My rating: 4 of 5 starsI met Bacigalupi by reading his Hugo award winning The Windup Girl. These short stories predate that work, but share its grit and grittiness. Some of the stories are set in the same (or neighboring) Universe as The Windup Girl, but most aren’t. There’s more than some distopia in all of the stories in the collection except one. (The confusion of the protagonist makes up for the normal world in “Softer.”) Most stories are set in a non-American or non-Americanzed culture, which is something that Bacigalupi uses to add color, poetry, and character to his stories. Especially memorable stories are “The Fluted Girl” and “The People of Sand and Slag”, memorable for their characters and the sketch of very different futures that they draw. I couldn’t put this collection down. All stories made me want to read the next story. I’m looking forward reading more of him.