Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Windup Girl

I finished reading The Windup Girl. This book has won a number of major awards. It was named as the ninth best fiction book of 2009 by TIME magazine. The novel is both the 2009 Nebula Award and the 2010 Hugo Award winner for best science fiction/fantasy novel. I brought the book after seeing that it won the Nebula Award.

The novel is set in Bangkok in the 22nd century. Global warming has raised the levels of world's oceans. Bangkok survives behind a series of dikes. Carbon fuel sources have become depleted. Biotechnology is dominant. Other themes in the book include megacorporations, bioterrorism and seedbanks.

I read science fiction partly because I love to see how authors play with ideas about technology. As someone who struggles everyday to build and maintain technology solutions on a large scale, I am fascinated by how technology might interact with our lives in the future. Although pessimistic about the future, The Windup Girl is a good example of a book with lots of interesting ideas.

After we spent two weeks in the Philippines in 2003, Sharon and Pat continued on to Bangkok and Thailand, while I headed back home with Jack. I have always regretted not having a chance to see Bangkok and some of Thailand. The country remains on my top ten countries to visit.

Although I am not sure that any book could live up to the positive reviews and awards that it got, I enjoyed the book. I started to worry in the last fifty pages that I was going to be disappointed by the ending, but I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed how the story ended. I would grade the novel as a strong B+ or A- and would recommend it.

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