Interview (and Giveaway):Editor Cory Allyn Answers a Few Questions About the New Edition of Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl

Please welcome editor Cory Allyn to the blog! Cory answered a few questions about the brand new edition of Paolo Bacigalupi’s Hugo and Nebula Award winning novel, The Windup Girl.

Also, courtesy of the lovely folks at Night Shade Books, we have 3 copies to give away to 3 lucky US winners, so be sure to enter to win at the bottom of the post!

Kristin Centorcelli: You’ve got an expanded edition of The Windup Girl just out this week. For those that haven’t read the book, will you tell us a bit about The Windup Girl and about the two short stories included in this edition?

Cory Allyn: The Windup Girl is a thrilling look at a near-future world where companies control the global food supply through bioengineered crops. The world of the book, set in 23rd century Thailand, is dangerous and cutthroat, complicated by competing political powers, and filled by a number of fascinating characters, from undercover company men to artificial manufactured humanoids. Author Paolo Bacigalupi’s debut novel, originally published by Night Shade back in 2010, The Windup Girl went on to win a number of major awards, including both the Hugo and the Nebula, and was named one of the ten best overall books of year by TIME magazine.

For this new expanded edition of the book, which comes with a brand-new paperback design, we’ve included two stories set in the same world of the novel, the Hugo-nominated novelettes “Yellow Card Man” and “The Calorie Man.” Finally, there is an exclusive Q&A with the author about the origins of the book and his reflections on writing and publishing it.

KC: You changed the cover. What can you tell us about that? Did the author like it?

CA: The original cover for The Windup Girl is great, but it also looks very genre. That worked really well for the book when Paolo was a SF author who had good buzz behind his shorter fiction but had yet to publish a novel. But now, five years later, after a number of YA novels and with a second adult novel eminent, we thought this was a good opportunity to re-introduce The Windup Girl.

Hopefully the redesigned cover helps bridge the gap between Science Fiction Readers and Literary Fiction Readers (we’ve been saying for a long time that there probably isn’t as much of a difference between the two as a lot of people think there is). Everyone here, from Paolo to our editors and sales and marketing teams, is really pumped about how everything came together. The designer, Owen Corrigan, did an amazing job working with Raphael Lacoste’s stunning original artwork. We know The Windup Girl is going to be around for a long, long time, and our goal with the new edition was to create something that will still catch someone’s eyes on a bookshelf ten years from now.

KC: Has having this prestigious book on the list helped you sign up some nice books for Night Shade?

CA: Ha! I’ve personally never been told that having The Windup Girl on our backlist was the deciding factor for an author considering working with us before. But I think it goes a long way towards establishing our credibility as a mid-list publisher that is not only willing to take risks on interesting fiction but can also turn them into bestsellers. I think it speaks enormously to the imprint’s editorial eye, and Jeremy Lassen, who picked up The Windup Girl, is one of the people acquiring for Night Shade today.

KC: What is the relationship between Night Shade Books and Talos Press?

CA: Night Shade is co-owned by Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing. Talos Press is Skyhorse’s in-house SF/F/H imprint. There’s no aesthetic distinction in that, say, one kind of book is published by Talos and another is published by Night Shade. All of the people from Skyhorse that work on Night Shade also work on Talos, and we’ve got plenty of great books coming out from both imprints.

KC: I’m sure you’ve read The Water Knife. What do you think of it?

CA: It amazes me how relevant Paolo’s books are – he’s so ahead of the game in terms of thinking about where we are in the present and where things could end up in the near future. A few weeks ago I was reading about the Monstanto Roundup mess, and one of the first things I thought of was Agri-Gen and Paolo’s book. Five years later, and The Windup Girl still feels right on the cutting edge of what’s going on today.

Right now we’re in the middle of the California drought, and Paolo’s obviously had that on his mind for years, at least since he published “The Tamarisk Hunter” back in 2006. Ahead of everyone else, again.

I think readers will find The Water Knife to be a little different in tone from The Windup Girl, but I always like writers going in unexpected places. I’m not the type of reader clamoring for a “Windup Girl 2.” What I think everyone will agree on is that Paolo’s extraordinary gift for near-future worldbuilding is on full display in his new novel, and the environmental scenario that he’s extrapolated as the backdrop for The Water Knife is every bit as thought-provoking and smart as his vision of Bangkok in the 23rd century.

KC: What’s next for Night Shade this year and beyond? Who is the next Paolo Bacigalupi on the list?

CA: Night Shade and Talos have a ton of great books lined up for the summer and beyond. If you had to pin me down to just one, I think people are going to be really pumped about a debut British author by the name of Tom Toner. His novel, The Promise of the Child, comes out in September from Night Shade. While it’s definitely different science fiction from what Paolo writes, Toner is also an exciting and fresh new voice in SF – his book is a high-stakes adventure space opera that spans hundreds of centuries, across galaxies, with a reveal in the end that is one of the coolest SF twists I’ve read in some time. It’s definitely got a literary bent to it, but it’s also very accessible with some awesome and unique action sequences. We’ve been describing it as “David Mitchell meets Alastair Reynolds, but with shark attacks.” How cool does that sound?

Paolo’s Water Knife/Windup Girl Tour

5/26/15: Denver, CO Tattered Cover, reading, Q&A, and signing
5/27/15: Boulder, CO Boulder Bookstore, reading, Q&A, and signing
5/28/15: New York, NY, BEA
5/30/15: Boston, MA Brookline Booksmith, reading, Q&A, and signing
6/2/15: Chicago, IL Anderson’s Bookshop, reading, Q&A, and signing
6/3/15: Salt Lake City, UT The King’s English, reading, Q&A, and signing
6/4/15: Phoenix, AR Changing Hands Bookstore, reading, Q&A, and signing
6/6-6/7/15: San Francisco, CA, Bay Area Literary Festival
6/6-6/7/15: San Francisco, CA, Borderlands, signing
6/8/15: San Diego, CA Mysterious Galaxy, reading, Q&A, and signing
6/9/15: Los Angeles, Vroman’s, reading, Q&A, and signing
6/10/15: Portland, OR Powell’s Bookstore, reading, Q&A, and signing
6/11/15: Seattle, WA University Book Store, reading, Q&A, and signing
6/18/15: Crested Butte, CO Rumors Coffee and Tea House, reading, Q&A, and signing

About The Windup Girl:
Winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel, a new edition of the break-out science fiction debut featuring additional stories and a Q&A with the author.

Anderson Lake is AgriGen’s Calorie Man, sent to work undercover as a factory manager in Thailand while combing Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history’s lost calories.

Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. Emiko is not human; she is an engineered being, grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in this chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe.

What happens when calories become currency? What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits and forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly-acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century.

In this brand new edition celebrating the book’s reception into the canon of celebrated modern science fiction, accompanying the text are two novelettes exploring the dystopian world of The Windup Girl, the Theodore Sturgeon Award-winning “The Calorie Man” and “Yellow Card Man.” Also included is an exclusive Q&A with the author describing his writing process, the political climate into which his debut novel was published, and the future of science fiction.
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