The Wind Up Girl by Paulo Bacigalupi

Incredibly world building, not great book. This book is set in Thailand in a future where global warming and food scarcity because of different mutations are the big concerns. It’s a very interesting, conceivable, and frightening future! The world building really is great! On the cover someone compares it to William Gibson, and I don’t disagree. It’s just that maybe men shouldn’t write books? The wind up girl in the title is Emiko, a new person engineered by a Japanese corporation. She was designed to be beautiful and obedient, it’s in her training and in her DNA. She traveled to Thailand as a secretary/sex companion of a Japanese businessman, but was left behind when it cost less for him to upgrade to a newer model than to buy a ticket home for her. Sad. So she’s left to find a new patron, where she’s regularly raped and abused, but can’t do anything because she’s in the country illegally, and also it’s her nature to have a master? And she eventually overcomes her programing and fights back, and gets the happiest ending of anyone in the book really. But it’s just super unnecessary? Like, I think it’s maybe supposed to be a story about a badass woman saving herself, but the fact that it’s written by a man, and the way it’s written, it really didn’t work for me. Maybe if Emiko had more dimensions, or maybe if anyone had more dimensions, or maybe if Bacigalupi was more aware of the casual misogyny instead of just the super messed up stuff? I don’t know, it just didn’t sit well with me at all. The world building sure was great though.

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