The Windup Girl, Capital Cities In A Swamp And Open Thread

A beautiful and finally tolerable day in the Imperial City. Call them ‘surrender monkeys’ all you want, but when Pierre L’Enfant in 1791 began designing Washington, D.C., he’s not the one who decided the capital should be on a swamp. Here’s an open thread.

We’re tuning out for a day or two all the click-baiting, ankle-biting meme chihuahuas (Gore and Portland, this person is or is not a racist, etc.) in favor of a new book. “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi. We recommend it.

People seem to think Bacigalupi is the next William Gibson (after all, it says so in the blurbs). Perhaps he is, but so far we find him closer to Murakami’s excellent Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Also highly recommended.

Reviewers suggesting it’s a new ‘Neuromancer’ aren’t completely off. That book’s now oft quoted “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel” doesn’t convey the richness of “Windup.” And Murakami’s textured (and structurally clever) “Hard Boiled Wonderland”, although not as well known to most Amerikuns, while of the same early 1980s era as Gibson went beyond just ‘jacking into the net’ and explored some of the biological themes fully developed in “Windup.” What we get with “Windup” is a more richly created dystopian world.

Is Bacigalupi another Vance as others suggest, a ‘world builder’ without peer? That’s for another post, perhaps. “Windup” is a great read filled with wry observations about a future with mindless American-Davos consumerism/branding triumphant. Dystopian to be sure but always entertaining and at times witty as well.


  1. DrLeoStrauss says

    Just picked up Dan Simmons’ “Flashback”. Like his most recent works, this one is long -549 pages. Presmise is that 20 years in the future, U.S. is in total collapse but no one cares because a drug called flashback allows people to relive the past.

  2. sglover says

    Forgot to say, yeah, I liked Windup Girl. Here’s a link to a short story by Bacigalupi:

    Wish I could say the same about Zero History. I’ll be interested in your take, but I thought it was truly awful. I slogged through the whole thing out of fan loyalty, but it was a real effort. **Extremely** disappointing.

  3. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Caved and picked up Gibson’s ‘Zero History’. Hoping it’s as good as much as he tweets.

    On a side note, decided to give MSNBC a shot tonight. (Yes, a quixotic and doomed gesture).

    O’Donnell ranted about inside Hill procedure with such bluster one immediately loathed whatever position he articulated.

    Then the callow Maddow foamed at the mouth with vacant, ignorant enthusiasm re a presidential finding – a subject the whole Nation went through for years and even 11 year olds know to use Teh Google.

    Per an earlier thread, it’s a shame the Stiftung no longer has weapons around. We would have emptied a clip into the Chinese tv and felt like The King.

    Why doesn’t Soros put his money where his mouth is and buy MSNBC and make it explicitly and authentically ideological? If they merely are going to pretend to be an antidote to Fox News, GE/Comcast couldn’t have picked a sorrier bunch. One *almost* misses Olbermann . . .

  4. sglover says

    Y’know, after it got recommended by you **and** IOZ, I got a copy of “The Windup Girl” not long ago, and finished it just a few days ago. Imagine my surprise that, so soon after that, this should be “Today’s Featured Picture” on Wikipedia.

  5. Comment says

    Thanks – you know the Magnavox Odyssey and Matel Intellivision are getting too old to give as gifts.

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