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The Windup Girl (2009)

por Paolo Bacigalupi

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaDiscussões / Menções
6,2193041,566 (3.74)2 / 508
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.
Adicionado recentemente porDr.Pretorius, Katzenkindliest, Dorothy2012, manthony0518, J.M.A., dannyholo, Quizlitbooks, FinaleArtists, biblioteca privada
  1. 141
    River of Gods por Ian McDonald (santhony)
    santhony: Very similar dystopian view of the near future in a third world environment.
  2. 157
    Perdido Street Station por 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. 124
    The Year of the Flood por Margaret Atwood (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Another novel about a dystopian future with strong environmental themes.
  4. 81
    Neuromancer Trilogy: Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive por 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 por Neal Stephenson (CKmtl)
    CKmtl: Fans of one of these works of Ecological SF may enjoy the other.
  6. 60
    Oryx and Crake por Margaret Atwood (bridgitshearth)
    bridgitshearth: I find I can't say it better than some of the reviewers on Amazon. Enthralling, riveting, compelling....
  7. 50
    The Dervish House por Ian McDonald (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: These two powerful, well-plotted novels each give detailed, dark visions of two different cities in the nearish future.
  8. 31
    Woman on the Edge of Time por 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!
  9. 32
    Bangkok 8 por John Burdett (ahstrick)
  10. 10
    Mosquito [short story] por Richard Calder (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Two powerful stories strike an eery chord...
  11. 21
    Neuromancer por William Gibson (g33kgrrl)
  12. 00
    Boneshaker por Cherie Priest (sturlington)
    sturlington: Steampunk
  13. 00
    Autonomous: A Novel por Annalee Newitz (DemetriosX)
  14. 00
    The Mountain in the Sea por Ray Nayler (Shrike58)
    Shrike58: I'm making the cross-reference for reasons of setting (SE Asia), issues (food and the environment), and matters of post-human intelligence.
Asia (31)
Ghosts (109)
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This book was the February selection for our SF book club. Having liked Bacigalupi’s Nebula and Hugo nominated short story, “The Gambler”, I was looking forward to reading one of his longer works.

Despite the title, this is more a “biopunk” novel than a steampunk work. It is dark, disturbing, and allegorical. There are no real heroes but there are plenty of irredeemable villains.

Set in Thailand in a dystopian future, there is a global food shortage brought on by the mutation of genetically modified seeds and the collapse of the petroleum industry. These seeds are controlled by a few megacorporations, referred to as “calorie companies”, who grant exclusive licencing for the use of their seeds on a country-by-country basis. These geneseeds are highly regulated, ostensibly to control for any further lethal mutations. Therefore, any new or “lost” seed strains are contraband and highly sought after.

Bacigalupi does an excellent job describing the fetid, corrupt, desperate environment in Thailand. Using the third-person omnicient narrative voice, we enter the story of each of the three main characters mid-arc. It is up to the reader to extrapolate information and piece together what is really going on. There is a liberal use of Thai words that adds to the flavour and authentic feel.

Through the first 120 pages the novel slowly lays out the power struggles among the government ministries, the royal house, the purist police, and the various high powered merchants and megacorps. There are oblique references to the Expansion, the Contraction, and the coal wars - all hinting at a globe-spanning environmental disaster. The Kingdom of Thailand stands apart from the other Southeast Asian countries. Through a disciplined, fascistic nationalism, those in power protect the Kingdom against the greedy foreigners who first destroyed all the food and are now charging crazy rates for "taint free” food.
“[The Minister] understood what was at stake, and what had to be done. When the borders needed closing, when ministries needed isolating, when [towns] needed razing, he did not hesitate.”

There are strong allegorical elements: what happens at the individual level mirrors what is happening at the community, corporate, and national level. For example, the megodonts – elephantine hybrids bred for mindless labour – and the cheshires – feral cats that evolved an ability to literally blend into the background hint at both the man-made and environmentally-pressured mutations interleaved with daily living. Bacigalupi has a rich, lyrical writing style: In referring to the political infighting between the Ministries of Trade and Environment: “A storm is coming, full of water spouts and tidal waves.”

