Review: “Pump Six” by Paolo Bacigalupi

5 of 5 stars.

Included in the anthology, After the End: Recent Apocalypses, edited by Paula Guran, this short story brilliantly accomplishes much in very few pages. I hesitate to use the word perfection when the tale crafts such a bleak, dystopian view of New York City in the mid-22nd Century. However, the term fits the writing.

Our hero, Travis Alvarez, works under the polluted city to keep the antiquated pump system for the sewers working. All true working knowledge of the system seems to have crumbled away. In this aspect, the story is similar to Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember, but far, far grittier. Through the haze of smog and drugs (and writing reminiscent of William S. Bourroughs, at times), our hero hits the streets to find answers all while dodging the concrete rain of falling buildings and the dim-witted trogs overpopulating the parks and streets of a city gone to waste.

Not since reading Ayn Rand’s Anthem have I encountered such a rich, immersive view of a dystopian future in so few pages. This is a must-read for New Yorkers, and fans of dystopian literature alike. I highly recommend it and will be searching for more pieces by this author in the near future.
 
 
 
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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4 responses to “Review: “Pump Six” by Paolo Bacigalupi

  1. Paolo Bacigalupi was the author of The Windup Girl which I recently read and enjoyed. It is also a dystopian novel, but is set in Malaysia after devastating food plagues have removed almost all cultivated food crops and global warming has made the use of petroleum and coal untenable. It is rich with unique detail and social structure in the aftermath of these global disasters. My review can be found here.

    Liked by 1 person

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