The Windup Girl

(2009, Night Shade Books)

Awards and Accolades

  • 2010: Won the Hugo Award for Best Novel
  • 2009: Won the Nebula Award for Best Novel
  • 2010: Won the John W. Campbell Award
  • 2010: Won the Compton Crook Award
  • 2010: Won the Locus Award for Best First Novel
  • 2012: Won the Seiun Award for Best Foreign Language Novel of the Year (Japan)
  • 2013: Won the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire for Best Foreign Novel (France)
  • 2012: Won the Ignotus Award for Best Foreign Novel (Spain)
  • 2012: Won the Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis for Best Foreign Novel (Germany)
  • 2011: Won the Cena Akademie SFFH Award for Book of the Year (Czech Republic)
  • 2011: Won the Cena Akademie SFFH Award for Best Science Fiction (Czech Republic)
  • 2009: Nominee for the Goodreads Choice Award for Science Fiction


Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen’s Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history’s lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko.

One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.



Complex, literate and intensely felt tale, which recalls both William Gibson and Ian McDonald at their very best… clearly one of the finest science fiction novels of the year. — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

East meets West in a clash of cultures brilliantly portrayed in razor-sharp images, tension-building pacing, and sharply etched characters. — Library Journal (Starred Review)

Disturbing… beautiful, fast-paced, exciting…and also a novel of hope. Unlike many dystopian authors, Bacigalupi knows that at our core humans always struggle against any challenge. While we may not consistently do right, we consistently hope to do better. — SF Signal (Five out of Five Stars)

[an] extraordinary, virtuoso, shock-immersion rendering of [a] transformed world. — SciFi Wire

The Windup Girl is obviously about the geopolitics of the present… and yet Bacigalupi never slides into moralism or judgment. All his characters have their flaws and heroic moments… Ultimately that’s what makes this debut novel so exciting. It’s rare to find a writer who can create such well-shaded characters while also building a weird new future world. — Io9

The Windup Girl will almost certainly be the most important SF novel of the year. — BookPage

Bacigalupi is a worthy successor to William Gibson: this is cyberpunk without computers. — TIME Magazine

It’s ridiculous how good this book is. — Techland

Bacigalupi’s powerful debut warns of dire ecological collapse and the evils of colonialism in an eerily plausible near future Thailand. — Publishers Weekly, Best Book of 2009

Postmodern Bangkok springs to life in Bacigalupi’s brilliant dystopian tale of culture clash, recalling the best of China Miéville and Neal Stephenson. — Library Journal, Best Books of 2009

Paolo Bacigalupi’s debut novel The Windup Girl is nothing short of an instant dystopian classic – replete with genetically engineered elephants, clipper ships and dirigibles. — Barnes & Nobles Book Club – Unabashedly Bookish

Bacigalupi constructs a sobering and nuanced of future Bangkok teetering on the edge of disaster. In this inhospitable environment, a disparate group of characters calculates how to survive. The novel’s gritty tone, provocative story line, and sympathetic characters evoke a world that is frightening real. — Winner, ALA 2010 Reading List Awards

…an exciting story about industrial espionage, civil war, and political struggle, filled with heart-thudding action sequences, sordid sex, and enough technical speculation for two lesser novels. — Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow

Grimy post-ecocrunch near-future dystopia in which peak oil peaked ages ago, and the most cherished source of energy is measured in the tightly regulated calories… If you like worldbuilding, this novel’s vision… makes Blade Runner look like it was shot on plywood backdrops in someone’s garage — SF (Four Stars)

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