The intersecting threads that link the several main characters just begin to be revealed half way through the book. Until then, these disparate threads have to be held in the reader’s mind – utterly foreign languages and customs in a newly constructed world. Eventually through discrete revelations, some pieces begin to come together to create the bigger picture. I had several “oh, that’s what’s going on” moments as the individual bits began to tie together.

The titular character does not appear until two-thirds into the novel. Called Emiko, she seems to represent the Struggle for Self-Identity. As a genetically created human, in Thailand she is an abomination. She cannot walk the streets in daylight for fear that she will be raped, beaten, or picked up by the authorities and “mulched” back to her component organs. The book describes in graphic detail the sexual and emotional humiliations and degradation Emiko goes through on a daily basis at the strip club where she is housed.

Sadly, I did not find myself caring about any of the characters. Key world-building elements that would have helped put their actions in a better context were not revealed until well after the first 150 pages. This information would have served the story better to have been in a prologue. Too many times, when characters would spend time in spiritual reflection, I found myself asking, “Yeah, so?”

This book is less driven by characters than by larger ideas of ecological ownership, politics, global history, indentured servitude, morality, and social responsibility. Published only four years ago, the issues it raises and forecasts give it contemporary relevance.

This book was both a 2009 Nebula Award winner and tied for a 2010 Hugo Award for best novel. This book also won the 2010 Compton Crook Award and the 2010 Locus Award for best first novel.

Though very well written, this award winning book is not structured in a way I enjoy. It is a non-subtle warning of what may happen if food production is allowed to become fully industrialized, put in control of a few global corporations, and genetically manipulated... a dark and violent future.
( )
  Dorothy2012 | Apr 22, 2024 |
Set in a future Thailand where rising sea levels due to climate change and plagues caused by bioengineered crops and mutated pests ravage the world, Bangkok holds on with levees and water pumps to keep the city from succumbing to the sea and isolationism and the Environment Ministry to ward off plagues and control by the biotech companies and their sterile seeds. It tells the story of a biotech company employee trying to get his hands on Thailand's seed bank to exploit it along with the windup girl, the only one in Bangkok, and how their lives intersect. Really interesting book. ( )
  LisaMorr | Mar 1, 2024 |
An imaginative and unique post-apocalyptic setting with a large cast of morally grey characters doing terrible things to one another. I found it fascinating. ( )
  yaj70 | Jan 22, 2024 |
As good as any book I've read before (about agro-terrorism, androids and Thai culture). ( )
  robmartin | Jan 15, 2024 |
Story: 4 / 10
Characters: 7
Setting: 10
Prose: 9

The Windup Girl started so well ... and there were so many reasons to read it: Hugo and Nebula award winner; and someone literally bought me a copy.

The unique, poetic prose and clever post-steampunk setting immerse the reader in the first few pages. The story starts off fairly strong with compelling characters and strange relationship dynamics. However, the plot loses direction in a web of tertiary story threads. At 33% completion, it was clear that the story was ultimately never going to come together. Since I'm reading through all the Nebula and Hugo award winning authors, I cannot honestly suggest you skip this book. Nevertheless, I would suggest reading one of Bacigalupi's later works: I imagine the stories would be more mature.

Tags: generipping (bio-engineering), plagues, post-steampunk, energy-efficiency, asia, androids ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 302 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
It is a reasonably convincing vision of a future rendered difficult and more threatening than even our troubled present.
adicionada por karenb | editarA 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.
adicionada por souloftherose | editarThe Guardian, Adam Roberts (Dec 18, 2010)
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."
adicionada por SimoneA | editarThe Washington Post, Michael Dirda (Jul 8, 2010)
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.
adicionada por PhoenixTerran | editario9, Annalee Newitz (Sep 9, 2009)

» Adicionar outros autores (17 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Paolo Bacigalupiautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Chong, VincentIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Davis, JonathanNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Horváth, NorbertTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lacoste, RaphaelArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lockhart, Ross E.Designerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Podaný, RichardTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Riffel, HannesÜbersetzerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Ulman, JulietEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Wang, EugeneDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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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.

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