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The Windup Girl Audiobook

The Windup Girl

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Publisher's Summary

Earphones Award Winner (AudioFile Magazine)

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories.

There, he encounters Emiko...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.

BONUS AUDIO: In an exclusive introduction, author Paolo Bacigalupi explains how a horrible trip to Thailand led to the idea for The Windup Girl.

©2009 Paolo Bacigalupi; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 2010
  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2009
  • Best Books of 2009, Publishers Weekly
  • 10 Best Fiction Books of 2009, Time magazine
  • Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy 2009, Library Journal

"Paolo Bacigalupi's debut sci-fi novel is a stunner, especially as interpreted under the careful ministrations of narrator Jonathan Davis. The novel postulates a corrupt near-future society in Southeast Asia, where powerful corporations vie for control over rice yields by wielding bioengineered viruses as tools for profit." (AudioFile)

"The Windup Girl will almost certainly be the most important SF novel of the year for its willingness to confront the most cherished notions of the genre, namely that our future is bright and we will overcome our selfish, cruel nature." (Book Page)

"A classic dystopian novel likely to be short listed for the Nebula and Hugo Awards" (SF Signal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (5043 )
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  •  
    Lost In The Wash 09-19-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Incredibly Well Woven & Thought Provoking"
    Any additional comments?

    Initially a “slow burn”, but this is an incredibly well woven, thought provoking, and haunting science fiction story. The characters read so uniquely! Each chapter brims with culture, both real and imagined. Truly worthy of it’s Nebula and Hugo Awards. Paolo Bacigalupi is a talented author. Check out the Audible performance, if you’re pressed for traditional reading time. Jonathan Davis really makes the story come alive.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darrin D 07-14-17
    Darrin D 07-14-17
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    "Windup review"

    Excellent narration!! Interesting book that had us waiting for the next chance to listen to it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    evolarts Denver, CO USA 05-26-17
    evolarts Denver, CO USA 05-26-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Great story and performance"

    Loved everything about it. The narration and creativity of the story are top notch. Well worth grabbing this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brie Boulder Creek, CA USA 01-31-16
    Brie Boulder Creek, CA USA 01-31-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Plausibility"

    The Windup Girl proposes a world that, while not necessarily likely is still one of plausibility. The story draws you in over time but doesn't have the easy flow of reading for an American to be a "page turner;" at least not at first.

    I now wish like many others for a sequel but the book is very tidy in its ending as well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug D. Eigsti Kansas City, MO United States 09-02-14
    Doug D. Eigsti Kansas City, MO United States 09-02-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "…..A Future That I Don’t Want to Live In….."

    Paolo Bacigalupi has a vision for his future that is very detailed and nuanced. It is a dystopian future that is neither fun nor enjoyable to dwell in; as a result, this leads to a less than engaging book. I listened to half this book before I bailed on it. I was not liking it. My mind kept wandering from the fragments of story that I was able to detect and I became more concerned with what I was going to listen to next than the book I was listening to at the moment. I knew it was time to cut the cord. For me, it relates most closely to the Sprawl Trilogy of William Gibson. if you like the world it is fun, and the details will be fascinating, if you do not like the imagined future it is alienating and in the details will seem devilish.

    Jonathan Davis is always good and his performance kept me hanging on longer than I might have with a less capable narrator. But in the end not even he could rescue this book for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 05-06-14
    Mark 05-06-14
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    "Absolute must read near-future dystopia"

    Amazing. I can't believe it's not a movie already, not that I want it to be.

    Near-future horror and hope. Refreshingly un-Eurocentric and absolutely plausible.

    Love it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 04-17-14
    Paul 04-17-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not my kind of SF, but good book worth reading."
    Any additional comments?

    I almost stopped listening to this book halfway through, but then I just shrugged and kept going. There are interesting bits along the way through some not-so-interesting bits. Jonathan Davis is a fantastic narrator but his 19.5 hour reading may have been a little slow. The story line and pace of action picked up in the last half of the book and overall, as I shrug, I think it is worth the read. The characters are developed very well. I think what will stick with me the most are the characters Hock Seng and Jaidee - - how differently they view the world and their place in it, and what motivates them. I shrug as I think about it. :-)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Harlow Fort Collins 04-05-14
    Dan Harlow Fort Collins 04-05-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "All things are connected and have consequences"
    Any additional comments?

