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“For every action, there's an infinity of outcomes. Countless trillions are possible, many milliards are likely, millions might be considered probable, several occur as possibilities to us as observers - and one comes true.”
- China Miéville, 'The Scar'
At some point there was an infinite number of possibilitites with this novel. This is the follow up to Perdido Street Station, book 2 in the Bas-Lag/New Crobuzon trilogy. There are chapters and lines and threads of this novel that contained amazing prose, brilliant ideas, funky characters, compelling themes, etc. I loved the motifs and themes China used: possibilities, scars, home, books, politics, community, etc. But there were also just too damn many pages. It could have been edited better. I'm not shy about books over 500 pages, but I don't want to read a 600+ page novel that really is just a fat 400 page novel.
Also, someone (a puissant editor, perhaps?) should have told China to stop using the word puissant (or its variants) and gout (gouts of water, gouts of blood, gouts of pleasure, gouts of relief, gouts of binding energy, gouts of smoke, gouts everywhere; enough gouts to form a trip or a tribe). Unless you are Cormac McCarthy (and there is only one CM) you need to be VERY careful when dropping the word gout casually in a novel. A reader who is paying attention is going to allow a word like gout or puissant to pop up just a few times in a novel that is 600 pages. Once you start dropping it in almost every chapter it practically begs the reader to start snickering or slap their forehead.
Finally, Miéville seemed unembarrassed by his use of steampunk cliches. He seemed to drag every single New Weird/Steampunk cliche into the light and wave it like an ensign. Obnoxious. But still I liked the novel. Hell, there were hours at a time when I REALLY enjoyed it. I devoted a few days to reading it. I loved its potential, and my review is just me letting off some steam (ba dum tss) about it not living up to what I hoped. I will, eventually, read his other books. I just don't feel compelled to read Iron Council tomorrow.
So, I was hoping for another: Perdido Street Station - 5 stars
And I didn't think it was equal to: Embassytown or The City & the City - 4 stars.
For me at least, I felt the same let down after reading Kraken - 4 stars (but maybe 3).
But hell, the guy still has managed to turn out better SF than most. Miéville's bottom stuff (that I've read) is way more compelling than a lot of the genre stuff out there. It was infinitely better than Cherie Priest's Boneshaker. Seriously, I had to bell, book and candle that piece of steampunk garbage. Only time healed those stupid steampunk wounds and I still have the scars.
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What made the experience of listening to The Scar the most enjoyable?
The endless and twisting ingenuity of Mieville - like being in the mirror dimension of classic fantasy, except the darkness beyond is constantly pulling you in. Great!
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Scar?
So many scenes. Armada is a true treat. The floating city of continually unfolding secrets. The hidden behind the scenes political plotting, you truly get the sense that it is a living, breathing place connected to the greater world.
Have you listened to any of Gildart Jackson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Great job - solid all the way through.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful