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Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Hedrigall posted:

For fans of badly written blurbs, here's a slightly more detailed blurb for the new book:


Seriously, that's loving painful to read, but the story sounds fantastic. I'm counting the days until May...

Sounds great, I hope it won't be another several years until his next book after this one is published.

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Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Hedrigall posted:

New cover art, courtesy of Amazon.co.uk!



I like it! Seriously though he had better have like five books lined up for the next three years after this.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


SaviourX posted:

Here's my off-the-cuff rendering of the end of Iron Council, most likely missing out on some key things.

Though I'm sure he didn't fully intend it to be, the book IC is split up into the distinct process of journey/exploration that is part of fantasy, and its resolution never really comes about. The train is always coming, always arriving in the end, and it's made out that all the characters were incidental (except, of course, Judah). No matter what they did, they weren't bigger than the composite whole of the myth of the Iron Council. The expectation of their return is always there, and it's played off against the industrialists, the workers, the guerilla/terrorist groups in Bas-Lag, etc.
The Tesh war gets resolved almost unbeknownst to anyone, the murder of Stem-Fulcher means nothing, the uprisings are put down, and the expectation of the government that they will of course put the Council down is, for them, business as usual. The government itself is that necessary entity that is neither good nor evil, such that even though it's gone through a civil and international war, it grinds on and on, along its own path.
The end puts a kink in this because of Judah, who was the only element out of place, thanks to his journey and his will to effect a real change at the end stopping the train. Judah's journey intersects with the motion of the train against the movements of the government and leaves things at perpetual stalemate. The train's journey then becomes this permanent message that means so much more than being casually wiped out by government troops would have. This leads into the perpetual motion of the printing presses of RR being started back up in the end. Although nothing ever really comes of it, there always needs to be something to show dissent, and now there is a permanent one in the form of the Council, even if it's a relatively small reminder.


Maybe a bit simple, but the book being mostly about Judah and his version of The Hero's Journey kind of forces its hand that way.

There's an excellent exchange online between Mieville and someone else talking about Iron Council in the context of Walter Benjamin's theory of history, if you can find it. Lots of stuff about how the historian/storyteller must necessarily do their subject a terrible disservice and erase the individuality and realness of the people involved in the history being recorded. I can't remember where to find it but it was good stuff and bears up well with subsequent readings of the book.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Cool. He wrote a nice piece on tentacles and their general literary meaning (and the inability of the "weird" to mix with the "ghostly" in modern horrific literature even though they're so kindred) in this journal: http://www.urbanomic.com/CollapseIV.pdf (his piece is called "M.R. James and the Quantum Vampire") and it sounds like that ties into his same interests (although, if I recall correctly, he supposedly turned in the manuscripts for City and the City and Kraken at the same time).

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


McCaine posted:

Oh I just found this thread. Thanks Hedrigall for the great thread and making me finally read The Iron Council! Unsurprisingly, I loved precisely the political stuff the best, unlike most people in this thread apparently. I have to admit I don't care at all for horror though so the 'new weird' doesn't appeal to me.

Also I know someone personally who in turn knows the guy well. I keep hoping she'll introduce me

You hadn't read Iron Council yet? It's his best one by far, especially if you enjoy the political side of his writing, although maybe I partly love it because ~I love Walter Benjamin~

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Atma McCuddles posted:

Okay, so, I've read The Scar and Peridio and I haven't liked a single one of this guy's protagonists. His set-up and world building are great, don't get me wrong, but Bellis is such a bitch right through to the end and Isaac is a complete rear end in a top hat who should have died. And every single one of his characters speaks in exactly the same way. I wish he'd do a collaboration and let some other author who's better with characterisation play in his sandbox to make his books a bit more digestible.

You're not supposed to like them, I think.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


I hope people complain just as much about the blatant pro-fascist sentiments present in the majority of sci-fi lit.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Saerdna posted:

Kraken is one of the worst books I've ever read. The characters are cartoons, the story is derivative and boring and the writing is horrible. Here is some of it.

Might I suggest to you George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire instead?

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Hedrigall posted:

Eh, skip King Rat. It's his most forgettable book. Go straight to Perdido, or even better, The Scar

Noooo don't read The Scar before Perdido Street Station ever

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Kraken's shipping to me soon; I look forward to seeing what all the fuss was about.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


SaviourX posted:

^^^^
Which is still better than Neverwhere, when it comes down to it.


Thug Lessons: That's a hell of a reading, but still kind of steeped in Freshman PoliSci. Then again, that's kind of what Mieville inserts into his novels, so I can't blame him.
On the opposite tip, he's conscious of how much collectivism gets hosed over by the man, but he has no sentiment about it, or sympathy to one side or the other. Runagate Rampant still exists, but almost nobody gives a gently caress about it. The Underclasses save New Crobuzon, but they get monumentally hosed up because of it. The government is opressive. Even in IC, when the workers seize the means of production, nothing actually comes of it because there's nothing they can do on a larger scale, and those with power and capital come down on them hard as they can.

