Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Mish Mash of Ideas

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

Summary: 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? Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century.

Review: A disappointing attempt at a dystopian novel that seems like it's trying too hard.

Biopunk, which is defined by Wikipedia as: a subgenre of cyberpunk fiction that focuses on the near-future unintended consequences of the biotechnology revolution following the discovery of recombinant DNA. Biopunk stories explore the struggles of individuals or groups, often the product of human experimentation, against a backdrop of totalitarian governments and megacorporations which misuse biotechnologies as means of social control and profiteering. That sounds totally awesome to me and something I would love to read. It also describes The Windup Girl exactly. Unfortunately, the book falls short of being enjoyable. 

It felt like the author was trying to squeeze too much into one novel. Also, while I admit that I do not know Asia, it felt like the east in the book was not an accurate representation of the country, culture, or the people. It was interesting to see how the world was after gas became rare and how people dealt with those challenges, including finding alternate energy sources. I can understand the reason for developing the New People, but I can't fathom a reason for making them with stutter-stop motion, as its described, unless it was a way to make them easily identifiable.


Recommendation: I would recommend this to big fans of biopunk and those that really enjoyed dystopian fiction. 

No comments:

Post a Comment