The 2009 award-winning bestseller (including a Hugo and a Nebula) The Windup Girl (Skyhorse), by Paolo Bacigalupi, is back. It surprised the science fiction community by its achievement. enjoying consistently high sales for the past five years. Bacigalupi’s formula for success is linked to his expertise in envisioning the big picture while detailing the nuances of timely issues, those current environmental events which his ability to extrapolate leaves a chilling message. “My job as a fiction writer is to popularize and visceralize, to make up a word and turn the abstract, very esoteric but important news into stories. I want to hook people into these topics, entertain, reconnect, and inform them,” he says.
One doesn’t have to be a fan of science fiction to read Bacigalupi’s works. His writing, characters, and settings reveal exciting, environmentally minded literary fiction—extrapolative fiction as Bacigalupi calls it—which is why Skyhorse is publishing a trade paperback, under its Night Shades Books imprint, with more mainstream appeal, starting with the cover design. Additionally, the new edition will include two unpublished stories by Bacigalupi, and an insightful author q&a.
Bacigalupi’s new novel, The Water Knife (Knopf, May), is no less intriguing and near futuristic. Set in the American Southwest, this dystopian thriller stirs a cocktail of environmentalism, capitalism, corruption, and greed in a fast-paced, dark, and ominous tale of caution. At the heart of this story is water, considered more precious than gold. The partitioning and theft of water from the dwindling Colorado River further presses the haves against the have-nots and leads to war among the Southwestern states. Violence, death, and secret pacts ensue, permanently threatening any future for the people. Bacigalupi’s sharp awareness of politically charged environmental issues forges the here and now into a world that could all too well be real. “I’m apparently obsessed with resource scarcities,” Bacigalupi admits. Does this mean we might we see the selling of water shares by the ounce on the stock market? “In a way we already do what with the privatization of water by big companies,” he replies.
The author will tour the U.S. this summer to promote The Water Knife and the newly expanded edition of The Windup Girl. Today at 10 a.m., Bacigalupi is signing copies of The Water Knife in the Knopf booth (3119), and at 3 p.m., he will sign the expanded edition of The Windup Girl in Skyhorse’s booth (745).
This article appeared in the May 29, 2015 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.