Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Appearances aside....


... this man is not a poseur. He's China Mieville, the grand master of urban fantasy, whose wonderful book "The City and The City" has just won the British Science Fiction Award, and may well win the Hugo (since the convention is in England this year) and the Arthur C. Clarke award. The Guardian has the scoop.

"The City and The City" is a police procedural, set in Eastern Europe, in two cities that interpenetrate. It's a great gloomy procedural and an intricate fantasy.

Mieville, Alan Moore, Jeff Vandermeer, Iain Sinclair, Gene Wolfe, Michael Moorcock, Mark Helprin's Winters Tale, the Neil Gaiman book about the London Tube, even the Martin Scorsese of "Gangs of New York" -- they all write about labyrinthine cities of great age and wonder. I haven't found one I dislike yet, and am currently working through the first of Jeff Vandermeer's books about Ambergris, called "City of Saints and Madmen", which seems to be a collection of pamphlets, historical essays, short stories, and dictionaries.

A good place to start is Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy, which is the primary source -- although if you haven't read Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, you should. And Mieville's Perdido Street Station, or......

UPDATE: A brief rundown of the Hugo nominees is here. I loved this quote:

A quick Google search shows that only The City & The City has received plentiful mainstream review coverage, along with a few mentions of Canadian Robert J Sawyer's book in Canada. (Significantly, none have been mentioned in the New York Times.) As usual, this lack of coverage says more about the mainstream press than the books in question. Why Jonathan Safran Foer's decision to eat no meat or Ian McEwan's discovery that global warming may not be to the universal benefit of mankind should merit so many more column inches than these intriguing books is a question I can't answer …

1 comment:

Generic said...

Couldn't read it on the bus if that photo was showing.