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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Pump Six and Other StoriesPump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I read Paolo Bacigalupi, I'm struck by the wonderfully precise language, evocative wording, and worldbuilding that is both profound and dead-center. As a craftsman, I find few faults. And when it comes to his science fiction, they're always filled with warnings, starvation, lack, deficit, and how it wrenches something inside of us all. It's completely immersive.

It also made me squirm in my seat.

Almost every story was a dystopia that didn't QUITE feel like a dystopia on the surface because almost everyone was working hard and trying to get on, but either the environment or the calorie crunch or the lost grip on what made humanity (or anything) real just had us breaking our fingernails as we slid into that deep well.

I've come to the conclusion that these are all horrors. Not SF, not dystopia, but outright horrors. They may revolve around ecology or biopunk subjects -- some of these stories are directly tied to his other novels -- and by all rights OUGHT to be called SF in the grandest sense, but their BLEAK outlooks are something else altogether.

I'm very impressed even as I'm deeply disturbed.

Well worth the read, however.

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