The Water Knife, a thriller detailing a severe drought in the American Southwest, tersely cautions us of a possible bleak future without adequate hydration. Hugo and Nebula award winner Paolo Bacigalupi creates an authentic picture of the consequences to the people and the land, while painting an ugly portrait of the greed and corruption that develop in the wake of this drought.
This world is a brilliantly imagined, violent place, and we follow the lives of three people caught in the crossfire this drought produces. Angel Velasquez is a “water knife”, a sort of enforcer for the rich and powerful who define ownership of this precious commodity. Lucy is a cynical journalist and Maria is a dreamer who believes in better things, and together they become entangled in this drama. The people who have water have the power, and therefore the control, which they often use with reckless abandon.
The novel progresses like a well-paced action movie.The plot twists are unsettling and the characters are hovering on the cusp of good and evil. Science fiction writers have written about environmental concerns for many years, but as our world moves through time, we actually see the effects, and severe drought is a well-timed topic. Check out this thoughtful, engaging and meaningful read.