I think Mieville's themes are more like dissent is important, and labour needs to be treated as equally as creative or scientific endeavor, but any sort of forceful uprising is always going to be essentially useless and stomped out hard. So, having characters that recognize the importance of individuals vs collective is alright, but anyone that acts in anything more than a small group is only bringing about more upset for little change.

Er, I think his whole point, especially in Iron Council, is that uprisings and resistance are important and 'useful' even if they do not succeed in overthrowing the entire world power structure. He is precisely sympathetic with the revolutionaries in his books even if he doesn't portray them as perfect Mary Sues.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


That Capital/the State (with regard to New Crobuzon) are the bad guys is more or less a basic assumption of Mieville's Bas-Lag books, and that's not the core message of them because it'd be a pretty boring core message to put forward; it's just a truth that is present in the background as a part of the general world.

I feel as though Iron Council is a good example of how his messages tend to be more about exploring certain themes and ideas within revolutionary thought rather than simply saying that revolution is necessary. The golems that Judah Low makes (especially the one made out of corpses), Spiral Jacobs' attempt to make the whole city into a sort of monster, the hauntings-from-the-future, the stiltspear, the puppet theatre, Jack Half-a-Prayer, Toro's revanchism and Ori's transformation into the new Toro, and certainly the end(?) of the Iron Council all play into very specific notions and criticisms of different types of revolutionary thinking and what revolutions mean within a historical context. Mieville's not interested in saying 'revolutions are necessary' because that's a boring, trite, and (to him and to most Marxist/leftist readers) obvious point to make.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Hedrigall posted:

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/...china-mievelle/

Podcast interview with China. Embassytown was finished years ago, he's editing it now, it'll be out next year. A return to the atmosphere of TC&TC after the comedy of Kraken, but in space with aliens and zap guns. That's all he says about it.

So if he (basically) finished Embassytown and TC&TC and Kraken all before he turned in TC&TC and Kraken to his editor on the same day... what the gently caress has he been working on since then, apart from 'The Rope is the World' (which I still need to find and read)? Good grief.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


I wrote to him a week ago about the notion of ghosts as economic externalities and he never got back to me

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


I don't think we're supposed to like Doul.

Anyone else possibly going to Historical Materialism 2010 in London? I'm considering it very seriously, and I mention it because China's going to be speaking (though if I go I'll be going mainly for the talks about Walter Benjamin as well as a few other conversations that look quite fascinating this year).

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


IIRC he WAS pitching something to Marvel, so it's likely real. Between the Swamp Thing problem and this, he's probably not feeling so hot about the comic book industry.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


nixar55 posted:

Tour dates:

Tues., 5/24 – Harvard Bookstore,* Cambridge, MA @ 6:00pm
Note: Event will be held at the Brattle Theater

Wed., 5/25 - Toadstool Bookshop, Lorden Plaza, Milford, NH @ 7:00pm

Thurs., 5/26 - World's Biggest Bookstore, Toronto, CA @7:00pm

Sat. 5/28 – University Bookstore, Seattle, WA @ 7:00pm

Sun., 5/29 – Powell's Bookstore, Portland, OR @ 4:00pm

Tues., 5/31 – Barnes & Noble, Roseville, MN @ 7:00pm

Wed., 6/1 – WORD Bookstore,* Brooklyn, NY @ 8:00pm
*Note: This is a ticketed event held at Public Assembly. Purchase tickets here:
http://www.wordbrooklyn.com/event/china-mieville

Only weeknights on the East Coast? What's a guy who lives in Connecticut to do

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Paragon8 posted:

I think with the exception of The Scar I greatly prefer China's non-Bas Lag books at this point.

With regards to Embassytown's protagonist. I feel she's much less of a fish out of water type than Mieville's usually been doing recently.

He's done the fish-out-of-water thing precisely every other book (King Rat, The Scar, Un Lun Dun, and Kraken).

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


I'm pretty sure Miéville is at least a little bit interested in eliminative materialism, so that wouldn't be too surprising.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Did anyone else go to the event in Brooklyn last night?

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Embassytown seems very much like a development of and a focusing on certain elements from Iron Council, and as such it's likely my second favorite of his books.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Hedrigall posted:

Here's a cool limited edition cover:



I want to see a larger version :O

Yuck. I don't like it.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


nixar55 posted:

So this was like almost two weeks ago, but I went. It was a fun reading in an interesting space. He's very adept at answering awkward, meandering audience member questions. However, the venue forgot to hire DJs or something so there was no dancing as promised. China would've danced, too. Boo. The specialty cocktail was a dark n' stormy made with Kraken rum. Nice touch.

The turn-out was decent for Brooklyn and a not cheap ticketed event. They would've pulled more numbers at B&N Union Square but the publicist promised WORD China as a thank you for selling their books at NY Comic-Con.

Lev Grossman moderates about 80% of NY sci-fi readings. Good gig for him, I guess. I never read The Magicians.

