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Looking for Jake: Stories

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  4,287 Ratings  ·  281 Reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from China Miéville’s Embassytown.

What William Gibson did for science fiction, China Miéville has done for fantasy, shattering old paradigms with fiercely imaginative works of startling, often shocking, intensity. Now from this brilliant young writer comes a groundbreaking collection of stories, many of them previously unavailable i
ebook, 215 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2005)
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May 31, 2012 j rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to j by: Jacob
The name China Miéville isn't generally synonymous with short stories, probably because he doesn't write them that often. In the past decade, he's published 10 novels, and in the same span, produced only 16 pieces of short fiction. I mean, whatever. Dude is busy. I think he also became an economics genius, ran for political office, and did about 3 million arm curls during that decade too. Oh, and got a giant squid tattoo.

Anyway, it's pretty annoying to discover that he also does short fiction a
Jan 01, 2017 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
China Mieville is not necessarily known for his work in shorter works, but Looking For Jake, his 2005 collection of shorter fiction is an excellent representation of his narrative skill and for his redoubtable imagination. Mieville sets a mood, creates an emotion that stays with the reader throughout what turns out to be a diverse and dusky eclectic blend of creepy and dark fiction.

Looking for Jake – The opening salvo and titular short story is an artfully creepy sketch. An man searches for a fr
Nesa Sivagnanam
Mar 07, 2012 Nesa Sivagnanam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps it's the pain of RA. Perhaps it's having a crazy job, but I've been reading more short stories lately.

Looking For Jake
I loved the tale, especially the way it was written. It's a quiet melancholy sort of tale and it has a gentle rhythm. he paints a clear picture of the city from the roof and the loneliness as well as ultimate curiousity of the narrrator is tangible. The story ends well and yet offers the reader many alternatives.

One of my favourites since it struck a very deep c
Jan 10, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audiobook
I really enjoyed half of the novels that I've read by Mieville, and rather disliked the other half. Likewise, in this collection of stories, I enjoyed about half of them. The other half were boring. That is why I've rated this book with three out of five stars. Here are some brief summaries of a few of the stories.

The first story, titled "Looking for Jake", was one of the boring stories. People in London start disappearing randomly, and the protagonist looks for his friend Jake. There didn't see
One of those rare occasions where I got to borrow a book from my girlfriend. (She has good taste, but since she lives in Belgium, I tend to encounter books first. But this one I kept meaning to pick up and somehow didn't.) I wasn't sure what I thought of the idea of China Miéville doing short stories: his novels are so often so sprawling, so full of gleefully grotesque imagery, that I didn't think he could contain himself within a short story.

He can.

Some of the stories are more effective than ot
Mar 25, 2016 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of short stories that range from sci-fi, horror, and fantasy all told with a compelling voice that kept me intrigued throughout each tale. The shorts are various lengths, with the longest being a bit under 100 pages. I had never read anything by China Mieville and found this to fulfill my collection of short stories for a challenge. I'd read reviews comparing him to HP Lovecraft, and I can now see how that comparison could be made. The writing style and the subject matter of the sto ...more
Something I keep coming back to with China Mieville is how much he trusts his readers to not give up when they get confused. His favorite method of introducing you to ANYTHING is to drop you in the middle of a situation (or a city, or a world), and feed you little tidbits of an explanation until you finally know what's going on. Or don't. And the gaps in the information will stay in your brain so much longer than if he'd gone point-by-point through the story.

The short stories don't leave as much
I have to say I'm a bit disappointed in this book. Generally I like China Miéville books but this one didn't do it for me. I'm not really a short story fan to begin with but I was hoping such a talented writer could do it. Not this time.

A lot of the stories really felt like he was being clever for clevers sake. Lots of vague endings and cryptic meanings. I read a fiction to be entertained, to be told a story. Sometimes a vague ending can be ok but not in almost every single story. Nothing is eve
Sometimes short stories are a great way to introduce yourself to an author you haven't read before. I found China Mieville while reading an anthology and was intrigued but not sure if I would like him so I found his collection of short stories.

If these are fantasy I would call them dark fantasy for lack of a better word. In all truth I would label them as mostly horror with some science fiction thrown in but it seems that Mieville wants a different label. I'm not saying that I don't like his wri
Aug 22, 2007 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Fantastic short stories from China Mieville. It was great seeing this author tackle short fiction so effectively.

