[SFRA-L] The Windup Girl
pawel.frelik at umcs.edu.pl
Mon Sep 13 03:40:14 EDT 2010
> I'm just wondering why, precisely. The book has some good world-creation,
> and in general both plot and characterization are superior, but otherwise I
> don't get it. What's so exceptional abt the book that it should sweep the
> awards? Distinctly above average, sure; but so unequivocallyexceptional? I
> can't imagine that in 10 years we'll be talking abt it much.
> Surely I'm missing something, and you folks can set me straight.
I can only add this to what Rob has already written (predictably, I love the novel):
I think it is paradigmatic in the way in which it gives shape to the way in which we (I know all the limitations of "we" but let's assume the existence of some such commonality, however limited it may be) imagine the (near) future and its predominant concerns. This is precisely where it parallels Neuromancer so beautifully. In the same way in which NR reflected a 1980s (literary) brand of expectations and dreams of the future, tapping the zeitgeist of the decade, The Windup Girl makes it clear how far we have gone from the the cyber dreams/nightmares of that time. For all its dystopian vision (with the implicit atomic war, ecological degradation and corporate feudalism), to me, NR is still slick in its fascination with the cyber and those maginificent metaphors of the biz, zaibatsus and the matrix. WG, on the other hand, painfully pushes you into the now and here - the lived ecology, the lived geopolitics, the far-more-tangible sense of helplessness and despair (I think) than what we read about Case.
What I am saying I guess is that, apart from its artistic merits, I find WG extremely relevant in a really immediate way (NR was relevant in a far more abstract, cerebral and aesthetic way). This is visible, for example, in the way in which the corporate mechanisms have been presented. Surely, NR had a few things to say in that department, mostly in terms of big-picture figuration of multinationals, but it is only in WG that we come to see the ruthlessness and cynicism of this economic (but also geopolitical) model.
We (I know, I know) all love NR for its posthuman stuff, postmodernese and zeitgeist-tapping but from the perspective of time its politics seems somewhat naive. I can't imagine we will say that about WG in 20 years' time, although this may be me being naive. :)
Well, so these are my 0.02.
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