The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
The author grabbed me out of my livingroom and threw me into a future foreign city on a dystopian Earth. I landed on the street, stood up, looked around, and had no idea when I was or what was going on or what had happened to the world I came from. I roamed a sprawling, sweating city where everything was alive, but I didn’t know how to interact with any of it because it was so foreign. I came across characters who spent a lot of time hatching plans that never came to fruition. I gathered clues on why things were the way they are, but could never find enough to understand the history this story was born out of. So much information was being poured over me that I didn’t know what was important. From the smell of the slums made of oiled woods, to the sounds of the line on the factory floor, to the unrelenting fist of the sun’s heat beating down down down – these waves of data made it hard to stay afloat in the larger ocean of secret plots, global uncertainty and unfamiliar circumstances.
I got both culture shock and future shock reading this book.
Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen’s Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history’s lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko …
Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.