Science fiction about the environment can get preachy, so Paolo Bacigalupi's hard SF novel The Windup Girl is a welcome change. Set in Thailand's future, the book follows scientist spies hunting good genomes in a world ruined by GMO diseases.
The Windup Girl is set in the 23rd century: Global Warming has raised the levels of world's oceans, carbon fuel sources have become depleted, and manually wound springs are used as energy storage devices. Biotechnology is dominant and mega corporations like AgriGen, PurCal and RedStar (called calorie companies) control food production through 'genehacked' seeds, and use bioterrorism, private armies and economic hitmen to create markets for their products. Frequent catastrophes, such as deadly and widespread plagues and illness, caused by genetically modified crops and mutant pests, ravage entire populations. The natural genetic seed stock of the world's plants has been almost completely supplanted by those that are genetically engineered to be sterile.
The current monarch of Thailand is a child queen. The capital city is below sea level and is protected from flooding by levees and pumps. The three most powerful men in Thailand are the Somdet Chaopraya (regent for the child queen), the chief of the Environment Ministry General Pracha, and the chief of the Trade Ministry Akkarat.
A highly recommended read and it is in store now!!