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The Windup Girl (2009)

door Paolo Bacigalupi

Andere auteurs: Zie de sectie andere auteurs.

LedenBesprekingenPopulariteitGemiddelde beoordelingDiscussies / Aanhalingen
5,3312681,471 (3.76)2 / 474
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.
  1. 131
    River of Gods door Ian McDonald (santhony)
    santhony: Very similar dystopian view of the near future in a third world environment.
  2. 147
    Station Perdido door 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. 81
    De cyberpunk-romans door 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.
  4. 104
    Het jaar van de vloed door Margaret Atwood (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Another novel about a dystopian future with strong environmental themes.
  5. 71
    Zodiac door Neal Stephenson (CKmtl)
    CKmtl: Fans of one of these works of Ecological SF may enjoy the other.
  6. 50
    The Dervish House door Ian McDonald (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: These two powerful, well-plotted novels each give detailed, dark visions of two different cities in the nearish future.
  7. 40
    Oryx en Crake door Margaret Atwood (bridgitshearth)
    bridgitshearth: I find I can't say it better than some of the reviewers on Amazon. Enthralling, riveting, compelling....
  8. 10
    Mosquito [short story] door Richard Calder (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Two powerful stories strike an eery chord...
  9. 21
    Vrouw op het scherp van de tijd door 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!
  10. 32
    Bangkok 8 door John Burdett (ahstrick)
  11. 00
    Boneshaker door Cherie Priest (sturlington)
    sturlington: Steampunk
  12. 11
    Zenumagiër door William Gibson (g33kgrrl)
Asia (31)
Ghosts (78)
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Engels (262)  Frans (2)  Duits (2)  Pools (1)  Hongaars (1)  Alle talen (268)
1-5 van 268 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
Great world building, and a compelling portrait of Thailand. (Or at least, it seemed compelling to someone who's never been there.) I actually found the notion of giant agribusiness megacorps as economic predators more compelling than the disbelief-suspension-snapping notion of creating sentient people from scratch, but not by much. Most of the characters turned out to be nicely multi-dimensional -- very few dedicated Good Guys vs Bad Guys, and I liked the open ending. I was concerned he would tie it up too neatly, and thankfully, he didn't. ( )
  qBaz | May 28, 2021 |
Wow. What an unpleasant book, full of unpleasant things happening to not-very-likable people. I kind of see why it won the Hugo and Nebula -- the world-building is good -- but that's the only reason I'm giving it two stars instead of one. If I could un-read it I think I would. Also, while you can make a case that the author is using the eponymous Emiko as a vehicle to consider the issues of nature, nurture, free will, and genetic engineering, you can also make a case that she is a poor, pathetic thing created by the author only to serve as the target of the voyeuristic male gaze. ( )
  AmphipodGirl | May 23, 2021 |
Definitely enjoyed this, didn't rock my world but it is well worth a read if you like cyber/biopunk, or just a good old noir-tinged action. ( )
  francoisvigneault | May 17, 2021 |
I imagine there are a few different reasons why the post-apocalyptic setting appeals to so many authors - wanting to explore how people would act without the familiar comforts of the real present; interest in the dramatic possibilities inherent in stranding a select group of people in a hostile landscape; the desire to send a message about possible consequences of some societal action or trend; or maybe simple boredom with "hopeful" visions of the future. The Windup Girl is an excellent post-apocalyptic take on climate change and genetic modification, and it manages to touch on a few of those themes while also featuring great characters and a genuinely gripping plot. It's very condescending to compliment a sci-fi book on also being a "good read", as if the genre weren't interesting enough in its own right, but it truly is notable the way that Bacigalupi managed to work so many different aspects of good writing in here.

It's set in 23rd century Thailand after climate change and a series of devastating genetic plagues have eliminated the petroleum-based economy. Power is provided by a steampunk-ish mixture of human power, genetically modified brute animal labor, and powerful "kink-spring" battery equivalents. Thailand has managed to survive, more or less, by almost completely isolating itself from the outside world in a manner reminiscent of pre-Meiji Japan, and the main action of the book revolves around the tension between foreign factories that would like to open the country up, internal forces who want to enable that, and other internal forces who fear that doing so would expose the country to polluting outside forces and destroy their society (it's worth pointing out that in real history Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country that was never colonized or invaded by Europeans, so this is a clever choice of setting on Bacigalupi's part). In the middle of this economic tension are an American investigator from a foreign "calorie company" looking for pure genetic seedstock, a Chinese-Malaysian businessman-turned-refugee-turned-businessman, members of the country's internal environmental enforcement ministry battling corruption, and a Japanese replicant prostitute assassin (who's not as ridiculous as that description makes her sound).

