Like his other book, Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi's story takes place in the future when fossil fuel reserves are used up, sea levels threaten coastal cities, and genetic companies are creating new species of plants and animals to help mankind. Unfortunately, there are also new species of diseases to destroy food crops and people. This new world has calories as the basis of world trade instead of oil. Taking place in Bangkok, we follow an American with a mission to find a rare seed bank, his plant manager who is a Chinese immigrant, a leader in the Trade Ministry's White Shirts, and a member of the Japanese New People, a genetically created and lab raised human known as a windup girl.
By then they were only mopping up. AgriGen and PurCal and the rest were shipping their plague-resistant seeds and demanding exorbitant profits, and patriotic generippers were already working to crack the code of the calorie companies' products, fighting to keep the Kingdom fed as Burma and the Vietnamese and the Khmers all fell. AgriGen and its ilk were threatening embargo over intellectual property infringements, but the Thai Kingdom was still alive. Against all odds, they were alive. As others were crushed under the calorie companies' heels, the Kingdom stood strong.
The thing I really loved about this book is how the reader is immediately immersed in the language and life of the characters - there is not easing into the story with descriptions of the city and explanations of the foreign terms. This book was fantastic!
My rating for this book: ++++1/2