Broadside No. 17 – Paolo Bacigalupi

Ahoy there me mateys!  Welcome to the seventeenth broadside – the Paolo Bacigalupi edition.  I adore him even if I have problems pronouncing his name (for those interested click here to hear him both say and explain his name!).  Though I have not read any of his short stories, I have read five novels and found them all to be great reading . . .

Please note: All book descriptions are from the author’s website and the book title links lead to Goodreads.

the windup girl

This novel was me introduction to his work and was complex and wonderful and hard fer me to explain in such a way to do it justice.  It deals with issues like ecological collapse, clashing cultures, a dystopian future, industrial espionage, and engineered beings.  It completely enthralled me and made it a necessity to read all of Mr. Bacigalupi’s other novels.

Plus it won a crazy amount of awards:

  • 2010: Hugo Award for Best Novel
  • 2009: Nebula Award for Best Novel
  • 2010: John W. Campbell Award
  • 2010: Compton Crook Award
  • 2010: Locus Award for Best First Novel
  • 2012: Seiun Award for Best Foreign Language Novel of the Year (Japan)
  • 2013: Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire for Best Foreign Novel (France)
  • 2012: Ignotus Award for Best Foreign Novel (Spain)
  • 2012: Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis for Best Foreign Novel (Germany)
  • 2011: Cena Akademie SFFH Award for Book of the Year (Czech Republic)
  • 2011: Cena Akademie SFFH Award for Best Science Fiction (Czech Republic)
  • 2009: Nominee for the Goodreads Choice Award for Science Fiction

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen’s Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history’s lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko.

One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.

the ship breaker series

This series is a young adult dystopian set after environmental collapse on the Gulf Coast of the United States.  The two books thus far are ship breaker and its followup the drowned cities.  While these books have the same stunning, gritty futures and characteristics of the windup girl, the true highlights for me were the interactions between the wonderful characters.  Nailer, Pima, Tool, Mouse – I loved them all.  I adore the world building.  People scrapping to make quota and survive.  Complex politics.  Violence.  I cannot wait for the next book in this series.

Awards for book one in the series:

  • 2011: Won the Michael L. Printz Award
  • 2011: Won the Locus Award For Best Young Adult Book

The author’s website has this to say about the first novel:

In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota — and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life….

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

the doubt factory

This was the least successful book for me thus far but still enjoyable.  It’s a young adult thriller.  I truly liked the main character, Alix and there were some extremely fun concepts and character interactions.  However, compared to his other novels, I didn’t adore this one.  It might have been the contemporary setting.  I am not sure.  Unlike his other novels, I don’t see meself rereading this.  No regrets though!

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

In this contemporary thriller, National Book Award Finalist and New York Times bestselling author Paolo Bacigalupi explores the timely issue of how public information is distorted for monetary gain, and how those who exploit it must be stopped.

Everything Alix knows about her life is a lie. At least that’s what a mysterious young man who’s stalking her keeps saying. But then she begins investigating the disturbing claims he makes against her father. Could her dad really be at the helm of a firm called The Doubt Factory that distorts the truth and covers up wrongdoing by hugely profitable corporations that have allowed innocent victims to die? Is it possible that her father is the bad guy, and that the undeniably alluring criminal who calls himself Moses–and his radical band of teen activists–is right? Alix has to make a choice, and time is running out, but can she truly risk everything and blow the whistle on the man who loves her and raised her?

And lastly . . .

the water knife

Okay so its a toss up between whether the windup girl or this novel is me favourite.  While I love his young adult novels, I find his adult work to be stunning.  I could totally see water rights in the United States becoming controlled by a mob-like organization in the future.  While the windup girl seemed far ahead in the future, weirdly this book seemed like it could be right around the corner.  It is violent and full of action and politics and murder.  It is both fun and thought-provoking.  Engaging and yet scary.  Awesome.

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindling shares of the Colorado River. Into the fray steps Angel Velasquez, detective, leg-breaker, assassin and spy. A Las Vegas water knife, Angel “cuts” water for his boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her lush, luxurious arcology developments can bloom in the desert, so the rich can stay wet, while the poor get nothing but dust.

When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in drought-ravaged Phoenix, Angel is sent to investigate. There, he encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist with no love for Vegas and every reason to hate Angel, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas refugee who survives by her wits and street smarts in a city that despises everything that she represents. With bodies piling up, bullets flying, and Phoenix teetering on collapse, it seems like California is making a power play to monopolize the life-giving flow of a river. For Angel, Lucy, and Maria time is running out and their only hope for survival rests in each other’s hands. But when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only thing for certain is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.

So that be me introduction to Paolo Bacigalupi.  If ye haven’t read any of his novels I would suggest ye hoist those sails and get moving!

To visit his website go to:

Paolo Bacigalupi – Author

To see a complete list of all books he has written visit:

Paolo Bacigalupi – Books

To add this author or his novels to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

If ye missed me other author broadsides:

Garth Nix – No. 1

Sharon Shinn – No. 2

John Scalzi – No. 3

Tamora Pierce – No. 4

Brandon Sanderson – No. 5

Robin McKinley – No. 6

Michael Crichton – No. 7

Mercedes Lackey – No. 8

Dean Kootnz – No. 9

Justine Larbalestier – No. 10

Neil Gaiman – No. 11

Kate Elliot – No. 12

George R.R. Martin – No. 13

Rosemary Kirstein – No. 14

Piers Anthony – No. 15

Ann Leckie – No. 16

8 thoughts on “Broadside No. 17 – Paolo Bacigalupi

    1. I still can’t pronounce his name no matter how much I listen to him pronouncing it. I hope ye enjoy his novels. The Wind Up Girl in particular is so unusual and yet glorious in its own way. Thanks fer the comment matey. Glad to have ye back in action.
      x The Captain


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