Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
It's set in Thailand in the future. The worldbuilding is strong -- Earth is a post-petroleum dystopia where a handful of global bioengineering corporations control food production. Calories are precious measurements of energy. The windup girl of the title is Emiko, a manufactured human being discarded by her Japanese owner when he left Bangkok. Emiko somehow captures the hard heart of Anderson Lake, an undercover corporate agent who is looking for sources of untainted genetic food stock in Thailand. There are other well-developed characters (all but one are adults), the plot is absorbing, and the pace is that of a literary thriller.
Readalikes: The City and the City by China Mieville; River of Gods by Ian McDonald; Neuromancer by William Gibson; Fairyland by Paul McCauley.