Book Review: Pump Six And Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 4/5 stars

My guess is that Paolo Bacigalupi does not hold out much hope for the human race.  “Pump Six and Other Stories” contains a series of stories that share many themes, none of them very pretty.  Water shortages, oil shortages, corporate control of resources, fiefdoms run by celebrities, humans devolving into morons, humans filled with environmental chemicals; all can be found in this book.  And it is all beautifully done.

A few of the short stories end a bit suddenly, but endings are the bane of the short story writer.  That a few of the short stories obviously take place in the same “world” helps this, though.  Even thought one story may leave you wanting more, another picks up and introduces more of the same world to you leaving you sated.

Another thing that makes these stories work so well is that Paolo Bacigalupi is obviously one twisted individual.  I mean that with the utmost respect.  Some of the concepts he invents and the images he evokes left me awed by their sheer audacity and imagination.

Short stories are my favorite literary form.  It is good to have another author whose short stories I love after a many years drought of good short stories.  I highly recommend you pick this one up and despair for humanity.

One thing that I thought strange is why Paolo Bacigalupi chose “Pump Six” as the titular story for this collection.  There is no doubt that it was enjoyable, but I found it one of the weaker stories in the collection.  I can only assume that it was his breakthrough story that more people would recognize.

This book was another from the Humble Bundle package that I purchased.  I think that makes it about 50-50 between great books and meh books.  Not a bad record.