Title: The Doubt Factory (Audio) Unabridged
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Narrator: Emma Galvin
Publisher: Listening Library (2014)
Genre: YA, Contemporary Thriller
Alix, the privileged daughter of a man who is paid to protect the reputation of large Corporations by sowing doubt, falls into the hands of tech savvy orphan pranksters set on changing the world. Doubt invades her own life as she discovers that her bright future will not be the product of wholesome PR work after all and must decide what path she is on, despite both offering a reasonable outcome. Can she believe what she is told by either side?
I am a fan of Paolo BaciGalupi and believe he has one of the most unique and potentially important voices of this generation with his thorough manipulation of image-building language. He really rocked the imagination in the works ‘Ship Breaker’ and ‘the Windup Girl’. His talent and skill is more than impressive, and he hugely deserves every award he has gotten. This book is not on the same level as the others.
If a mediocre novelist had written the Doubt Factory, it would be considered a fine book and a good story executed with precision and mature talent. Bacigalupi is not a mediocre novelist, so this book feels forced and flat in comparison to what is expected. It is a complex story wrapped in brown paper wrapping. Sure it’s ecofriendly, but is it exciting? Yes, but in a utilitarian way not in an unexpected way. The characters are not surprising, the story is just another indictment of Corporate Greed and Big Pharma lies, the tech is just okay. Where is that Bacigalupi wonderment?
Read it like you are out to enjoy a solid YA tech thriller (which it is), not a fantastically unique Bacigalupi mind journey (which it is not). That’s about it. For a well written YA thriller, I give it 4 stars, but for a Paolo Bacigalupi original, I give it 2.5.