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''The Windup Girl'' is a 2009 BioPunk science fiction novel by Creator/PaoloBacigalupi (pronounced BA-chi-ga-LOO-pi). It won the [[HugoAward Hugo]], Nebula, and Locus Awards for 2009.

The events of the novel take place in 23rd century UsefulNotes/{{Thailand}}. GlobalWarming has raised the ocean levels to the point where pumps work continuously to keep UsefulNotes/{{Bangkok}} above water. Fossil fuels have all but been exhausted; the main sources of portable energy are hand-wound 'kink-springs'. [[MegaCorp Megacorps]] dominate the world through biotechnology -- the crops they sell are engineered to be resistant to diseases both natural and man-made, but they're also sterile so their customers become reliant, with some countries like India and Burma run as virtual puppet states for the "calorie companies". Reckless genetic engineering has led to the destruction of the natural ecosystem. The few plants and animals which have been modified to survive are constantly under threat from the latest viral mutations, as is the entire human race.

Throughout the turmoil, Thailand has managed to stay relatively stable by firmly controlling its borders and maintaining a seed bank safe from the Megacorps' "calorie men". However a power struggle within the Thai government threatens to change all that.
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!!This work provides examples of:
* AntiHero: ''Every single'' point-of-view character.
* AppliedPhlebotinum: Kink-spring technology.
* ApocalypseHow: Class 1, although it is far from clear that humanity will get back on its feet.
* ArtisticLicenseLinguistics: To say the Thai in this book is like something out of Babelfish might perhaps be too kind. One Thai reviewer noticed half a dozen language errors ''on the first page alone'', and that's before we get into the names...
** Novel takes place in 23d century, you can't expect the language to stay unchanged for the next 200 years...
* AssShove: [[spoiler:With a champagne bottle. The reason why Emiko finally cuts loose...]]
* BadCopIncompetentCop: Corruption is the norm in the Environment Ministry, and even the loyal men of Captain Jaidee grumble over how he doesn't take any 'gifts of goodwill', because they're losing face in front of their wealthier colleagues.
* BeastOfBattle: War megodonts (giant genetically-engineered WarElephants) have carbon fibre armour, [[WeaponizedAnimal blades attached to their tusks and machine-gun cages]] on their backs.
* BigApplesauce: Subverted. The center of power for the agricultural megacorps is Des Moines, Iowa.
* BigFatFuture: Definitely averted. Even in Thailand which is relatively well off foodwise, only the very wealthy or foreigners on good terms with the calorie companies put on weight.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Anderson dies of cibiscosis, and Kanya massacres his replacement and her team as they pick up their promised seed samples. [=AgriTech=] never gets the new material to work with, and Gibbons doesn't seem intent of working on them. This slaughter doesn't endear Thailand to the Westerners, so they don't replace their failing pumps, and the city of Bangkok drowns. Those who survived the coup and flood are now refuges. However, the seeds are not lost as the preservers move them to another secret vault, and Gibbons promises to remove the Windups' limitations, promising a far brighter future for the artificial race and possibly for the planet as a whole - his interventions seem to have global influence.]]
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler:In a small paragraph early on, it mentioned how Hock Seng has his hopes riding on the new kink-springs, which only have a 75% rate of working. So without its inventor's knowledge, he introduces pig DNA into the algae bath (in his culture, pigs are good luck). Later on in the story, this is likely the cause of the new plague outbreak once the baths are left to spoil.]]
* ChurchMilitant: The Grahamites are violently opposed to biotechnology and the corporations that do business in it.
* CrapsackWorld: Oh, where to start? The planet is dominated by evil corporations who ruthlessly control governments and people alike, the very food humanity lives on is engineered to generate dependence on said corporations, terrible plagues haunt both humanity and vegetation (and some of them are implied to be man-made to enforce more dependence on plague-proof engineered crops), corruption is rampant at all levels, local areas are controlled by people who rape and kill for the hell of it, genetically engineered humans are treated as slaves, and the few people who try to do something about all of this are summarily executed.
