Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Iron Council by China Meville

Meville has cool ideas. It’s that simple. From golem commanding thaumaturgies to mangled half-men Remade, to the catacopic stained zones where chaos reigns, he shows us a darkly fantasic mirror of our own world.

The Iron Council is set in the same world as Perdido Street Station, many years after the events described therin. It’s not a sequel, or really related in any way, and you don’t need to be familiar with Meville’s other works to enjoy this one.

Meville could improve the occasional impenetrability of his prose, which makes wading through all of his novels a bit tiresome at points. He overuses arcane words, and obscures the flow of narrative needlessly on occasion.

But he gives you very interesting places, characters, and action sequences. What do they they all really mean? Not much, I think, other than telling a fine and dark tale of things that might have occurred in a strange place which never existed. It’s not fantasy, except in a literal sense. It’s not horror, though often horrific. It’s fine speculative science fiction, I suppose. And it’s good, if a bit tedious at times.

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