This isn't a review, really

My hope is that you, the reader, won’t interpret this as a slight in any way toward Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl, Night Shade Books, Nebula voters, Thailand, and/or typesetters. Really. It’s a great book. This series of musings on it should in no way take away from its greatness. Bacigalupi’s writing is evocative and clear. His characters are fully-fleshed and his near-future scenario is far too plausible.

Which is, in fact, the problem. His vision of calorie men and windup creations is bringing me seriously down. If he weren’t such a lovely writer, this wouldn’t happen, because he wouldn’t be able to make me care. And I do care about Anderson Lake and Hock Seng and Emiko (especially Emiko), so much so that I have stalled out in reading the novel because I strongly suspect that Bacigalupi won’t be merciful.

He shouldn’t be, mind you. I get that his meticulous creation is one where costs must be paid by all, even if any individual isn’t directly responsible. Generations of greed are being visited on these randomly lucky but mostly cursed few. A fake smiley ending would sell out all that he has wrought. It makes bleak sense — and I will be happy to have read it.

But right now, I might need to temper the reading with metaphorical happy bunny unicorn stories, lest I stuff my feet in tissue boxes and refuse to leave the bathroom because the world is plunging into the abyss. Any suggestions? And am I the only one having this response to The Windup Girl?

2 thoughts on “This isn't a review, really

  • June 4, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    When I read THE WINDUP GIRL I was excited. I was excited that this wasn’t another one of those British Space Opera Light novels that seem to be so popular with the voters and critics lately. Even some of my favorite writers who have written dense mind-blowing Space Opera – Alastair Reynolds for example – picked up the Space Opera Light quirk with HOUSE OF SUNS. What I mean by Light is – kind of an airy tongue-in-cheek slightly humorous but with the space opera tropes well intact – which distracts from the all that is so good about those novels. THE ALGEBRAIST is another example.

    What I LOVE about THE WINDUP GIRL is that it is more of a meat & potatoes down and dirty vision with lean mean prose. Quite frankly it flushed the cobwebs of silliness out of my system.

    I’d recommend continue on reading. There are no pink unicorns or cute robots at the end cracking wise to alleviate this all too realistic future. Bacigalupi has smacked us in the forehead and popped open our eyes. But that’s why I love it. It is well worth the journey to read on until the end.

  • June 6, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I agree with everything you’ve said, frankly. It is an amazing book – I finished it a few days ago. And while I think Bacigalupi has done something truly noteworthy and eye-opening, the bleak made it a tough read.

    I might need to pick up some space opera light to chase away the bleak, you know?


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