Paolo Bacigalupi's first novel, The Windup Girl, was named one of Time Magazine's top ten novels of the year, and yet he still talks to people like me, which makes him either very strange or very cool (probably a little of both.) On May 25th his latest novel, The Water Knife, will be out, and this near future science fiction novel is set in a mega-drought-stricken, American southwest. The story explores issues of water rights, climate change, and the gratuitous destruction of the state of Texas, all of which we discuss in the interview.
He also takes the time to talk about his long and winding path towards a writing career. Anyone who's ever reached the point of despair (in other words, all aspiring writers) will want to give this a listen.
After getting off Skype with me, he had another interview with NPR. So, this was basically his warmup for NPR ;-)
0:00-21:50 we discuss his book, The Water Knife, and related issues including mega-droughts and climate change.
21:50-end: we discuss Paolo's writing career and how he finally sold that first novel that made him a superstar.
46:50- is where we specifically discuss The Windup Girl - which had a fascinating path to publication.
The very end, my connection suddenly died. So... sorry for the abrupt cut off.
Paolo Bacigalupi’s writing has appeared in WIRED Magazine, High Country News, Salon.com, OnEarth Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. His short fiction been anthologized in various “Year’s Best” collections of short science fiction and fantasy, nominated for three Nebula Awards, four Hugo Awards, and won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best science fiction short story of the year. His short story collection PUMP SIX AND OTHER STORIES was a 2008 Locus Award winner for Best Collection and also named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly
His debut novel THE WINDUP GIRL was named by TIME Magazine as one of the ten best novels of 2009, and also won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards. Internationally, it has won the Seiun Award (Japan), The Ignotus Award (Spain), The Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis (Germany), and the Prix Planète-SF des Blogueurs (France).
His debut young adult novel, SHIP BREAKER, was a Micheal L. Printz Award Winner, and a National Book Award Finalist, and its sequel, THE DROWNED CITIES, was a 2012 Kirkus Reviews Best of YA Book, A 2012 VOYA Perfect Ten Book, and 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist.
He has also written ZOMBIE BASEBALL BEATDOWN for middle-grade children, about zombies, baseball, and, of all things, meatpacking plants. Another novel for teens, THE DOUBT FACTORY, a contemporary thriller about public relations and the product defense industry was a both an Edgar Award and Locus Award Finalist.
His latest novel for adults THE WATER KNIFE, a near-future thriller about climate change and drought in the southwestern United States.
He currently lives in Western Colorado with his wife and son, where he is working on a new novel.