* [[{{Shareware}} Crippleware]]: The New People, aka "Wind-ups", are a prime example. First off, their nicknames come from their stutter-stop movement, deliberately engineered in by their designers to make them easier to distinguish from normal humans. Physically they're stronger and much faster, but they're crippled by smaller pores that make them easily overheat whenever they exert themselves. They also have a dog-like need to obey and please. Most importantly, none of them can reproduce. The military versions are explained to be just like the normal ones, including the dog-like behavior, but they don't stutter or overheat. [[spoiler:In the end Gibbons promises to remove all the artificial crippling]].
** Emiko and others like her are designed with smaller pores to make their skin ultra-smooth, which adds to their appeal as a [[SexSlave Sex Slaves]] and servants, but in Emiko's case it means she can't sweat enough to be comfortable in Thailand's humidity.
* CurbStompBattle: On a genetic scale. Cheshires are so much more effective than cats that their introduction brought about the end of ''felis domesticus'' in a few generations. It's also heavily implied this is what would happen to humanity if New People weren't designed to be crippled and with a dog-like need to please. [[spoiler:And then Gibbons promises to change that...]]
* DesignerBabies: The Windups, Emiko included. They were genetically engineered without the ability to reproduce, a lesson learned from the spread of the Cheshires. [[spoiler:Gibbons promises to Emiko he plans to change that.]]
* DisneyOwnsThisTrope: The disease-resistant grains shipped by calorie companies are sterile, so no-one can steal the 'intellectual property' involved in developing them. This has the effect of making countries which buy them slaves to the {{Mega Corp}}s. The conspirators are shocked when Anderson offers Thailand the grain ''before'' sterilisation as an EnemyMine incentive.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Dog Fucker casually mentions [[spoiler:raping and killing a minor character]] because she ''interrupted his free time''.
* TheDogBitesBack: [[spoiler:Emiko snaps when she realises her owner is never going to let her go, kills him with her bare hands, then runs into the room where she'd just been sexually abused and humiliated as per usual and kills the client and his bodyguards. The client happens to be the Somdet Chaopraya, the most powerful man in Thailand.]]
* EvilChancellor: The Somdet Chaopraya.
* EarthThatWas. Anderson views an old picture of a Thai farmer showing a fat tourist his array of fruit and vegetables, and is furious over their total ignorance of their good fortune. In his world where most food crops have died out from plagues, pests or competition from genetically-engineered strains, such a stockpile of diverse calories would [[OnlyElectricSheepAreCheap represent enormous wealth]].
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Trade Minister Akkarat isn't willing to hand over his country's seed bank to the calorie companies, as it's the only guarantee of his country's independence. [[spoiler:And when the Somdet Chaopraya is murdered all Thais -- no matter how villainous -- are outraged by this attack on royalty.]]
* EvilGenius[=/=]EvilCripple: Gi Bu Sen [[spoiler:AKA Gibbons]]
* {{Flanderization}}: Thailand as a whole.
* FlechetteStorm: Spring-guns fire razor sharp discs, and eventually we see machine-gun versions.
* {{Fingore}}: [[spoiler:Akkarat tortures Anderson by breaking his fingers.]]
* ForeignFanservice: Inverted as blonde-haired, blue-eyed Anderson is regarded as ugly by Thai standards.
* GhostlyGoals: The Thais are haunted by the spirits of the dead (''phii'') who can't resurrect as they don't deserve the CrapsackWorld they'd be reborn into. [[spoiler:After Jaidee is killed by the Trade Ministry, a guilt-ridden Kanya finds herself being followed around by his ''phii'' in full DeadpanSnarker mode.]]
* GirlonGirlIsHot / DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnFemale: Emiko is a "performer" in a brothel where she is publicly raped by a non-genetically-engineered woman nightly for the amusement of the patrons. What makes it worse is that her body is literally programmed to respond positively to sexual stimulus, so she doesn't even have a choice about enjoying it or not, only feeling shame and disgust after the fact. The final club scene heavily implies that audience participation is a regular feature of her act. Whether this counts as {{Fanservice}} is very YMMV.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: None of the characters can really be called heroes. The 'good guys' act with questionable methods, and their motives are often just as self-serving as the 'bad guys'. Emiko is the most sympathetic of the bunch, probably as she gets very little chance to act on her own accord [[spoiler:at least until she snaps.]]
