[PDF / Epub] ☁ Kraken: An Anatomy By China Miéville – Motyourdrive.co.uk

Kraken: An Anatomy quotes Kraken: An Anatomy, litcharts Kraken: An Anatomy, symbolism Kraken: An Anatomy, summary shmoop Kraken: An Anatomy, Kraken: An Anatomy a4b3cbcd In The Darwin Centre At London S Natural History Museum, Billy Harrow, A Cephalopod Specialist, Is Conducting A Tour Whose Climax Is Meant To Be The Centre S Prize Specimen Of A Rare Architeuthis Dux Better Known As The Giant Squid But Billy S Tour Takes An Unexpected Turn When The Squid Suddenly And Impossibly Vanishes Into Thin AirAs Billy Soon Discovers, This Is The Precipitating Act In A Struggle To The Death Between Mysterious But Powerful Forces In A London Whose Existence He Has Been Blissfully Ignorant Of Until Now, A City Whose Denizens Human And Otherwise Are Adept In Magic And MurderThere Is The Congregation Of God Kraken, A Sect Of Squid Worshippers Whose Roots Go Back To The Dawn Of Humanity And Beyond There Is The Criminal Mastermind Known As The Tattoo, A Merciless Maniac Inked Onto The Flesh Of A Hapless Victim There Is The FSRC The Fundamentalist And Sect Related Crime Unit A Branch Of London S Finest That Fights Sorcery With Sorcery There Is Wati, A Spirit From Ancient Egypt Who Leads A Ragtag Union Of Magical Familiars There Are The Londonmancers, Who Read The Future In The City S Entrails There Is Grisamentum, London S Greatest Wizard, Whose Shadow Lingers Long After His Death And Then There Is Goss And Subby, An Ageless Old Man And A Cretinous Boy Who, Together, Constitute A Terrifying Yet Darkly Charismatic Demonic DuoAll Of Them And Others Are In Pursuit Of Billy, Who Inadvertently Holds The Key To The Missing Squid, An Embryonic God Whose Powers, Properly Harnessed, Can Destroy All That Is, Was, And Ever Shall Be

10 thoughts on “Kraken: An Anatomy

  1. says:

