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The Malacia Tapestry

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  175 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Pioneer balloonist and silent film star...
Actor, rogue and lover...
Betrayer and betrayed -
Perian de Chirolo

Renaissance man in an alternate reality, he plays his many roles - in the beds of princesses and whores, in the council chambers of the elite and in the teeming streets of Malacia, the Eternal City, a city blessed - or cursed - never to know change. Yet in this timel
Mass Market
Published January 1st 1978 by Ace Books (first published 1976)
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This book shouldn’t work. And sometimes it doesn’t. It has issues with bloat and pacing and the plot on occasion meanders, though this latter is mainly due to the picaresque nature of the tale itself, so is perhaps not really a fault. I’m generally not a fan of the picaresque, but this novel has so many great scenes, a handful of great characters, and enough vibrant atmosphere that it has managed to find a place of deep affection in my heart at the same time that it doesn’t quite work for me.

mark monday
read during my Social Work Years

I Remember: an elaborate little trifle set in some kind of alternate Renaissance Italy... a lively city, a fading city, a city on the rise?... ornate writing style, beautiful details, it's all quite luscious... an extremely shallow hero within an extremely shallow narrative... some wonderful set pieces... very Jack Vance... there is something almost bull-headed in this novel's insistence on being a well-written bit of airy material, with no deeper meaning that i c
Aldiss’s baroque Italianate fantasia, ‘The Malacia Tapestry’, overflows with invention and strangeness. It creates a unique world based on Renaissance culture and politics, minus the Catholic Church, incorporating magic and the supernatural, fantastical creatures and even an appearance by the Gods themselves. The actor-hero, the wonderfully named Perian de Chirolo, begins as a rogue and parasite, like a character from Machiavelli’s ‘Mandragola’, but finds himself drawn into higher and darker adv ...more
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This is a well-crafted picaresque novel in a wonderful fantasy setting. It follows the adventures of Perian de Chirolo, a well-born but poverty-stricken underemployed actor, in and around Malacia, a city doomed, or blessed, to never change in any substantial way. As we follow Perian around the city we learn that what at first appears to be a typical Renaissance trading city is in truth much older and much stranger; Malacia is full of winged humans, lizard-people, ape-men, and things very much li ...more
This is a terrific puzzler of a novel by Aldiss. The basic plot is a simple slice of life tale about a young actor looking for love in the vaguely Italianate city of Malacia.
In the first half of the novel, Perian Di Chirolo is recruited to "act" in the first usage of the zahnoscope, basically an early camera. The actors create tableaux which are photographed ; the story is an epic tale of a prince betrayed in love by his general. In true story within a story fashion, this play comments upon a
Austin Bruce Hallock
Well, I persisted through more than half this book and finally gave up because no real plot seemed to be emerging and I just lost interest. I would have quit sooner, but I've always been impressed with Brian Aldiss's writing, and the quality of the writing was evident here. Nevertheless I can only continue for so long with little or nothing happening.
I actually stopped reading around page 80. If I read a quarter of a book and I'm not being gripped or looking forward to reading more, or if picking up the books feels like a chore, I let myself give up.

I do like the world that Aldiss creates. It reminded me of China Miéville a little, but it felt a lot less contrived than steampunk proper often does to me. However, given the constant shallowness of the main character, and most of the other characters too, I found it impossible to maintain inte
One of the best sf novels I've ever read. It takes place in Malacia, a city that is an alternate 18th-century Italy where most inhabitants feel protected by their rulers' rejection of social and political change. The story follows Perian, a broke actor, as he cuts across all levels of society as part of a company that is presenting a play using a new process, mercurization, aka photography. This is sf's Candide and a neglected classic. If that isn't enough for you, there is also a dinosaur hunt.
Arunkumar Mahadevan Pillai
Boring and disappointing.
Somehow, the dinosaur bits never work out properly.
Everything about this book seems forced.
The plot is just too pointless and vapid, the author's intention to make the play in the story mirror the story itself too transparent, the ending almost like the author got bored of the book and stopped writing one evening after a bout of stomach upset.

Not recommended.
It's my least favorite Aldiss story. It has a lot of medieval romance and chivalry - just imagine dinosaurs in place of horses and dragons. And somehow, it never seemed to quite work in my opinion. It's not a bad tale. It's just compared to his Hellonica epic, it pales, a lot.
A lovely, bawdy book that's reminiscent both of Jack Vance and James Branch Cabell. Meanwhile, a really conceptually interesting secondary world floats around in the background. It's a shame the author doesn't seem to have written much else like it.
Bruno Silva
Pouca fantasia e demasiado enredo shakespeariano para meu gosto. Um pouco decepcionante face a umas expectativas um pouco altas
Sarah Leech
great fantasy novel from the great Brian Aldiss
Sep 09, 2010 Velvetink marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
*note to self.copy from Al.
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Pseudonyms: Jael Cracken, Peter Pica, John Runciman, C.C. Shackleton, Arch Mendicant, & "Doc" Peristyle.

Brian Wilson Aldiss is one of the most important voices in science fiction writing today. He wrote his first novel while working as a bookseller in Oxford. Shortly afterwards he wrote his first work of science fiction and soon gained international recognition. Adored for his innovative liter
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