    The most important thing a science fiction novel must be is believable, if it can do that then it can get away with anything else and The Windup Girl pulls this off wonderfully. Paolo Bacigalupi has created a future world, Thailand, so dense and teeming with life, with heat, and with mystery that you can almost smell this imagined city, feel the sweat on your body, hear the noise of the over-cramped city. This is a fully realized world that never once loses its internal consistency; everything that happens is a natural extension of the world Bacigalupi has created.

    What most stuck me about this novel was how terrifying the actual possibility of this world he creates is. While we imagine we have total control over genetically modified seeds and crops, or no matter how certain we are that cloning is perfectly safe, Bacigalupi taps into that uneasy feeling we all have deep down that we're not totally convinced we are masters of science. How do we know for certain that we aren't creating something that could go horribly, horribly wrong? Whose to say that a real company like Monsanto won't accidentally produce a strain of genetically modified wheat that winds up killing all the natural strains or infects some beetle that begins a plague? How can we really know all the possible consequences of our actions?

    And this book is all about consequences and how each action effects another, seemingly unrelated action, how what one character does in an act of self defense can actually send an entire city into civil war. It's a valid point to think about because it speaks of responsibility.

    One of Bacigalupi's great skills is in how he presents information in this world he has created. The names he's given to the various blights, diseases, companies, and people feel absolutely genuine: blister rust, cibiscosis, calorie-men, yellow cards, white shirts, kink springs; Bacigalupi gets the feel of this future just right. He also draws on a lot of recognizable themes from other great science fiction stories: I could sense he was inspired a lot from 'Blade Runner', 'Ghost In The Shell', and the brilliant but little seen 'Texhnolyze', but that he's also part of a new trend in science fiction to get away from urban American settings and make it a more global genre - District 9, Halo, and Junot Díaz's short story 'Monstro'.

    This book is also part of another trend in science fiction where it takes its themes seriously to tell a story worth paying attention to: Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go' and McCarthy's 'The Road' both come to mind as stories that are warnings about our own future and, like any good sci-fi story, what it means to be human. And the final scene of this novel, the epilogue scene, is a wonderful scene where old meets new amid total devastation.

    And though I am by no means an alarmist concerning the advancement of science, Paolo Bacigalupi makes a strong case for always siding with caution because you can never be to sure what trouble you might get yourself into. In that way this book is somewhat similar to Lovecraft's 'At The Mountains of Madness' in that you better be careful about messing with a nature you do not fully understand or else you might unleash something so terrible as to never be able to go back.

    This is a fantastic novel full of great ideas, beautiful imagery (Bacigalupi is a helluva writer in that regard), and terrifying possibilities. The book is a tad too long, but never dull and no opportunity is wasted to continue building the Thailand in this story.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Brinston, ONTARIO, Canada 04-01-14
    Alison Brinston, ONTARIO, Canada 04-01-14 Member Since 2013
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    "twisting, mysterious, amazing"

    This book is excellent, and needless to say, Davis does his normally stellar job of narration, made even more incredible by his flawless handling of all the Thai and Chinese names. There isn't really a great way to describe this book. It's a meandering journey and I really had no idea most of the way where it was going, only that I loved the ride. It follows several different characters through turbulent events in a futuristic dystopian Bankok. I won't spoil anything else for you. Listen and love it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Marie 02-06-16
    D. Marie 02-06-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Breathtaking"

    This book is beautifully written and very well-read. It's a thinking book that will stick with you long after it's over.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • John
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    2/10/11
    Overall
    "Breathtaking"

    I'm two thirds the way through this novel, but I feel sufficiently confident thus far to post some comments. It's easy to appreciate why it has won significant awards.
    Whereas I did not enjoy other works by the author, I may have to re-read and give them a second chance after this book.
    It's hard not to use superlatives to describe 'Wind-up Girl'. From the start, this book is, in my subjective opinion, fascinating, stunning and visionary. I think some significant credit is also due to the excellent narration of Jonathan Davis (who, I'm noting, does a good job on several other books)
    A twenty second century Bangkok is richly described and experienced through the lives of the central characters.
    By moving between several characters whose lives intersect the novel keeps a freshness going between chapters.
    It's not a hard science SF novel, in that the author does not get bogged down in the science of genomics, but neither does he commit any major howlers in his inferences and extrapolations. The characters are well fleshed and the story has a realistic progression. An entirely original work, though with perhaps more than a nod toward the works of other great authors such as Phillip.K.Dick. I anticipate that this will see a major cinematic adaptation at some point.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Holmfirth, United Kingdom
    4/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story - Narrator on Valium"

    Jonathan Davis MUST have been paid by the minute. I can't imagine any other reason for the glacial narration. Fortunately my Audible app lets me change the narration speed. I found "1.5 times" was about right. As a result, this was a considerably shorter book than I'd expected!