    Unpredictable, funny, and chock full of weird with a side of SQUIDDITY apocalypse and yet oh blasphemy Kraken is my first 3 starred Mi ville This hurts my fangirl soul.But here s the thing even the weakest book by His Chinaness is still better that the strongest offerings of most other writers Therefore me giving it 3 stars in NO WAY puts it in the same category that some of the drecks that I ve read I liked this one It s just that it in NO WAY measures up to the usual amazing and brain popping experience I came to expect from CM.I think of this book as a grittier weirder Mi ville edition of Gaiman s Neverwhere The strange other London where things are not what they seem, Goss Subby Croup and Vandemar, Billy is another Richard Mayhews, the ordinary wide eyed chap dragged through the ever escalating weirdness by experienced warriors, destined for something bigger in the end But really, Gaiman is Mi ville lite whereas Mi ville is Gaiman full roast, black, hold creamer and sugar, add extra weird Usually this would be a recipe for success as far as I m concerned Alas, Kraken misses the mark a bit All this sea creature talk in the book makes me crave the SQUIDDITY deliciousness, y all Now, here s what I loved for the sake of the oreo cookie effect here yes, calamari squid talk DID make me hungry, so scuse me before breaking my heart with the less awesome parts In a city like London Stop that was an unhelpful way to think about it, because there was no city like London That was the point. Mi ville is amazing at creating fully alive weird cities and making them be real protagonists of his stories examples New Crobuzon, Armada, Besz l Ul Qoma, UnLondon Here, his setting is contemporary London that apparently has a secret supernatural side to it, which is still firmly ground in reality I mean, it s the place where the paranormal creatures form picket lines, for crying out loud The strike paralysed large sections of occult industry The economy of gods and monsters was stagnating There were pickets of insects, pickets of birds, pickets of slightly animate dirt There were circles of striking cats and dogs, surreptitious doll pickets like grubby motionless picnics and flesh puppets, pickets of what looked like and in some cases had once been humans. Which neatly takes me to my next point Mi ville is unabashedly joyful about airing out of his political views on politics of labor and religion in this case Ever since reading London s Overthrow I have extra appreciated the political musings of Dr Mi ville, PhD, the proud author of Between Equal Rights A Marxist Theory of International Law He knows religion is bollocks, Collingswood said He just wishes he didn t That s why he understands the nutters That s why he hunts them He misses pure faith He s jealous. There are so many side characters that are unbelievably fascinating and each one of them could easily merit an entire book to him herself The cast is quite an interesting ensemble, to say the least However it brings me to the bad part of the oreo cookie metaphor actually, kind of a reversed oreo cookie, since honestly, the middle is the best part, but bear with me here, I m hungry, okay With all the awesome side characters and fascinating side plots, this book is too overstuffed with awesome than this story can take maybe if he had spread the ideas over a trilogy it would have worked better There are too many plots and ideas that he tries to tie together to make a coherent story and it is not that successful of an attempt, honestly The main storyline becomes not only hard to follow but is almost impossible to identify, leaving the reader to just blindly go along on this crazy ride And combined with the uneven pacing, it can get frustrating Seriously, this is the first time in my Mi ville reading experience 6 books, a few short stories that I felt the pacing was poorly done In some sections, the story drags, in others it moves along at lightning speed, giving you a whiplash And, finally, despite the palpable threat, despite the fights and weirdness and humor, I found it hard to care about what is going to happen The characters failed to make me completely invested in them Billy Ugh Collingswood Bleh Dane Parnell Kinda, but ergh Wati Yeah, but not enough. I did not feel very invested, it did not have the now expected thought provoking quality, and did not leave me in the vague state of unease that I came to cherish as a part of my Mi ville reading experience In short, the book never became dull, but never became quite that interesting And to finish off the reverse Oreo comparison here is the final layer the good one All the griping aside, it was a fun read, even though not the most memorable The sheer amount of bizarro is enough to keep you chuckling and perhaps having quite vivid dreams I know I did while reading this It is fun as usual to see Mi ville allow his imagination run wild, taking us on the crazy plot turns that nobody could have predicted coming It is not deep or profound or thought provoking, but it s a good and honest fun Just because someone uses something wrong doesn t mean it s useless. Final verdict 3 stars Read this one if you are an established Mi ville fan Probably stay clear of it if you re just trying to get into CM writing pick up Perdido Street Station , Un Lun Dun , The Scar or The City The City instead and leave this for the time when you re so hooked on Mi ville that you are ready to read even his grocery list and believe me, that time WILL come You may not be interested in the gods of London, but they re interested in you. And here is what Mr Mi ville himself has to say about Kraken Courtesy of Seak Bryce L the interview is here thanks, Catie, for pointing it out to me Kraken, by contrast, was a kind of loving valedictory to what I hope is an enjoyable but rather chaotic kitchen sink excess of the Bas Lag books It s a book all about totality, it s full of stuff, it attempts whether successfully or not to make a virtue of a certain kind of, I hope not exactly ill discipline, but sort of distraction, like the book itself gets distracted, but that those distractions, I hope, are engaging Something that no one I ve ever read does as well as Pynchon, to whom this book is, among other things, a tentacular pulp homage

  2. says:

