Pump Six and Other Stories (2008)
Written by: Paolo Bacigalupi
Genre: Short Stories/Science Fiction/Dystopia
The premise: it's a short story collection. What more do you need? Bacigalupi's stories tend to focus on dystopic, sometimes dark futures that sometimes contain multi-cultural characters and settings. The prose never fails to grab your eye and hold it, as it's sharp and magnetic and keeps you turning the pages. And maybe this is my bias showing, because I love his work so much, but in spite my general ambivalence and dislike toward the art of the short story, I consider Bacigalupi a master, simply because he tells full, complete stories that always resolve in some form or fashion, and I'm rarely left feeling like I've missed something. To me, few short stories do that, and few have the staying power in my mind that Bacigalupi's do. I don't have to look at a title and wonder what the story is about. I remember, every time. That's how well they stick with you.
Must Have: If there's one good thing about Bacigalupi short stories, it's this: when you're done, you really don't MIND the prospect of reading them again. And again, and again. That's saying something (especially coming out of my mouth), and it gives credence to the fact that I think Bacigalupi is a modern master, and if he isn't yet, then I have every confidence he will be. No doubt, these are not stories that are filled episodic points of adventure (thank god), but if the stories don't make you really uncomfortable in some way, or if they don't make you think SERIOUSLY about the issues he's tackling and how they relate to the world we live in now, then you're not paying attention. This is MY kind of science fiction, the kind of SF that makes me excited to be a writer (and for that matter, a reader). But what I really want to know is why the hell Bacigalupi hasn't yet won a Hugo. Maybe it's because there's not enough people reading his work, and if that's the case, go forth, buy this collection, and READ. Read your eyes out, and enjoy.
Review style: If I've read the story before, the title of the story will be a link to the first review. However, this review will be very general in nature. I usually do a story-by-story breakdown when it comes to magazines/anthologies/collections, but I'm not feeling it this time. I do try to discuss each story in generalities though, so have no fear of spoilers.
To read the full review, just click the link below, which goes to my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.
REVIEW: Paolo Bacigalupi's PUMP SIX AND OTHER STORIES