Friday, February 04, 2011

Dead Celebrities

With 'Stigma' out with beta readers I'm in new idea mode. Going through all those concepts and images that filter through my mind whilst I'm writing that I squirrel away with the intention of coming back to at some point and adding a little meat to the bones. Currently I'm thinking of a new YA sci-fi light series involving multi-dimensions, a series of YA environmental horror books, a comic book series for adults about dead celebrities and a weird fantasy Edinburgh novel. Hopefully one of them will build into something I wish to dedicate my time to.


The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

If you’re interested in sci-fi books and pay any attention to reviews and book prizes you’ll already know that ‘The Windup Girl’ has been singled out for praise by most of the big reviewing magazines and won last year’s Nebula. This is quite as is should be, as the work is simply brilliant. No bones about it. This mainly comes down to Bacigalupi’s skill as a world builder. I’ve only been to Thailand once, but this book transported me straight back to those humid streets. It’s a richly observed futuristic version in which the city pulses with the energy that Bangkok exhibits today.
A multiple character story that follows the demise of the city in an apocalyptic world where food, or more precisely calories, have become the de-facto trading commodity. A world where ecological parasites and diseases, grown in company labs, have wiped out whole countries and flipped the world in favour of the East. Bangkok survived, but only by hoarding carefully selected seed stocks and shutting the country off from the outside world - a bit like Japan in the 17th Century.
The story is political and social in aspect, charting the business and economic collapse of an authoritarian state. The gambling behind the scenes as powerful individuals attempt to move the country in one way or another, always at the expense of the vast majority, play against those who are thrust into the shifting landscape through no fault of their own.
The language draws you into the world, giving characters identifiable traits, but making them live on the page. They have realistic goals, never simply reacting to the action but instead manipulating the events to get the best result for themselves.

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