    Oh hey An lolcat.That s new But wait, because even though they are 1,000,000 years old in internet time, lolcats are only kittens in offline time, by which I mean the time by which your parents live their lives go on, check your email right now your dad just forwarded you a bunch of them Hahaha Invisible Bike I forgot about that one Moreover, judged by the molasses pace of the publishing industry, they re younger still So I give props to China Mi ville you re only getting that acute accent once in this review, so enjoy it for offering up perhaps the first blatant lolcat reference in what could be termed a major novel certainly the only one to receive a starred review in Booklist This book does not count But that s just one fun thing in this very fun book, one fun thing out of many About 200 pages in, I started ripping off a tiny scrap of my bookmark every time I came across an idea so cool it would probably be a major plot point in a book less crazily mescaline fueled Very soon I ran out of bookmark To be fair, I was using an oversized Post It Still I don t recall making scraps of anything whilst reading Boneshaker, another ostensibly punk leaning sci fi romp that boringly stretches out a handful of Mieville s cast offs into a sad excuse for an adventure.I don t want to spoil everything A few things were spoiled for me Like I knew there was a real, working phaser in there But no one told me about the real, working Tribble One lovable character speaks through inhabiting statues, and his idea of what constitutes a statue is very broad indeed imagine portentous dialogue between a squid cultist and a pencil topper shaped like a unicorn Three bad guys that are worthy enough to have their own books but don t even rate as this one s mastermind granted, the man behind the curtain is usually just a man Also there are these guys who read the future in London s entrails Like, literal entrails they cut through and pry apart pavement and the city has literal blood and organs and stuff I spoiled that one because it was my first bookmark, but for the rest I will give page numbers 200 208 234 288 303 308 322 329 362 374 385 420 NO WAY 463 I hope I got them all Some of the pieces of paper were very small That s probably going to be pretty annoying for the next library patron That s not to say it s a 5 star book, because it isn t In fact, I am giving it 3.5, which is less than I gave The City the City even though I had fun reading Kraken Because for all the ideas crammed in here ink squirting from the pages um, literally at several points , the story is not so hot I mean, it sounds cool, but a stolen squid god macguffin is still a macguffin, and a bland hero is still a bland hero And the central character here is bland He s your patented outsider, introduced into a crazy world UnLunDun Squid cults Gunfarmers Paranormal cops Wizards familiars striking for better working conditions just so he can say What the fuck and other characters can explain things to him Though China is British, our hero does not, sadly, say Wot s all this then though he would certainly be justified in doing so.I was never bored or anything, don t get me wrong Also I don t know if it would be possible to get bored reading this, unless you are bored by awesome But sometimes it is almost boring, in that you don t really feel for any of the characters even though I really like and would read a sequel starring several of them , and the story tends to wander off into these nifty idea side plots that don t strictly go anywhere And something about reading Mieville, both of the ones I have picked up, anyway, makes me feel like my eyes are dragging through molasses or maybe I m actually stoned oh shit, did I really read this book , because it takes me FOREVER and I have to read every single word carefully or I ll lose track of everything.And you don t want to miss a thing, including the many squid puns Like squidnapping obviously and squid pro quo he makes you wait for that one Missed opportunities a cult of Siddharthists, come on And also the lead character s name is Billy Billy the Squid Oh fine Go write your own puns.Like this one and it was.

  3. says:

