Wednesday, December 9, 2015

PRI radio in Boston does a nice review "on air" and in print of the cli-fi novel ''THE WATER KNIFE'' by Paolo Bacigalupi

'The Water Knife' is a cli-fi novel wrapped in pulpy goodness and please note Bradley Campbell that cli fi is NOT a subgenre of SCI-FI AND HAS NOTHING DO TO WITH SCI-FI PERIOD. Get your facts right, SIR. OR get off the air with your unfactchecked typo-ridden shit!

''The Water Knife'' - a radio review and interview with Paolo Bacigalupi (with typos fixed by this blog AND STILL NOT FIXED AT PRI SITE)

You could source the origin of Paolo Bacigalupi's best-selling novel, "The Water Knife," right back to the day his kitchen sink in Colorado went dry.

"It's just a strange sort of shock to just turn the tap and nothing happens," Paolo told PRI radio. "You know, sometimes you get an air hiss, whoosh, and you're like, 'Whaat?'"

It totally messed with his head. As it should. You know, you turn a knob. Water comes out. That how it works. That's how it always works. Until it doesn't.

Paolo added: "And it's weird how you run up against this thing where you're like , 'Oh, we don't have water ' And then you realize, 'Oh, I can't wash vegetables. Oh, I can't take a shower. Oh, I can't wash my hands right now.' They're these simple things that we do all the time and you just don't notice them because water is so ... it's just taken for granted.''

This loss is what powers "The Water Knife."

It's a thriller set in the American southwest. A drought called "Big Daddy" sucked the place dry. So cities battle other cities for water. The most powerful people are the ones in control of the taps. And everyone is fighting over who can tap into the Colorado River.
It sounds a heckuva lot like the Southwest today. But Paola (SIC ) stresses it's the future.

"'The Water Knife' is sort of the worst case scenario," he says. "It's the one where people don't plan. The one where they don't cooperate. It's the one where they deny the data says it's going to get harder. And so they make no plans and do no organizing."

What makes "The Water Knife" cut deep is that it's climate science wrapped in pulpy goodness. There's a diabolical villain  a mercenary with a heart of gold, and an investigative reporter willing to risk it all for the story. It's straight brain candy. And a new literary genre called: "Cli-fi."


The big dogs of publishing are diggin' it.

A PR person from Penguin Random House told PRI radio that "much like fiction, cli-fi is striking a nerve, tapping into an issue we all face and is therefore something that is interesting."

Paolo says he is trying bring a visceral sense of scarcity to people who have never felt it before.

People like me, Bradley Campbell, a producer at PRI radio.

I poured a huge glass of water while reading the book last night, took a sip, and was like, "Oh, yeah. I should value this more."

Paolo thinks that's the key. Instead of boring us with power points, he's connecting us to characters.

We can empathize with their plight.

And that's why he thinks cli-fi is taking off.

"You know, writers are just starting to get this grip on what it means to live in a world that isn't just going to be technologically different or socially different from the ones our parents grew up in, but one that is going to be radically, biologically and ecologically, different,'' Paolo told PRI.

You can take that the cynical way. That as cities dry-out and die, forests burn and islands vanish under the sea, at least we'll have something nice to read.
Or perhaps books like "The Water Knife" will actually help us change what we do. So the American Southwest will never have to experience a waterless future.

 Do read "The Water Knife" if you haven't already.

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