Paolo Bacigalupi


Noah Ling, Entertainment Reporter

Whenever students get the opportunity to meet a real-life author it gets exciting, especially when it’s about a topic that many students are interested in, such as climate change. Paolo Bacigalupi, an author who usually projects his books towards young adults, recently visited Thompson Valley High School on September 25, 2019, and spoke about his life story.  

  Bacigalupi is a 47-year-old science fiction writer. His books are in the science fiction genre but include some realistic backstory. Global warming is a current issue, and many scientists are thinking ahead and making a hypothesis on what the world will be like in the future. Bacigalupi researches this and bases his books in the future, and the characters are dealing with the problems scientists are thinking about in real life. Bacigalupi said, “In books that are about climate change, you know what it’s going to say so you tend to avoid these books because they tell you what to think, so I try to make it entertaining and not all political.” 

  Writing is a really ambitious profession–many authors as we know them today are well known and successful, although that success doesn’t come overnight. Bacigalupi has spent over 20 years of his life as an author, spite the fact that the first 10 years weren’t all successful like they are now. Being a selling author takes passion and practice, Bacigalupi wrote many stories in the beginning but none sold. He would work a job until he had enough money to publish a story then it wouldn’t sell and he would repeat the process.

  After 10 years of struggling with this profession, he started to sell, from there on out people knew who he was and started reading his books more and more. He began to write several books such as Ship Breaker, The Drowned Cities and his newest book The Watered Knife.

  A lot goes into creating a good selling story, and Bacigalupi tries to please his readers. He asks himself what will bring people joy and interest from this story and tailors the story towards his audience. Bacigalupi said, “I remember being a teenager, and I think to myself what will they want to read and what will bring them joy.” He has written books for many different age groups and does the same for all, he thinks what will they enjoy and how can this story be for them. 

  For Bacigalupi writing is his passion, but with anything after a while, people get burned out on the same things. Bacigalupi almost quit last year; he took a break but realized he loves writing. When he first started selling he would spend time writing thousands of words a day. Now he writes 500 words a day, every day no matter what, to get it finished piece by piece. Bacigalupi said, “Staying on track is a lot to handle.” This is the main reason he decided to take the number of words a day down.

  This experience was brought to Thompson Valley to talk to kids about climate change from a different perspective and just to know how he informs people about these real issues in an entertaining manner. Also in a way people can have there own ideas and see that the things they read can be real-life. His stories are meant to get people thinking and make those connections between the book and real-life and make them think to themselves, climate change is a real issue. 

  Many students are interested in climate change and this experience was amazing for the students who went to Thompson Valley and opened their eyes to a new view of climate change.