    Oopsin my excitement, I seem to have Mievilled all over myself Pardon my gush.So the ONLY reason this gatling blast of brainstorming outr ness is not yet nesting on my all time favorite shelf along with Perdido Street Station and The City The City is that my feeble grey matter is still trying to process what the French I just read I grasped the big picture, though my neurons were white knuckled and straining, but there were so, so, SO many reference gems, idea snippets, bizarre sound bytes and fluttering flashes of just beyond the real that I m convinced I will be picking flakes of fantastic out of the narrative even after completing a second reading of this artwork Not quite as ground breaking as Perdido Street Station or as technically brilliant an execution as The City The City, but with densely packed, hip literate prose and myth spiced techno jargon as both of those books combined This is word sensei writing and full throttle imagination paired with hyper threaded story crafting on a scale that only Mieville himself has ever even come close to before This is a hard core concept porn performance by the biggest, girthiest word smither working in the spec fic industry today Despite my brain gasping for oxygen and begging for a moment of calm in the story s relentless prose storm, the eyegasms kept coming and coming on almost every page It has been a while since I have been this impressed by the combo of prodigious imagination and the writing chops to get it all effectively on the vellum This is a roller coaster into otherness just beyond perception and my captivation meter was pinned on lock down every single minute of the story.PLOT SUMMARY A plot summary for this book doesn t really seem fitting, but I will give it the short and sweet so I can move on to the good stuff London was full of dissident gods Billy Harrow works at the Darwin Institute where the prized exhibit is a preserved specimen of Architeuthis i.e., a giant squid While conducting a tour of the institute, Archie miraculously disappears and sets off a countdown to the apocalypse featuring the most imaginative rogue s gallery in the history of literature yes, in all of literature From ink born tattoo crime lords, to chaos Nazis and the most bizarre pair of supernatural hitmen since writing found paper THOUGHTS Mieville s primary focus in this story is on deconstructing the underpinnings and motivations for religious belief Actually, it s much, much grand and in your grill than the why s and wherefores of religious belief not to mention basic in its reader applicability , but I don t want to give hints regarding the actual philosophical boxing match at the heart of the narrative Thus, since religious belief forms the surface narrative thread and Mieville has a creative explosion discussing a plethora of apocalyptic religious sects and their faith tenets, I will let the explanation suffice.While addressing big, serious issues of innerness and autochthonal psychology relating to why humans think and act the way they do, Mieville spreads his insight over a canvas that is a most fascinating riff on the magical London memorialized by such pop staples as Harry Potter and Neil Gaiman However, this is a London that has in common with New Crobuzon than it does with Hogwarts and Mieville drenches this background in his unique brand of the politically charged new weird.For example, at one point the plot picks up that the Union of Magical Assistants UMA has gone on strike In typical Mievilleian fashion, he describes it thusly There were pickets of insects, pickets of birds, pickets of slightly animate dirt There were circles of striking cats and dogs, surreptitious doll pickets like grubby motionless picnics and flesh puppets, pickets of what looked like and in some cases had once been humans.Not all the familiars were embodied But even those magicked assistants who eschewed all physicality were on strike So a picket line in the unearth A clot of angry vectors, a verdigris like stain on the air, an excitable parameter Mostly, in the middlingly complex space time where people live, these pickets looked like nothing at all Sometimes they felt like warmth or a gauzy clot of caterpillar threads hanging from a tree, or a sense of guilt. That kind of writing and descriptions just floors me and makes my brain juice bubble And these kinds of paragraphs are all over this work.Now, is it true that the plot can be rather Gordian in its knottiness and than a little jumbled for wide swathes of the story Yes, granted The narrative is dense and the visibility can at times be limited behind a curtain of swirling fog My reactionI could care less, because I trust my navigator to get me to my destination I just thank Cthulhu that I m not the one driving.Bottom line, this is an experience book, where the journey through clever, gorgeous prose is worth a few scratches of head and the beauty and majesty of the commentary than outweighs the periodic moments of stunned confusion Until I ve read this again and maybe again I will continue to believe that my befuddlement is entirely my fault and China Mieville has done precisely what he set out to do I am a fan and this book has only deepened my respect for this singularly gifted individual This novel squeezed my brain and left it wrung out, twisted and parched I am thankful and happy as a result 5.0 stars HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION

  4. says:

    Chapter 1 Wow, this is kind of cool Everybody says China Mi ville is the shit He owns the GR comment boards He can kick ass in any genre, or no genre, or bend genres to fit his will Not to mention his good looks, right I mean, the dude is hawt with a capital H Hubba Fuckin Hubba At least, that s what I ve been told personally I think he looks like a rude, low class French waiter who hasn t bathed and has been relegated to peeling potatoes in the back alley where he can t scare off the customers although the customers wonder why their potatoes smell like cigarettes and BO So I m not prepared to just go with the flow, here I made up my own mind about his looks and I ll make up my own mind about his writing, too, thank you very much Still I come into this with some pretty damn high expectations given the love affair all my GR friends are having with this potato peeler right now And indeed Kraken starts off pretty cool Original concept and original writing style, I think a very real writing style that sounds like me and my friends talking only with various British accents and slang.Chapter 2 Hmm Interesting Very cool I like the SRC, especially Collingswood I want to be Collingswood s lover I assume being Collingswood s lover goes something like this I follow her around and shine her shoes, maybe wipe her ass, while I beg for her to simply look at me without something resembling utter contempt, and she barely tolerates my presence while occasionally spitting in my face, shoving dog shit in my mouth, and putting out her cigarette in my eyeball But I m okay with that Chapters 3, 4, 5, et seq This book is full of very short chapters, and the chapter breaks come when you would expect a bad TV drama to break for commercials I assume that s on purpose, to add to the levity or something, but it bugs me.Chapters 6, 7, 8, et seq Still cool I m not sure I understand what the fuck is happening, but I like it Chapters 20 50 Umm who are those people and why do I care Are they really necessary or are they just Mi ville messing around for his own amusement Chapters 50 99 Like I said, really short chapters, and lots of them But also just lots of words and odd characters and weird shit happening.Chapters 100 199 Okay now who the fuck are those people Is Mi ville just fucking with me now Chapters 200 299 Well at least now we re getting somewhere, and it s mostly interesting, though there are still way too many characters and weird things about the universe to remember.Chapters 300 399 Interesting and cool and whatnot but I m just ready for it to end The protagonists are hitting one dead end after another, following this thread to that thread and back again.Chapters 400 499 Somebody just tell me how it s going to end Please Chapter 500 Wow The climax is underway and I m surprised It s almost cool enough to make the wait worth it I like where this is going Chapter 501 Wait a second will somebody please tell me what the fuck just happened It looked like a great ending then this dude did this shit and talk about deus machina and I don t even understand exactly what happened or how it worked Chapter 502 Okay, there s some room left in the book to explain how the hero did what he did to stop the bad guy from doing what he wanted to do Mi ville is going to explain it, isn t he Isn t he Chapter 503 Nope, no explanation I still don t get how or why that worked in the universe he set up, unless the hero is just supposed to be God hisownself.Chapter 504 Well I don t totally understand but at least it s ending and everybody seems happy hey, hold on what s who s why Chapter 503 So that was the real ending Huh How does that make sense given this and that and some other things that happened earlier I don t get it Very disappointing.