I asked the question about octopuses; I wasn't meandering!!!! but he didn't really answer it because there wasn't enough time to give a good answer.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


nixar55 posted:

Aw, it wasn't your question I was referring to! It was more the first one.

China really like octopodes! Did you see his new tattoo?

Yep - it's bigger than I had expected it to be. I need to write to him about my question, now that I think of it.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


At the New York signing for Embassytown he mentioned that it was coming out either this fall or winter 2012, IIRC.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Iron Council, TC&TC, and Embassytown are probably his most sophisticated books, and they're also the ones that are by far the most rewarding on a second read.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Metonymy posted:

Can you elaborate on what is sophisticated about Embassytown? All I picked up was the stonerish conceit that metaphors aren't a literal representation of the truth, but at the same time they kind of like, are. It felt like Mieville just discovered the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and thought it would be a fun basis for an entire book. I don't mind reading a thought experiment, even if it's couched in neologisms, but adding neologisms and a setting to a thought experiment didn't make it feel like a story.

I watched The Town last night and then wrapped up Embassytown immediately afterwards, and I think Ben Affleck might actually be a more competent storyteller than Mieville. The Town is a walking genre cliche, but it has some Chekhov's guns, and you get some reasons to like or dislike the principal characters, who are allowed to have relationships that seem at least semi-plausible and make decisions that reveal something about themselves.

In contrast, in Embassytown characters are frequently thrown into the mix to take one or two actions that change the flow of the narrative, and then vanish until it's time for them to deus ex pseudocharacter the story along again. I can't cite a single relationship in the book that feels "real". Avice wants to see her automa buddy: why? Avice gets married: why? Avice has an extramarital affair with one of the Ambassadors: why? If you asked me to describe the protagonist, I don't think I could characterize her, or even cite one interesting or organic decision, except her inevitable-feeling "education" of the Hosts.

Did anyone else think it was a little weird that as much as Mieville likes to explore and exult in "the Other", there's something fundamentally colonialist and anthrocentric about the proposition that the aliens need to be fixed by learning how to communicate like we do?

I'm trying to get the rewards of a second read-through without having to do it; I barely had the patience to finish the book the first time.

I don't think it's particularly brilliant from a linguistics point of view, but I think it does a great job of exploring the way we understand ourselves through stories (and, in that sense, it's very much a return to the themes of Iron Council).

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Iron Council is a really, really smartly written book on a thematic level, but for the folks who read his books mostly for the monsters I get why it's disappointing.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Sounds neat and fun, and I loooove Moby-Dick, but I'm kinda sad that it'll be a two-year wait between Embassytown and his next non-YA work.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


If anyone who's grown-up enough not to QQ about Miéville's politics wants to read something explicitly political he wrote, it's up at http://londonsoverthrow.org/ - it's an essay, accompanied by photos, about London and the modern age of austerity.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


withak posted:

Could be either reference books about imaginary creatures, or else peoples attempts to classify writing similar to his.

I'm pretty sure it'd be the latter, because he loves the D&D Monster Manual but dislikes people throwing up hard imaginary categorical barriers between "fantasy," "science fiction," and "horror" and so on.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


fookolt posted:

I'm not sure if everyone knows this but Embassytown is up for a Hugo in Best Novel.

http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-h...12-hugo-awards/

Also I finished Perdido Street Station and I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. It all seemed to wrap up super fast compared to the long buildup.

Time for Scar next!

Christ, it'll be a crime if ADWD beats Embassytown.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Is there any news on a US signing/book tour for Railsea?

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


I know it's a comic, but did anyone read China's first issue of Dial H for Hero today? It's pretty awesome and extremely strange.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Hedrigall posted:

Ok I bought it I'll read it later but i need to ask... I've bought graphic novels but never this kind of serial comic before, so basically, how does this work? Does it come out weekly? Monthly? (of course when it's published as a graphic novel/omnibus I'll get that too)

And forgive my ignorance but how do I store these things? I might buy a binder or something

I actually bought mine on Comixology (it's basically an iTunes for comics, and I'm pretty sure it's on Android and iOS), but I have no idea if that's available in Australia, sorry.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


I love the Bas-Lag books, but I'm perfectly happy with ending them on Iron Council and perfectly happy if China never writes another one. If and when he does, I'm sure it'll be really cool, but I don't really want to see something actually set in New Crobuzon after the events of Iron Council, nor do I want to hear about New Crobuzon. It's difficult to explain why, but I loved that ending and want to sort of keep it frozen in time, so to speak.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


They probably hate him for being critically acclaimed and taken seriously for the kind of writing they really really wish they were capable of, imho.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


It's explained later on in the book, yeah.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Hedrigall posted:

I disagree! The Scar has the happiest ending of the three Bas-Lag books. Still bittersweet, but nowhere near the slap-and-spit in the face that PSS is, or the hopeless ennui of Iron Council's ending.

I couldn't disagree more about Iron Council's ending.

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Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Found a prerelease uncorrected review-only copy of Embassytown at a used bookstore for $6 I am totally getting this signed on his next tour.

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