** Just to drive the point home: even though the reader is told that Gi Bu Sen/[[spoiler:Gibbons]] is pure evil, and in the few scenes he gets it's quite clear he has a significant AGodAmI complex, he is still arguably the most heroic character after [[CowboyCop Jaidee]].
* HaveYouToldAnyoneElse: [[spoiler:Averted. When 13-year old Mai discovers two sick workers, Hock Seng considers killing all three to prevent the white shirts burning down the factory to stop a pandemic. He packs them off to the hospital instead.]]
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Kanya [[spoiler:becomes TheMole after her village was burnt by the white shirts; she ends up doing the same thing to contain the pandemic.]]
* HowTheMightyHaveFallen: Emiko, the title character, was a pampered SexSlave / OfficeLady for a Japanese businessman who abandoned her in Thailand because he'd rather update to a new model than spend the money to ship her home. She now spends every night being raped and humiliated for the amusement of brothel patrons, in a climate that's too hot for her genetically-engineered body. Hock Seng was once a wealthy ship merchant in Malaysia before a fundamentalist uprising led to the destruction of his business empire and the death of every member of his clan.
* IHaveYourWife: Jaidee's wife is kidnapped and a photograph of her BoundAndGagged is slipped under the door of General Pracha. Jaidee is forced to resign in a humiliating public ceremony in the hope that she'll be released unharmed. [[spoiler:She isn't.]]
* IncurableCoughOfDeath: [[spoiler:Anderson succumbs to a version of this at the end of the novel when he contracts the mysterious illness that had been brewing in the algae tanks at his factory.]]
* InterserviceRivalry: General Pracha (in charge of the Environment Ministry) and Trade Minister Akkarat loathe each other, and are engaged in a constant battle for supremacy [[spoiler:which eventually ends in open war.]]
* {{Irony}}: [[spoiler:Akkarat boasts how he intends to see Pracha live out his days as a disgraced monk in the jungle; that turns out to be Akkarat's fate after losing Bangkok to the floodwaters.]]
** DramaticIrony: [[spoiler:Anderson dismisses his coughing up blood as a side effect of the torture he went through at Akkarat's hands... even though the audience knows that he's been exposed to a new and deadly disease from the algae baths.]]
* JeanneDArchetype: Kanya becomes this by the end of the book, including the HearingVoices.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Dog Fucker, the character the audience arguably most wants to die horribly, doesn't. The Dung Lord gets the spring blueprints, too.]]
** [[While it's likely that the two of them get away without any consequences, the blueprints that the Dung Lord has are of flawed prototype and Dog Fucker stole them from the factory that was contaminated with the new plague. Considering how long it took for the victims to show symptoms, both of them might be dying offscreen]]
* KillItWithFire: Burning villages and great swathes of jungle is often the only way the white shirts can stop pandemics and pests. The Grahamites are notorious for burning the occasional genetically-engineered crop as well.
* KnightInSourArmor: Inverted with Captain Jaidee; he knows he's fighting a futile battle against corruption and the illegal importation of genetically-engineered food, but enjoys sticking it to powerful people too much to stop.
* KnightsTemplar: The Grahamite Church. The 'green headbands' in Malaysia. The Environment Ministry ('white shirts') in their heydey.
* MegaCorp: Lots of them. [=AgriGen=], [=PurCal=], [=U-Tex=], Total Nutrient Holdings.
* TheMole: [[spoiler:Akkarat's people recruited Kanya to infiltrate the Environment Ministry after her village was torched by General Pracha. Kanya realises too late that Akkarat is no less corrupt and ruthless.]]
* MoralityPet: Emiko for Anderson, Mai for Hock Seng, and Kip for Gi Bu Sen.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Too many to list, but [[spoiler: Kanya's massacre]] stands out.
* NoBloodForPhlebotinum: Thailand has fought its neighbours for coal resources.
* NoodleIncident: Whatever mess happened in Finland.
* OddCouple: Ever-cheerful CowboyCop Captain Jaidee Rojjanasukchai and his NumberTwo, EmotionlessGirl Lieutenant Kanya Chirathivat.
