I just finished the audiobook of Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Water Knife.” Nicely done! Paolo has always truly good at warning — which is one of the big jobsÂ science fiction does well. In this case, he’s warning about a future that feels very real, a dry and thirsty future where fresh water represents power. He writes with enough confidence to force you to believe in his world. Â In “The Water Knife,”Â the future Paolo draws in vivid detailÂ lines up with the real headlines available today about water, lack of water, and fights over water rights.
It’s a tough job to write a book about current and near-term events where the story is strong enough that the message doesn’t feel like a lecture. Paolo succeeds. The story is fabulous, the warning feels dire, and I didn’t feel stepped out of the story for the warning.
I also loved the narration.
I don’t want to say too much else because of spoilers, but my parents live in Phoenix. Every time I visit, I love the sunshine and the high desert and I love seeing them. I also feel like the set-upÂ is off-balance, that so many people simplyÂ don’t belong in that desert. I think Paolo must have had that same thought. 🙂
Note there are also other books I’d recommend on this topic. These include Mary Rosenbaum’s Water Rites and Rob Ziegler’s Seed. Â Brenda Hillman’s poetry book, Practical Water. The futurist in me thinks we should all read about this topic – fiction and non-fiction. It is going to be a topic of future discussion.