Book review: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

I started this book with high hopes. After all, this was a book by a new-ish author that had won Hugo Award for Best Novel (2010), Nebula Award for Best Novel (2009), Locus Award for Best First Novel (2010), John W. Campbell Memorial Award (2010), Compton Crook Award (2010) Compton Crook Award (2010), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Science Fiction (2009). Impressive, uh?

Well, I don't know what they saw in it. Shallow characters, pervasive fatalism disguised as depth, mprobable slang ust because it sounds cool (windup girl? Really? That's how they will call genetically engineered humans in the future? Windups? Yeah, right).

Oh, and it's full of orientalism. And of things like implanting gene dogs into windups to make them loyal and subservient. And ghosts. Oh, crap, almost nothing in this novel worked for me. Most pages had me slapping myself on the forehead.

I amnot against a solid dose of weird. I like weird. I read Miéville, for crap's sake. But this is not weird, it's contrived.

And don't get me started on the end. The end is such an obvious analogy to Eden it almost made me puke. It's like the end of Battlestar Galactica, but set on the future. And with ladyboys.

I had a better time reading H. Rider Haggard's "Allan Quatermain", which I saw mentioned in the awesome series "The victorian Hugos". Old and dated? Sure. But I would vote for it instead of "The Windup Girl" every day, and twice if they let me.


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