Chasing the squid

On Tuesday, 13 August 2013, I met former co-workers Ken G., Bob R., and Michele & Paul D. for dinner at City Streets in Waltham, Mass. We then went to Lizzy’s Ice Cream on Moody Street for dessert and our latest “Escapists” book club meeting.

We discussed China Mieville’s Kraken, which Bob, Michele, and I liked, but Ken and Paul didn’t. Here’s my Goodreads review of the novel:

KrakenKraken by China Miéville

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve enjoyed every China Miéville book I’ve read so far, and Kraken is no exception. Fans of modern urban fantasy will enjoy this look at an alternate London, where apocalyptic cults duel in the shadows and a museum curator stumbles in his flight from inhuman assassins.

Mieville’s social sarcasm, thicket of allusions, and linguistic acrobatics are all present, if somewhat toned down from his other novels. I’d compare Kraken favorably with Gaiman’s American Gods for its mythic lyricism, punctuated by banality and violence. Like any visit to the strange creatures under museum glass, it’s worth a visit, taken with a grain of salt….

View all my reviews

Steam squid
Steampunk squid

I’ve also recently read and enjoyed David Brin’s Existence, which incorporates his optimistic ruminations on the not-too-distant future (a nice counterpoint to the latest wave of dystopias) and serves as sort of a prequel to his excellent “Upliftseries. Like Mieville, he subverts reader expectations but still has faith in our better angels….

Escapists” book club reviews (5 members), 2012 to 2013:

  • American Gods, Neil Gaiman: 3.38 (out of 4.0)
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon: 3.28
  • Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut: 2.94
  • World War Z, Max Brooks: 2.02
  • Daytripper, Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon: 3.6
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein: 2.64
  • Kraken, China Mieville: ?