Mesmerising, disturbing and revelatory; China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station has been described as the literary equivalent of a Hieronymus Bosch pa...moreMesmerising, 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.(less)
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 e...moreThere 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.(less)
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) s...moreNot 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.
This story about a rat raised in a Boston bookstore in the 60's who somehow learns to read and understand the world around him is a delightful debut n...moreThis story about a rat raised in a Boston bookstore in the 60's who somehow learns to read and understand the world around him is a delightful debut novel that is hopeful, humorous, and heartbreakingly poetic. A must for anybody who loves to read.(less)
The suburbs of Seattle in the mid-70's are not a good place to be if you're a young, horny teenager. Set during the aftermath of a horrid sexually-tra...moreThe suburbs of Seattle in the mid-70's are not a good place to be if you're a young, horny teenager. Set during the aftermath of a horrid sexually-transmitted disease that causes grotesque mutations in its victims, this is a lovingly rendered and disturbing story about love, obsession, alienation, and murder. Well-written and illustrated comic that's like none other. The illustrations can, however, be a little confusing - most of the dudes have the same haircut and look very similar to each other, and some of the teenage whingeing can be a little precious, but this is a special piece of art, and the visuals are masterstrokes. Well done, Charles Burns. (If you read the Believer magazine, he's the guy who does the cover illustrations for them.) Rocking shit!(less)
Found this book at the British Music Experience in London - snapped it up, believe me!
I recommend this book not just for those who truly dig Depeche...moreFound this book at the British Music Experience in London - snapped it up, believe me!
I recommend this book not just for those who truly dig Depeche Mode, but for a cracking good story, well told, of the process and evolution of one of the '80s most successful bands. Beginning with their formative years, it tells the story of how they met, what drove them forward, the heartbreaks, successes, misadventures, and their creative process year after year. It also sheds quite a light on their relations among one another - sometimes too bright a light, as my esteem for Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher has dimmed a bit after how they treated Alan Wilder during the recording of "Songs of Faith and Devotion" (he did ALL the work). Also, as I always suspected, Andrew "Fletch" Fletcher can't play anything - his sole purpose is to keep Gore company and provide a "Man on the Street" opinion of whatever they're working on. But Dave's story takes center stage, and man - do I have a newfound respect for what he's been able to overcome. It's heartbreaking what he went through - did you know he "died" twice? The scene where he leaves his heroin gear out while his mum and his son are at his house is incredibly sad. His mum throws the stuff out while Dave's passed out, and then he runs out and grabs the neighbor's trash (five large bags worth) and empties them in the kitchen looking for his junk. Then he breaks down sobbing and says, "Oh, Mum - I'm a junkie, I'm a junkie!" She looks down at him and says, "I know, love. I know."
Great interviews of all band members (Vince Clarke and Alan Wilder), Wayne Hussey of the Mission UK, members of Miranda Sex Garden, the Cure, OMD, Killing Joke, Daniel Miller, Flood, Francois Kevorkian, Blixa Bargeld, Soft Cell, Steve Strange, et al., make this THE book on Depeche Mode. I HIGHLY recommend it!(less)
There is a man, known only as "the man." He has a son, referred to simply as "the boy." Something very, very dire has happened to the United States, s...moreThere is a man, known only as "the man." He has a son, referred to simply as "the boy." Something very, very dire has happened to the United States, something involved a shitload of fire and death and the absolute destruction of every puncuation mark. They are each others' world, and they are alone and starving as they walk down the titular road on the way to the coast (though they have absolutely no idea what (if anything) waits for them there. Everything is covered with ash, and it is so cold. So very cold. Cannabalism is rampant, and they have to watch out for roving gangs of lawless "bad men." All they have to defend themselves? A gun with two bullets.
Brilliant in just about every sense of the word - though I began to tire a bit of reading nothing but misery upon misery upon misery.
John Hillcoat ("The Proposition", "Ghosts of the Civil Dead") is directing the film version, with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis providing the soundtrack. Should be a bleak ol' time!(less)
The man called Jack entered the house and his black stone handled knife, so sharp "you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately" "had don...moreThe man called Jack entered the house and his black stone handled knife, so sharp "you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately" "had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do." The man, his wife, and their daughter are ruthlessly slaughtered one foggy and dark night. The only one to escape his hungry, hungry knife is the infant, who somehow manages to make it to the graveyard down the road. And, after a lot of hand-wringing and debate, the ghostly denizens of the graveyard take it upon themselves to adopt him as one of their own and to hire the mysterious Silas, who is neither alive nor dead, to be his guardian and teacher.
Of course, the man called Jack is still out there, mightily annoyed that he didn't kill the whole family, so the child (named Nobody Owens, or just "Bod" for short) is only safe within the gothic graveyard and the departed who call it their home.
Simply a delight to read for anybody of any age! This is a warm, fun, scary, and ultimately heartfelt work by Gaiman that will not disappoint, not at all. I highly recommend it, in any sense of the word.
Just wait til you meet Liza, the "witch" who was "drown'd." One of my favorite Gaiman characters, without a doubt. Read it! You'll love it!(less)
Frankly, I didn't like it as much as Fraud, but I tell you what -- there were many moments in the midst of his essays where I had to take a deep, happ...moreFrankly, I didn't like it as much as Fraud, but I tell you what -- there were many moments in the midst of his essays where I had to take a deep, happy breath, mutter, "Wow, did he really fucking say that?" under my breath, and then go back and read the damn passage again!
Standouts included where he chatted about "artisinal salts" and "frozen ice cubes from Scottish lakes for your nice tumbler of Scotch whisky"; his personal tete-a-tete with the brainiacs behind the Log Cabin Republicans (a freaking scream and a half!); and his tour of a cryogenics lab where peopple pay upwards of $100,000 to deep-freeze their body (or just their head!) in order to -- uh -- live forever. Because, as one gentleman helpfully declares, "Death is just a disease!" Uh-huh.
Thoroughly charming read, I recommend it heartily!(less)