There's a lot of stuff to like about how Bacigalupi set up his world. For the most part the characters never leave Bangkok, so we're immersed in a hot, crowded, filthy, dangerous city that's very different from and very similar to the real city of our own day, and the various locales around town are always vividly described. I've never been to Thailand so I can't comment on how accurate the culture is, but since this is sci-fi I'm willing to buy the portrayal of it here in the form of constant Thai words and phrases. There are your standard big evil megacorps, in this case standing in for Monsanto, yet they are given believable profit motives and are incompetent and greedy in familiar ways. Many of the characters are religious, yet with the somewhat baffling exception of the ghost of a dead character, the book sticks to "realism" and suspension of disbelief is easy. Information on the past disasters is handed out sparingly and appropriately, so the novel is free from clumsy info-dumps. There's a lot of intrigue, palace politics (I liked the hints that the Queen that the people love might be a Big Brother-ish fiction), and sudden reversals of fortune, with few deus ex machinae, and Bacigalupi is admirably willing to kill off his characters in satisfying ways. The book ends with a cataclysm, yet it seems to end well for the most sympathetic character in a plausible way. Throughout the whole book the sense of a city and society under siege, and the painful choices that accompany the drive to survive, is always present and always compelling. Basically it's what Greg Egan's Teranesia should have been in all respects.

The most interesting parts of the book to me are the economics of the world and the ecology. To cope with this new world, the Thailand of the book is trying to reverse the forces of the Colombian exchange by pursuing an island strategy and devoting all of its energy to repelling the new plants, animals, and viruses that the evil foreigners have unleashed. In real life, island strategies don't work, both in human terms (again, pre-Meiji Japan) and in non-human terms (islands like Hawaii, the Galapagos, or Mauritius have all famously lost species like the dodo to invaders they just couldn't compete with), and so I liked the way the battle between stasis and change was resolved. While I don't quite buy the extreme virulence of the plagues in the book - in real life diseases that kill too high a percentage of their hosts too quickly go extinct since they no longer have anything to feed off of, and in fact often become much less severe over time, as in the case of syphilis - I'm willing to believe that either an evil megacorp could be deliberately mutating the pathogens or perhaps there's some quality of the world (increased radiation from abandoned nuclear plants?) that has made it so inhospitable. The return of long travel times and information delay due to the lack of oil is also interesting for the student of international trade before the 20th century; I can easily see the return of the great mercantile empires and mercenary trade barons due to high returns and interest rates (fun fact: the word 'farang' in the book means 'foreign white people' in real life too, and was the inspiration for the name of the Ferengi aliens in Star Trek). The way that the characters scheme and haggle over trivial items and think of things in terms of food is very realistic, as is the extreme inequality, so I was reminded frequently of a cross between an industrializing city like 19th century Chicago and an overstuffed refugee camp.

If you're looking for a good post-apocalyptic science fiction novel with a solid backing premise, an interesting world, a riveting plot, and well-drawn characters, this novel deserves all of the awards it won. It tackles things like fears over genetic modification without being silly, and it ends on the right ambiguously promising note that makes you want a sequel while still being satisfying on its own. ( )
3 stem aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
GREAT; Thai dystopia post petroleum
  18cran | Apr 25, 2021 |
1-5 van 268 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
It is a reasonably convincing vision of a future rendered difficult and more threatening than even our troubled present.
toegevoegd door karenb | bewerkA 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.
toegevoegd door souloftherose | bewerkThe 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."
toegevoegd door SimoneA | bewerkThe 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.
toegevoegd door PhoenixTerran | bewerkio9, Annalee Newitz (Sep 9, 2009)
 

» Andere auteurs toevoegen (7 mogelijk)

AuteursnaamRolType auteurWerk?Status
Paolo Bacigalupiprimaire auteuralle editiesberekend
Chong, VincentIllustratorSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Davis, JonathanVertellerSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Horváth, NorbertVertalerSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Lacoste, RaphaelArtiest omslagafbeeldingSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Podaný, RichardVertalerSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Riffel, HannesÜbersetzerSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
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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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