The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
I’m actually torn between loving and hating this book. On the one hand, I could not get enough of the titular windup girl and the history of her creation as well as the adventures she had and her journey of self-realisation.
But interspersed with this was a story I could not enjoy – not for poor writing, but for the sheer dullness of it to my perspective. I couldn’t be less interested in a stereotypical white man travelling to Asia and being inexplicably good at business and life while there and saving the day and the girl at the same time. Sure, it’s not exactly this colour-by-numbers, and Bacigalupi is capable of soaring heights of literature but this point of view was by far my least enjoyable.
I think this book introduced me to speculative fiction that has something to do with climate prediction (cli-fi, though I know Bacigalupi hates this categorization). I saw it in others, but here was the first one I could really relate to. It had parts of Asia I had seen, and the predictions are uncanny. I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned out to be the future.
I’d also strongly recommend you read his short story ‘The Fluted Girl’, I did and we had a Twitter convo about it that I regard with great fondness despite having inexplicably deleted it at some point.
Perhaps I have a predilection for tales of supernatural girls.