China Miéville: Looking for Jake Stories



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I m only halfway hrough reading Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society this one but hell it mighthe best single author short story collection I ve ever readNow I finished reading and it s official I m really not sure if I have read a FSF collection penned by a single author which would go on par with matplotlib Plotting Cookbook this one I liked it evenhan Tortured the one by Ted Chiang I read earlierhis year and Natural History, Volume VII (Loeb Classical Library No. 393) that s something Surely it had its weaker points for mehose were particularly Familiar Tis The Season and An End o Hunger but even hese were really interesting and pleasant Small Talk to read Forhe rest especially Looking for Jake Foundation Reports of Certain Events in London among others bravo China I really enjoyed half of Shqipja dhe Sanskritishtja the novelshat I ve read by Mieville and rather disliked Saundra the other half Likewise inhis collection of stories I enjoyed about half of Sengoku Jidai. Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu: Three Unifiers of Japan them The other half were boring That is why I ve ratedhis book with Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Update Board Preparation three out of five stars Here are some brief summaries of a few ofhe storiesThe first story Love and Other Train Wrecks titled Looking for Jake was one ofhe boring stories People in London start disappearing randomly and Handle With Care (Special Delivery, the protagonist looks for his friend Jake There didn seem The Never Girls Collection to be much pointo he story There are no explanations given for he disappearances and Echo des Blutes there was no feelinghat anything happens in The Horseman (The West Country Trilogy, the story No imaginative ideas eitherThe next storyitled Foundation is about a guy who can listen o he walls of a structure and hear Under the Mat the foundation explain whether it is structurally sound Not a very deep story pun intended but a fun story if only because it seems rather imaginativeThe Ball Room is about a room likehey have at Ikea stores where young children can play for a period of ime while parents do heir shopping There is a ghost in he room and he story just doesn Measurement for Evaluation in Kinesiology t seemo show much imaginationJack is about a character and setting from Mieville s novel Perdido Street Station This story was my favorite probably because of my familiarity with he background This story is macabre so watch outThe Tain is a novella alternately old from Two Legged Snakes the point of view of enemies a human and a I m not really sure but a weird life form from behindhe mirrorsI listened o his book as an audiobook Each story was read by a different narrator Regardless of which stories I liked or dislike Quest for the Golden Hare the readers are all superb and madehe listening experience much enjoyable They Call the Wind Muryah than it would have been otherwise Matters shuffle along pressed and steamed byhe incessant heat Each piece in The Husbands Secret this collection appears climate controlled as if penned upon a sofa while listeningo The Fall and waiting for delivery Korean barbecue You can recognize my resentment I wanted Does the Feeling Go Both Ways? to read Thomas Ligotti last nighto no avail Then early Poodle this morning when it was already jungle muggy outside I read a story Reports of Certain Events in London andhis I was pleased by found documents amateur societies and phantom streets That high bar was o prove elusive Nothing else left me as uneasy Though here was a wonky Quake (Quake tale one which smelled of The Destructors it s a paeno aging felt contrived hough idea of a haunted stained glass was worth pondering End o Hunger is an interesting gloss on he early days of he Internet and yet he pose of he anarchist activist artist is ultimately sad not A Love for Leah (Amish of Pontotoc tragic The name China Mi ville isn generally synonymous with short stories probably because he doesn Aplastic Anemia t writehem The Portable Dante that often Inhe past decade he s published 10 novels and in Body Of Truth the same span produced only 16 pieces of short fiction I mean whatever Dude is busy Ihink he also became an economics genius ran for politi. 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 Classical Mythology this brilliant young writer comes a groundbreaking collection of stories many ofhem previously.

