It's 1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseille, American engineer - and occult disciple - Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group, including surrealist theorist André Breton....
With this outrageous new novel, China Miéville has written one of the strangest, funniest, and flat-out scariest books you will read this—or any other—year....
Casting shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, The City & the City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights....
Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear....
In a remote house on a hilltop, a lonely boy witnesses a profoundly traumatic event. He tries - and fails - to flee....
The renowned fantasy and science fiction writer China Mieville has long been inspired by the ideals of the Russian Revolution....
In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak....
What William Gibson did for science fiction, China Miéville has done for fantasy, shattering old paradigms with fiercely imaginative works of startling, often shocking, intensity....
In Borne a young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments....
On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt....
Every novella by Ursula K. Le Guin, an icon in American literature, collected for the first time - and introduced by the legendary author - in one breathtaking volume....
From best-selling author Neal Stephenson and critically acclaimed historical and contemporary commercial novelist Nicole Galland comes a captivating and complex near-future thriller....
After attacking Devil's Reef in 1928, the US government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean and their sleeping god, Cthulhu....
This is the way the world ends. For the last time. A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great, red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash....
In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindling shares of the Colorado River....
Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets....
For more than three decades, Ellen Datlow has been at the center of horror....
A power-driven young woman has just one chance to secure the status she craves and regain priceless lost artifacts prized by her people....
The fiction of multiple award-winning author China Miéville is powered by intelligence and imagination. Like George Saunders, Karen Russell, and David Mitchell, he pulls from a variety of genres with equal facility, employing the fantastic not to escape from reality but instead to interrogate it in provocative, unexpected ways.
London awakes one morning to find itself besieged by a sky full of floating icebergs. Destroyed oil rigs, mysteriously reborn, clamber from the sea and onto the land, driven by an obscure but violent purpose. An anatomy student cuts open a cadaver to discover impossibly intricate designs carved into a corpse's bones - designs clearly present from birth, bearing mute testimony to...what?
Of such concepts and unforgettable images are made the 28 stories in this collection - many published here for the first time. By turns speculative, satirical, and heart-wrenching, fresh in form and language, and featuring a cast of damaged yet hopeful seekers who come face to face with the deep weirdness of the world - and at times the deeper weirdness of themselves - Three Moments of an Explosion is a fitting showcase for one of literature's most original voices.
Maybe even 4.5 stars. I really liked this collection. Some of the stories I loved. Adored even. Some were too light. Some extremely dense. But none were uninteresting.
Many SF/horror/noir writers get funky by bending the plot. Miéville does it by bending his words. He alters reality by converting language, both known and familiar, into something alien and the strange. Those thin threads he weaves between the normal and the exotic are done often (not always) with a slight of hand with language; a flick of his prose tongue. He is also getting better and better at the polished, palitable otherworldiness of his worlds. There is a glaze in his stories that makes reading Miéville both delicious AND disturbing at the same time.
Part of Miéville's genius [and NO, I don't use genius lightly] is his ability to find the strange in our world and escalate it. Use it as a mental catalyst to unlock some deeper key. Space elevators? He will take that to the next level. Marxist materialism? Just wait to read what he does with the Ash Heap of History. Scrimshaw? Therapy? Card tricks? Enhanced Interrogation? He will outsmart your expectations with each one. He will extract the magic from old bones or a discarded rag. He will find the horror in the shadows that haven't been cast yet.
Anyway, here is the list of his stories:
"Three Moments of an Explosion"
"The Condition of New Death"
"The Dowager of Bees"
"In the Slopes"
"The 9th Technique"
"The Rope Is the World"
"The Buzzard’s Egg"
"After the Festival"
"The Dusty Hat"
"The Bstard Prompt"
"A Second Slice Manifesto"
"Four Final Orpheuses"
"Listen the Birds"
Some of these stories, individually, at length. Some stories just hang there defying gravity in my mind. Other stories sit hard in my stomach, neither digesting or moving, just sitting and waiting for the right moment to hatch.
18 of 26 people found this review helpful
3.5 stars. China Mieville is an author that can be hit or miss with me in novel form, though I enjoy his baroque, surrealist imagination and his dedication to rethinking how fantasy is supposed to work.
The stories here are mostly more in the line of Borges or Kafka than what people usually think of when they think of fantasy, sci-fi, or horror, though there are touches of those genres (in their mainstream incarnation) here. The tone tends towards quietly unsettling, with some surreal element dropped into an otherwise recognizable world. A few go in a more obviously metaphorical or philosophical direction.
