R Scott Bakker vs. China Mieville

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What Came Before

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« Reply #45 on: May 14, 2013, 10:09:24 pm »
Quote from: Soterion
I've read Kraken.  It's my least favorite; it's a very fun read, but it isn't much more than a weird magical romp through the dark fantastical underbelly of London.  Some great moments, and even greater characters, but the plot falls a bit flat.  And on top of that, there isn't much in the way of poignant cultural/political commentary that Miéville typically injects into his works.

I will say, however, that Melville fans should find some stuff to love in Kraken.  It's basically Miéville's modern homage to Moby Dick.

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« Reply #46 on: May 14, 2013, 10:09:30 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Lol, delavagus. I think you are safe with that level of commentary :).

I've heard like things about Railsea, Soterion... truth?

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« Reply #47 on: May 14, 2013, 10:09:35 pm »
Quote from: Soterion
To be honest, I started Railsea and never finished; couldn't really get into it.  For starters, it's a far more blatant homage to Moby Dick than Kraken was; what made Kraken enjoyable (for a Melville nut like me anyway) were its subtle references and nuanced nods.  Railsea is just an obvious and sometimes ridiculous "young adult fantasy" version of Moby Dick.  I didn't find much worth retaining in it.

His Bas-Lag trilogy and books Embassytown and The City and the City are such fantastic works that I wouldn't bother recommending Railsea to anyone over the age of eighteen who is interested in Miéville.

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« Reply #48 on: May 14, 2013, 10:09:45 pm »
Quote from: Wilshire
I read the synopsis of The City and the City ... and uh wow, seems intensely confusing but this might be a good thing. He certainly likes to write unique books doesn't he.

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« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2013, 10:09:49 pm »
Quote from: delavagus
Thought I'd chime back in.  I've finished Perdido Street Station and The Scar, and am almost finished with The Iron Council.

After getting over my initial disappointment with PSS (which was my own problem, not the book's -- PSS was probably too hyped to me for it to live up to my expectations), I've come to think the series is really quite impressive.  I can see why he got all the accolades.  I hardly think the books are perfect (but then few if any novels are).  But they're well-written and evocative.  Above all, they positively brim with imagination -- moreover, imagination imbued with great intelligence.

I think that PSS is the best of the Bas Lag books.  For some reason, though, The Scar is my favorite.  The ending fell flat for me (I'm stubbornly traditionalist when it comes to conclusions), but something about the book really grabbed me.  Though I haven't finished it quite yet, so far my sense is that The Iron Council is by far the weakest of the bunch.  I mentioned in an earlier post that it was my impressions that TIC was 'preachy.'  The reality is nowhere near as bad as I'd been led to believe.  (I imagined almost Ayn-Randish-ly long speeches by and debates between councilors on the perpetual train.  Thankfully Mieville is neither a hack nor a crank.)  Still, I think the book suffers not so much from its politics as from its plotting.  My judgments here are only half-formed at best, but I feel like, by striving to outdo himself with the TIC, Mieville ended up producing a lesser work.  By attempting to do more, he ended up doing less...

Vague, I know.  Did anyone else have that feeling?  Or something like it?

Wilshire

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« Reply #50 on: July 22, 2013, 01:00:35 am »
Couldn't finish The City and the City. Just not a fan of the genre.

I loved PSS, and the ending was a big proponent of that. The book was dark and gritty, a happy ending would have ruined the entire novel for me.

I've not picked up the next book in the series yet, since a lot of my "reading" is actually done on frequent 4 or 8 hour drives, and for some reason the rest of Bas-Lag never made it to audio.

Does either sequel flesh out some of the less developed topics? Such as the whole Demon/hell thing? Or do they follow a more mundane man who sees the works of taumaturgy from afar?

Embassytown and Kraken are both on Audio, and so it Looking for Jake: Stories (which follows Jack Half-A-Prayer as a central character I think). I suppose I'll probably pick up one of those soon and see how they go. Of the three, any recommendations?
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Morrigan

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« Reply #51 on: July 22, 2013, 03:26:19 pm »
Embassytown for sure.  Kraken is quite fun, but I found it to be a bit silly; just Miéville goofing off, really.  Embassytown, on the other hand, is an amazingly imagined speculative SF novel that is fun to read and really challenges its reader.

reichorn

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« Reply #52 on: July 22, 2013, 08:12:41 pm »
I've not picked up the next book in the series yet, since a lot of my "reading" is actually done on frequent 4 or 8 hour drives, and for some reason the rest of Bas-Lag never made it to audio.

Sure they did.  I listened to all three of the books.  (I too get almost all my fiction in audio form these days...)

Wilshire

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« Reply #53 on: July 23, 2013, 04:21:30 am »
Hmm well I'll just have to look harder. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure the second 2 books got removed from audible.com for some reason. Guess I could look around instead of giving up when its not in the first place I look lol.

And thanks for the advice Morrigan
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sologdin

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« Reply #54 on: October 27, 2013, 12:54:12 am »
kraken is menippean satire, very plainly through the subtitle, "an anatomy," in the sense intended by frye.  that places it very much in the tradition of moby dick--but mieville's version is the anti-melville, one wherein we confront the end, and win.  melville's version is more starkly apocalyptic, and more similar to RSB, or, so it seems at this time when TSA is incomplete.  we shall see if RSB bears out the menippean tradition, as i am suspecting.

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« Reply #55 on: October 27, 2013, 07:48:08 pm »
Interesting thoughts about TSA, solo.
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« Reply #56 on: July 29, 2017, 09:01:39 pm »
Couldn't finish The City and the City. Just not a fan of the genre.

I loved PSS, and the ending was a big proponent of that. The book was dark and gritty, a happy ending would have ruined the entire novel for me.

I've not picked up the next book in the series yet, since a lot of my "reading" is actually done on frequent 4 or 8 hour drives, and for some reason the rest of Bas-Lag never made it to audio.

Does either sequel flesh out some of the less developed topics? Such as the whole Demon/hell thing? Or do they follow a more mundane man who sees the works of taumaturgy from afar?

Embassytown and Kraken are both on Audio, and so it Looking for Jake: Stories (which follows Jack Half-A-Prayer as a central character I think). I suppose I'll probably pick up one of those soon and see how they go. Of the three, any recommendations?

Embassytown for sure.  Kraken is quite fun, but I found it to be a bit silly; just Miéville goofing off, really.  Embassytown, on the other hand, is an amazingly imagined speculative SF novel that is fun to read and really challenges its reader.

I loved all three Bas-Lag books, and The City and the City.  I'd not come across anything like Perdido Street Station before.  It changed my perceptions of what could be done with fantasy.

Kraken disappointed me.  It just seemed like it was written by someone with a London fetish.
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Wilshire

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« Reply #57 on: August 07, 2017, 06:48:18 pm »
Solo, years later, thanks for the word menippean.

I loved all three Bas-Lag books, and The City and the City.  I'd not come across anything like Perdido Street Station before.  It changed my perceptions of what could be done with fantasy.
As I predicted, I never have gotten around to them but they remain on the list. I agree with you on PSS - something entirely unique, both in concept and in prose. He's a great writer, imo.
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