The WIndup Girl is a good piece of hard sci fi. Set in a future where we have no oil and the food companies are controlling much of the planet due to their ability to let populations starve and control diseases. Set in Thailand where foreigners are distrusted and new technology more so, and rival government bodies and companies via for power.
The Japanese have solved their ageing work-force population with “New People”: designed to be better than human, to live longer, move faster and be less susceptible to diseases than the normal people. But these people have become a new underclass, trained from birth to obey their master. Emiko is one of them, left behind by her master and struggling to survive in this hostile world.
This was a very gritty book, with a look at how an underclass would survive as technology changes, new diseases spread and people become expendable in the fight to keep power and keep Thailand’s independence.