July 10th, 2008


land of the mosquito women!

the scar by china miéville.

first i should say: this is probably my favorite of the bas-lag books. i really liked iron council in the end arithmetic, & while i had some problems with perdido street station, it was at the very least interesting. this book was engaging, interesting, the whole nine (9) yards. i will say one very condemning thing about it, & be done with that: the main character is pretty unlikeable. i'd heard that from some people recommending the book to me, & it turns out to be...true! which reminds me of perdido street station a little, in that perdido... had two main characters for half the book, then midway through he sacrificed the interesting (female) character to add pathos to the dull (male) character. the main character of the scar splits the difference: uninteresting (female) character. still, the side characters, antagonists, all that rot? really gets you hook, line, & sinker. uther doul? that guy is a hilarious mess. the brucolac? & his moonship? how great is that. tanner sack? bravest guy in all the books, mister lets remake myself. fennec? fucker, what a great piece of a shit. great.

the plot keeps you moving. lofty, grand schemes, but with a perfect sense of scale. it can be hard, especially in fiction this fabulous, to lend a sense of importance & difficulty. how important is a train town utopia in the scheme of bas-lag? or some bad dreams & a few eaten brains? in the scar, you get a sense of just what is at stake, with each of the clarifications. settings? man, from armada to the remnants of the malarial queendom, the settings are vivid & pleasing. i guess i liked this book a lot, huh? another thing i will say: what the eff is up with londoners? with the brits in particular. new crobuzon is dripping with that cctv-big-brother paranoia of the british dystopians. it makes it tough: like, you have to give gotham something to make batman care about it, guy. i guess that falls into the category of "what the fuck, protagonist?" mentioned above.

theodore & franklin sapien! (i invented them just now; also helloboy)

b.p.r.d.: hollow earth & other stories by mike mignola, christopher golden, tom sniegoski, ryan sook, curtis arnold, brian mcdonald, derek thompson, & matt smith.

here is the thing about hellboy-- anybody who has talked to me about hellboy has probably heard this speech before-- hellboy (& thus hellboy) is a fantastic idea. i mean, golly. the nazi's summon the beast of the apocalypse, with the help of rasputin (the antichrist) except the american's stop them & raise the devil-monster on apple pie & bullets. how great is that? so solid. & his friend is an amphibian & a firestarter? okay, lets roll! usa, usa. mignola's art? gasp out loud great! look at those lines, curls & curves. look at that combination! move over chocolate & peanut butter, here comes hellboy! except...in execution, it is always pretty mediocre. panel layout, carry through, scope & impact...all just falls short. in fact, i usually bring up the hellboy movie at this point & point to it as a perfect example of what i mean. beautiful, right? del toro makes those colours drip on screen. well cast-- perlman is awesome, his relationship with selma blair has unexpected chemistry, & doug jones just makes everything better. but...it really is only an okay movie. a good movie to turn your brain off during. you know?

anyhow, in my experience, short stories are the best medium for hellboy. there isn't enough time to get let down, maybe? or maybe mignola underestimates how much people will "get" the central conceit. maybe in a short story the buy in takes over-- the reader groks, immediately, the monster paranormal buster. you know? any way you slice it, the shorter hellboy arcs stick better. b.r.p.d. capitalizes on that. there isn't any hellboy-- we're all abe sapien the fishman, roger the golem, johann the psychic entity, a little lobster & a little liz. i liked it a lot; is abe just the guy who will shoot a fool? that is pretty great. the stories in here are all worth a spin. & the "bonus features" in the back? normally i don't care about that sort of thing, but these concept sketches are fun & interesting, & i'm going to wikipedia stanislav szukalski in a second because of them. my point is, after all that complaining i did, that this works to the strength of the hellboy franchise, & i'm pleased about that.
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more of the laze! i wish i meant laser, but i'm actually sending out the language-pattern of "lazy." that vibration of telepathic sloth! i was going to go to the gym, but jenny had been in this super fun mood all day, & i decided to stay at home & capitalize on it. a plan which...failed! instead of hanging out, she worked on a project while i alternatingly read & played video games. she was putting all of our wedding photos together into a photo book, like my lulu nanowrimo, only this one is published by some cats called blurb. so that took up the bulk of her attention for the night, which is a bummer. i had picked up fruit, so we munched on that & then watched some more crappy celebreality. the schedule of our lives is still kind of off-kilter from the play, but i think it is slowly moving back into its proper orbit. tonight she works late, so with any luck i'll stir up the depths of my motivation & crawl over to the gym finally so i can stop talking about it. blah blah blech. me & my tricorn hat & my tricorn hate & my civil war blue & greys. what the fuck ever!
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