Mieville likes to create intricate realities and can be somewhat oblique, so many of the pieces took a second listen before their rewards revealed themselves to me. If you're a reader that's easily frustrated by stories that are ambiguous or not strongly plot-driven, this collection might not be for you. For the most part, it's all more in the vein of the City & The City than Perdido Street Station.
Polynia: One day, icebergs materialize in the skies above London and float there, observed by a middle-school boy and his friends. Mysteriously unaffected by gravity or weather, the bergs remain for years, attracting explorers. They seem to be the reincarnations of melted icebergs lost to climate change. Quite haunting.
In the Slopes: On a small Mediterranean island, archeologists are digging out the remains of ancient villagers entombed in volcanic ash, a la Pompeii. But among them are the remains of otherworldly beings. Strange things happen when a local shopkeeper, the protagonist, gets involved in a petty squabble between two rival researchers. Lovecraftian without emulating Lovecraft.
Watching God: A Borges-esque piece about ships that pass by an isolated spit of land, but never visit the inhabitants, who are left to wonder if the occasional shipwrecks and reefings are meant to be some sort of a message. Heavily metaphorical.
The Buzzard's Egg: An old man imprisoned in a tower is responsible for caring for the idols that the surrounding empire has taken hostage from enemy lands. He has an amusing "conversation" with one god, but we gradually learn about this man and his history. Enjoyed the timeless feel of this one.
The Junket: A Quentin Tarantino-esque filmmaker who's a non-religious Jew makes a horror movie that plays off of anti-Jewish caricatures, but is murdered before he can explain his intentions. Critics and audiences can't agree on what to make of it.
The Design: A medical student in the 1930s discovers that intricate scrimshaw art is carved into the bones of a cadaver, but only confides in an associate who's a bit more than a friend. A very effective story about the weight of secrets and the unwanted attention they might bring you.
The less successful stories were still listen-worthy, but had slightly underwhelming Twilight Zone-like twists or were a bit too fuzzy in their magic realism for me. An obvious example is one about a therapist whose approach to separating her patients from their more toxic friends and lovers isn't quite as clever of a fictional twist as it wants to be. There are also several short "movie trailers" that are impressively imaginative, but have no apparent point besides that. Perhaps Mieville was floating some novel ideas, to gauge the response.
But, overall, it's a fairly good collection, highlighting the more literary side of this author. If you want straight-up weird fantasy, go with Perdido Street Station.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
I'm a huge China fan and have read most of his books. I should have realized that some of his later stuff tends to be a bit more complicated (looking at you Embassytown), requiring a reread here and there; playing with syntax and structure.
I found his short stories to be truly amazing but I would recommend reading this book and not listening to it. Only the longer stories tend to work out here because you have time to settle in and think on them.
There a lot of short stories crammed here, some only paragraphs. By the time one would end, and it would take a second to realize it was over, another would begin; without the chance to comprehend the events that just unfolded.
He also has a few movie "trailers" in here, the vocalists read every time marker ("second 5-7") which breaks up the intended effect, if you were reading it you might notice the times but just read the text next to it. Because of this, the trailers are a miss.
Great book, but short stories from China doesn't make for a great audio experience (often times wishing for the book to reread or scan back pages).
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I always give mad props whenever I read anything from China Miéville because I like his bizarre style of writing. "Three Moments of an Explosion" consist of twenty eight short stories revolving on one theme, the explosion of London. It should been a great book, but after a while the stories got too convoluted and didn't really drive my interest to finish on a fashionable time. Great monsters and some twisted horror from the meat faces, but there were twenty short stories that got in the way on a good plot.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Three Moments of an Explosion in three words, what would they be?
Nicholas Guy Smith
Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I wish that Nicholas Guy Smith narrated this entire short story collection.
If you could rename Three Moments of an Explosion, what would you call it?
I would not rename it.
Any additional comments?
I am usually a far of this author, but there is a disjointed quality to this work that prevented me from enjoying it. His style lends itself much better in my opinion to longer form works such as his magnificent Perdido Street Station and Kraken, to name just two.
Narrator really made the pieces work. This eclectic combination of normalcy and surrealism presents a very abstandard version of science fiction.
read every thing by china, this shows an evolution boarding on will self but better.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
I have read and enjoyed Miéville's earlier books and short stories. A small number of the current stories were entertaining, but most were boring. Since this may be the writer's trend, I thinks I am finished with him. Too bad!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful