Biopunk genre, The Wind-Up Girl

Book:  The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

This book is part of a genre called “biopunk”.  Wikipedia describes it:

Biopunk (a combination of “biotechnology” and “punk”) is a technoprogressive movement advocating open access to genetic information.  Biopunk hobbyists or biohackers experiment with DNA and other aspects of genetics.  The related biopunk science fiction genre focuses on biotechnology and subversives.

The Wind-Up GirlThe Wind-Up Girl is about a genetically engineered human who wants to be an independent person despite her genetics and engineering.  She strives to go against the grain of her programming and succeeds to some degree.

Bacigalupi does not create a tale that is pro-eugenics, but more gives the argument that it is inevitable.  In this scary new world there is no oversight from some grand global federation that could prevent any given country from engaging in genetically modifying humans.

Who’s to say that someone somewhere has already accomplished this task anyway, in the here and now?  You can buy zebrafish that have been genetically modified to be fluorescent purple!

But arguments for or against GMOs aside, this is a terrific well thought out book with a serious ring of realism and it deserves a read.  Imagine a hot climate-changed world with civilization hanging on by a thread, no more oil so everyone travels by boat or animal or bike or dirigible, and with hardly a non-GMO crop or animal in sight.  The Wind-Up Girl will put you in the moment.

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