What can I say? Weird fiction mythos set in Jim Crow America in the mid-50s, with a black cast of characters. I just couldn't put it down; the dialoguWhat can I say? Weird fiction mythos set in Jim Crow America in the mid-50s, with a black cast of characters. I just couldn't put it down; the dialogue crackles, the story is wonderful, the characters felt like flesh and blood, and the writing is crisp, imaginative, and underscored by an appealing dry humour. Great book! Read it....more
What did I think? Besides the fact that Iain Banks is one of the best writers of dialogue who ever existed? Well, this one here's a strange book. It'sWhat did I think? Besides the fact that Iain Banks is one of the best writers of dialogue who ever existed? Well, this one here's a strange book. It's in the days immediately following 9/11. London left-wing radio shock jock Ken Nott is a contrarian mess. His morning radio show is a success. His relationship with his girlfriend is on the rocks, seeing as he can't keep his dick in his pants around the pretty ladies who throw themselves at him. His best mates think he's a know-it-all, seeing as he *really* likes to pontificate his thoughts on things such as the environment, stupid politicians, atheism, fascism, Britain's strained relationship with Europe (foreseeing Brexit by about 14 years), and a whole host of other topics. He's been getting death threats as of late, and to top the whole thing off, he's fallen into a romantic tryst with the wife of one of London's most notorious gangsters. Dead Air is almost a stream-of-consciousness novel, as we see life through the eyes of Nott, a heavily flawed, deeply intelligent, and intensely loquacious character. The novel meanders sometimes into a quagmire of opinionated monologues, but the language - and yes, the dialogue - soars. There is a host of great characters surrounding Ken Nott, each of them with their own history, their own thoughts, and their own voices - and goddamn it Iain Banks paints them all so damn vividly. A joy of a book, even if the story gets lost in all that fine writing at times. I didn't mind. A solid 4 out of 5....more
Bloody fascinating little book; a graphic biography of a man determined to give a decent life and fair go to everybody, not just the monied and powerfBloody fascinating little book; a graphic biography of a man determined to give a decent life and fair go to everybody, not just the monied and powerful. 'Bernie' goes back in history to when progressivism became a dirty word in the Democratic Party, to the rise of neoliberalism, to the global financial crisis and follows Mr Sanders towards a logical conclusion that "Given the crises that we face at this particular moment - the economic crisis, the climate change crisis, the campaign finance crisis, the poverty crisis - right now, if we're going to address these issues, it cannot be done with establishment politics and establishment economics. We have to go beyond that."
All John Grant wants to do is teach in glorious Sydney and meet up with his favourite gal. Stopped over an evening in the treacherous outback town BundAll John Grant wants to do is teach in glorious Sydney and meet up with his favourite gal. Stopped over an evening in the treacherous outback town Bundanyabba with a paycheck and some cash, Grant falls into an orgy of drinking, cruelty, and soul-killing violence when he stumbles across the local gambling den and loses all his money. A startling novel about man and his innate animalistic nature, Wake In Fright reads a bit like Joseph Conrad hopped to the gills on grog - it's a brutal, unforgiving, and astonishing glimpse into the nature of man. One thing it's not, however, is a good advert for Outback Australian tourism....more
In this, Miéville's third book in the Bas-Lag universe (Perdido Street Station and The Scar were the first two, and, like those two, can be read on itIn this, Miéville's third book in the Bas-Lag universe (Perdido Street Station and The Scar were the first two, and, like those two, can be read on its own), the capital city of New Cobruzon has declared war on a distant land called Tesh. In order to better fight their enemies, a massive system of railroads needs to be built across the continent. A bitter former railroad scout named Judah (who tried to warn a tribe of time-stopping creatures known as the Stiltspear that they wouldn't be spared if they stayed where they were when the train came - they didn't listen, and as such, were wiped out), a prostitute named Ann-Hari, and a Remade slave called Uzman lead a revolt and take control of the train - and, in doing so, start a socialist revolution against the state. Three stories in one (Judah's previous visit to the gentle Stiltspear, a former lover of Judah's trying to reach the so-called "Iron Council" to warn them of an impending assault from New Cobruzon, and a gang of revolutionaries who plan a daring raid on the government itself of New Cobruzon in an attempt to assassinate the mayor), I felt that this was the weakest of the Bas-Lag books - a little light on wonder and invention, and a bit heavy-handed with the socialist agenda that Miéville proudly propounds. But there's a lot here to enjoy as well - the idea of stopping time; a train plowing through the interior deserts of Rohagi, disassembling and reassembling tracks in a perpetual forward motion; and the kinship and strained relationships between different races with a shared cause....more
Mesmerising, disturbing and revelatory; China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station has been described as the literary equivalent of a Hieronymus Bosch paMesmerising, disturbing and revelatory; China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station has been described as the literary equivalent of a Hieronymus Bosch painting – and for good reason.
