Category Archives: Books and Reading

Ay, Perdido! Well, I’ve finished

Ay, Perdido!
Well, I’ve finished China Mieville’s breakthrough fantasy novel,
Perdido Street Station.
I actually read it after reading the lackluster (and out of print) Factoring Humanity, by Robert Sawyer.
What did I think of Perdido? Well, the denouement was a little bit of a downer and disappointment to me but the world building was absolutely breathtaking. The city comes alive in his words, a quasi Victorian fantasy megaopolis which seems to owe much to London and third world metropolises, with a lot of different species sharing space. Intelligent cacti! Weird half insect-half human bipeds! The depth and breath of the denizens is often suggested, seen in glimpses, intimated. The magic systems tend toward the quasi-scientific, the rigorous, in line with the 19th century sort of steampunk feel that the rest of the city has.
The characters are quirky and interesting, never devolving into stereotypes or one line notes, either, although one major character’s storyline feels a bit off, I think, he is so alien that China doesn’t quite pull off getting us to understand the universe of the Garuda and their ethos, and how the character violated it. But aside from those quibbles, the universe of Perdido Street Station is dark, huge, complex and very much well worth your time visiting.

Sean Russell, whose work I

Sean Russell, whose work I like (I loved The One Kingdom so much that I am taking some ideas for it for that ACUS scenario I keep promising to do the prologue for) has done his own review of LOTR: The Two Towers.
He makes some interesting points and gives the point of view of an excellent fantasy writer to what Peter Jackson has done right (and wrong) with his adaptation of the Master. After all of the pure Tolkien bashing around lately, from Brin to Moorcock, this is a relief.

Finished reading Wolves of

Finished reading Wolves of the Gods. Unfortunately, it was as disappointing as the first in the series, Wizard in the Winds.

Why, you ask, did I bother with the second after the first was lackluster? Well, for reasons I am still not sure, I didn’t chuck the second and the first book, and they are among the books that wound up here. While I disliked the first for the possibly misogynistic way the author treated some of the female characters, one in particular, in this second book, Cole’s writing just left me…flat. The culture was interesting, based on the Rubiayat, Persian in flavor. But the writing itself, I am not sure, it just didn’t thrill me. I will not seek out the third book, its out of print anyway.

Next up is non fiction.
The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community
by William O’Neill. Believe it or not, I have not read a complete general history of the world since the days of college. Oh, I’ve read many history books, and I love the Penguin illustrated atlases of history (I have Ancient World, Rome and Medieval History)..I’ve read things like Boorstin’s essays, and such, too…but not a complete general world history.