The Water Knife by Pablo Bacigalupi

TheWaterKnifeThe Water Knife
by Pablo Bacigalupi
2015 / 379 pages
read by Almarie Guerra 14h 5m
rating:  A+/  dystopian future-thriller

Characters –
**  Angel Velasquez –  a well-paid water cutter (a knife)
**  Lucy Monroe – noted journalist – writes about the water-wars
**  Maria Villarosa – teenage refugee from Texas
** Toomey – friend/employer of Maria
** James Sanderson  – a water-rights lawyer who has found a loophole or something – he’s found dead after he  apparently sells them.
**  Catherine Case – owner of lush Las Vegas properties
**  Julio – works with Velasquez in Arizona /
** Mike Rattan – knew James,  buyer of water rights.

** Sarah – another friend of Maria’s  –

Setting – Phoenix and Las Vegas areas – a  drought plagued desert in the near future where water is more precious than gold.  Lawyers and businesspeople and others fight for it,  people are killed for it,  the poor die for lack of it.  With Chinese who know how arcology  can be built with precision and beauty – and very little water.  Texas is blockaded and

Angel finds out there is a problem in Phoenix so he goes down there for Catherine to investigate the murder of one of the company henchmen and calm


A design archology for New Orleans –

another one down.

Lucy and Maria watch the pumps and figure out when to get water cheapest to resell illegally in town at the cafe.  Maria realizes she can make some money,  but then the enforcers find them.  People, including those they love,  can get hurt.

The rich live in what are known as “arcologies,”  entire ciites in one building.   Quite a lot of time is spent on the environment as is usual with science fiction,  but in this case the thriller aspect – chases and murders etc – take over

There’s lots of edgy slang,  regional dialects and vulgarity –  (the narrator has a good Mexican male voice although she is female).  Bacigalupi lets the reader think – no explaining all the details (this is good).

The amount of time spent on the graphic and gritty sex makes it graruitous – it’s really not necessary to develop themes or characters or plot – about 10% of it might be but …  – how much time does an author spend describing lunch?


Themes – climate change – power of a few over others – nobody is more moral when faced with torture –

Pima water rights and Phoenix (2004) –

Cadillac Desert –

Arcology –

More Arcology:

Stanford Prison Experiment:

Good reviews –