  5. says:

    Kraken by China Mieville is about as predictable and formulaic as a book about a squid sect amidst a London underground teaming with competing cults and all under the shadow of the end of the world can be Weird, weird book But then, Mieville is supposed to be among the vanguard of the weird fiction group I liked this, though it at times devolved into a clumsy absurdism but to its credit, it never got down to ridiculous Kafkaesque or Beckettesque absurdity, but of the Monty Python variety absurdism There were many scenes that made me laugh out loud and I think I have seen some reviewers describe this as a dark comedy Kraken also hosted a colorful satire on theology and organized religion Absolutely a tribute to Lovecraft, this is a good book all by itself as well but maybe not the best as an introduction to his work Newer readers might try Perdido Street Station first.Holding it all together is Mieville s excellent writing, his unique imagination and his uncanny ability to draw from a multitude of inspirations from a calliope of genres and cultural mediums.

  6. says:

    A preserved giant squid is stolen from London s Natural History museum and curator Billy Harrow is at the top of everyone s list for answers But who stole the Kraken and why Was it the Londonmancers Or minions of the Tattoo Or the Church of the God Kraken Or someone else all together That s what Billy Harrow and Dane Parnell, a renegade from the Church, aim to find out But can they recover the Kraken before it s used to trigger Armageddon China Mieville appears to have the Midas touch at times In Kraken, he takes the conspiracy thriller and infuses it with so much new weirdness that green goo is oozing from between the pages Where do I start Do I talk about the Londonmancers, shamanic magicians who dwell in and shape London s streets Or Wati, the sentient statue thing that s unionizing London s familiars Or the gunfarmers Or the chaos nazis Mieville throws so much at you in this one that it s hard to pick out one outlandish concept as the favorite.I see people comparing this to Neil Gaiman s Neverwhere or American Gods, the works of Tim Powers, or even Mieville s own Un Lun Dun, but the book that it reminds me the most of is The Domino Men by Jonathan Barnes There are conspiracies galore, gods created by belief, and the psychotic duo of Goss and Subby, who remind me both of Croupe and Vandemaar of Neverwhere fame and of The Domino Men.The characters are an interesting bunch Billy Harrow s in the Arthur Dent mode of protagonists Parnell drives the story forward, as do the impressive array of interesting Londoners In fact, Billy s probably the least interesting character within the book But really, when one of the characters is a talking tattoo, he s got competition.Easter eggs about within Kraken s piscine pages There are multiple Star Trek references, including a magic powered phaser and a Tribble, a Lolcats reference, Dr Who, Michael Moorcock, the list goes on and on And Mieville both mentions the criminally unknown Hugh Cook of the delightful The Walrus and the Warwolf in the forward and includes one of his poems, The Kraken Wakes, within the pages Any complaints Only that there was a little too much going on at times Kraken was a good read but it was never a drop everything and neglect your personal hygene kind of gripping I found myself procrastinating a few times rather than go back to it Once the story passes the 33% mark, it really takes off.If squid based conspiracies are your bag, this book is for you Otherwise, this book should appeal to Mieville fans, conspiracy fans, and fans of Neil Gaiman and Jonathan Barnes Now get reading before I send the gunfarmers after you Later In the interest of being much crotchety than I was in 2011, I m downgrading this to a 3 While brimming with ideas, it is by far a lesser Mieville.

