American writer Paolo Bacigalupi’s debut novel is a heart-stopping dystopian thriller and a razor-sharp vision of our near future. The story is set in a chilling near future Thailand, where calories count as currency with the world’s foodstuffs becoming depleted. It is an action-packed adventure with a complex plot weaving conspiracy and forbidden relationships. But it’s also a politically acute commentary on our own world.
Heroine Emiko is the tragic Windup Girl, an artificially-created creature designed to serve the depraved appetites of men. She is desperately seeking a way out of her existence, but the post-apocalyptic environment of Bangkok presents many obstacles. Her would-be saviour, Anderson Lake, is fighting his own demons as he combs the streets of Bangkok in search of foodstuffs long thought to be extinct.
Time Magazine named The Windup Girl as one of the best books of 2010. It has won numerous science fiction awards. This is cyberpunk without computers. Orbit Books, $A29.95.