The Water Knife
National Book Award Finalist and Hugo Award winning author Paolo Bacigalupi returns with a new novel that makes a bold prediction about the not so distant future. The Water Knife is set in the drought decimated American Southwest. The dwindling Colorado River is being fought over by Nevada and Arizona while California plots what its next move is. Angel Velasquez is a Las Vegas "water knife" who is part detective, part spy and part assassin who is employed by the Southern Nevada water czar. In this future, water authorities are not government agencies, but corrupt crime organizations run by bosses who are only interested in using water for their own advantage. When a little known water resources surfaces in Phoenix, Angel drives his futuristic Tesla and his many identifies down south to investigate further. There, in the ever oppressive desert, he meets a journalist and a refugee who hopes to escape north where rain is still a reality.
This dystopian, neo-noir thriller is fast paced and is filled with mystery, violence and intrigue. It has been rightfully described as Chinatown meets Mad Max as water is worth more than gold and evil forces look to control it all while leaving others with nothing. This creates a refugee situation where people roam the desert looking to escape north while trying to stay alive. Meanwhile, water bosses utilize the natural resource for their own agricultural projects and luxurious lifestyles.
The drought is obviously on everyone's mind these days and as the southwest continues to heat up, this science fiction story begins sounding more and more like a legitimate scenario. No rain, no crops and overpopulation make for a devastating combination. It begs the question of, "could this fiction become a reality?" When water is a scarce resource yet necessary for survival, isn't only a matter of time before it is simply taken by those with the most power? And when that happens, where does that leave the rest of us?
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