Review – Water Knife (Paolo Bacigalupi): When water is scarce.

We liked

– Rhythm.
– The story seems very plausible.
-The ecological aspect.

We didn’t like

– Some lengths at the beginning of the novel.

When water is more precious than gold, one truth rules the desert: a man must bleed for a man to drink.

Who knows never asked this question: what would happen if the water were to run out? Paolo Bacigalupi responds with this dystopia in which the Southwest of the United States is ravaged by drought and the effects of global warming. The water war is raging and the men are desperate for the new blue gold. Paolo Bacigalupi, follower of Bio-punk, and already winner of numerous prizes including a Hugo prize for The Automaton Girl, affirms here his ecological convictions through this new novel published by Au Diable Vauvert.

In the near future, the Southwest of the United States is devastated by drought due to global warming. The price of water exceeds that of gasoline and shortages are commonplace. The Colorado River, which is a vital source of water for the region, has been diverted and is now just a trickle of water. Business tycoons and government officials control the water supply and Nevada, Arizona and California are waging a war that does not say its name. Texans flee the drought and China has become the new El Dorado. Las Vegas and other major metropolises rob citizens of their right to water. They build self-sufficient water bubble cities for wealthy residents called arcology, and the poor must content themselves with the desert.

When an unexpected source of water is discovered in Phoenix, the cards could be reshuffled and the balance of power upset. Angel Velasquez works as a spy and detective for the Californian Catherine Case. His work, as “water-knife”, is to infiltrate and sabotage the water supplies of competing states. Angel is sent south to investigate and get hold of very old documents containing the water rights of the Colorado River. In Phoenix, he meets Lucy Monroe, a Pulitzer-winning journalist, and Maria Villarosa, a young refugee from Texas, surviving on instinct and insight. The three protagonists will find themselves linked as Phoenix is ​​about to descend into chaos and violence. As the bodies begin to pile up, the discovery of these documents becomes a matter of life or death.

The novel is fun to read and the political stakes are easily understood, however the slow start and some scenes of violence (rape and torture) could divide readers. Personally I find that they bring realism to this story and allow you to better immerse yourself in the general atmosphere. This ecological thriller will make you think about the future that awaits us and will delight fans of science fiction novels but also thrillers.. Without a real time mark, it is difficult to place this story in time, but one thing is certain, this future is surely closer to us than we would like.

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Review – Water Knife (Paolo Bacigalupi): When water is scarce.