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Jill McDole reviews The Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel The Windup Girl.

The Windup Girl Book CoverAuthor: Paolo Bacigalupi
Publisher: Orbit Books
Price: £7.99
Availability: Out Now

Set in the 23rd Century, this award winning novel sees mankind at the mercy of extreme heat – via global warming and the depletion of carbon fuels. Biotechnology corporations control the food supply. New generations of seeds are produced in order to avoid mutant diseases and pests.

Anderson Lake owns a kink-spring factory; the factory is his cover in Thailand. He works for a biotechnology corporation called AgriGen, and is in Thailand to discover foods that have previously been believed to be extinct. He becomes obsessed with the windup girl Emiko. Windups, or ‘New People’, are genetically engineered humanoids who are programmed to serve. He becomes Emiko’s escape from an employer (owner) who uses her in illegal sex shows. But what will happen when Emiko reaches her breaking point?

Short story writer Bacigalupi’s novel is a frightening look at a future gone horribly wrong. Political tensions, corporate control, and numerous groups with their own agendas add up to a violent planet. There are quite a few characters to keep up with, and they all want something for themselves. The Windup Girl is a well-written but complicated book. Readers will need to have a vivid imagination, as many of the concepts are genuinely futuristic. But once you sink your teeth into the meat of the book and get to understand the characters and their motivations, be prepared to be thoroughly entertained.