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I read widely and in most genres but romance and westerns. Here you'll find my reviews since 2007, with a few reviews of previously read books as well.


In 2012, I completed an "authors of the world" challenge, reading a book for every country (and a few other entities) by someone who'd lived there for at least two years. I expect to tag these books by challenge and country in the near future. I'm still refining my list by adding books that better meet my challenge criteria.

The Windup Girl - Jonathan Davis, Paolo Bacigalupi The reader of this audiobook was unbearably slow. I listened to the whole thing on higher speed.There's not a lot of science fiction set in Southeast Asia, so I was happy to listen to this audiobook while I was there. It's a global warming biopunk story of uncomfortable heat, drippy, disgusting wetness, and terrible smells. It was a great pleasure to wander the gritty and sticky streets of downtown Phnom Penh, plugged in by one earbud, slowly deliquescing amid the rambutans and rotting shellfish.This is a novel about corporate greed and indifference, juxtaposed with the more intimate violence governments and individuals perpetrate upon one another. Corporations continue to whore for profit with no regard for the suffering and threat their behavior creates, and without considering their effects on people or holding any notion of altruism or benefit to the community. The chief commercial players here are the agribusinesses that create, sell and sabotage genetic stock, both animal and vegetable. The citizenry must be diligent as diseases and mutagens abound; at the same time, people grow complacent and lax and, as the story unfolds, are rather viciously corrected. Salaryman becomes calorieman.Against this backdrop, we learn the story of the Japanese windup (genetically modified) girl, Emiko, abandoned in Thailand and, because she has been built to serve, prostituted. There's a certain amount of sexual brutality, though if The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo didn't bother you, this won't, either. Emiko intersects with other characters, including the agri-spy Anderson Lake. There are some confusing points in the plotting and sequence of action, but generally speaking the narrative holds together well. As tension mounts, Emiko, perhaps herself a viral entity or tool of sabotage, attempts to save herself. The identified villain is a Hannibal Lector/Emperor Tiberius sort of fellow, complete with cat (though in this case it's a mutant cat that changes color). The group of people present at the book's denouement struck me as very funny, and I laughed aloud while wandering the subtropical streets.Prepare by reading Bananas!: How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World for agribusiness deceit, The Untold History of the Potato for blight-related musings, Bangkok 8 for Thai atmosphere, Leviathan (Westerfeld's, not Hobbes's) for biopunk/steampunk, and, later, Oryx and Crake for more gooey genetically-brokered dystopia.