    Now, the story: The Windup Girl is a fable of a world without fossil fuels, where mega-corporations claim Intellectual Property rights over genetically engineered cereal crops while millions starve. It's a story set in world where gene-hacked sub-class are quite literally, lower than trash.

    It's story of contamination, where disease, superstition and revolution spread in the same way as suspicion, fear and depravity.

    The Windup Girl exists in a place of poverty and decay, where your next mouthful of fresh fruit might see you coughing up blood in the gutter, and where the corrupted remnants of the police have become the most feared gang in the district.

    It's challenging. Especially because of it's heavy reliance on Thai culture. So don't expect an easy page turner. That said, I absolutely loved it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • VicHoon
    United Kingdom
    1/17/12
    Overall
    "Glacial."

    After investing 5 hours I have given up with this audiobook. There is way too much time dedicated to slow exposition as back stories are built. A simple activity such as hiding some cash in a hidey hole inside a bamboo wall takes about 15 minutes to achieve. For some reason I am stuck with the impression that most character conversations have to involve someone shrugging. It's a shame because the Asian post-civ setting is interesting but yes, I get it: Malaysian, Thai and Chinese people are deep thinkers whose complex cultural rules need to be navigated carefully. The trouble is that Bacigalupi hammers this home page after page after page (i.e. minute after minute after minute), at the expense of actual plot development. I perked up a bit at the introduction of the Windup Girl character, but she's barely in the first five hours of this story.
    All the characters appear to be mired in their own personal misery, in a society that offers little joy. Fair enough if you like the semi-apocalyptic, post-civilisation genre, but there are other authors (Alistair Reynolds leaps to mind) who could convey the same mood but in a fraction of the time, and without sacrificing the depth that Bacigalupi seems to prioritise over action.
    If there's an annotated version of this audiobook, I suggest you try that instead, unless you have infinite patience.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Will
    Ireland
    2/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good but lacked history."

    loved the dystopian future stuff. Not enough history on the destruction of our modern day society to the future depicted.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • scott
    9/5/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "slow burner but worth the wait!"

    the author has created an amazing world. quite slow to begin with; stick with it as it gets better. would benefit from a prologue.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    London, UK
    1/19/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story ruined by awful narration"

    I read this book and enjoyed it and was excited to have an audio version to re-experience it, but the narrator has such a laconic, tiresome style it's basically unlistenable to. I get that it's supposed to evoke the listlessness that comes from oppressive heat and crowded overpopulation, but it sucks all the energy out of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pen Name
    11/8/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldnt get into this at all"
    What disappointed you about The Windup Girl?

    No plot


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Jonathan Davis?

    Narrator was fine


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    boredom


    Any additional comments?

    Gave this book 5 chapters before turning it off, it goes nowhere, develops no characters and gets boring so quickly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steven Totham
    3/28/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent story and narration"

    The story meanders a little in the middle but the ride is enjoyable and the ending is well worth the wait.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gavin Jones
    10/18/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well Worth Persevering With"
    Any additional comments?

    I was ready to throw in the towel after 2 or 3 chapters. Glad I didn't as The Windup Girl proved to be a very entertaining and satisfying listen. Loved the development of the characters and the world they lived in. The slow pace didn’t bother me at all.
    Very well performed by Jonathon Davies

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    WOKING, United Kingdom
    8/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I was unable to engage with the concepts"
    Would you try another book written by Paolo Bacigalupi or narrated by Jonathan Davis?

    This book was so far into the realms of fantasy that I was not able to connect with the central concept. I think it takes a certain kind of thinking to latch on to the general theme and to want to read more. If you have this kind of thinking,it is probably enjoyable but not for me.


    What was most disappointing about Paolo Bacigalupi’s story?

    I could not hook into the concept and the theme of what was presented.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Narration skipped from one concept to another. Not really the narrator's fault


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Felt unable to understand it and was sorry that I had downloaded it as I felt it was not within my realm of understanding.


    Any additional comments?

    None

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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