Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Weird Fantasy”

Fofo’s #CBR4 Review #26: Iron Council by China Miéville

Target: China Miéville’s Iron Council (Bas-Lag #3)

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Weird Fantasy, Politics, Bas-Lag

I’ve been having some trouble getting traction on this review.  Not because I don’t know what to say about the book, but because everything I’d say has already been said.  If you go to the Wiki page for Iron Council you’ll find a fantastic summary of the events of the book, along with snippets of some of the better reviews, both positive and negative.  They touch on the book’s overt politics, it’s relatively anemic setting development and the unique perspective China Miéville brings to the fantasy genre.  I’ve been somewhat verbose on these topics in my other reviews of Miéville’s Bas-Lag novels.  But between those and the internet’s surfeit of quality opinion, I’m finding myself without much to say.

What should be said is that Iron Council is an excellent book, in spite of critical opinion.  It is a less than stellar entry in the Bas-Lag sequence of books but it still stands well on its own.  It is also exemplar of Miéville’s literary philosophy and worth reading for that reason alone.  It is probably the most political piece of fantasy you’ll ever read, stuffed to the brim with socialist rhetoric, liberal ideals and a cast of dissidents and nonconformists.  But if you don’t let the message get in the way of the great story and Iron Council will start to feel a whole lot more like Perdido Street Station.

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Fofo’s #CBR4 Review #10: The Scar by China Miéville

Target: China Miéville’s The Scar

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Weird Fantasy, Pirate Adventure, Bas-Lag

The Scar is the second novel set in Miéville’s Bas-Lag universe.  It does follow and relate to the events of Perdido Street Station but only in the most tangential of ways.  None of the same characters are involved and aside for a fragment of an inciting incident and a few expositional rambles, the two stories never intersect.  Miéville brings us back to his bizarre world to explore a new place with new faces and a completely different attitude.  Where Perdido Street Station was a psychological horror novel wrapped up in a fantasy wrapper, The Scar is a swashbuckling pirate yarn that happens to incorporate fantasy elements.  The combination of the genres is less jarring than Perdido, making The Scar a much more accessible read.  In some ways, I really recommend starting here and working your way backwards to the harder novel.  You’re really not missing anything by doing so.

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Read Fofo’s review of Perdido Street Station here

Fofo’s #CBR4 Review #09: Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Target: China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Weird Fantasy, Psychological Horror, Bas-Lag

From the first convoluted, rambling monologue to the final disturbing image, Perdido Street Station is a novel that tries to get into your head.  The language is dense, the subjects are macabre and the book drips with the some of the most disturbing nightmares to every crawl onto the page.  While the masses still think of fantasy as the bright nostalgia of knights, elves and evil vanquished, Miéville has crafted a world that bypasses our ego and plunges straight into the id, grabbing hold of the brainstem and refusing to let go.

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