Fiction by Paolo Bacigalupi

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  1. Tamarisk Hunter was a great story. It’s that dark, low-tech, highly plausible sci-fi that you really hope won’t come to pass, but if you are reading High Country News you probably think it is a more likely than not. It’s the story of a slice of life of someone trying to stay alive in the post-aridified US, where the haves fit on the head of a pin and the have nots are everything else. It’s extrapolating the economic model of Santiago or Rio de Janeiro or the West Bank to the whole developed world. It’s the opposite of the clean, quiet, lasers, robots, & spaceships sci-fi where an oppressive government has at least achieved peace. When I saw Children of Men it reminded me of this story. I want to see more from Mr. Bacigalupi because I think it’s the kind of future that optimists have to think about with global climate change increasing all the time.

    Also, great artwork from Mr. Shaw. It sucked me in.

  2. Glad you liked the story. I was just relieved that the reception by HCN readers was generally positive. It was interesting to write a science fiction story for an environmental magazine, because their expectations are so different from what a regular sf reader demands. I felt I had a lot of room to extrapolate the environmental and social consequences of drought, but almost none in the technology arena. I think that speaks to HCN reader’s pessimism toward the idea of technology “fixes” for tomorrow’s problems. The story actually generated a number of letters, which opened up some interesting avenues of discussion about water rights and drought in the West.