The Windup Girl by Paolo BacigalupiRead about another book on the list.
In his acknowledgments, Bacigalupi stresses that his novel “should not be construed as representative of present-day Thailand or the Thai people”. His vision of Thailand’s future is less beaches and good curry, and more oil-starved, corruption-riddled nightmare.
At its heart, The Wind Up Girl is a biopunk thriller following a undercover corporate agent and a genetically modified woman – but its detailed, bleak depiction of the effects of climate change sets it apart. Set during “the contraction” – when the world runs out of fossil fuels – Bacigalupi’s Bangkok is one of only a few south-east Asian cities left, now below sea level and desperately holding off the rising waters with a series of spring-powered pumps.
Thailand’s environment ministry works like a guerrilla force to ensure the country’s survival, burning entire villages to the ground at the first sight of crop plagues. Ships transport goods, computers run on treadle-power and all the while, everyone resolutely acts as if nothing is wrong – so there is a little realism in this science fiction.
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