Looking for Jake: Stories
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Looking for Jake: Stories

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  3,117 ratings  ·  216 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...more
ebook, 215 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2005)
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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...more
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...more
Nesa Sivagnanam
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...more
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...more
Robert Beveridge
China Mieville, Looking for Jake (Del Rey, 2005)

Looking for Jake made me do something I've never done with a China Mieville book before-- laugh out loud while reading it. Yes, the boy does have a sense of humor that's not cynical and grease-blackened every once in a while, and it's quite refreshing to see. I grant you, the whole collection doesn't have that feel to it, but it's certainly here, and I love it. I love it just as much as I love the rest of this book, and for that matter as much as I...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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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.
Althea Ann
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
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...more
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...more
Feb 10, 2011 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Sarah Sammis
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
Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime)
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
David Eagle
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,...more
As always, Miéville kills it! Not that I loved the three New Crobuzon books that much (in comparison to his other works) but I was still looking forward to reading "Jack"

And is often 'slightly' warped London's are all amazing, I'm waiting for him to do his own Mashup of the various Londons bisecting one another... don't think it'll happen, but one can always hope.

And Extreme Santas (TM)!

The Tain was amazing, as long as it needed to be, full of amazing images, and voiced perfectly from both chara...more
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...more
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.
Dan Sharber
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!!!!

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...
I normally love Mieville, but I think I'm just not in to short stories. Nothing really grabbed me.
Really solid collection that would serve as a great introduction to Mieville in terms of the tone, themes, and subject matter that he likes to go back to a lot in his novels and other stories.

Looking For Jake - The weakest story of the bunch sadly is the first one. It reads like a fourth generation LOST replacement show pilot where things are morose, strange in unspecified ways, and lacking resolution. I suspect there is deeper meaning if you are well-versed in London's history, but all of the o...more
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
- This review can also be found at my book blog -
It was my first time reading China Miéville. As in every short stories collection, there were ones I loved, ones I really didn’t like and ones I just went meh at, but overall it is stronger than many others I’ve read over the years.

The titular novella, which opens the collection, is a “meh”, bordering on bad. It is intriguing, but ultimately amounts to nothing. It feels a lot like it could be the start of a larger project. As it is, it’s an enjoy...more
Scott Asher
I think I’m officially in love with China. Every time I read another work I am more astonished by the unfettered creativity brough to it. This is not your normal short story collection – it is deeper and wider and more entertaining than most of the books I’ve read in the last couple years.

Looking For Jake
by China Miéville
read by Jonathan Cowley, Enn Reitel, Gildart Jackson, Peter Altschuler, Robin Sachs, Bruce Mann, Dominic Burgess, Steve West Del Rey & Random House Audio
September 2011

Mark Pantoja
Let's be clear here: China Mieville can write. He can certainly write. Very descriptive, amazingly creative, great worldbuilding, he's a 4 star writer, for sure, but I'm not sure he can really write a short story. Or rather, if he is willing to write one.

The pacing for nearly all the stories in this collection are much more novel paced. If we take the classic Nancy Kress method of judging pacing (P=E/W [pacing equal events divided by words]) then he's got way more words for each event, but I wou...more
This was a weird, gross, sad, and thoughtful collection of short stories. Here are the few stories that stood out to me.

Looking for Jake. People start to disappear all over London as strange creatures take to the sky. The narrator refuses to find a safer place to live because he’s looking for his friend, Jake, who disappeared while they were walking home together. Their friendship may or may not border on the romantic—“What were you up to, anyway? How could I be so close to someone, love someone...more
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Sci-fi and Heroic...: Looking for Jake 6 29 May 15, 2013 11:25PM  
  • The Third Bear
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  • The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
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  • Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy
  • The Course of the Heart
  • Alabaster
  • The Dog Said Bow-Wow
  • The Best Horror of the Year Volume Four
  • In the Forest of Forgetting
  • Living Next Door to the God of Love
  • The Light Ages (The Aether Universe, #1)
  • The Imago Sequence and Other Stories
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...
Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1) The City & the City The Scar (Bas-Lag, #2) Embassytown Kraken

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