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Friday, February 22, 2008 

For future reference

I tried reading China Mieville once, and although I certainly respect his talent I gave up fairly swiftly; I mean to try again (probably with his first book) at some point. But I also have a bunch of other books I want to read, thanks to his list of Fifty Fantasy & Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read. What I've read from the list is good, and his descriptions are intriguing.

I've only read Iron Council, and it took me a few chapters to get into it, but once I got the mood right I thought it was pretty amazing. Worth trying again sometime, for sure. I mean, there are only so many Gene Wolfe books...

...and I haven't even read all of them!

It was The Scar I tried, and I think part of my problem was feeling like I was missing some back story; at some point I'll get ahold of Perdido Street Station and try there.

Plus as a huge Steven Brust fan I have Freedom & Necessity in the apartment already, I just have to remember to find and read it.

Great collection of noteworthy titles- but I hate how they're pushed into -isms.
Hate -isms.
'cept Humanism.

I'll second Glenn's recommendation of Iron Council. It is a better book than Perdido Street Station (though PSS isn't bad, by any means), and you get enough of the background info as it goes along to make it work. You won't be wrong to start with PSS - it does introduce most of the races & core ideas of the Bas-Lag world - but jumping in the deep end can be more immersive.

And thanks for the link - I've read a dozen or so of these but more recommendations are always welcome.

I can understand the dislike, Hans, but I come from Canada, where we react to the word 'socialist' the way Americans react to 'capitalist' (in other words, most of us have a mild, unreasoning fondness for the idea, and a small minority possesses a rabid, equally un-thought-out hatred of it).

It's funny people are recommending Iron Council, because I found this list via a Mieville fan complaining he was giving up on the book. I enjoy immersiveness, of course, but I tend to get frustrated by feeling like I'm missing stuff, so PSS it is.

HA!!! Ian, that was awesome! In a sentence, you captured precisely the flipped capitalism/socialist/American/Canadian psyche. You are so right.
You forget one thing about me, though.
I'm Cuban.
Where the mentality is "We tried Communism! Oh, shit, this is worse than what we had before!!! Let's be stubborn and never change and repress any growth and turn against ourselves and kill ourselves and heck dream of capitalism, but we'll call it it COMMUNISM and we never back off from our "ideals", even though all of us realized this turned to shit a long time ago and our country is in ruins.

Believe me, I remembered your heritage, Hans - that's why I figured you'd enjoy that comment.

Communism: Great in theory, and I'm so so sorry to any people living under a regime that's tried (or pretended to try) to make it a reality.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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