Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pump Six by Paolo Bacigalupa 

"Pump Six" is the first collection of short stories by American science fiction writer Paolo Bacigalupi. Set in the near future on an Earth where the citizens are seemingly trying to come to terms with society around them.
In "Pocket Full of Dharma", Wang Jun a young homeless boy is chased through the streets of Chengdu city. Unbeknownst to him Wang carries the soul of the Dali Lama in a datacube.

"The Tamarisk Hunter", tells the story of Lolo, and his attempts to eek out a living in the now desert state of Utah. All Lolo wants is dignity for himself and his wife.

While in "Pop Squad" we learn of a world where immortality is declared compulsory. But what happens if people want something more than everlasting life?

Food shortages and genetic modified crops, wars for natural resources and environmental degradation, bioengineering gone horribly wrong, religious and political fanaticism, are just some of the problems Bacigalupi presents us with. His is not a vision of humanity grappling with the stars rather one of the individual struggling with the earth.

However there are positives to be taken from these dystopian tales. The refusal of the main characters to surrender to bigger forces and their willingness to fight against impossible odds. The ability of the individual to strike out and see that there’s more than just running with the herd. 

Bacigalupi’s thought provoking tales cover fears and concerns many in the 21st century will be more than familiar with.


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