LOOKING FOR JAKE CHINA MIEVILLE PDF

It used to be that writers cut their teeth and honed their style in the short fiction world of magazines and quarterlies, collections and anthologies, slowly climbing the ladder of success to novel-hood. But today, any writer with a good idea and manuscript in hand and a little good luck can get published. Iain Banks, for example, has twenty-seven novels published, but only one short story collection. China Mieville is another writer whose initial successes were novel- rather than short fiction-based. Containing dark, occasionally artistic, often florid stories of horror, fantasy, and things marginally between, Looking for Jake and Other Stories is collection and is the subject of this review.

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It used to be that writers cut their teeth and honed their style in the short fiction world of magazines and quarterlies, collections and anthologies, slowly climbing the ladder of success to novel-hood. But today, any writer with a good idea and manuscript in hand and a little good luck can get published. Iain Banks, for example, has twenty-seven novels published, but only one short story collection.

China Mieville is another writer whose initial successes were novel- rather than short fiction-based. Containing dark, occasionally artistic, often florid stories of horror, fantasy, and things marginally between, Looking for Jake and Other Stories is collection and is the subject of this review.

Epistolary in form and edgily atmospheric in tone, the narrator describes London after a strange apocalypse. Monsters and other horrors forever hovering at the edges of empty streets and macabre scenes, Mieville is obviously attempting a moody, artistic piece regarding the evolution of society. A short but solid piece that uses metaphor nicely. The evolution of the city described via the strange behavior of the roads, it too is one of the best pieces in the collection.

Those who like a dense effusion of descriptions in a tale of the macabre will enjoy this short. It made tools of shadows and silence, keeping dark and quiet stitched to it as the giant tracked its false trail.

The little familiar sent fibres into the ground, to pipework inches below. In the time honored tradition of Alice in Wonderland, it is delightful nonsense. Its influences classical, those who enjoy H. Lovecraft will probably enjoy this coming-of age via the strangely unexplainable. Out of curiosity, he follows the instructions contained within and brings objects to the locations designated. All goes well until he begins noticing strange things happening at these locations, and decides to dig a little deeper.

The story escalates nicely, but seems to serve no purpose beyond the story. Thinking his view upon the world will improve, when a group of young boys start to taunt and harass him, his optimism takes a hit, however. Not a memorable story, but another nice use of metaphor. The fight will test his skills and willpower in this inconsequential story of angst and paranoia. Good for a smile, but nothing more. Feeling like material from the cutting room floor, those craving more from New Crobuzon will probably be disappointed by this spurious bit of material.

Saving the best for last, The Tain is also the longest piece in the collection. Set in a bleak, post-apocalyptic London, the narrative switches back and forth between a loner named Sholl and an imago. Brought into our world against their will through mirrors, imagos are creatures who resemble humans but do not consider themselves any part of our existence. Dangerous to humans, Sholl attempts to discover why they leave him alone, and in fact, intentionally avoid him. What he finds is not what he—or the reader—expects.

A philosophically artistic piece, The Tain features Mieville tackling the challenge of writing an atmospheric narrative a la Mervyn Peake yet in the surreal, thought-provoking vein of Jorge Luis Borges. Though the language is sometimes cumbersome, Mieville successfully creates a realistic vision of a London in ruin and sympathy for both Sholl and the imago as they try to come to terms with the situation they are in, the meaning behind it, and how to move on.

In the end, Looking for Jake and Other Stories is a dark, brooding, and ultimately an uneven collection given the variation of quality and sense of purpose to the pieces. Almost entirely urban fantasy and horror, a couple of the pieces feel more like experimentation in style rather than serious efforts, while others are run of the mill genre work.

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Looking for Jake

Working now as a building inspector, he sees and hears the dead continuously in the foundations of buildings — countless mutilated bodies stacked together like bricks and mortar — and tries desperately to appease them so he will be left alone. This story was co-written with Emma Bircham and Max Schaefer. After the witch attempts to dispose of the creature in a canal the familiar begins to explore London on its own, developing into something more dangerous and powerful than its creator had imagined. The disease is contracted entirely via uttering of a certain word which the story gives but never reveals its proper pronunciation. The disease causes insanity and the need to repeat the word over and over to large crowds.

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