Letters of Mass Construction

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Water Knife is an interesting book. In part because many of the horrific events that occur because of the mega drought in the story don’t seem that far fetched. This book is rooted firmly in the pit of reality. The reality that humanity can prove that it sucks in so many vastly different ways that nothing surprises you. This is not a joyous book. There is no sudden uplifting of humanity. Nobody surprised me. I had little doubt believing that politicians would find a way to make a bad situation worse. No real heroes and lots of shades of grey. Don’t read this book if you are feeling depressed. I guarantee it will make it worse.

With that out of the way. Let me add the good news. It is a good book. Well written and thought out. A relentless plot that is constantly kicking you in the face. When you are done reading it you will feel a little drained and then immediately want everyone who is ignoring California’s current drought to read it.

I had a few parts of the book that I thought were a little unnecessary to the story. Honestly, the sex scenes felt a little out of place. They kind of zapped me out of a book I was really interested in. I have nothing against sex in books. It just didn’t do it for me in this story. Mileage will vary on that problem though. It certainly isn’t enough to stop you from reading it.

The book’s plot feels dangerously close to our currently reality. Water becomes scarce on the west coast of the United States and Mexico and suddenly it is every state for themselves and the most powerful people are those who can manipulate the water rights to their advantage. One of the best parts of the story is witnessing the monstrosity that California becomes. The book follows a few characters. They are all interesting and all extremely flawed. I like flawed characters though. There is a constant struggle of people trying to rise above the disaster around them. The book is so grounded in reality that watching them get squashed by the machine can be a little depressing. This is good science fiction and I hope it stays science fiction and not a startling accurate prediction of our future.

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