the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘pirates

I recently reread China Mieville’s Iron Council, which came out in 2004 and was the third of his loosely related Bas-Lag books.  If you’re not familiar with this new-weird sci-fantasy series, you can read the three books – Perdido Street Station (2000),  The Scar (2002), and Iron Council (2004), in any order. These books take place in the same world, but follow different characters often in different parts of the world. Embassytown (2011) is most certainly not a Bas-Lag book, but in my mind it has the same feel.

 

Anyway, after finished Iron Council, of course I had to reread The Scar!  Mieville’s The Scar has long been one of my all time favorite science fiction (fantasy? other? i have no idea what this book is, except that I love it!) books, so it has been a joy to be reading this book over the last week or so.

 

With Iron Council so fresh in my mind, I can’t help but compare the two.  I’m also coming to these books with far more life experience and understanding of the  short term and long term consequences of governmental and societal decisions.  Upon reread they have completely different books. Better books with far more layers than I expected.    It’s been fun thinking about what Iron Council and The Scar have in common, but worrisome at the same time.  If they have this much in common, does that mean Mieville was telling the same story twice?

 

If you’ve not read much Mieville or any Bas-Lag books, this blog post will made no sense to you. #SorryNotSorry.

 

here’s what I mean:

Both books deal with the hubris of bending nature to our will in the name of progress – Iron Council had an unspoken thing about how easy it is to destroy nature and the homes of the people who already live there, all in the name of building a railroad. Even when the railroad is independent, there are descriptions of how the ground must be torn up and scarred for them to pass over it.  In The Scar, no spoilers, but the rulers of Armada have the hubris to assume all and any sea creatures can be exploited.

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Railsea, by China Mieville

published May 2012

where I got it: purchased new

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this is the story of a bloodstained boy.

A delightfully strange retelling of Moby Dick, Railsea has a number of literary nods on order – the asides that don’t have anything to do with our main characters but instead speak of the moler industry at large, the narrator breaking the fourth wall and teasing the reader, even a nice reference to Scylla and Carybdis.

Although Railsea is technically YA (no swearing, no sex, and no overt violence), Mieville never talks down to the reader. I suspect some fourteen year olds will put this book down after 50 pages, frustrated with coming across words they don’t know, whilst other fourteen year olds will simply find a dictionary or ask their parents what a certain word means. Sometimes the joy of reading is about the journey of the words, not the book you are reading.

We first meet our main character Sham ap Soorap when his moler train captures a giant moldywarpe and is chopping it up. The worst medical student ever, Sham is more generic helper on the train that useful physician’s assistant.  Young and unsure of where his life will take him, Sham seems to be going through the motions, hoping something will stand out as a sign of where his destiny lies.  The train travels its usual haunts, the captain constantly seeking information on the giant bone colored moldywarpe that took her arm.

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Has this been the most amazing read along or what?  10 weeks,  over 30 bloggers, 6 organizers, 1300+ pages of delicious bookness, incredibleness all around! And people, all that brilliance? ALL YOU.  Before I get even more maudlin, I should get right to it.

This week’s read along questions were provided by Lynn over at Lynn’s Book Blog, and make sure to give a shout out to our other wonderful organizers, Dark Cargo, My Awful Reviews, and @ohthatashley from SF Signal.

I’m out of town this weekend, and may not be available to collect links on Saturday. Leave your link in the comments, and click on everyone else’s links in the comments. When I get back into town next week I’ll update the link list. Viva la family vacation!

Because this is the last post, with all the mega spoilers, all the questions, answers, and snarky images are after the jump.  If you see any weird grammatical errors it’s because I’m trying to write in present tense but this post is actually happening in the future and I’ve already written it.

ready to talk spoilers?  let’s go!

* Finally edited on 5/29 to add everyone’s links. I’ll visit everyone as soon as I have time later this week.

Lynn’s Book Blog
Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers
Dark Cargo
Tethyan Books
Kaitharshayr’s Musings
All I Am – A Redhead
Hugo Endurance Project
Nashville Bookworm
Beware of the Froggies
Rose’s thingamajig
Genkinahito’s Blog
Scruffy Fiction
Books without Any Pictures
Real Books 4 Ever
Travels Through Iest
Paperless Reading
Central Neural Pathway Station
Booky Pony

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artwork by Windfreak

We’ve finally go some nice weather, so that means it’s time to read a story about pirates, right? If this weather holds I’ll be chilling in my garden all weekend doing the (Totoro) happy dance for my sprouting seeds.

it’s the midpoint of our Red Seas Under Red Skies read along, and if you can believe the plot is even more complicated than before. More than one reader has mentioned the similarities between Red Seas and Lies. I can’t argue with much of that, but right about now is the point where this novel goes off on it’s own direction to do it’s own dastardly dance. and I am loving every minute of it.  This week’s questions were provided by Ashley who blogs over at SF Signal and tweets at @ohthatashley. Shout outs to my read along co-hosts  as well, Dark Cargo, Lynn’s Book Blog and My Awful Reviews!