  7. says:

    In the city of _______, the end of the world is quickly approaching, instigated when a an _______ gets stolen Genero, the undistinguished protagonist, all of a sudden discovers a new world when he s ________ by a ________ and then rescued by a ________ It then turns out he is a hero sort, a necessary element of the battle between a ______ and a an ___________.Jeff Vandermeer Alright, Mieville, the name of a city China Mieville This will be a London sometin JV Alright writes it in Now, we need a noun.CM Ah squid JV Sure Why not Writes it in Verb CM Kidnap.JV Past tense CM Kidnapped.JV taps forehead with pen You know, Mieville, I kind of like the idea of basing our next books off of Mad Libs, but I can t help but feeling like this particular storyline is just unavoidably plain I mean, you could use this framework to generate The Dark Is Rising, or Un Lun Dun, or CM I AM CHINA MIEVILLE I WILL MAKE IT WORK JV Profession CM Uh gangster.JV Writes it in The Lord of The Rings, even I mean, this looks kind of Tolkeinish in its framework CM I M CHINA MIEVILLE, BITCH 1 year later JV Hey, China, congratulations on Kraken CM Did you like it, Jeffy JV It was quite funny Collingsworth was a terrific secondary character And when you brought in that guy who figured out how to teleport, man, that was vintage And so was the Tattoo CM Cheers, Jeff JV The idea of competing armageddons is a fun one And you have the detectives over here, the friend over there, the protagonist here, and they all meet up at the end it s a terrific way CM Yeah, thanks JV Of getting around a fair to middling plot CM .JV And a dull, flat main character Mieville turns, looking out of the review at the reviewer CM Where do you get off judging my book and giving it a star rating Not to mention impersonating me, and claiming I said inane things.Michael Leaps back from his computer, startled Uhh.hi I m a big fan.CM Fuck you, a big fan Big fans appreciate the elements that work in a book, they don t spend time nitpicking because it didn t reinvent the genre You re docking me two bloody stars because it s a hero s journey M First off, I don t give five stars to anything that didn t stun me with its brilliance So, that s kind of like an extra credit number of stars So, really, I m docking you ONE for the hero s journey thing CM But you gave five stars to The Monster at the End of This Book M So I did Did you read Keely s review of Kraken Did you pick on him CM He didn t call himself a big fan.Michael Touche.Jeff Vandermeer Do you still need me Can I go home now M CM Shut up, Jeff M It s just that I expect a lot from you That s all The Bas Lag books were technically speculative fiction, but they surpassed that, and I think qualified as literary fiction Kraken is pulp fantasy, isn t it CM You say pulp like it s a bad word I wanted to have some fun with the genre of fantasy, and write a humorous book, and I did both.M Good job Doing that gets you three stars from me.CM WTF Not that I care about how many stars you give me on your social networking site What have you written M CM Exactly M You don t have to shit on my self esteem just because I gave you three stars We can still be friends.CM Feast on my dung I M CHINA MIEVILLE, BITCH I REST MY CASE Returns to his blog JV Shrugs I don t know what to tell you M Somebody s having a bad hair day I mean, you can t fill your book with stock characters who never develop, follow a traditional pulp storyline, and expect to write something that moves your readers deeply He HAD some good ideas in the book that made it a very entertaining read But I can t give him extra credit for being China Mieville, right You see what I mean JV Last time you wrote a review with me in it, you had me murdered Don t expect sympathy here M Yeah Well, my reviews are sometimes violent It wasn t personal.JV Shakes his head and goes back to Ambergris M I guess there s a downside to being a meanspirited cynic who disses books all the time I mean, really, books are my closest friends Because real people are such assholes.Harold Bloom Maybe you re just using book reviews as a way to avoid working on your real writing project Perhaps you re afraid this novel will turn out to be less edgy than you hope for, and that fear is making you find ways to avoid working on it Perhaps your rough treatment of China Mieville is really the result of your own insecurities.M Goddamn you, Bloom If this is going to become a review of ME, I m fucking leaving.