There is one Bas Lag story for fans of Perdido Street, the Scar and Iron Council. But I had the most fun reading the other stories, where Mieville's awesomely weird sensibilities are turned upon our own world. 'An End To Hunger' is one of the coolest hacker stories I've ever read. 'Familiar' feels like a Bas Lag creature let loose in modern London. Really, I loved the whole book, with
Bryan Murphy
Mar 23, 2016 Bryan Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In these stories, Miéville throws out, and plays with, ideas that he might incorporate or turn into major novels, though some of these ideas seem destined to fall by the wayside.
Miéville is one of the few writers able to subvert the inherently reactionary nature of the fantasy genre, which asks us to believe in things which we know ain’t so and cannot become so. Science fiction, in contrast, asks us to believe in things which we know ain’t so but which may become so, often with the rider “if we
Aug 02, 2013 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another brilliant, if bleak, effort from Miéville.

If I had to choose one word to tie in all of these short stories (and one novella, The Tain), I'd have to say "paranoia". Almost every story involves a character fearful of something — often without obvious cause.

Miéville's wordplay is, as always, amazing. The title of The Tain is hugely obscure, and yet right out of a dictionary: the tainis the reflective silver backing of a mirror. The creatures that come from the tain call themselves "patc
While there are some brilliant pieces in here, i was really disappointed by this collection. Mieville normally gets four or five stars from me, but this really felt like reading scraps from a writers' notebook, or reading a series of drafts. Perhaps short stories are not his forte?

The ideas are often great, it's the stories themselves felt a bit rushed and unpolished. i find Mieville's one weakness is how to end a story, and i guess this becomes more of a problem in a short story collection. Tha
Jul 26, 2010 Merrilee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I haven't read Mieville's novels, but he is a master of the short story format. I enjoyed all of the stories in this book, because they made me think and fear and wonder at all the hidden things behind the world that we see.

A fascinating mix. I enjoyed The Tain (the novella) and Reports of Certain Events in London the best, but there was no story where I felt disappointed.
Han Asra
Ini sudah buku ketiga China Mièvelle yang saya baca. Dua cerita sebelumnya yang saya baca tidak mengeecewa. Seharusnya dengan itu harapan saya menjadi lebih tinggi lagi, tapi kali ini tidak. Karena ini, Looking for Jake and Other Stories adalah kumpulan cerpen dan novella, yang menurut saya kualitas dan ragam ceritanya akan lebih campur aduk.

Looking for Jake and Other Stories seperti yang sudah saya tulis tadi di sinopsis berisi kumpulan cerpen dan novella China Mièvelle yang dia tulis dari tahu
David Hebblethwaite
“‘It lives in the details,’ she said. ‘It travels in that…in that perception. It moves through those chance meetings of lines. Maybe you glimpse it sometimes when you stare at clouds, and then maybe it might catch a glimpse of you, too.’”

He may be best known as a novelist, but China Miéville’s short fiction is worthy of attention, too. Reading the stories collected in Looking for Jake, I feel as though I’ve gained a fresh understanding of his concerns as a writer. Miéville has often used the ter
Aug 08, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Looking for Jake is a collection of short stories, a novella and a comic-strip tale, the contents of which could be described as ‘slipstream’ since it represents a mixture of fantasy, science fiction and horror, with an emphasis on the latter. I read this book in early 2007 and I’m basing my review on the rather perfunctory notes I made on each story in my diary of that year. It’s possible that my views on some of the stories might be a little different if I’d only read the book now, in 2014, an ...more
Althea Ann
Sep 27, 2013 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although not biiled as a horror anthology, some of these stories are
up there with the creepiest I've ever read... hey, if it can give me chills
while I'm on my subway commute, that's pretty good!

With this collection, Mieville proves that he's equally a master of the
short story as of the sprawling labyrinths of his novels. He's probably
one of the best young writers today, in any genre.

The book includes:

* Looking for Jake
In a could-be-tomorrow London, the city has been the victim of a mysterious
Sarah Sammis
Dec 08, 2010 Sarah Sammis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In April 2009 I stopped scheduling my reviews ahead of time. The scheduling process was making reading and blogging feel like homework. Since it's currently an unpaid hobby for me, I decided I had to stop being a slave to the calendar even if it meant falling behind on reviews. To keep things interesting on the review side of things, I started picking which book or short story to review next by random. This process has the advantage of giving every recently finished book or story the chance of b ...more
Feb 10, 2011 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of edgy, eerie short fiction
Recommended to Alan by: Other, longer work
I'll admit that it took me a little while to see where China Miéville was going with Looking for Jake. The first couple of stories didn't really gel for me. But as I grew more accustomed to the voice he was using, to the kinds of story he was telling... I began liking this collection more and more.

