... but are still so convincingly written that you empathize with them anyway. The future dystopia is clearly and thoughfully constructed without being the same old same old with a fresh coat of paint.

The problem I had is that many of the stories were... depressing. Not disturbing. I'm okay with disturbing. Instead, many of the stories were just sad. It often seemed as though a patina of hopelessness was washed over the pages. And I don't do sad very well, even though I recognize the skill both in the worldbuilding and writing itself.

As it stands, the skill on display made this collection worth reading, even if I didn't actually *like* it. But if depressing plots don't bother you, then Mr. Bacigalupi's writing in this collection will be a treat, and you should snag it ASAP.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bacigalupi's Short Stories Can Be Dark, But Brilliant
Another short story book, so the categories I clicked on are irrelevant. Each story is different, with a couple of them being set in the world he introduced in his first novel,... Read more
Published 2 hours ago by Sis D
4.0 out of 5 stars and as always kindle doesn't disappoint. However
I had to read these stories as an assignment for school, so I bought the ebook for my own convenience, and as always kindle doesn't disappoint. Read more
Published 1 day ago by K. Laake
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, scary, weird
Don't know this author but he's quite good. Look forward to reading more of his work.
Published 20 days ago by Elizabeth Phillips
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction To This Brilliant Author
I liked this short story collection by author, Paolo Bacigalupi. I had become aware of his work when I read a fascinating story by him included in another collection, "People of... Read more
Published 26 days ago by WMH
5.0 out of 5 stars Bacigalupi has become one of my new favorite authors. His dark visions...
Bacigalupi has become one of my new favorite authors. His dark visions of the future are both awesome and sad and his narrative takes you there without fail. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michelle Conner
2.0 out of 5 stars This was recommended by a friend who previously recommended Enders...
This was recommended by a friend who previously recommended Enders Game. I went with it because his first recommendation was a truly great book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by AW
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
So good! So bleak! An imagining of what humanity could become.
Published 2 months ago by Cole Herning
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic Book!
Published 3 months ago by Shane Salerno
5.0 out of 5 stars but I'm really impressed with how really surprisingly good & rich &...
The writing is very well done, but I'm really impressed with how really surprisingly good & rich & original the ideas are in here.
Published 3 months ago by J. Kinsey
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read...
I've come to expect this sort of gritty dystopian future realism from Bacigalupi. Here he gives us a taste of several different worlds, from the Windup variety to a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. E. Ruppenthal
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More About the Author

Paolo Bacigalupi is a Hugo, Nebula, and Michael L. Printz Award Winner, as well as a National Book Award Finalist. He is also a winner of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, the John W. Campbell Award, and a three-time winner of the Locus Award. His short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, and High Country News. He lives in Western Colorado with his wife and son, where he is working on a new novel.

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