Paolo Bacigalupi

Literary Birthday – 6 August – Paolo Bacigalupi

Happy Birthday, Paolo Bacigalupi, born 6 August 1972.


  1. Politics is ugly. Never doubt what small men will do for great power.
  2. I’m interested in how we react when we’re heavily pressed. When we’re vulnerable and our survival is in question, how do we behave?
  3. As a writer, you should care about reluctant readers. You want these kids to feel like books are amazing and cool and that they’re an escape.
  4. The more I write stories for young people, and the more young readers I meet, the more I’m struck by how much kids long to see themselves in stories. To see their identities and perspectives—their avatars—on the page. Not as issues to be addressed or as icons for social commentary, but simply as people who get to do cool things in amazing worlds.
  5. I do not fight battles that cannot be won. Do not confuse that with cowardice.
  6. The problem with surviving was that you ended up with the ghosts of everyone you’d ever left behind riding on your shoulders.
  7. I like fast plots with things that explode.
  8. Short fiction seems more targeted – hand grenades of ideas, if you will. When they work, they hit, they explode, and you never forget them. Long fiction feels more like atmosphere: it’s a lot smokier and less defined.
  9. Knowledge is always two-edged. For every benefit, there is hazard. For every good, evil.
  10. The surfeit of bad trends pushes me to set my stories in worlds which are often diminished versions of our own present.
  11. I write at a standing desk, which has helped me be much more productive and solved some back problems, but mostly all my quirky habits have to do with procrastination and avoidance rather than with work. I’m slowly trying to stamp those out.
  12. Novelists want to be published and need a publisher to decide to print 20 000 copies. So you need to entertain on some level.

Paolo Bacigalupi is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He has won awards for several of his novels for adults and young people. Titles of his work include The Windup Girl and The Water Knife.


Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 6th August 2016