The Windup Girl
by Paolo Bacigalupi
Publisher: Night Shade Books
(3 1/2 stars out of five)
The Windup Girl is a disturbing look at a dystopian future. This world suffers from devastating crop plagues, climate changes, and a lack of oil. The story is set in a Thailand that suffers from constant political power struggles, and the food is genetically engineered by American corporations.
Into this background, Bacigalupi introduces his main characters; Anderson Lake, Jaidee, Hock Seng, and Emiko the windup girl. The titular character is Emiko an engineered being who is a “new person” designed for pleasure.
She is despised by the population for being unnatural, a “heechy keechy”. I had to wonder about that considering that these people eat Ngaw, a red fruit with green hair. I mean come on, talk about unnatural!
That was one of several problems that I had with the story. I still don’t understand the energy storage in springs angle of the story. Why not solar? I wanted to like it, perhaps my expectations were set too high. I expected so much more from a novel that is a finalist for the Nebula Award. The novel moved in the same “heechy keechy” pace that was ascribed to the character Emiko. However; the plot is devilishly complex and many of the characters are intriguing.
All in all, I think that the novel is better than average.
I give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5.