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The City and the City | The Guardian

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  • #2
    Thanks!
    Kevin McCabe
    The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. William Gibson

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    • #3
      Interesting! I'll order a copy today!

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      • #4
        This book really does interest me, although I remain unconvinced about CM these days. The Scar was excellent and Perdido had its moments, although it was far far far too long and more than a little slapdash. But The Iron Council really put me off: it was like a party political broadcast on behalf of the socialist workers party and had some of the most monotonous prose that I've ever had the misfortune to read (although i feel that this was probably deliberate). I think the problem is that socialists are really rather conservative (with a small 'c') for my tastes these days and despite the overt weirdness CM remains far to mundane for his own good. After that I lost interest, but The City..., at least conceptually, rings some of the right bells for me, although I'm not a huge fan of dark fantasy in general...
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        • #5
          I did think Iron Council might have worked better if set in South America or Africa somewhere, but far from being a socialist tract I thought it questioned the whole nature of revolution. A much smarter book in my view than the one you describe. But I take your point -- though surprised you didn't like the originality of the monsters! I have to say I prefer China's responses to reality best -- which is what I liked about King Rat -- and suspect his more 'realistic' books won't get the fans which Perdido Street got him. I also suspect you will enjoy City/City much more!

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          • #6
            I'm actually looking forward to Iron Council. I decided to break between Scar and IC to read Dark Albert's The Rebel just because I suspected IC was about the nature of rebellion and revolution. Judging our fearless leader's post, I'm not too far off the mark. I'm going to pause in between, though, and read something that's, like, Happy Happy Joy Joy.
            Kevin McCabe
            The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. William Gibson

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
              I did think Iron Council might have worked better if set in South America or Africa somewhere, but far from being a socialist tract I thought it questioned the whole nature of revolution. A much smarter book in my view than the one you describe. But I take your point -- though surprised you didn't like the originality of the monsters! I have to say I prefer China's responses to reality best -- which is what I liked about King Rat -- and suspect his more 'realistic' books won't get the fans which Perdido Street got him. I also suspect you will enjoy City/City much more!
              I can't criticism CM on his monster/races, they are in a word, fan-fuckin'-tastic (or is that two words?)! I think you're right Iron Council is certainly more intellectual than The Scar, but not much fun or at least I didn't think so. I think I also found the central character in The Scar the most engaging of the three 'Bas Lag' books. I've got King Rat on my bookcase, but still haven't got around to reading it yet. Actually, I lie, I started it once, but my mood was like Elric's on a bad day and I fancied something, potentially, lighter in a vane attempt to lift my melancholy. Also I wanted to give the book every chance. I will get around to it one day...

              I'm very tempted by City/City, but I've got soooo many books in my book-pile of DEATH that I think it'll have to wait. Actually I prefer paperbacks anyway, so there's a good excuse...

              I'm interested that your Guardian review distanced City/City from the Kafkaesque qualities that the publishers seem to be pushing. Don't get me wrong, I love Kafka and the Kafkaesque in general, but I think it would have been too easy for CM to go this route and I'm definitely intrigued that he's gone off in a slightly different trajectory.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by The English Assassin View Post
                ... they are in a word, fan-fuckin'-tastic (or is that two words?)...
                A fine example of t'mesis: one word.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rothgo View Post
                  Originally posted by The English Assassin View Post
                  ... they are in a word, fan-fuckin'-tastic (or is that two words?)...
                  A fine example of t'mesis: one word.
                  Cheers me dears
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                  • #10
                    I was surprised that Iron Council wasn't more of a Socialist Workers' tract: incredibly ambivalent ending, I thought. Very enjoyable though, but out of the three, I rate The Scar the most.

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                    • #11
                      City/city is a wonderful book.

                      I put on 3 Mustaphas 3 and tore through it, Kafka meets Ed McBain in the Balkans, I was reminded of "The Yiddish Policeman's Union", and loved every word.

                      As cities change, such books are my last link to a way of life fast vanishing into the mists of time.

                      As a fantasy, it has the virtue of being very adult(unlike the engrossing but adolescent "Dune"), and even though there are holes in the logic you can drive a bus through, the book holds your interest, like unto the tentacles of my beloved Cuthbert!
                      Last edited by krakenten; 07-21-2009, 11:08 AM. Reason: typo

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                      • #12
                        I read "The City and the City" a month or two ago, but I found myself thinking about it again this morning. One of the things that I found most compelling about the novel is Mieville's ability to convey the way that ordinary people accommodate themselves to life in this complex overlay of cities. Like most of us, they are suspended between uneasy awareness and distraction or inattention. Because of their ability to live with this strangeness, I found myself wondering if Mieville was really writing about a city that is a manifold of cities, or if the whole experience of the city/cites is simply (what a terrible choice of words) organized by their cultures. I'm looking forward to reading it again.

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                        • #13
                          I Iived for many years in Baltimore, MD.

                          Baltimore is several cities in a single space, overlapping, but remaining separate-Laura Lippman explains this quite well in her Tess Monagan mysteries.

                          Black Baltimore has the numbers, Wasp Baltimore has political power and the Jews have the money-mutual detestation rules the day. Politics is all, and the Democrats are politics there.

                          Nothing works, nobody cares, and there are so many secrets change is not desired.

                          The Mayor was just forced out after being convicted of a few of her crimes, so, perhaps the dominoes will fall. Revenge is big, there, malice is pervasive.

                          Watch 'The Wire', it was written by Lippman's husband, David Simon, also a veteran newspaper journalist, and the entire series is tightly based on actual events-I knew many of the people who became characters in the show.

                          It's a grand bit of fantasy, "The City and the city", I loved it.

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                          • #14
                            I agree,its an amazing fantasy book.
                            The only bit that went over my head was the whole 'seeing' and 'unseeing' aspect.
                            "I hate to advocate drugs,alcohol,violence or insanity to anyone,but they've always worked for me"

                            Hunter S Thompson

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                            • #15
                              You just have to accept it as part of the 'willing suspension of disbelief', in reality it would never work.

                              I think this is an homage to Kafka, and how many people turn into huge 'cockaroaches'? It's well explained, but unreal. I got the concept almost at once, but had to write it off to being semi-magical.

                              Call it denial, and enjoy the book.

                              And do read, "The Yiddish Policeman's Union", to borrow from Dashiell Hammett, that's 'as real as a dime' all along.

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