Knifing Through the Water

I picked up The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi because I loved his award winning 2009 novel, The Windup Girl. Both have to do with a dystopian future where resources are scarce and hoarded by the few.Image result for the water knife cover

In the case of The Water Knife, the south-western United States is going through an incredible and destructive water shortage. To make matters worse, water is being hoarded by corporations who claim water rights on rivers and lakes, thereby owning the water and making it difficult for the majority of the population to access unless they are willing to pay large sums of money for it. The novel focuses on three characters; Angel, a mercenary-type character who works for the corporation running Nevada’s water supply, Lucy, a journalist that takes on the plight of the people, and Maria, a poor woman who is looking to escape the Phoenix “thirst” she has grown up in.

While it had many elements that I enjoyed in reading The Windup Girl, I had difficulty in becoming as immersed in the world he was creating. I found the description of the setting minimal and, perhaps because I have never been to that area of the world, found understanding the geography that made water so hard to come by outside of my grasp. Continue reading

The Windup Girl, Not Your Everyday Apocalypse Novel

A good friend recommended this novel through Goodreads, so I thought I should give it a shot. It has been a while since paying attention to awards and The Windup Girl holds two of the big ones; the 2009 Nebula Award and 2010 Hugo Award, as well as a few others.

It was bleak, illustrating some of the more undesirable traits of humankind during a time that really needs them, but that made the writing imaginative and different from anything that I had read in a while. Where apocalyptic science fiction has fallen on the standard tropes of zombies and plagues, The Windup Girl examines our potential future in a different way, one of unsustainable development and greed.

There are two things that I found myself having particular affinities to while reading this book. The first, I have been in Thailand and loved it, and that is where the book is set. The Thai language creeps into the dialogue, creating a sense of realism due to the differences and particularities of the Thai people and those who are not from that country.

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