“When the door opens, they kneel in a wave, all of them performing khrabs of abasement, triple bows to the patron who keeps them housed, the one man in Krung Thep who willingly shoulders the burden of them, who provides a measure of safety from the red machetes of the Malays and the black batons of the white shirts.”
In contrast to Kraken, this is full-on speculative fiction, an extrapolation of environmental and large-scale social collapse, and there are a lot of moving parts to the background. It’s actually very elegant that Bacigalupi orders them by color: the Green Headbands of Malay Islamists, the white shirts of the Thai government officials, the yellow-card ethnic Chinese refugees. He shifts the colors here — the black batons of the white shirts — fittingly for the impurity of each group’s moral status; in much the same way, he weaves through a small allegory of environmental niche and habitat in the way he frames each main characters’ insecurities.
December 28, 2010, 6:57pm Comments