/ The City and The City

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Offwidth - on 03 Jan 2013
A big up for this classy thriller in an incredibly original setting. Shades of Orwell, Kafka and Chandler. China Melville is clearly not typecast into steampunk style sci-fi.

Finished an enjoyable year for me in books: Tom Jones, The Master and Margarita, Fiva, Yorkshire Gritstone (Vol.1), Alex's Adventures in Numberland, The Baroque Cycle, Full of Myself and Cold Wars being perhaps the very diverse highlights.
Blue Straggler - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Miéville.
Offwidth - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Oops! His is one of those names I really struggle to remember and I could never spell very well for a supposedly bright boy. Next time I guess I should write the thread with the book next to me and hold my enthusiasm in check a few hours.
toad - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Offwidth: I really enjoyed it- he does seem to be moving away from the more extravagant horrors of Perdito St Station etc. Embassy Town was v. interesting as well.
(I don't think it's SPOILERS, but....)






























I think the best part was that it wasn't scifi. The whole two cities thing is a deliberate, consensual act of wilful stupidity/beaurocracy in an entirely mundane world.
jamiev on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Yes - City & the City is superb & you nailed it with Orwell, Kafka & Chandler comparison. Have you read any of his others? I tried Kraken but couldn't finish it, v disappointing.

Master & Margarita great too.
Offwidth - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to jamiev:

I found the PSS series interesting sub-genre sci-fi much better than average. The drive for sequels is often from wanting too much of a good thing and ripe for exploitation. Could be much much worse than Kraken though... look at what happened to the Dune sequence. The Culture books show that you can do Sci Fi 'sequels' well if you try (I read Matter this year and liked it). Still, Sci Fi doesn't do it for me these days like it did when I wer' a lad.
Offwidth - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to jamiev:

"Master & Margarita great too." ... maybe even an understatement... why wasn't this part of the cannon when I grew up.
Ramblin dave - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to jamiev)
>
> I found the PSS series interesting sub-genre sci-fi much better than average.

I think I liked the setting of PSS a lot better than the plot. I really enjoyed it about until it actually got going with the genre-standard "unlikely heroes have to band together and kick ass on desperate quest to save the world from bug-eyed-monsters" stuff. I think I'd probably had it built up too much that it was going to totally rewrite the rules of the fantasy genre (or words to that effect) when actually it mostly just gave it a bit of a re-injection of urban grime, cynicism and horror. Although it had some brilliant bits.

I absolutely loved The City and The City, though.
Blue Straggler - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

I wouldn't worry, everyone does it! Poor China. I guess it's because of Herman Melville.
Offwidth - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Nope, in my case it's because I can't spell very well and was impatient.
Rob Davies - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to jamiev)
>
> "Master & Margarita great too." ... maybe even an understatement... why wasn't this part of the cannon when I grew up.

Spelling again! Cannons fire cannon-balls.
Offwidth - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Davies:

I don't care a jot about that. An author's name of a book I'm recommending and can check on the book or the internet is very different level of problem. Please receive some negative karma.
tolly_60 - on 07 Jan 2013
Great book.

I got a few good ticks this year! One Hundred Years of Solitude, Cannery Row, Les Miserables, The Man in the High Castle, Hard Times, The Island, The City and The City, Psycho Vertical.

I'm just about to start on The Master and Margarita. Heard good things about it so hope it doesn't disapoint.
aln - on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to toad:
> (In reply to Offwidth) >
> I think the best part was that it wasn't scifi. The whole two cities thing is a deliberate, consensual act of wilful stupidity/beaurocracy in an entirely mundane world.

Are you sure about that? I suspected the same but I felt there was enough in the book to suggest some kind of inter-dimensional goings on.

toad - on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to toad)
> [...]
>
> Are you sure about that? I suspected the same but I felt there was enough in the book to suggest some kind of inter-dimensional goings on.

I'm not convinced. It would have been interesting to learn the origins of the schism, but I think it was an entirely human phenomenon - Breach was more like a terrible faux-pas than a physical event
Offwidth - on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to aln:

The city and the city appeared to me to be physically undivided. Breach, the external 'police' required to maintain this divided system arguably just exploited the psychological cues necessary to run such an arrangement to come and go surprisingly in either city. Even the legendary '3rd city' seemed to be unmagical in its alleged construct. The only unexplained stuff in physical terms that I remember were the arcane devices from the pre-division period discovered in the archaeological digs.
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aln - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to Offwidth: To you and Toad. Maybe I missed half the point. Good book like, though.

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