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Fiction by Paolo Bacigalupi

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How to celebrate?

Posted on Oct 19, 2008 in Blog, The Windup Girl, Writing | 6 comments

Now that I’ve gotten over the killer cold that felled me immediately after I finished work on THE WINDUP GIRL, I’m trying to figure out how I’m supposed to celebrate the fact that, for the first time in a couple years, I don’t have a looming project. I kept telling myself that when I finished work on this thing that I’d reward myself somehow. But now that I’m done, I don’t have any ideas. Anyone else have things they like to do after they finish their writing projects? How do you mark your...

writing music

Posted on Oct 15, 2008 in Blog, The Windup Girl, Writing | 9 comments

Okay, everyone made fun of me when they heard that I was listening to Nickelback. I make no claims of having good taste. As I was finishing up THE WINDUP GIRL my soundtrack largely consisted of: Sean Paul Avril Lavigne Daddy Yankee Nelly Paul Wall The Blackeyed Peas Fergie David Guetta What do you listen to when you write? Any suggestions for...

Neal Stephenson and perseverance

Posted on Oct 2, 2008 in Blog, science fiction, Writing |

WIRED has an excellent article on Neal Stephenson’s latest book, ANATHEM. The book sounds like a good read, but buried in the article was an informative bit of Stephenson’s back story that I wanted to pull out. His early books, a satire about big universities and an eco-thriller, were well received but not huge sellers. In search of big sales and big bucks, he collaborated with an uncle on a couple of political potboilers. “We heard that Tom Clancy had made something like $17 million the previous year and thought if we could snag 1 percent of that, we’d still be OK.” They didn’t come close, and in 1991,...

Economic Meltdown vs. Global Meltdown

Posted on Oct 1, 2008 in Blog, politics, Pump Six and Other Stories, science, science fiction, Writing | 2 comments

Pop Quiz: which of these is more important? A. The banking industry is in free fall and the problem is spreading. B. There’s methane bubbling out of the Arctic. To me, the really interesting thing about this period in history is the amount of uncertainty over what story lines will dominate our lives, moving forward. Both of the topics are obviously important, but only one of them is grabbing massive headlines. In science fiction, it’s convenient to extrapolate based on a small number of factors – say increasing computing power and network effects, or in my case, something like intense drought. As you add more variables, it becomes harder...

Should Fiction Writers Write About Politics?

Posted on Sep 29, 2008 in Blog, politics, Writing | 25 comments

I just posted some of my problems with the Sarah Palin vp pick and Aaron posed this interesting question: Serious question, Paolo: Do you think authors blogging about their views on the election can undercut their fiction? It is very difficult to experience the fiction of Orson Scott Card or John Scalzi the same way after reading their political posts. Catherynne Valente is a brilliant writer, and I am trying so hard to forget the rant on her blog where she fervently wished that a falling tree would crush John McCain’s skull. No political commentary I have ever read has caused me to question my worldview as much as...

McCain plus Palin equals…

Posted on Sep 29, 2008 in Blog, Writing | 5 comments

No. Just no. If her “story” had been real, fine. If she showed a quick intellect and a history of engagement with complexities outside the boundaries of Alaska, then fine. If she could string a sentence together, or had a healthy curiosity for the mechanisms of our nation, then fine. If she showed enough wisdom to know that when you’re asked to run a country, that you should at least pause… even if you don’t blink. But no. I like to think that we live in reality-based society, but Governor Palin still hasn’t been sent packing back to her energy colony, so the only thing I can conclude is...

I’ve sold a book!

Posted on Sep 22, 2008 in News, Ship Breaker, Writing | 33 comments

My agent tells me that I’m allowed to shout it from the rooftops. The book in question is SHIP BREAKER, a young adult novel about all of my favorite things: global warming, peak oil, genetic engineering, poverty and collapsed societies. You know, happy fun stuff. Fortunately, it’s also a ripping adventure. Joe Monti at Little, Brown is the cool guy who decided to buy it, in a two-book deal. Now, I know I’ve been talking about my other book THE WINDUP GIRL aka the “big book” mentioned in an earlier post (all 150,000 door-stopping words of it)– that one is still in the works. Should be done by the...

draft completed

Posted on Sep 11, 2008 in Writing | 9 comments

on the “big book,” as my son calls it (for some reason he’s not impressed with the short story collection). I expected more of a sense of triumph, considering that I’ve been working on this monster for… lessee… wow. The initial nugget for a story about a “windup girl” came from April 2003. I was flying out of Asia right when SARS was hitting. People dying in Hong Kong like flies. Cases showing up in Vietnam, Bangkok, Beijing, Guangzhou… So I’m on the plane, and the Japanese flight attendant working my section had the strangest herky-jerky movement to her. Very stylized. And her stutter-stop motion was even more surreal...

Optimistic CO2 Sci-Fi

Posted on Mar 10, 2008 in Blog, consumerism, green technology, politics, science fiction, Writing | 14 comments

Here’s my take on writing optimistic SF— just don’t make it consolatory pap. That’s what advertising, TV and suburban sprawl are supposed to sell. As an example, here’s the latest on the global warming front. (note: the link is changed to point directly to the Washington Post article as the MSNBC version expired) No big news, but here’s the money quote: Steve Gardiner, a philosophy professor at the University of Washington who studies climate change, said the studies highlight that the argument over global warming “is a classic inter-generational debate, where the short-term benefits of emitting carbon accrue mainly to us and where the dangers of them are largely...