19 Down, 33 Left (52 Weeks, 52 Books)

Its been awhile since I’ve had the opportunity to immerse myself in a fantasy environment – not since my last reading of LOTR and the mind-numbingly tedious Wheel Of Time series – so it was with some anticipation that I picked up China Miéville’s The Scar at the recent book fair at the Expo. I figured at worst, I’d be down 6 bucks. Luckily for me, this was a damn good buy. High Browse has a write-up on the man himself here and here.

Fantasy’s probably too vague a genre here, I’d think in the popular vernacular of today, The Scar will fit nicely in Steampunk, which is a sort of mesh between the medieval and science. Kind of like if the future turned out the way Jules Verne thought it would, but fucked up further by many orders of magnitude. Miéville likes to term his stuff as Weird Fiction, which works just as well, I guess. Cause he’s one fucked up dude, man.

The novel takes place after the events of Perdido Street Station (which I now must read), in a world where science is more alchemy and magic than anything else, where sap-blooded cactus-men and mosquito men with sphincter mouths (you must read lah) live alongside human beings. Then there are the Remade, people who’ve undergone a thaumaturgical surgery of sorts, exchanging human parts for machine or animal parts. Some as punishment, while others for enhancement.

Bellis Coldwine, a stoic linguist, is on the run, undertaking an ocean voyage to the other side of the world, but hopes to return home once her troubles blow over. Tanner Sack – recently Remade for reasons not made explicit – travels on the same ship, but in the prison cells below decks, bound for the same place, but for a future as a slave. As in any good story, events transpire that they never get where they thought they were going, but instead go on to events beyond their (or our) wildest imaginings.

There will be undersea empires, interdimensional marine leviathans, the bloody EDGE OF THE WORLD (I’m not kidding), political intrigue and epic sea battles to satisfy the most rabid of fantasy geeks. All The Scar‘s really missing is one of those meticulously detailed world maps behind the front cover, but really, nothing beats a world that exists only in your head, and China Miéville’s a good a man as any to give you that world.

The Scar
(ISBN No: 0345444388) Check NLB Catalogue for item availability.

My next book will be Mario Puzo’s Omerta.

1 Response to “19 Down, 33 Left (52 Weeks, 52 Books)”

  1. 1 32 Down, 20 Left (52 Weeks, 52 Books) « zerotwohero Trackback on September 17, 2006 at 17:06

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