If I gave this one star on goodreads, and I wanted to, I would be a big jerk, right?
I gave it two out of five, probably because of overfed white guilt.
I mean, The Windup Girl won every award going. Tied for the Hugo last year. Has some crap to say about the world, right? 'Don't be so greedy, whitey'. 'Don't make weird shit in labs.' 'Don't fuck up the world.' 'Don't fuck over the things you make in labs.'
This is an unpleasant book with brutal characters in a future version of Thailand that, put gently, sucks the devil's ass.
O.K., too much cursing. But- GOD DAMMIT!
This is a bleak, miserable, old vomit stain of a book. Don't let Paolo Bacigalupi's smile pull you in- there's no fun to be had here. Me, personally, I find rapes very upsetting. There are several and they are described in nauseating detail. The riots, disease, starvation, random cruelty... that's just a bonus! For you, the reader!
I know- I'm a whiney bitch. I know this. But... if it's not entertaining, and it offers no hope, then it should be instructive- and I don't mean instructive like how to rape somebody until they get sick of it and behead you.
I mean it should TEACH me something: and since I've already learned the four 'don't' lessons in paragraph 2 all I've learned in 400 hot, sticky, gritty pages is: for god's sake DON'T: 1) Go to Thailand. Ever. 2) Go to the Future. Best to die now and save face. 3) Read Paolo Bacigalupi with 'enjoyment' as a goal.
If I could convince P.B. and China Mieville to go at it with knives in the Hunger Games... well, a guy can still dream, can't he?