Tag Archives: Acacia

On China Miéville and Pushing Boundaries

“It’s a risky novel and it is not always successful. But those risks are important and should be encouraged, because even when failing, they lead to future promises of success.”
~ Eddy Rathke in his Goodreads review of China Miéville’s 2012 novel, Embassytown.

I like what Eddy wrote here and I think this is true in/of a lot of China Miéville‘s work. Miéville is really interested in pushing the boundaries of what’s been historically accepted as possible. It definitely takes a sense of fearlessness to say: “Fuck it, I’m trying this regardless of what anyone else thinks!”

. . . and it really seems to work for Miéville, more often than not.

As an aside (though more or less tangentially-related) remark: Miéville’s vocabulary almost never ceases to amaze me. Not only that, the way he incorporates the vocabulary — stylistically — never pulls the reader out of the narrative (N.B. this is at least true for me), but rather it has a way of working with the story, rhythmically. It’s ostensibly an evolution of Twain’s “lighting/ lightning bug” analogy — the words Miéville chooses are not just impressive, they’re absolutely the right choice for the given sentence. (I think a good example of another SF/F series I’ve enjoyed, but the words often miss their mark is David Anthony Durham’s Acacia trilogy.)

Worth a mention: Perdido Street Station is just impressing the hell out of me right now! I can’t wait to see what the whole “New Crobuzon” series has in store!!

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Hi there! Remember me?! | 06.30.12

To say it’s been a while would be a complete understatement! Life gets busy even when you wish it’d slow down. . . .

I don’t have a lot of new writing news, though I did land a sweet gig managing most of the visible web content for The Lit Pub, and I got to review Matt Bell’s truly excellent novel(la) Cataclysm Baby for [PANK] Magazine recently as well. If you haven’t read this book (or anything else written by Matt Bell) you should totally do so, ASAP!

HBO’s Game of Thrones just wrapped up its second season and it was honestly just as fantastic as its debut! Our crack reviews “team” (i.e. Dustin Luke Nelson and I) at InDigest Mag compiled a list of our likes and dislikes about the show’s deviations from the book. I was actually pretty happy with what we came up with when all was said and done!

Speaking of Game of Thrones, I recently finished reading book 5 of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, A Dance with Dragons, and it was simply epic — almost as good as book 3, A Storm of Swords (just ignore the middling Amazon reviews; trust me). Now the only real problem is waiting for G.R.R.M. to finish writing book 6. . . .

Though, problematically, finishing all five of the “Song of Ice and Fire” books in such quick succession has left a significant, nigh gaping sci-fi/fantasy-tinged hole in my reading life; a hole I’d forgotten existed since reading Tolkien in high school; a hole I’ve been trying desperately to fill for the past month. So like most anything I do, if I’m going to do it right (i.e. “all out”), I research the hell out of it and then hit the bookstore.

Here are some of my latest acquisitions:

I sort of went “no holds barred” on this venture. We’ve got series, standalone books, sci-fi, steampunk, fantasy, and everything in between. Lord of Light was recommended to me by my “go to” man with a plan, David Atkinson. As soon as he started describing it to me[1], I didn’t need any further coaxing — I was definitely sold. Acacia by David Anthony Durham[2] actually got some really great praise from George R.R. Martin, himself, which was good enough for me.

And American Gods was written by Neil Gaiman, which in and of itself should be fairly self-explanatory.

Moving down the stack is The Difference Engine,[3] a book by two more authors who probably need no introduction: William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. I highly recommend the 20th Anniversary Edition with a great intro by Cory Doctorow and some really interesting commentary at the end from the authors. Sandwiched in the middle of the four books that are part of their own series is Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic, called by many readers and critics alike “the best Russian sci-fi novel ever written” (and also spawned the STALKER movie(s) and video games).

See? I told you I did some research.

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