I really wanted to like this, but ultimately it just didn't seem to hit the mark, coming off as a collection of mediocre adverts for the authors rather than a real attempt at a connected collection of short stories. The quality of the voice acting was variable also.
It's not all bad; a couple of stories are worthy in their own right, but as a collection, there's just not enough to hold it together.
The setting is original - I haven't seen too many sci-fi stories set in Thailand, and the overall feel, with the lack of electricity clashing with the high tech of the genetic rippers produces a world akin to a hot, sweaty steampunk novel, though I've seen it referred to as a 'biopunk' work, which does kind of fit.
The writing is solid, truly achieving the feel of a failed society, the heat and sweat of a summer in Thailand, and the desperation of almost all the characters. All sides are represented, and whilst much of the story follows Lake and Emiko, the texture of the world is shown through an incorruptible white shirt and former Muay Thai fighter Jaidee Rojjanasukchai, his assistant, and a yellow card, Hock Seng, a formerly wealthy trader from Malaysia who now runs the spring factory since his entire family were slaughtered in his homeland.
The whole storyline twists and turns, and overall, the plot has a satisfactory outcome, winding through politics, military intervention and indeed the indigenous beliefs of the Thai people themselves, and their pragmatic approach to this new world order. It isn't a book which relies on its setting to prop up a weak story, it balances the two quite well, which makes it easy to get into and quite satisfying right to the end. Indeed, at the end you might realise that the Thais, as underdogs have held together far better as a society, than the west represented here by the huge seed companies, and other nations which have embraced them and fallen.
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