The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've spent a grand portion of my life living in the desert so I've always been aware of water issues, but honestly, this novel freaked me out with just how bad things have gotten in this near-future SF. I mean, this is really all about the fate of whole cities and the struggle for every single person to survive the collapse when there just isn't enough to drink. I kept reaching for my water every few seconds just to make sure that I was okay.
Truly. This is really good for what it is. Thriller, dystopia, commentary on human nature with things get really bad? Sure. It's all of that. But do you know what it is, really?
It's a western.
Not only that, it's a good western.
Future SF, absolutely, but it has all the makings of some of the best westerns I've ever watched on TV. Who's the white hat, who's the black hat, watching the sharp as roles and situations reverse, the realization that you might have been rooting for the wrong guys and, possibly, the wrong reveals.
I had a really good time reading this. It's not for the faint of heart or the dehydrated, although if you do want to add a little realism to your read, then by all means STOP DRINKING. Do you feel that headache coming on, the slightly euphoric sense of desperation? Amplify it.
The novel might also be a commentary on water rights and the crazy lengths that anyone will go to secure them when water becomes more precious than gold, but more than that, it's a classic western worthy of Sergio Leone. :)
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