My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What words would one use to describe this collection of Paolo Bacigalupi’s short fiction? Dystopian? Cynical? Grim?
I’m onboard the adjective train until that last stop. While Bacigalupi paints a picture of a future wrought sectarian violence, chemically-mutilated gene structures, economic collapse, widespread drought and famine, and sinister corporate dominance, I don’t think he ever tips over into the realm of the negative.
It’s perhaps best realized in the titular work, Pump Six. Humanity is reduced to a bunch of hormonally-wrecked layabouts good for little more than eating and screwing. But at the core of the mess is an eminently human narrator, completely overwhelmed with the task at hand, but resolved to try and find a way to fix it.
The allegory for a modern activist, particularly in the environmental realm, is obvious. Our challenges are the consequence of dealing with human nature, but they are not insurmountable.
After all, if we don’t deal with it, who will?