Arizona state borders are closed for Texans who play a similar role for the water rich states like Mexicans in „The Tortilla Curtain“. Aggressive militia try to protect their country against inflowing Texans, even hang one of them up as a warning sign to stop crossing the border. Photographer Timo calls his friend Lucy to help him with covering that big money promising story. By the end, the story gets even bigger, and they really shoot the apocalypse.
Desertification is one of Bacigalupi’s core topics – we also find it in his story „Tamarisk Hunter“ set a few years before this novelette; both are in the same universe as his new novel „Water Knife“.
Bacigalupi draws believable characters and a very plausible setting, enriched with cultural pieces like religious references to Santa Muerte or texmex slang.
Both journalists are not clean, easy characters, the job profile itself is depicted quite negatively and fits into the economical dystopia of Bacigalupi’s world vision in a similar way like the agricultural corporations of other stories do: „There ain’t no virgins, and there ain’t no clean stories.“ And their motivations and relationship develop in interesting ways, as well.
In the end it is a Climatic Fiction story as we love it from Bacigalupi, a master of dystopia.