The first in his “Bas-Lag” trilogy, this nightmarish mash-up of fantasy, clockwork steam-punk and body-horror can honestly be said to be unlike anything else … Miéville’s enormous gift for sheer audacity and inventiveness comes through loud and screamingly clear in each and every page.
Set in the breathing, seething and boiling cesspit of a metropolis called New Crobuzon, Perdido Street Station is, at its dark and filthy heart, a breathtaking adventure pitting the powerless against the far reaches of the powerful and corrupt.
Isaac, a blustery and boisterous mad scientist of sorts, is hired by an outsider to solve an unanswerable riddle of the body – and in the course of doing so an exotic horror is accidentally unleashed on the city, threatening to decimate everything. Meanwhile, his insectoid lover Lin, who creates daring pieces of art with her bodily secretions, is commissioned by a notorious crime lord to sculpt his likeness. When everything in the world goes pear-shaped, it is up to Isaac and a ragtag team of poets, anarchists, thinkers, criminals and whores to set out and make things right.
This book has it all: thrilling rescues, heroic feats of derring-do, tantalizing mysteries, awe-inspiring monsters, unimaginable cruelty, heart-breaking sadness and an inter-dimensional spider with an obsession for collecting scissors. In short, Perdido Street Station is one of the most entertaining and interesting works I’ve read in … well, ever. It gets into your head with its diode-encrusted and magically charmed hooks and never lets go.
New Crobuzon. It’s a bloody fantastic place to visit – but you sure as hell wouldn’t want to live there, that’s for sure....more
Wow, what a roller coaster. This book has got it all. Thrills. Spills. Chills. Strong women characters. Exotic interstellar locales. Rabid psychotic rWow, what a roller coaster. This book has got it all. Thrills. Spills. Chills. Strong women characters. Exotic interstellar locales. Rabid psychotic religious cults. Sex. Tense heists. Double-crossing. Double-double-crossing. Chases. Quiet introspection. This is Banks, so a lot of wonderful dialogue. Sets so intricately woven together they must be re-read in order to re-appreciate. Colourful characters. Exotic beasts. A hefty brutality permeating the entire story; there are real consequences, and each and every action produces a realistic and thoughtful reaction.
Seriously, I've no idea why I haven't read this before when (ostensibly) I began it back in 2013. But why not sooner? This is quite seriously up there with China Miéville's "Perdido Street Station" insofar as sheer inventiveness and enjoyability goes. I fucking loved every second of reading this book....more
There was a distinct unease whilst reading this book.
It's funny - funny in a weird, "ha-ha, look how fucked up our priorities are and what a shallow eThere was a distinct unease whilst reading this book.
It's funny - funny in a weird, "ha-ha, look how fucked up our priorities are and what a shallow existence we all live" kind of funny.
Like one of the other reviews read, "It's a dark mirror", and it's absolutely correct.
There's no stopping the momentum once this novel gets started - unnerving, horrifying, suspenseful, and ultimately pretty damn funny in spots, "Zone One" is a zombie novel that gets the current condition of humanity down to a "T" ... and it's a pretty damn dark observation....more
Not surprised in the least that this novel sprung from an idea Nick Cave and Aussie director John Hillcoat (whose The Road is currently in theatres) sNot surprised in the least that this novel sprung from an idea Nick Cave and Aussie director John Hillcoat (whose The Road is currently in theatres) shared about a future collaboration. Hillcoat couldn't find the funds, so the idea was scrapped, and Cave ran with it.
And what a novel it is! Where ...And The Ass Saw The Angel was for all intents and purposes a "Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds"-style novel (sorry, but I just have to compare the prose to the music!), The Death of Bunny Munro has both feet planted quite firmly in Grinderman-territory.
If you're not offended by page after page of sexually graphic language, florid descriptions of what Avril Lavigne's vagina might look like, child endangerment, made-up words, and pretty much a nonstop diatribe of non-PC shenanigans, then by all means pick this up and read it voraciously.