My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another fine tale by the master of urban fiction. I’m a huge fan of Miéville’s more fantasy type stories, but his boundless imagination still holds up in this modern-day/real world setting. Any of his books would make for a great movie, as his writing is so visual, but in this case, I’d especially love to see how a director of cinematography would handle the two cities in which this book takes place.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
rating: 5 of 5 stars
Love love love this book. It’s got all the elements that really tickle my imagination bone. Strange creatures, robots, steampunk technology, pandimensional beings, bioengineered monstrosities, and truly likable characters that inhabit a fully realized city, saturated with history, untold tales and a thick layer of grime.
This is a difficult book to classify. It’s fantasy without the wizards and sci-fi without the spaceships, but that is much of its charm. Quite unlike anything I’ve ever read and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
I recently stumbled across the most mesmerizing graphic novel at Monster Art and Clothing in Ballard. It’s called Capacity by Theo Ellsworth.
What immediately grabbed me were his uber-detailed, surreal illustrations of fantastic creatures and impossible architecture, reminiscent of art by Moebius, but with a much looser, doodle-like quality. As a constant doodler myself, simple line-art illustrations that evolve by relinquishing the direction of the pen to the subconscious mind are right up my alley.
Self Portrait by Theo Ellsworth
Upon reading, I felt like Bastian discovering the The Never Ending Story. The sprawling imaginative dreamworld that Theo attempts to document, and the way in which he engages the reader to participate in that exploration, is truly unique and inspiring. The summary text on the back cover nicely captures the amorphous nature of this book in words:
Intricate, even exquisite – but never immaculate, Theo Ellsworth’s Capacity is a mind turned inside out. Ellsworth’s careful line gives shape to profound and profoundly silly thoughts alike, bringing a visionary, startling new life to the doubts and hopes that are so familiar to everyone.
Fans of visionary/psychedelic art, the creative process, imaginative creatures, dream worlds, and unique stories should do what they can to buy this book. It has easily became one of my favorite graphic novels in my collection.
Anathem by Neal Stephenson
rating: 4 of 5 stars
Woah….. what a ride. I’m quite happy to be done with this behemoth, so I don’t have to lug it with me on my bus ride each day. That aside, I really enjoyed the rich cultural tapestry Stephenson wove and the thought provoking discussions heavily peppered throughout. At times it felt like a slow read, as the first half (two-thirds?) of the book were filled with many multi-page “dialogs” about logic, philosophy, quantum mechanics, and a number of other related topics, but the presentation of these discussions and the plot movements (though very slight at first) connecting them were intriguing and easily kept me coming back for more. The final third was a major and welcome shift to a more traditional space opera tale, but with the hard-science twist Stephenson had set up from page one. And good news, the completely satisfying end is totally worth the 900+ page journey.
This book covers a lot of ground and was easily one of the more thought provoking fictions I’ve read in quite a while. Anyone looking for some reality and depth in your sci-fi, Anathem will be hard to beat.
Now I’m onto China Miéville‘s Perdido Street Station. I’m only on page 60 and I can already tell that I’m going to love this book. I’m so glad to have stumbled upon this author.
rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dark, gritty and thoroughly enjoyable. All comparisons with Neil Gaiman are spot on, and that’s perfectly okay with me. The prominent Drum and Bass soundtrack weaved throughout the story was a fun and unique element. Miéville obviously had some insider knowledge of genre that he wanted to show off. I’ve never read a fiction book with so much to say about music, let alone the very specific genre of Jungle.
London + Urban Fairytale + Drum and Bass = A very fun read!
There are some particulars about the story that a little off, but this being Miéville’s first novel, they can easily be excused. After reading this and his wonderful Un Lun Dun, I’m really excited to dive into the rest of his material.
Now I’m onto Neal Stephenson‘s Anathem.