TheWindupGirl
The Windup Girl (Amazon USAUKCanada)
by Paolo Bacigalupi (website)
Night Shade Books (includes excerpt and stories from the same world)

Hardcover – 24.99

Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. 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.

What Happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits, when said bio-terrorism’s genetic drift forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? In The Windup Girl, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi returns to the world of “The Calorie Man” ( Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award-winner, Hugo Award nominee, 2006) and “Yellow Card Man” (Hugo Award nominee, 2007) in order to address these poignant questions.

I recently got a large stack of books from Night Shade books, but this one was not among them. John Ottinger over at Grasping for the Wind called it “good, if depressing, fiction.” This is one case where the title hooks me more than the blurb. If I saw this on the shelf, I’d be tempted to buy it on the strength of the title alone. However, I’m not sure I get the premise, because it mentions things like calorie companies without giving any clue as to what that is, and how bio-terrorism can possibly bring about corporate profits. John Scalzi has a Big Idea post on it.