Jan. 22nd, 2013

starlady: (the wizard's oath)
Miéville, China. Railsea. New York: Del Rey Books, 2012.

China Miéville is one of the authors I consider a must-read, and I heard a lot of good things about this book before I read it. I was not disappointed! I don't think this is as good a book as Embassytown, but it is very, very good, and I certainly enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Embassytown and Kraken. Like Kraken, it is at times laugh outloud funny; like Kraken, it is not afraid to quarrel with literature--I particularly liked the bit towards the end when Robinson Crusoe was summoned up and dismissed in the space of two paragraphs, and as much as Moby-Dick is being put in the blender in, intermittently, the fore and background, there are hints of older narratives in here too, such as the Odyssey.

I wish I had finished the book in time to copy down some of the passages I dog-eared, because one of the pleasures of this book, as always, is Miéville's flair and verve with language, particularly his willingness to hack and poke and remake English into what he wants it to be. The book follows one Shem ap Soorap, a listless youth whose cousins get him a post as an apprentice medic on a moletrain, riding through the railsea in search of the giant mouldywarpes. (My sister, when I was trying to explain this to her: "How was I supposed to intuit the giant moles?") Shem's captain is searching for the great custard-yellow ivory mole that took her arm, Mocker-Jack; it is her Philosophy, and she is its, and like all captains of moletrains she dreams of fulfilling her quest and recording it in the Museum of Completion. Shem, an orphan, however, finds an artifact in the wreckage of an old moletrain that leads him down a different path, into the acquaintance of the explorer children, Caldera and Dero Shroake, who are determined to follow the traintracks of their lost parents.

This being Miéville, there is a lot in here about narratives and stories and intermittent passages in which the narrator addresses the reader directly, and this is the sort of thing that I eat up with a spoon; if all this metafictional meditation on story and fiction isn't to your taste, you may find yourself disliking the book. But I thought this was a great novel, and I loved the great and unremarked-upon number of female characters, and I really enjoyed the ending. (It doesn't hurt that I have a thing for trains in SFF novels, obviously.)

Has anyone been reading Dial H?
starlady: A typewriter.  (tool of the trade)
Paragon's Tale (2143 words) by starlady
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Fly By Night Series - Frances Hardinge
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Clam Blythe/Miss Kitely
Characters: Paragon Collymoddle, Clam Blythe, Miss Kitely
Summary: What did Paragon do after Toll, you ask? Well now, thereby hangs a tale…

A New Year's Resolution for [archiveofourown.org profile] incantatem, because I loved the prompt.

True confession: it ends the way it does because I did not want to write the epic love story of Paragon and Mr. Pertellis that came into my head as I was writing it, because I don't know anywhere near enough about molly houses. But, in my head, that is where it goes, once Paragon is seventeen.

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