It might be hyperbole to call Miéville the Edgar Allan Poe of our age, but only by a little. Miéville displays in this volume a mastery of the frisson like very few others. And the stories that hit me
Leni Iversen
Apr 11, 2016 Leni Iversen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant and dark and weird. Very weird. And I love the brilliantly dark and weird. One of the stories is set in Mieville's fictional world, but a reader who is willing to just "go with it" should be able to keep up without having read his novels. The rest of the stories are set in different dark and twisted versions of London, where something in reality has shifted. A couple of them are unmistakably Lovecraftian in theme, but the writing style is all Mieville. One of the stories is illustrated ...more
A mixed group here: some ghost stories, a couple post-apocalyptic, a dystopian, a couple standard horror, a paranoid spy thriller, a tech thriller, one Bas Lag, and a graphic short (that I didn't really understand).

Standard leftwing concerns generally. The three standouts are the lovecraftian items: a metatextualist's accounting of documents received by postal error concerning viae ferae (best villains ever? maybe.); a bildungsroman taken staight from Paracelsus; and a Borgesian fake encycloped
David Eagle
Jan 23, 2012 David Eagle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this short story collection. If you're unfamiliar with China, this is a great way to "meet the author" before committing to one of his incredibly dense (though wholly worthwhile) novels.

Each story was engaging and left me wanting more. They weren't all scary, but they were mostly scary. And scary in the best way. Scary in the way that lets you fill in blanks with your own demons, your own little horrors.

China paints incredible pictures with words. He doesn't write the short,
Mieville isn't necessarily that well known for his short stories, but this anthology proves that he's just as good at those as he is at the rest of the fiction that he writes.

This is a great collection of horror, science fiction, fantasy and steampunk. Pretty much all the stories are excellent, particularly the Ball Room, after reading I will never look at an Ikea the same way again. The novella The Tain is also included, and it is excellent as well.
Johan Haneveld
Jan 12, 2016 Johan Haneveld rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good collection of stories from one of the most imaginative writers around. This is not in a genre I usually read, bordering more on magical realism and horror, but I found a lot of imagination, weirdness, tension and 'unheimishness' in these tales. There's a great explanation of vampires, a story about warring streets, that appear in different cities, and a story that explains why Ikea is hell ... Well written, sometimes a bit vague, but always entertaining.
Dan Sharber
Jul 10, 2012 Dan Sharber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, own
love it! fantastic. china is a brilliant writer and if you are a fan of horror but not into sci fi and have stayed away from china because of that, then check out this book of short stories. it's a great cross-over. i love everything he's written but these stories are particularly good. all the stars!!!!
Jul 10, 2008 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good but uneven collection..short works by Mieville seem to reference Aickman, Ballard, and especially Thomas Ligotti. "The Tain" the novella which reminds me of Lucius Shepard is the best piece...I guess Mieville is a long distance runner not a sprinter...but there are some good moments in these miniatures.
A couple stories much better than others. Some, classically Miéville, just too obtuse.

Favorites: The Tain & The Ball Room & 'Tis the Season. I think I'll use the latter in the classroom. Or at least, if this year's kiddos are brainy enough. Love me some good holiday satire!
Jul 20, 2012 Ashley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012

I don't know how I feel about this book. I loved the first story: "Looking for Jake", but as I progressed through the other collections of shorts, I really wasn't pulled in by any of them...

I really liked the imagination and effort, but wasn't really for me...
Sandy Annett
Jul 06, 2016 Sandy Annett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The short story "The Tain" in particular is incredible, and I will pick up the book just to re-read that one. It would make a fantastic movie.
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Sci-fi and Heroic...: Looking for Jake 6 31 May 15, 2013 11:25PM  
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A British "fantastic fiction" writer. He is fond of describing his work as "weird fiction" (after early 20th century pulp and horror writers such as H. P. Lovecraft), and belongs to a loose group of writers sometimes called New Weird who consciously attempt to move fantasy away from commercial, genre clichés of Tolkien epigons. He is also active in left-wing politics as a member of the Socialist W ...more
More about China Miéville...

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“Perhaps the window is not a sun but an asterisk, interrupting the grammar of the sky, with me sitting below it like a footnote.” 25 likes
“It is not they who have closed but I. I've cut myself away. I'm alone, and lonely. What frightens me is that I've not become lonely now, but have looked inside and seen that I was, already. How long has that been going on?” 0 likes
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