  8. says:

    Four and a half squidshttps clsiewert.wordpress.com 2015 Enter that room and you breached a Schwarzschild radius of something not canny, and that cephalopod corpse was the singularity I rather get why Mi ville s normally fantastic fanish fans don t like Kraken much I will note that I ve had intermediate success with Mi ville, finding a couple of his works quite memorable and some quite putdownable Kraken is one I enjoyed muchly, primarily due to its absurdity, the absence of didacticism, and its clever clever use of language Speaking of, however, I would have like a bit on the language front, specifically the description sort of language, words that might have given insight into what was happening As it was, I felt rather like Arthur Dent after meeting Ford Prefect Sometimes you can t get bogged down in the how, Baron said Sometimes things happen that shouldn t, and you can t let that detain you But the why we can make headway with But I rather suspect idea satiation of the text was part of the point, and, indeed, Mi ville says, it was a bit of a kitchen sink of ideas in Kraken. Again, not knocking it The first book of Mi ville s that I truly respected and whatever else, because love isn t the sort of word you use with that book, was Embassytown, which was a bit of a mind bender of a science fiction book Science fiction being what it is, it s easier for me to take those realities with a grain of salt, or, in that case, with a rather large tub of popcorn to help all that salt go down, because, wow, was that book ever idea dense This is idea dense too, but in a creative, silly, bizarre candy shop sort of way, not so much a philosophical one And yes, no, it couldn t have, no disappeared, so many metres of abyss meat could not have gone There were no giant tank no squid shaped holds cartoon style in the wall It could not have gone, but there is was, not Kraken is, nominally at least, about Billy, a man who is a museum curator at the Darwin Centre He s leading a tour group when they discover the star attraction a perfectly preserved specimen of a thirty foot giant squid has disappeared without a trace Dane the security guard is also mysteriously absent As the police go through their investigative routine, Billy makes a gruesome discovery in the storage rooms A special division of police make Billy an offer, but before he can think twice, events have spiraled out of his control into weirdness What follows is a journey across London, through a city with dissident gods and magic workers, where crime overlapped with faith as Billy seeks to understand his role in world changing events and recover the squid What my colleague is getting at, Baron said, is we re facing a wave of St.Johns A bit of an epidemic of eschatologies My most serious challenge was developing an emotional connection to the characters None really seemed sympathetic, and while I m mentioning it, Billy was than a bit Arthur Dentish in the beginning, wandering around and saying, what what I don t understand all the time when he really needed to get with the program The police are little help although they contribute to the attempts towards law n order, they are just as apt to handcuff those preventing the apocalypse as much as those starting one Perhaps the one I felt most affection for was a millennia old rebellious spirit, leading a strike of the city s magical assistants and familiars against exploitation The villains were truly horrific, and Mi ville deserves kudos for imbuing them with scary life in such brief appearances Goss and fucking Subby Sliding shifty through Albion s history, disappearing for ten, thirty, a hundred blessed years at a time, to return, evening all, wink wink, with a twinkle of a sociopathic eye, to unleash some charnel degradation for hire.There was no specificity to Goss and Subby On the other side, the language is something else, something that makes me enjoy it and yet makes my brain work a bit too, because not only does he flat out improve my vocabulary, he takes a rather deconstructionist approach to structure at times Often it takes me a minute to work out meaning I think Or at least glean on to partial intention I most definitely feel like is one Mi ville that you can re read for meaning, if only you can stand the story I don t mean that in a snarky way, despite how it sounds I m reflection on my own experience with his works, how some were like a full five course dinner of things I liked but were arranged in unusual ways, but some of his works were like five course dinners of things I mostly didn t like, except for maybe the appetizer and dessert Not to take away from the creativeness of it as much as the saturation of the effort.You know what else is enjoyable about his stories Utterly unpredictable There will be no tropes here, or, if they are, they shall be used ironically and with abrupt changes in meaning to turn reader assumptions sideways There s so much that is fun, good, and oh yes here the Sea, the motif of the ink, the angels, the museum, the ramifications of a disappearing skill, the smallest ode to Star Trek, and the squiddity of it all There is satisfying ending, even if it isn t precisely the one expected While I originally rated this slightly lower, it grew on me the I thought about it, and the I thought about it, the I wanted to read it again This might be one worth adding to the library for the sheer inventiveness, the languageness of it Yes, I think I will We ve been arguing about books, said Marge Best sort of argument, said Billy What was the substance Virginia Woolf versus Edward Lear I went for Lear, said Leon Partly out of fidelity to the letter L Partly because given the choice between nonsense and boojy wittering you blatantly have to choose nonsense.

