Books of short stories are always hard to review, and China Mieville books are also hard to review, so I’m not sure how much I have to say about this one. I love China, and his books always make me think, and he’s amazing at atmosphere. He’s in this weird in-between limbo where I’d almost call him one of my favorite authors, but none of his actual books would make my favorites books list. I’ve been spacing out and savoring his stuff since I discovered him two Cannonballs ago, so there may be favorites ahead. I always start his books with a delightful sense of anticipation, and this one was no different.
China is not afraid to take risks and try new things with his writing, and the short story format gives him lots of good wiggle room. There’s a story told in comic book form. There’s a really interesting one where he’s writing not just first-person, but actually as China Mieville. There’s a story set in New Crobuzon, which made me very happy and weirdly homesick. There were too many stories without proper endings, that just trailed off into ….dun dun DUUUUUUN. That could be my own personal failing, though – I always want more details.
The man has the imagination of a pack of Edgar Allan Poe-obsessed middle school kids, and he’s not afraid to use it. I appreciate his marvelous writing, and his ability to drop me into a story, Again, though, I wouldn’t put any of these stories on my favorites list. But I will continue to devour everything he writes, just in case.