1. Locke and Jean’s ability to find themselves at the center of a serious mess seems unparalleled. At this point, do you think that Stragos will get the return he expects on his investment in them?

2. Merrain’s activities after our boys leave Windward Rock are interesting. What do you think her plans are?

3. Does anyone know why having cats aboard the ship is so important?

4. The word “mutiny” creates a lot of mental pictures. Were you surprised? Why or why not?

5. Ah, the Poison Orchid. So many surprises there, not the least of which were the captain’s children. Did you find the young children a natural part of the story?

6. Jean is developing more and more as a character as we get further in to the book. Ezri makes the comment to him that “Out here, the past is a currency, Jerome. Sometimes it’s the only one we have.” I think several interesting possibilities are coming into play regarding Jean and Ezri. What about you?

7. As we close down this week’s reading, the Thorn of Camorr is back! I love it, even with all the conflict.  Several things from their Camorri background have come back up. Do you think we will see more Camorri characters?

Let’s go visit all the other interesting conversations!

All I Am – a Redhead
Genkinahito’s Blog
Lynn’s Book Blog
Paperless Reading
Kaitharshayr’s Musings
Akki’s Arcanum
The Sleepless Reader
Dark Cargo
I want Life In Every Word
Scruffy Fiction
Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers
Books Without Any Pictures
Tethyan Books
Real Books 4 Ever
My Awful Reviews
Beware of the Froggies
Central Neural Pathway Station

NEW!
Nashville Book Worm

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 Red Seas Under Red Skies is the 2nd book in Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series. I suggest reading my review of the first book, The Lies of Locke Lamora here, and a little more about my love for Scott Lynch here.

It’s been a few years since Red Seas Under Red Skies came out, and I’ve read it more than a few times. It’s now without embarrassment that I can say the first time I read it I was reading too fast to understand what was happening. Honestly. The first time I read Red Seas I wasn’t sure if I liked it, going so far as to call it “not quite as friendly”, or some such. Only upon rereading did I realize that I’d become party to the most brilliant piece of misdirection I have ever seen.

Picking up a few years after Lies left off, Locke and Jean are working another scam in the gambling paradise of Tal Verrar (Think Monaco or some such, on more). The plan is the rip off Requin, the wealthiest casino owner, by playing on his pride, his reputation, and his love for fine antique furniture. It doesn’t hurt matters that Requin holds the deposits of Tal Verrar’s wealthy Priori leaders, who are desperate to be rid of an accidental military dictator, Maxilan Stragos. When Stragos makes Locke and Jean an offer they can’t refuse, they can’t help but try to start a pirate war.

That plot summary sounds rather silly, doesn’t it? So does the one line plot summary for most Doctor Who episodes, and we all know how that worked out. Let it be known, Red Seas Under Red Skies is approximately 0% silly, and 100% fucking awesome.

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I don’t have a review to post today. Yesterday the sun rose and set while I was at work, and it was fracking depressing. So, while I am bitching and whining about short winter days, here is some fun random stuff for you to enjoy.

I received a review copy of Mike Resnick’s The Buntline Special from Pyr, and it looks totally uber-fun! Thanks Pyr!!

Go check out this trailer for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean. They are making another one? seriously? That was my first thought too!! then I realized that not only is this new flick free of Keira Knightly-ness, but it is based on the Tim Powers  novel On Stranger Tides. And the trailer? looks pretty spiffy. I shall continue telling myself the third movie in the franchise never existed.

By the power of bloggers (I so wanted to say By the Power of Greyskull!!), TOR is taking over Facebook and the twittersphere.  Tor.com Fantasy is run by Aiden Moher of A Dribble of Ink, and Tor.com Science Fiction is run by Mark Chitty of Walker of Worlds. You will need to be a FB’er or a tweeter to do this particular happy dance.

Kamvision interviews Lauren Beukes, one of my new favorite authors. Her Zoo City is a top contender for my top 10 reads of 2010. This book needs to be on your January shopping list.

there may be more random stuff tomorrow.

Once upon a time I posted this review here.

John Chandagnac had a plan, and it was a good one. Go to Jamaica, approach his corrupt uncle, and get his inhertence back. Pretty easy, right? But this is a Tim Powers novel – nothing works out the way you plan.

A few days away from docking in Jamaica, John finally gets up the nerve to approach Beth Hurwood, an attractive young woman travelling with her father and mysterious doctor. Before their relationship can go any further, and before they reach Jamaica, the ship is beset by pirates. When it become obvious Beth’s father is in league with the pirates, John lets himself be recruited as an opportunity to live another few days, and maybe get Beth to safety. The fact that he can cook, fence, and act further ingratiates him to the pirate crew, led by Captain Davies, who answers to Blackbeard himself. John Chandagnac becomes Jack Shandy, starts learning voodoo magic, and begins to put together the pieces of what Mr. Hurwood and Blackbeard are planning.

Here is where On Stranger Tides gets wonderfully bizarre. Read the rest of this entry »


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.