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The Windup Girl Paperback – May 5, 2015
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WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARD, THE NEBULA AWARD, THE LOCUS AWARD, THE COMPTON CROOK AWARD, AND THE CAMPBELL MEMORIAL AWARD
It’s ridiculous how good this book is. . . . Bacigalupi’s vision is almost as rich and shocking as William Gibson’s vision was in 1984 . . . I hope he writes 10 sequels.”
Lev Grossman, TIME
Reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s Blade Runner.... densely packed with ideas about genetic manipulation, distribution of resources, the social order, and environmental degradation ... science fiction with an environmental message, but one that does not get in the way of its compelling story.”
Sacramento Book Review
This complex, literate and intensely felt tale, which recalls both William Gibson and Ian McDonald at their very best ... clearly one of the finest science fiction novels of the year.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A captivating look at a dystopic future that seems all too possible. East meets
West in a clash of cultures brilliantly portrayed in razor-sharp images, tension-building pacing, and sharply etched characters.”
Library Journal (starred review)
"When it hits its sweet-spot, The Windup Girl embodies what SF does best of all: it remakes reality in compelling, absorbing and thought-provoking ways, and it lives on vividly in the mind."
"Bacigalupi never slides into moralism or judgement ... Ultimately that's what makes this debut novel so exciting. It's rare to find a writer who can create such well-shaded characters while also building a weird new future world."
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
- ISBN-13 : 978-1597808217
- Paperback : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1597808210
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Night Shade; Reissue edition (May 5, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #68,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Windup Girl is not an easy novel to read. It's long, there are a lot of characters, the world is complex, people's motivations are diverse as are their personalities. The local, future Bangkok, also takes some time to adjust to, at least for me since I have never been to Bangkok. It takes a while to sink into the world and know your way around. That is, as well as any of the characters do at any rate, which is not very well. Everyone has a different view of what's going on and is keeping secrets from all of the other characters. No one is simple. No one is easy to relate to. The Windup Girl, Emiko, is probably the most identifiable character, which says a lot.
I enjoyed the novel. I enjoyed the challenge of reading and understanding. I enjoyed the author's depth of understanding of this alien landscape. The use of Thai words and concepts gives the world substance and character.
While I am giving it five stars -- which it deserves -- I caution potential readers that this is not a book for everyone. If you're looking for something light and uplifting, this isn't it.
One last point, a negative one, there is a huge unresolved issue at the end of the book. Normally I can forgive authors for not clearing up every little thing, but this was like getting punched in the face. Come to think of it, I think I'll knock it down to four stars just for that.
Top reviews from other countries
Although I loved the premise of a disease ravaged economy and the scramble by agri-giants for healthy gene stock, the book, which presumably pretends to some kind of reality, is let down by some very shaky science. I liked the idea of megadonts but can't believe that there was no solar power or wind power, battery technology or vegetable oil or alcohol powered engines, or even nuclear power for that matter. Neither could I accept that anything emerging from a vat of algae would increase spring efficiency or generate a human viral plague, or believe in a convenient bacterium that fizzles through steel in seconds. I could go on (and on!) but life is short
I could have overlooked this (hell, most sci fI abandons inconvenient reality) if it hadn't been so difficult to like any of the characters. Most of them are pretty unpleasant and do very unpleasant things. The Windup Girl herself is so self pitying and debased by the brutality the author inflicts upon her, I recoiled and she is given little to do other than suffer. There is no let up from the grimness which the author dwells on endlessly and repetitively. Nobody is happy and there is no leavening humour, friendship, or even a likeable hero to lift the darkness. Frankly, I was quite relieved when I finished.
For me the ideas were just not very good. How can everything be powered by giant elephants if food is so scarce and controlled? Why do springs need to be bathed in algae? How do springs store energy anyway? Ok its a coal powered car - I get it. Yes coal powered tanks too, very good thank you.
Its good that this story considers the consequences of climate change, I wish there was more about what the Expansion was etc.. The genetic engineering ideas were good, definitely.
But some really cheezy parts e.g. when Hock goes to visit Jabba the Hutt aka the Dung Lord. What every happened to him any way? The Kanya group of people were poorly described; I didn't care about Thai boxing and what they got up to. The 'bullet time' when Miko moves fast was cheezy. As was having her her as a pliant sex toy who gets ideas.
The descriptions of Thailand were not particularly evocative; I;ve visited that part of the world. And all the italics for foreign references got tedious.
Also, the tone of the narrative felt slightly chinglishified. You know; like abit of caricature of Asian ways of speaking that also leaked into the narrative language itself.
I'd recommend if you like Paolo's other books and think you can get through the initial character building chapters. They felt like a chore, but the endgame was worth the pain and time. By the end, I had completely bought in to his universe.