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The Windup Girl [Paperback]

Paolo Bacigalupi
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Dec 2010

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's calorie representative in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, he combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs long thought to be extinct. There he meets the windup girl - the beautiful and enigmatic Emiko - now abandoned to the slums. She is one of the New People, bred to suit the whims of the rich. Engineered as slaves, soldiers and toys, they are the new underclass in a chilling near future where oil has run out, calorie companies dominate nations and bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.

And as Lake becomes increasingly obsessed with Emiko, conspiracies breed in the heat and political tensions threaten to spiral out of control. Businessmen and ministry officials, wealthy foreigners and landless refugees all have their own agendas. But no one anticipates the devastating influence of the Windup Girl.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; First Printing edition (2 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0356500535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0356500539
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Bacigalupi is a worthy successor to William Gibson: this is cyberpunk without computers (Time Magazine)

Not since William Gibson's pioneering cyberpunk classic, NEUROMANCER (1984), has a first novel excited science fiction readers as much ... Paolo Bacigalupi is a writer to watch for in the future. Just don't wait that long to enjoy the darkly complex pleasu (The Washington Post)

An exciting story about industrial espionage, civil war, and political struggle, filled with heart-thudding action sequences, sordid sex, and enough technical speculation for two lesser novels (Cory Doctorow)

This complex, literate and intensely felt tale, which recalls both William Gibson and Ian McDonald at their very best, will garner Bacigalupi significant critical attention and is clearly one of the finest science fiction novels of the year (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

Book Description

The winner of five major SF awards, The Windup Girl is both a heart-stopping dystopian thriller and a razor-sharp vision of our near future.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My new number one author 24 July 2010
By clyxylc
I am one of the `Malayan Chinese' as depicted in this novel, and I am simply astonished at how real and accurate Bacigalala's grasp and hold of the socio-political undertones of Thailand and the Malaysian Chinese are in this novel. Many times I find myself flipping to the front to check the author's name to see if he really isn't Asian and then to the tiny write-up of himself to see if he lived in Asia for decades. Iowa born. Hmmm.....
Lot's of great dystopian lit out there, but this one really hit home for me simply because of its Asian setting. Could actually picture dystopian Bangkok all around me as I read this book.
Ok constructive rascist views aside, this book is one of the best pieces of dystopic science fiction I have ever read, my other favorite being Dune (by the original Frank Herbert). I'm usually not one to pounce on new unheard of authors, but I came onto this having just finished Bagicalalala's YA novel Ship Breaker which blew me away (and is not in an Asian setting but in the Gulf of Mexico). I started the book with the presumption that this was no way going to be better than Ship Breaker. But the book proved me wrong 15 minutes in. An exciting, thrilling, dystopic romp to the finish. I am hungry for more Bacgialala now.
Why the hell is it taking till December for paperbacks of Pump Six (his short story collection) to be released?!??!!!! I simply can't afford the hardcover versions going for $400 over at the moment!!!!
Congratulations for being my new number one author farang Paolo. Hurry up and show us what else is in your imagination.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complex and wonderfully satisfying novel. 9 Feb 2012
Most science fiction falls into one of two camps. The first consists of poorly-written, plot-driven page turners that are like McDonalds Happy Meals - satisfying to eat but you feel cheated afterwards. The second is aiming rather higher, aspiring to be literary fiction, but normally falling short and failing to deliver much of a story either - a bit like "nouvelle cuisine", with its dainty portions that hardly add up to a decent mouthful.

Here we have a book that manages to fall into both camps with resounding success. First, it's incredibly well-written. The prose is evocative without being florid, the register is infallible, and structurally it's like a Breuget timepiece. Politically it's very interesting - the relationships between the various tribal and ethnic factions in the book are entirely credible and persuasive. Although it's set in Thailand, where all but three or four of the main characters have non-Anglicised names, I never once struggled to remember who was who. But it's the story that is the main thing - part love affair, part political thriller, part dystopian nightmare, part pure speculative fiction. I really couldn't put it down, and I'm sure that Bacigalupi will go on to write even better, more intense books than this. I, for one, can't wait. For me, his only rival is Iain M Banks, and that's very high praise from me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By zerot
For a debut novel this is an amazingly confident story. Bacigalupi has succeeded where so many new authors fail and has managed to create a wholly believable future world. Climate change and genetic engineering have wreaked havoc across the globe and the Kingdom of Thailand is a bleak, sweltering place. The story follows a number characters as years of political and cultural machinations come to a head. One of these is Emiko, the windup girl. A genetically engineered "new person" whose built-in enhancements are off-set by the imperfections designed to please her creators. As she strives to overcome her programming her life intersects with the other protagonists as the Kingdom goes into meltdown.

