Reviews

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Adult/High School-In a future Thailand, calories are the greatest commodity. Anderson is a calorie-man whose true objective is to discover new food sources that his company can exploit. His secretary, Hock Seng, is a refugee from China seeking to ensure his future. Jaidee is an officer of the Environmental Ministry known for upholding regulations rather than accepting bribes. His partner, Kanya, is torn between respect for Jaidee and hatred for the agency that destroyed her childhood home. Emiko is a windup, an engineered and despised creation, discarded by her master and now subject to brutality by her patron. The actions of these characters set in motion events that could destroy the country. Bacigalupi has created a compelling, if bleak, society in which corruption, betrayal, and despair are commonplace, and more positive behavior and emotions such as hope and love are regarded with great suspicion. The complex plot and equally complex characters require a great deal of commitment from readers. Even the most sympathetic people have darker sides, and it is difficult to determine which character or faction should triumph. This highly nuanced, violent, and grim novel is not for every teen. However, mature readers with an interest in political or environmental science fiction or those for whom dystopias are particularly appealing will be intrigued. If they are able to immerse themselves completely into the calorie-mad world of a future Bangkok, they will not be disappointed.-Karen E. Brooks-Reese, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Noted short story writer Bacigalupi (Pump Six and Other Stories) proves equally adept at novel length in this grim but beautifully written tale of Bangkok struggling for survival in a post-oil era of rising sea levels and out-of-control mutation. Capt. Jaidee Rojjanasukchai of the Thai Environment Ministry fights desperately to protect his beloved nation from foreign influences. Factory manager Anderson Lake covertly searches for new and useful mutations for a hated Western agribusiness. Aging Chinese immigrant Tan Hock Seng lives by his wits while looking for one last score. Emiko, the titular despised but impossibly seductive product of Japanese genetic engineering, works in a brothel until she accidentally triggers a civil war. This complex, literate and intensely felt tale, which recalls both William Gibson and Ian McDonald at their very best, will garner Bacigalupi significant critical attention and is clearly one of the finest science fiction novels of the year. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In a future of rising water levels, bioengineered plagues, widespread food shortages, and retrotechnology, calories have become currency and the rediscovery of foods thought to be extinct leads to commercial success or spectacular failure. An encounter between Anderson Lake, AgriGen's "calorie man" in Bangkok, and Emiko, a genetically engineered member of the New People, sets off a cataclysmic chain of events. Verdict This first novel by the Locus Award-winning author of Pump Six and Other Stories provides a captivating look at a dystopic future that seems all too possible. East meets West in a clash of cultures brilliantly portrayed in razor-sharp images, tension-building pacing, and sharply etched characters. Fans of the sf techno-fiction of China Mieville and Neal Stephenson should flock to this cautionary thriller. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

In the calorie economy, a new fruit, especially one of an old species reborn resistant to the plagues that have ravaged the world, is of great interest to the corporations that control most of the world's seed stock. Anderson Lake, Agri-Gen's calorie man in Thailand, buys a bag of ngaw and starts a cascade of events that will end in revolution. Emiko, the windup girl, is a New Person genetically engineered to be first the perfect servitor and then abandoned in Bangkok, where she is illegal and essentially without rights. Lake meets and uses her as a bargaining chip but becomes fond of her. The Thai kingdom is one of the last holdouts against the giant calorie-controlling corporations, but ngaw is all Lake needs to start negotiations for access to the Thai seed bank in exchange for military backup. Bacigalupi's near future is terrifying, astonishing, and brilliantly brought to vibrant life through the machinations and concerns of a few key inhabitants.--Schroeder, Regina Copyright 2009 Booklist