The short story is a companion piece to ‘The Water Knife.’
To quote Bacigalupi: “Based in the same universe as THE WATER KNIFE. A bit from Maria’s perspective, before the novel starts.”
Here, Maria Villarosa, a young refugee from drought-stricken Texas, is still hopeful. her father has recently landed a good job working on the Taiyang arcology, and there’s the possibility, dangled before them like a cool drink of fresh water, that the position might lead to being able to emigrate to China.
If you liked the novel, this is a must-read. If you haven’t read the novel, this works both as a great introduction to the premise, and as a fully-realized stand-alone story. Like ‘The Water Knife,’ the story is a terrifyingly believable vision of the near future, and terribly heartbreaking. Great stuff.