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January Discussions > Kraken - January 2015

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I had it pointed out to me that I forgot to start this discussion or update the books at the middle of the month. I did, and here we are.

I haven't read this one, and I'm not a big fan of Mieville - although I know many people who are. I can't keep up with his writing style and always wander off to other books. So, I leave it up to you all to pick up the discussion here: Kraken by China Mieville, discuss.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I read this one a few years ago; I loved the premise but didn't enjoy the execution as much as The City & The City or Embassytown. I can't remember much except a small plot device that I didn't think worked at all - hint, it was a prop from a popular TV show. All else is lost in the fog of memory

Esther I've just finished this one. My first China Mieville. I tried Perdido Street Station but I had a PDF version and was trying to read on a Kindle...

I liked it. It reminded me of American Gods in how it combined the contemporary world with a fantastic one. I didn't find it quite as immersive and every now and then I felt a bit pushed out of the plot.

What disappointed me a bit was his portrayal of religious characters. While his cults and the stories associated with them were interesting, his versions of various "believers" didn't feel right. As a religious person myself, I always find these kinds of portrayals very interesting and a lot of authors tend to botch them. One notable exception is C.S. Friedman. I don't know if she has any specific faith of her own, but her portrayal of people who do is very insightful.

message 4: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken (kanthr) | 165 comments The whole thing felt very carnival like, as in a surreal dream. The kind of dream when you fall unconscious due to blood loss, and your brain is still running, unfettered by reason.

Mieville's depiction of the chaos of London infuses the fanciful into the everyday in a very effective portrayal of the menacing, foreboding nature of cityscape life. Especially with the deluge theme, which strikes a chord with any Londoner who has taken notice during high rain of the Thames Barrier and what it symbolizes both literally and figuratively.

It also plays upon London's history and mish-mash of cultures. The various religions, portrayed as silly cults. Mieville's believers are intentionally missing some spark of corporeality. It could be a criticism of belief in the aetherial, thrown in the face of supernatural events themselves. That in itself could spawn a long discussion as to what constitutes valid belief.

Maggie K I am about two-thirds through. I am finding it very interesting, but sometimes the am lost by the

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 233 comments Kenneth wrote: "The whole thing felt very carnival like, as in a surreal dream. The kind of dream when you fall unconscious due to blood loss, and your brain is still running, unfettered by reason...etc."

Nice one!

I read this one a few years ago and absolutely loved it. Maybe not quiet as good as The City & The City, but still, it was a nice departure from his Bas-Lag series (of which I've only read the first two).

I suppose it could be argued that this has some similarities to Clive Barker's
Weaveworld, or at least structurally (it does in my mind anyway). The whole hidden society living behind the scenes of ordinary life, the supernatural bleeding over into the natural. But whereas Barker toes the line between horror and fantasy, Mieville stays pretty firmly in Urban Fantasy.

I found this to be one of Mieville's more easily digested works. He always invests a lot in language, so of course he plays with it here. But since this is set in the modern world, more or less, and is as much about the layers of London society as anything, the language is much more now. The narration and dialog is nowhere near as dense or as hard to parse as his Bas-Lag series (which takes quite a lot to get used to).

It's interesting how many people seem to have a different experience of his work than I do. Of all the works of his I've read, this is really the most action/adventure oriented. Lots of fast action and memorable scenes. In fact, I can remember more scenes from this one than probably all of his other works put together. I think that's a pretty good indication that it had an effect on me.

I'd read it again. Not sure I can say that about his Bas-Lag stuff, even though I did like Perdido a lot.

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