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The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Windup Girl (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Paolo Bacigalupi

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3,110None1,808 (3.77)2 / 347
Title:The Windup Girl
Authors:Paolo Bacigalupi
Info:Night Shade Books (2010), Edition: (2nd), Paperback, 300 pages
Collections:Already read
Tags:science fiction

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The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (2009)

2010 (24) audiobook (22) Bangkok (45) biopunk (30) dystopia (159) dystopian (25) ebook (44) ecology (27) environment (20) fantasy (51) fiction (306) future (21) genetic engineering (80) Hugo (24) Hugo Award (25) Kindle (25) near future (20) Nebula (22) Nebula Award (22) novel (43) post-apocalyptic (65) read (41) science fiction (645) sf (128) sff (35) speculative fiction (38) steampunk (87) Thailand (146) to-read (133) unread (33)
  1. 121
    River of Gods by Ian McDonald (santhony)
    santhony: Very similar dystopian view of the near future in a third world environment.
  2. 155
    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. 103
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Another novel about a dystopian future with strong environmental themes.
  4. 60
    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.
  5. 71
    Zodiac by Neal Stephenson (CKmtl)
    CKmtl: Fans of one of these works of Ecological SF may enjoy the other.
  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. 42
    Bangkok 8 by John Burdett (ahstrick)
  8. 10
    Mosquito by Richard Calder (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Two powerful stories strike an eery chord...
  9. 00
    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....
  10. 00
    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!

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English (169)  French (2)  Polish (1)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  All languages (174)
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
Fantastic book, a wonderfully imagined and detailed view of the future. While it is a grim future of generippers and disease, it is nevertheless a very well written story of survival and bargains, bribery, corruption and when to stand up for your views or backdown. I look forward to reading his next story. ( )
  ExpatTX | Mar 31, 2014 |
Very well-written dystopic future.

Early in the book, I had deep misgivings about what Bacigalupi was doing with Emiko. How is it that we have a genetically submissive, sexually usable (for lack of a better word) young Japanese woman? Could we pack some more icky stereotypes in here?

By the end of the book, after we learn more about her, and after the female white shirt protagonist (her name escapes me at the moment), my concerns had been largely—but not entirely—assuaged. I still note that the times she’s raped are described with far more detail than the times when she engages in consensual sex (to the degree that her character is capable of it, which is not clear), or the times when she exacts her revenge; this ended up docking a star from the review.
( )
  sben | Feb 11, 2014 |
I got confused with the various political factions and characters, none of whom I much cared for, so didn't get much more than a hundred pages into this. I have read and liked short fiction by this author, but this wasn't for me at the time. ( )
  rmagahiz | Dec 21, 2013 |
An undercover calorie man attempts to garner knowledge of Thailand's seed bank since they are one of the last countries resisting the sterile seeds (and only food source) forced upon the world by his employer, a large agricultural company (read Monsanto). HIs cover is blown, so he resorts to manipulating the local political machine - the Trade vs the Environmental ministries - into an open rebellion. Different aspects of this not too distant future society where genetic manipulation is common are viewed through a chinese refuge, an impoverished young thai girl, various levels of corrupt officials (one white knight), and a new person (or wind-up) who is in the country illegally. The story was poignant and strange, and the ending (and hope for humanity) was perfect. Is it still considered evolution if it's directly helped along by man? ( )
  dandelionroots | Nov 11, 2013 |
Recensione su: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-S
Review at: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-S ( )
  Saretta.L | Oct 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
The book is set almost entirely in the City of Divine Beings in Thailand, sometimes rendered as Bangkok, or Klong Thep, its harbour area. After an environmental fall where sea levels have risen - the city is surrounded by levees - the proudly independent Thais feel under siege from the technology of a resurgent West. Gengineered diseases, deliberately created or not, abound, people live in fear of their (re-)occurence. Among other animals and plants, cats have been swept away, their niche overtaken by almost invisible gengineered creations known as Cheshires. In this Thailand anything technological is frowned upon and subject to bribery for acceptance. Machines - even down to hand guns - are powered by mechanisms known as kink-springs or, for heavy work, (this being Thailand) megodont, genetically modified elephants. It is a reasonably convincing vision of a future rendered difficult and more threatening than even our troubled present.

The windup girl of the title is one of the less-than-human clones engineered by the Japanese to deal with a worker shortage and known as heechy keechy by the Thais. She has tell-tale jerky movements, an inbuilt inability to sweat except through her hands and is conditioned to please and obey (spot the fantasy here.) On his leaving Thailand her original owner sold her into a kind of slavery where she is subjected to regular sexual degradation in the floor show of an exceedingly seedy night club. (This aspect reminded me a little of one of the narrative strands in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.)

The novel is by no means flawless. We have four viewpoint characters - not all entirely convincing - one of whom is killed halfway through and whose narrative is taken over by a fifth who is ultimately the agent of change. Perhaps she should always have been the focus of the relevant strand.

While Bacigalupi may have intended our windup girl to feature more prominently, and she does kick off the dénouement, she is more or less a side line character and not involved in the resolution which, rather than being about something more interesting, degenerates into a shoot-em-up civil war. In the early chapters characters spend a lot of time talking to each other. Later chapters do however become shorter and snappier as the action takes over. Despite its setting and several Thai or Chinese main characters it feels a touch Western triumphalist in overall tone but Bacigalupi's Thailand did appear well researched.
added by jackdeighton | editA Son Of The Rock, Jack Deighton (Mar 9, 2011)
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 (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paolo Bacigalupiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chong, VincentIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horváth, NorbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lacoste, RaphaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podaný, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"No! I don't want the mangosteen."
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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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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.… (more)

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