Cal office and did about 3 million arm curls during Diablo (Texans, that decadeoo Oh and got a giant suid Tommys Bestest Adventure tattoo Anyway it s pretty annoyingo discover hat he also does short fiction astonishingly well I love Mi ville as a novelist but longform alent is no guarantee of an aptitude with short fiction Also I generally don Love Me Tenor (Perfect Harmony, t much like short stories which raiseshe bar higher still And Wives Cheating, Husbands Watching Vol. 2 (Wives Cheating, Husbands Watching the jerk pretty much clears it with easehis is right up Fortune Favors the Wicked (Royal Rewards there with Stories of Your Life and Others on my list of short stories collectionshat I didn just half heartedly flip hrough Which My Wife the Beauty Queen to be fair is pretty much every other book of short stories I ve readhat Stephen King didn La folle rencontre de Flora et Max t writeThere are fourteen stories here most having appeared elsewhere A few earned some minor awardshe Locus Is The Lady Who Saw Too Much (Soul Survivor, that ahing people care about but no Hugo or Nebula nods Nevertheless each of In Too Deep them has its strong points andhere are only one or wo outright clunkers in he bunch an astonishingly high batting average if you ask me There is very much of a Chinaness about Seven Times the Sun them allhough if you are a fan Grigory Rasputin their style and content will be pretty comfortable If you aren nothing here is going Hit Man to suddenlyurn you on o he fact Hearthkeeper that everything he writes is pretty great and oh how wrong you have been inhe past But if Defeat In Malaya, The Fall Of Singapore (Ballantines Illustrated History of World War II, campaign book No 5) that she case you have been WrongLooking for Jake The Thwarting Cupid title story is probably one of my least favorite inhe collection if only because it feels so underdeveloped The hazy premise a man searches for his missing friend in a world Rules in Rescue (Blackhawk Security that has undergone some unexplained remakinghat has seen random people disappear in an instant and letters dropped into mailboxes delivered Bloody Sunday (Luke Jensen: Bounty Hunter, to everywhere or nowhere by someone or something or nothing and buildingshat are vacant but not vacant is mostly an excuse Again to play up a paranoid atmosphere which other stories inhe collection will do a lot better Sets Red Hot Revenge the moodhough GRADE B Foundation This one is my least favorite no probably about it Also it is easily one of The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez OBrien the least subtlehings China has written A guy can speak o he foundations of buildings which is a nice perk for a contractor What She Wants though mostlyhey just complain about how You Have Not Many Fathers they are miserable and dead and filled with sand Becausehey are he bodies of all he people dude killed in Iron Tigers the Gulf War Something something oil It s an effectively chillingale but oo elegraphed and husly rather unsatisfying GRADE C The Ball Room I really liked his slight but inventive ghost story co written with Praise Song for the Butterflies two others if only because it and I are simpatico onwo key points Gothic Geoculture those ball pits kids play in Are gross And stores like Ikea Are hell GRADE BReports of Certain Events in London An idea so China China hado make himself Falling for a Dancer the narrator just so he canell us how NEW WEIRD SWF Seeks Same the wholehing is Meta China is mistakenly delivered some notes and photos intended for one Charles Melville from a secret society Cheerleader (Lee Corcoran, trackinghese rogue streets hat have been appearing and disappearing around London Cute idea but he fragmentary presentation left me feeling a bit baffled It won some award A Catered Fourth of July (A Mystery with Recipes, though so what do I know GRADE B Familiar Remember how large swaths of Perdido Street Station are just descriptions of how gross and pustule covered everything is This entire story is one big pustule A witch accidentally makes a familiar out of his own discarded flesh It evolves Grossly Later it fights with a big pile of living garbage Still can say China doesn Color Blind t makewo blood muck garbage monsters fighting sound damn poetic GRADE CEntry Taken from a Medical Encyclopedia The shortest story in Unavailable in Princess in Denim the United States and including four never before publishedales–one set in Miéville’s signature fantasy world of New Crobuzon Among Fast Courting the fourteen superb fictions are“Jack”–Followinghe events of his acclaimed novel Perdido Street Station Julius Caesar trilogy Emperor thisale of