The science is clever and engaging and supports the plot and moves the story forward without getting in the way. Comparisons with William Gibson are justified although I found Bacigalupi probably a little more accessible than Neuromancer etc. The dialogue crackles and sizzles with the rising tempo of events and Bacigalupi captures the different personalities and perspectives of his main characters brilliantly. I wasn't sure that one of the leads - Hock Seng - was that crucial to the plot and his segments are probably the weakest. But the book moves along at a slick pace and only seems to drag in a few places.

All the nominations and awards are well deserved. Read it and wait in anticipation for the seque.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but... 7 Nov 2012
Well, I'll give this book 3.5 stars, but as it is not available on half marks, I have opted to give it 3 and here is why.

As a book, premise and setting of a very plausible future, it definitely gets 4 stars. It is well written, very well set in an indefinite, but near and plausible, future where we have run out of oil and big companies control the food markets with genetically modified seeds and virus warfare. Sadly and frighteningly enough, there are countries where the big companies have already develop seeds of the sort and do control what is planted, what is grown and what is harvested and do not produce seed, but you need to buy more... that is a reality in this book and it is convincing.

As far as my enjoyment of the book itself, is where I will give it 3 stars. I felt that sometimes the pace of the book, very much replicated the movement of a 'New Person' or a 'Windup' stuttering and broken at moments, but fluid and beautiful when it gather speed and left us staring in awe and disbelief.

It is a good book, but I did not enjoy it as much as I had wanted to and despite very good conclusions (that I agreed with), I still wish I had enjoyed it more.

It will make a good present and I am sure that other people will disagree with me and enjoy it more than I did. But it is a good book nevertheless.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the Pile
Amongst the quite literally thousands of Sci-Fi novels published every year this one was by a clear margin the best of 2009 and thoroughly deserved its' plaudits and awards. Read more
Published 21 days ago by J. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
I loved this book. A realistic vision of the future after collapse of industrialised society. It took me a little while to get into, as there wasn't one particular character I... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Daniel Malcolm
1.0 out of 5 stars For a minority of listeners...huge fail.
This is a review of the audio book. I plan to read this on my kindle because, having tried to listen to it, I cannot tolerate the ridiculous pronunciation of Thai words and places. Read more
Published 2 months ago by mandylouise
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Now this I did enjoy, a really good idea and well written to boot. Would transfer to film well I would have thought! - 4 stars
Published 3 months ago by ebbo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great great book
Love this book. Really interesting concepts of possible future effects on society and the planet of GM crops and the aggressive corporations that push them. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ironzionryan
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable tale
While it could be slightly slow at times, it could also be very action packed and brutal (although not gruesome) at others. Read more
Published 6 months ago by K. Royle
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing but a useful read
When I heard via a friend that this book was set in a futuristic Thailand, I immediately purchased it to help me with Part Two of my own novel: Eye of an Artist. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Yolanda
5.0 out of 5 stars briliant
I have recently starting dipping my toe into dystopian fiction with Margaret Atwood and Liz Jensen, Paolo really is full immersion. Read more
Published 8 months ago by C. o'connell
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressed
I was totally absorbed by this tale. I liked the way it wove a story around many of the world issues that are currently unfolding (oil, climate, etc). Read more
Published 9 months ago by Michael Robinson
3.0 out of 5 stars Trouble in Thailand
A science fiction novel that is set in near future Bangkok. And in a time where the oil has run out, the climate has changed, and the world has changed as a result. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Paul Tapner
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