My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Travelling the same paths of the broken near-future as Bruce Sterling, The Windup Girl drops the reader into a struggling, but surviving Thailand as it might be 100 years from now (more or less). It’s a future where the world has been ravaged by out of control genetic technology and environmental collapse, and the few effective structures that have been put in place to protect humanity are as vulnerable to greed and stupidity as they are to the constantly mutating diseases.
The prose itself is great. Bacigalupi sure can write, and his descriptions are as vivid, hot, and lush as the tropical landscapes that the describes. And although events are a bit slow to get started, his characters are similarly interesting with quirks and motivations that make them sympathetic, even while they are doing terrible things to everyone around them.
The story is a mish-mash of political maneuvering, corporate greed, basic survival, and revenge. This definitely isn’t a novel masquerading as a movie treatment. It’s a real literary narrative with an inter-connected web of humanity that find themselves forced into unlikely places and uneasy alliances by events that are out of their control, even if they were responsible for starting them in the first place. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this book for a number of major awards.