The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi Plot: You are dumped in a futuristic society where the corporations rule and everyone is a pawn or puppet. This Thai society is the last refuge on earth that has a source of natural energy and a sort of political stability. Through the lives of four interconnecting characters, you go on an adventure of abdication, retribution, atonement, redemption, and survival. A lot of questions of civilization and humanity in regards to money, power, political intrigue, and humanism is scattered all throughout this book. In the end, you are surprised at how the strong do not always survive and it almost seems to ring true that “the meek shall inherit the earth.”

Feelings: I’m not confused about this book…I’m confused about how to rate this book. In one sense, I adored the flawed characters, and the effects that power, money, and politics play on the masses and the elite. On the other hand, I’m torn at how hard it was to make it through with the graphic sexual matter. It’s one thing to read consensual sexual literature, but as a woman, I have a hard time swallowing the rape pill. I mean, I love all the questions that were brought up about test tube children. The “Wind-Up” children (genetically engineered people), who have been bred with a Labrador retriever gene, allows them to obey and become completely loyal even against their will. Until, it takes an explosion of violation (I MEAN EXTREME VIOLATION) to allow one to “snap.” On the positive side, I liked how this novel was a definite “sink or swim” reading style. Most sci-fiction books lead you through the process of developing the world. Bacigalupi wastes no time in going into the details but lets you wander around this world lost until details start unraveling as you make it through the book. I think that is what kept me going, the fact that I wanted to figure out what kind of world was this? Who are these people? Why are they just so…damaged. I mean—this book is a solid…you either love it or hate~ I think I love to hate it, I want to hate it…but I found myself wondering… and contemplating all the issues that were brought up in this book. The three issues I found most interesting were as follows:

1)News--The fact that as so many analysis have stated were the messages the masses were getting and what actually was going on. You know how you read on yahoo news about that Russian girl that was made into Barbie, or the fact that Stewart and Pattinson have reconciled? Yet, habitat destruction, and new forms of slavery are not really promoted. That whole cover up with how much money is pouring around everyone, no one knows where the money is going…and our primary concern is… What color is the new fall trend? Yeah…

2)Survival--I don’t mean in the whole George meets the jungle type way… I mean the full out what would you do if you were asked something heinous in order to just live…or payback a debt. How many honorable people would not get caught up when money starts rolling, political favors start being dwelt… what would you do to survive in a world where the “pure of heart, and honesty” means decapitation, disembowelment, dismembered, and discarded. I mean, I want to say, I would be upright, righteous, and not allowed myself to be a Brutus, or a Benedict, or even a Robin Hood? I would die by my beliefs and be a matyr…but yeah…would I really?

3)Genetically Engineered Products—This was like the dark side of the graphic novel Chobits . I mean there are so many robotically friendly books that promotes the “cool-ness of being artificially made” but Bacigalupi took the darkside of genetics to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL! I mean—I won’t even get on the food issue because that just made me want to buy a farm and become a farmer…I mean ‘sheesh’—the fact that science fiction means it could be probable…specially when you read abou e.coli, mad cow disease… I mean what if a world-wide plague happened because of engineered food? With all the globalization and imports going on…What if a random mutant strain wiped us all out? The other bitter pill to swallow is the “New People” these people without a “soul.” The Eastern side (exception to Japan because they created them) discriminates and “ABHORS” them to new degrees of depravity. The fact of being a minority had me feeling slighty like “that sucks” because of historical issues (blacks, native americans being thought of less than human) I could see how they could be identified as animals—though not in this books sense because all the animals were genetically engineered, too. The fact is though I wasn’t some scientist who personal whim was who deciding in how to play god or take the human being to a new “evolution.” I wonder how I would feel if call them what you will (clones, robotic people, etc) were out and about. I mean the fact he crammed in all those issues (AND THAT’S JUST THREE ONES I put some thought into) we’re not getting into all the other underlying issues in the book, but the fact he made you care about this…or wonder how would you react (I mean it was so easy for me to condemn a lot of characters—but then to take a step back and go…well…)

Anyway, the cons were there too. I mean some characters were annoying…other’s I didn’t know how they would pan out…I guess-I’m torn, all mixed up, because I cared. I think I cared too much for this book. I wish there were more—I wish there was a better resolution, and I mean an almost better dystopia… I felt I was kicked out of the world too soon, due to the fact I was drowning in the world until halfway through were I was swimming with the currents until…I was washed up on shore…

Characterization: So much depth and dimension, there could be a huge analysis on all the players in the game. It was like Game of Thrones only less family...incest…but equally as devious, manipulative, cunning, naïve characters. It was driven by the characters and not by the plot. You could take these characters anywhere in anyplace, time, heck! They’re inhabiting this planet as we speak… That sounds a little out there…but they were written so well.

Tone: Gritty, Dark, Well-Researched. I had no pictures of Bangkok and no knowledge of the culture or words they used…let me tell…after reading this book… I’m pretty sure it would not help me fit in…but if I could time travel to the 22nd century, this would definitely be a great guidebook!

Frame: 22nd century Thailand

Red Flags: Honestly, the cursing and violence was not predominant or graphic. (Also there was opium and alcohol usage) What did disturb me was the violent rape scenes.

Honestly, I'm going back and forth with my rating system. The writing and characterization, plot and storyline is so good! The sooo disturbing...It's like a 3.5-4...I just am so torn...