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The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Windup Girl (2009)

by Paolo Bacigalupi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,8732401,489 (3.75)2 / 469
What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits? And what happens when this forces humanity to the cusp of post-human evolution? This is a tale of Bangkok struggling for survival in a post-oil era of rising sea levels and out-of-control mutation.
  1. 131
    River of Gods by Ian McDonald (santhony)
    santhony: Very similar dystopian view of the near future in a third world environment.
  2. 147
    Perdido Street Station by China Miéville (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Although Perdido Street Station is more fantasy than science fiction, I felt there were similarities in the exoticness of the world-building and readers who enjoyed The Windup Girl may also enjoy Perdido Street Station.
  3. 104
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Another novel about a dystopian future with strong environmental themes.
  4. 71
    Zodiac by Neal Stephenson (CKmtl)
    CKmtl: Fans of one of these works of Ecological SF may enjoy the other.
  5. 71
    Neuromancer Trilogy: Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson (rrees)
    rrees: Gibson's global world of dirty cities and high technology are generally more optimistic that that of the Windup Girl but the styling is similar and the weaving stories of people and corporate interests are similar.
  6. 50
    The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: These two powerful, well-plotted novels each give detailed, dark visions of two different cities in the nearish future.
  7. 40
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (bridgitshearth)
    bridgitshearth: I find I can't say it better than some of the reviewers on Amazon. Enthralling, riveting, compelling....
  8. 10
    Mosquito [short story] by Richard Calder (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Two powerful stories strike an eery chord...
  9. 21
    Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy (bridgitshearth)
    bridgitshearth: This book seems to be overlooked: very quiet, no flash or catastrophe, very down to earth vision of a future with limited resources. It's one of my favorites, ever!
  10. 32
    Bangkok 8 by John Burdett (ahstrick)
  11. 00
    Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (sturlington)
    sturlington: Steampunk
  12. 01
    Neuromancer by William Gibson (g33kgrrl)
Asia (74)
Ghosts (53)
Asia (2)

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English (233)  French (2)  Polish (1)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  All languages (238)
Showing 1-5 of 233 (next | show all)
Best book I've read so far this year. ( )
  thegreatape | Jan 7, 2020 |
Loved it. Great combination of (i) thoughtful exploration of some really interesting issues (biotechnology, climate change, what it means to be human vs. cloned,), (ii) the Thai perspective to the future, as opposed to a more US-centric view and (iii) an exciting thriller. ( )
  Robert_Musil | Dec 15, 2019 |
Futurists may be disappointed, humanity is being decimated by technoligies that have consequences. Thailand has survived by luck and human perservence. Geniuses exist but they lead to unstable tomorrows. The Wind Up Girl 'Emiko' is both more and less than human and has been created to serve. The seeds of destruction are everywhere in this dystopian tale. The story has many perspectives from many characters. ( )
  scottshjefte1 | Sep 6, 2019 |
The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi, 2009. This book is like its own exotic setting, the city of Bangkok itself, its complex plot and fascinating characters cook in the heat. The post-apocalyptic science fiction is so well blended in, that it appears here and there like the genetically modified Cheshire cats roaming the city. Bacigalupi’s use of danger and action is as good as anyone’s, without resorting to silly motion picture impossibilities. Be serious. Meditate. The city is full of Buddhists, so naturally the issue of the soul is paramount. “Death is a stage. A transience. A passage to a later life.” So, in a post-apocalyptic novel, where did all the souls go? ( )
  drardavis | Aug 5, 2019 |
I'm not a sci-fi reader. I usually find it really hard to get engaged in the worlds, the science being impenetrable. Not so with The Windup Girl. Maybe that's because it's so pertinent to the issues of the present day - climate change, food security, disease resistances and mutations. All of that gripped me immediately, drawing me into its intricacies and projections.

I had other issues, though. I didn't like a single one of the characters, and I don't really think I was supposed to, which is one way of doing things, but I get antsy when you ask me to spend 400 pages with people I don't like. While I found the Thai setting refreshingly non-European, I had some concerns about what was chosen to make up the Thailand of the future, and how it was all depicted. I was unimpressed with the palette of female characters - you can only have agency and/or independence if you're a humourless lesbian? (And, yes, I could have lived without the rape scenes, though I also recognise the narrative importance of the emotional weight of those experiences in the reactions they bring about.) I kept getting tripped up by the present tense, but that's a minor thing. And I didn't really find the ending satisfying; with one marvellous exception, everyone sort of peters out rather than getting closure. Which, yes, probably very realistic, but if I wanted realism I wouldn't be reading spec fic, would I?

So all in all, this is a book whose themes and premise I really loved, but whose overall execution I was less than thrilled with. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 233 (next | show all)
It is a reasonably convincing vision of a future rendered difficult and more threatening than even our troubled present.
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.
But the third reason to pick up "The Windup Girl" is for its harrowing, on-the-ground portrait of power plays, destruction and civil insurrection in Bangkok.

Clearly, Paolo Bacigalupi is a writer to watch for in the future. Just don't wait that long to enjoy the darkly complex pleasures of "The Windup Girl."
One of the strengths of The Windup Girl, other than its intriguing characters, is Bacigalupi's world building. You can practically taste this future Thailand he's built [...] While Bacigalupi's blending of hard science and magic realism works beautifully, the novel occasionally sags under its own weight. At a certain point, the subplots feel like tagents that needed cutting.
added by PhoenixTerran | editio9, Annalee Newitz (Sep 9, 2009)

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paolo Bacigalupiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chong, VincentIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horváth, NorbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lacoste, RaphaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podaný, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riffel, HannesÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"No! I don't want the mangosteen."
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Rien n'est permanent. C'est l'enseignement central du Bouddha. Pas une carrière, pas une institution, pas une épouse, pas un arbre... Tout est changement, et le changement est la seule vérité.
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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.
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