Sunday, 19 December 2010

Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl (2010)

Oh, Paolo Bacigalupi, this is very good to find!
I can hardly misconceive you; it would prove me deaf and blind;
For at last I've read your novel, clocked the 'up' it seeks to wind.

Your genetic engineering makes a tasty premise; Thai
's rarely heard in science fiction (something we should modify)
And your world-building is nifty, when the oil has gone bye-bye.

Ay, because the setting's vivid, teeming and believable,
. . . Varied characters and tensions, a corrupted carnival:
I was never east of Europe—it's as if I saw it all.

But the Geisha is a problem: cheeks so round and lips so red,—
Sexbot who cannot avoid enjoyment whilst abused in bed:
As critique of exploitation, this, I'd say, is underfed.

All the violence she endures is sexualised—a racist blend
(Read what Said says in Orientalism on that) and
Contradicts the (quote) 'redemptive violence' of her story's end.

Still, five hundred pages finished. Oh, they praised you, it is true!
"Bravo Paolo! that was SF! Worthy of hullaballoo!
"Here's the Nebula, the Campbell, Locus,—half a Hugo too"

As for Thailand and her people, merely born to bloom and drop,
Here on earth they bore their fruitage, mirth and folly were the crop:
How much clockwork's left, I wonder, when the winding has to stop?


-Tim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-Tim said...

Congratulations Adam! I found that to be a most impressive review. Actually, I think it was better than the Guardian piece. :-)

P.S. Glad you're back.
P.P.S. Looking forward to the new book.

(whoops, double post, sorry)

Adam Roberts said...

Thank you!

Adam Roberts said...

And, when in Rome ...

Thank you!

Nick said...

One critique I read, which made me rethink the book, was "what happened to solar/wind/wave power"? I mean, I can accept the springs even if I know they don't make much sense but it seems kind of odd to just handwave all alt power out of existence.