The Windup Girl is set in a grim and depressing Bangkok, Thailand, after the end of the world as we know it. Mutation in genetically-modified food has killed, and continues killing, millions. Currently, the greatest commodity is calories, derived from ever-modified food – because there’s no such thing as un-modified food… Unless there is? That’s what brings Anderson Lake to Bangkok, trying to sniff some out.This futuristic yarn is part spy-thriller, part emotional roller-coaster, with a lush backdrop of human greed and error sharing space with bio-engineered creatures and political gamesmanship. The story hooks you in, the plot keeps you interested, and the ending explodes like a requisite scene in any action movie.What really made this interesting for me was the politics of the Malayan Peninsula, where the religious fundamentalists have driven out the Chinese population, most of whom have escaped to Thailand where they are now yellow-card illegals. This entirely too-close-to-possible scenario brings out the realism of this world, along with all the emotional undertones. Despair and hope live side-by-side in the muck-filled drains, as the illegals compete with the natives for jobs and the resulting calories.Now it’s time to check out more Paolo Bacigalupi… Wonder what I’ll pick up next?drey’s rating: Excellent!