Science fiction is not always robots, far away worlds, aliens and space travels: Bacigalupi shows us how is possible to imagine a possible future working on energy, genetics, agriculture / food without leaving Earth.
The windup girl
The windup girl is a realistic science fiction novel, Bacigalupi, from something already existing in the agricultural field (see the registered trademarks as the Kamut®), builds the possible evolutions.
In the novel future cultivations are bound to alimentary corporations that possess the knowledge to reproduce them and that have the economic power to install new industries and to exploit less developed countries.
An energetic crisis block the electricity blocks energy wastefulness, so energy is, in industry, provided by the conversion from calories, so from the manual work of men and megadonts.
There are also social issues: in the area where the novel is set – approximately the actual Thailand – live Thai people, indigent workers or ministry exponents appointed to control genetic import, Chinese people, survivors of the old domination and due to humble works, the foreign devils, corporation workers or investors and the new genetic lines such as the windup girl.
The political situation is unstable due to the numerous political strengths and the presence in the city of a huge seed bank precluded to foreign investors that will allow numerous genetic evolutions.
The book does not follow an unique narrative line but one for each main character: Anderson, a foreign devil, Hong Seng, a Chinese working for him but willing to rebuilt his previous riches, Kanya and Jaidee white shirts of the environment ministry and Emiko, new people, a windup girl of a genetic line built to be compliant and docile.
I’ve an ambivalent opinion on this novel: on one side I liked the extreme detail in the world build that took in consideration also social, religious and political aspects to create a believable oriental society and an energy needed oriented future, on the other side I found some parts quite slow paced, in particular with respect to the fast paced ending.
One of the strengths of the novel are the characters, of whom the reader could follow also reflections and thoughts.
* The windup girl by Paolo Bacigalupi ★★★☆☆½
*I Read this book in English