I read this book while I was travelling in Thailand. Bacigalupi has the accent and use of Thai terms down to a T. Some of the attitudes that the farang visitors encounter will ring true too, to anyone who has spent some time in the Land of Smiles.
Verging on steam punk – with machinary powered by elephants, as the oil has run out, the author invokes the hot and steamy Bangkok – or Krung Thep as the locals call it – there is a reason why so many of our modern cities didn’t develop in the tropics until the air-conditioning became cheap and common.
This a fairly black and dystopian world – peopled with interesting characters ranging from the local police chief, to the displaced Chinese Malaysian who’s fled with nothing but his life, from the south when the extremists too over Malaysia. Emiko, is the character of the book’s title – an artificially created human – designed to please by her Japanese creators and abandoned in Thailand when she was too expensive to ship home.
Although the book starts grimly – by the end there appeared to be some hope – at least in Thailand’s corner of the world. The characters were interesting – I was left hoping that there will be sequal so I can find out what becomes of some of them.
Given The Windup Girl has won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards – it seems likely! Recommended but with some graphic sex and violence it probably should have a fairly R18 warning on it.