The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

I bought this book from Audible.

The world that Paolo Bacigalupi has created is a fantastical one, capturing the world in the midst of great change. In it we are shown how even though everything is changing culture does not change as fast as the world around it.

Jonathan Davis does an amazing job narrating this story; I am totally blown away by his performance. He fills the characters with so much life, making them each a vivid character with their own desires and fears. His ability to create a palpable difference between the different Asian cultures is fantastic.

I really enjoyed the science fiction aspects of this story, the new words, the blending of different languages, new creatures, and most of all interaction between the different characters. Every character expresses their desires and fears as the story moves along at a perfect pace, almost all of the characters are both hero and villain, living in some shade of gray. Good stuff.

There are some very brutal scenes in this book where I feel the author went WAY overboard, to the point that I almost stopped listening and deleted the book, but instead I turned the player up to 3x speed and got past them, it was worth it (but I think it would be a better story leaving some things to the imagination instead of spelling them out in horrifying detail.)

From the publisher:

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.

©2009 Paolo Bacigalupi; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

I rate this book a 9 out of 10 and the performance a 10 out of 10. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys science fiction.

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