The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I came across Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl in my son’s bookcase while I was dogsitting and borrowed it because I couldn’t put it down. Not only is it engagingly written, it’s weirdly fascinating. In a chaotic world wrought by global warming, genetically modified humans known as New People are used as slaves. One of them, the “wind-up girl” Emiko, finds herself abandoned in Thailand, in danger of summary execution, and forced to humiliate herself in a sex club to survive. Having heard of a New People refuge in the north of Thailand, Emiko determines to flee there. Amid schemes for regime change, machinations of an alternative power entrepreneur, plague, and gangsters (among others), the plot grows increasingly complex. It’s a bleak, bizarre and strangely convincing world that draws you in and doesn’t let go.
If you enjoy dystopic science fiction set in the near future, this is a good choice.