* PostPeakOil: Kink-springs are needed for portable energy now after petroleum supplies were exhausted, while less portable installations make use of animal power. A big deal is made of one character's ownership of an actual fossil-fuel-burning car - running which is so expensive as to make it the ultimate show of wealth.
* PunkPunk: A mix of Biopunk, Springpunk, Musclepunk, Coalpunk and Dungpunk.
* ProperlyParanoid: Hock Seng is a Yellow Card - a Chinese refugee from the fundamentalist-led genocide in Malaysia. He lives in a constant state of low-grade fear and paranoia, waiting for the time when the Thai will find it similarly expedient to massacre the Yellow Cards or kick them across the border back to the Malay.
* RescueRomance: After Anderson saves Emiko from an attacker.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: The Dung Lord and Trade Minister Akkarat own limousines powered by coal-diesel engines, an unbelievable extravagance.
* {{Sexbot}}: Emiko, though she's not a robot.
* SchizoTech: Factory production lines driven by genetically-engineered animals, treadle-powered computers, elevators using human counterweights, [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome coal-diesel tanks fighting alongside war-megodonts]].
* ShoutOut: The "Cheshires" in the story are explicitly named after the Cheshire Cat in ''Literature/AlicesAdventuresInWonderland'', due to their genetically-engineered ChameleonCamouflage.
* SuperPoweredRobotMeterMaids: [[spoiler:Emiko. Turns out the 'geisha' windups are just as fast as the military windups.]]
* TankGoodness: Coal-diesel powered tanks. Such a heavy, fuel-inefficient vehicle can only be justified for military use.
* TruthInTelevision: Ask Monsanto what a "terminator" seed is. Agribusinesses have already adopted some of the practices mentioned.
* TheUnreveal:
** Exactly what role Anderson played in Finland is never fully elaborated on.
** What happened after Yates reached for the spring-gun.
** Whether Dog Fucker [[KickTheDog tortured, raped and killed]] Doctor Chan as he claimed.
** What happened with the super kinksprings after [[spoiler:the Dung Lord got the blueprints]].
* TheVerse: ''The Windup Girl'' is set in the same world as Bacigalupi's short stories "The Calorie Man" and "The Yellow Card Man" with references to both in the text.
* VillainProtagonist: Any of them could be, depending on which of profiteering, piracy, or violent Nationalism you consider most evil.
* VillainBall: The calorie companies dominate the world market due to their genehacked crops and animals, but also end up wiping out most of the natural environment and creating viral mutations that could end up killing everyone on Earth. [[spoiler:Akkarat dumps Jaidee's mutilated corpse outside the Environment Ministry, which causes the white shirts to rise against him. Anderson introduces the Somdet Chaopraya to Emiko, causing his death. Hock Seng embezzles Anderson's bribe money, leading to his equipment being held up, then burned, in customs. Anderson orders Hock Seng to get the factory running no matter what -- Hock Seng is forced to use the old infected vats, which end up incubating the disease that kills Anderson.]]
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Wind-ups and Cheshires ([[ChameleonCamouflage chameleon-like]] cats) are believed not to have souls, so it's perfectly acceptable to kill them. Only one Thai questions the morality of this, and wonders if his previous job killing cheshires hasn't led to his dead relatives being reincarnated as wind-ups in karmic punishment.
* WithMyHandsTied: Akkarat tries to shove a bound Jaidee off the roof of the Environment Ministry. As Jaidee's a former Muay Thai kickboxing champion this turns out to be a bad idea. [[spoiler:Unfortunately Jaidee is gunned down by Akkarat's bodyguards before he can send Akkarat over the edge.]]
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: Averted by Emiko's former employer, who should have had his wind-up destroyed but set her free instead. Given what Emiko endures afterwards, this is a questionable act of mercy.
* WeAreEverywhere: When Anderson's partner looks like he's distancing himself, Anderson points out that while Akkarat may be the power in Thailand, the megacorporation he works for rules everywhere else.
* WorldHalfEmpty: Ohhhh, yeah.
* ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld: There's no more petroleum, so international trade is conducted via clipper ships and dirigibles.
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