REVIEW: The Calorie Man by Paolo Bacigalupi

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars, Genre: Science Fiction/ Apocalyptic Fiction, Pages: 28, Level: Intermediate

Short Story Description from Barnes & Noble:

The eleven stories in Pump Six chart the evolution of Paolo Bacigalupi’s work, including the Hugo nominated “Yellow Card Man,” and the Sturgeon Award-winning story “The Calorie Man,” both set in the world of his novel The Windup Girl.

This collection also demonstrates the power and reach of the science fiction short story. Social criticism, political parable, and environmental advocacy lie at the center of Bacigalupi’s work. Each of the stories herein is at once a warning and a celebration of the tragic comedy of the human experience.

In a futuristic dystopian world, calories are what run the market, and for some, they are in very low supply. Lalji makes a living out of stealing from the few big corporations who make the genetically engineered calories. He is approached to bring a geneticist down river who is wanted by these corporations because for some reason, he is considered a threat. Lalji soon figures out why…

This is a short story and is the first of two predecessors to Bacigalupi’s novel, The Windup Girl. There are some things in the short story that are not fully explained but are left to the reader to figure out; it does not diminish the story. It is a quick read and the author does a good job of beginning to set up this dark world that will continue to be the basis for future stories.

Reviewed by Christina

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