  9. says:

    I had my ups and downs with this title, but in the end it s mostly all ups The language was the biggest thorn, though in my other frames of mind, I also really enjoyed it at the same time.What this book is not, is a quick and light read meant to delight and float through your mind like a cloud of ink.It deserves to be savoured and gloated over, perhaps even stopping a bit to roll the cadences of copspeak off your tongue to feel its beat I had to do it, too, before I realized that it sounded just fine It s the reading of it that seemed jarring, almost as if it was a mirror to the jarring concepts that butted heads all throughout the maze of the story.I was reminded, very pleasantly, of Perdido Street Station, which I also had an almost identical problem with The worldbuilding on both of these are so damn rich and weird and well thought out The feel of the societies is ripe and bursting with flavor Of course, Perdido was fantasy stationed in an alien landscape that just happened to be modern human flavored, while this one just happened to be dark fantasy mythospunk plopped right into the heart of modern London The two aren t all that different English Alien I watch Doctor Who I know what I m talking about.Seriously, both novels weave a complex tapestry of groups and individuals with brightly colored lives that I could never forget, carrying burdens and gifts that made up for a hell of a lot of plot stretching and twists that made perfect sense in the end The problem is in the getting there.I had to be patient Repeatedly.I had to tell myself to have faith in the Kraken, but what I really wanted was to pick up the bottle.I jest or do I We got a major turf war of gods and their believers ravaging London The prophets all agreed that the universe would end in fire, and end very soon We ve got a bumbling test tube nerd who preserves specimens turning out to be the big hero, and we ve got a security guard sacrificing his live to ink Was I pretty much amazed by the inclusion of so many fascinating characters Oh hell yes I ll never look at my fountain pen the same again, and I m still thinking of the stitches in the mouth of a certain tattoo And who needs lsd if you ve got a dram of mollusk ink And these are just a few of the many interesting tidbits that show up throughout the novel It s littered with orphaned ideas and pretty turns I mean, really, Buddhist Jesus monks pulling a West Side Story Talking Kirks, statues, and the patron of all fair wage picketers, Oh Wadi, Wadi, And cold fire What a fantastic SF twist THAT one turned out to be.Truly, it was a satisfying wrap up So many threads came back together to pack one hell of a punch, just like Perdido Street Station.If I ever read this a second time, I m going to do it slowly, savoring each turn and hint and phrase very carefully I m certain I ll get a lot out of it In the meantime, though, I can t honestly give it a full five stars It was slow to develop, and some of Billy s blindness was a bit annoying, but it was all a matter of falling down the rabbit hole, anyway, so I decided to take the ride with him Marge, on the other hand, was a breath of sanity throughout the text that proved to be the best steadying factor for me Dane was a solid and thorough plot mover, and he grew on me, too Collinsworth Oh, well, she s unique I did really enjoy this novel It wasn t so much a Lovecraftian tribute as it was a Mythos tribute Practically everything that the mythos built was pretty original We got pieces of chaos nazis, a bit of Read Or Die, but everything else was pure extrapolation and imagination, as far as I could tell I liked the Londonomancers and the Krakenites Honestly, the Mythospunk was probably the very best part of the novel.Not perfect, but there s so much to enjoy that I was very willing to see it through and I m very glad I did.

  10. says:

    Kraken gave me a severe case of goodreaditus, an unpleasant condition whereby as you are reading a book you are constantly thinking not about the book itself but how you are going to review it For example I thought maybe I could borrow the voice of Cher Horowitz from Clueless Here s the four one one on Billy Harrow He s like a squid janitor, he s single, he s 24 or something, quite old, and he earns minor duckets for a thankless job What that man needs is a good healthy boinkfest Unfortunately, there s was a major babe drought in his life Fortunately, when his gross giant squid gets stolen, you know, like by magic, along comes PC Collingswood and she s a total betty.or maybe I could rewrite an old Monty Python sketch and put China Mieville on trial for extreme silliness But no Kraken isn t bad, it s just that I don t wanna be whimsical right now So, in the time honoured words of break up speeches the world overChina, it s not you, it s me.

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