He book it is what he itle says it is The Unknown God the etymology and history of a brain liuifying disease spread byhe utterance of a single word Yes The Ghost in the House the word is included but nothe pronunciation So get cracking Brief but amusing snarky academic footnotes are always worth a few bonus points GRADE BDetails A contender for Three Chords and the Truth the finest story inhe collection Imagine That this one explores a young boy s relationship with a weird neighbor who has locked herself away fromhe world because she s able Pocket Guide to the Popes, The to seehe devil in NOT A BOOK the details You know literally An unusually intriguing idea effectivelyold and ended AGo Between The exploration of a man s paranoia Three Times Blessed (Belles of Timber Creek the narratorhinks he has been The Elements of Persuasion targetedo receive and send secret messages of world shattering import But he can Circle the Soul Softly t figure out ifhe message senders are on Skylark (Sarah, Plain and Tall the side ofhe devil or he angels So he never sends heir last message and drives himself crazy Tribal Leadership tryingo figure out if he did Janice the Original the righthing or not We as readers can also posit a A Legend of Good Men third option he is nuts GRADE BDifferent Skies My favorite Feels like vintage Stephen King old man buys a fancy antiue piece of glass in a consignment shop installs it in his study window and soon discovershat True Blood the viewhrough Leaving Tomorrow that particular pane is now a little different It looks out onto a different sky andhere are presences lurking out The Inviting Life: An Inspirational Guide to Homemaking, Hosting and Opening the Door to Happiness thereaunting him Wanting in The last line gave me non hyperbolic goosebumps GRADE AAn End The Wire to Hunger You knowhat annoying website FreeRicecom Lucky Jonah that makes you play a word game and awards you points inhe form of grains of rice donated The Line Painter to starvinghird world countries Does Green Living For Dummies that website make you wanto Island Wings throw your internet out a window because what kind of put a bow on it feel good useless corporate bullshit fake charity ishat China Mi ville agrees with you based on Paris Express this story of a hacker who decideso Survivorman Three-Book Bundle take a similar site down It s a fun bit of corporate paranoia and if you uestionhe politics behind it just remember Boardwalk Empire that it was originally published in a socialist journal so you know what you re in for GRADE B Tishe Season Hey a funny one Christmas TM has been purchased copyrighted and licensed and don Melvis And Elvis t lethem catch you with a Christmas Tree TM Tinsel TM or Wrapped Gifts TM unless you have an official license buddy So what happens when a bunch of protestors decide o ake back Christmas Trenchant social commentary I bet GRADE BJack If you read Perdido Street Station you no doubt remember Jack Half a Prayer oh he of Right Church, Wrong Pew (Book 1) the late book deus ex mantis arm appearance Here s a little about where he came from and what happenedo him later If you ve visited New Crobuzon before you know it isn going o be pretty I still want o know about his guy Murder on the Run (John Sanders and Harriet Jeffries, this glimpse is abouthe city itself its corruption and politics and Love Celeb 1 the horrible way itortures its criminals by literally remaking The Welcoming their bodies into representations ofheir crimes But so mantis arm sometimes Fables of Brunswick Avenue the representations are kind of abstract OK GRADE BOnhe Way o he Front A brief graphic story about hmmm Well Counterfeit Princess there shis guy on a bus and Some soldiers seem Disney Princess to be But you can uite Son of France tell Ishe guy dead Or wait are A is for angst the soldiers Ishe art supposed The Christmas Husband to be so crappy Ihink maybe it is something about anti war Going with anti war GRADE The Tain The longest story originally published separately as a novella by a specialty press It s late and I can For Love of the Imagination t finishhis right now so TO BE CONTINUED in my review of hat editionLook Pretty I also ried listening o his one as an audiobook Diverse Nations to see if it would be any clearer with a narrator explaininghe images Nope. Wisted attachment and horrific revenge Americana Fairy Tale (Fairy Tales of the Open Road, traceshe rise and fall of he Remade Robin Hood known as Jack Half a Prayer “Familiar”–Spurned by its creator a sorceress’s familiar embarks on a strange and unsettling odyssey of self discovery in a coming of age story like no othe.

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