Monday, 26 October 2009

Blurb for Miéville's new novel 'Kraken'

Fans of China Miéville have been wondering for some time when the author would return to his fascinating world of Bas-Lag - the last novel set in that world was 2004's Iron Council (which seems to be generally regarded as something of a disappointment). Miéville then decided to move away from the setting, citing in an interview that he didn't want to become 'the guy that wrote Bas-Lag novels.'

Nothing wrong with wanting to try something a little different, but it was a rather curious move to risk potentially alienating some of the fans he'd gained through the Bas-Lag books. The move arguably caused a degree of pressure, since his two subsequent novels - Un Lun Dun and The City and the City - received mixed reviews.

However, it finally looks like us Miéville fan-boys are getting what we want - a return to the world of Bas-Lag with his new novel Kraken. While it's not yet definitely been confirmed as a Bas-Lag novel, the blurb - to me - seems reminiscent of Bas-Lag:

"The Natural History Museum's prize exhibit - a giant squid - suddenly disappears. This audacious theft leads Clem, the research scientist who has recently finished preserving the exhibit, into a dark urban underworld of warring cults and surreal magic. It seems that for some, the squid represents a god and should be worshiped as such. Clem gradually comes to realise that someone may be attempting to use the squid to trigger an apocalypse. And so it is now up to him and a renegade squid-worshiper named Dean to find a way of stopping the destruction of the world as they know it whilst themselves surviving the all out-gang warfare that they have unwittingly been drawn into..."

Three words - bring it on. This blurb has got me rather excited; it's vintage Miéville. No cover art yet, but no doubt it'll materialise soon. Release date has been slated as 7 May 2010. Can't wait for this one, The Scar is one of the best fantasy novels I've ever read, so my expectations are pretty high (especially since I was rather disappointed by The City and the City).

Must try and read Perdido Street Station and Iron Council before Kraken is released...

Edit: I've emailed Pan Mac for confirmation on whether Kraken is a Bas-Lag novel, will let you know if I find out anything...

11 comments:

Martin said...

The blurb doesn't make it doesn't sound very much like a Bas Lag novel.

sg4 said...

Rather misleading title for the blog entry. You had me all excited when this popped up in my rss reader. I will await proper confirmation before getting my hopes up. Maybe in future you should think about your blog entry titles a tiny bit more.

James said...

"This audacious theft leads Clem, the research scientist who has recently finished preserving the exhibit, into a dark urban underworld of warring cults and surreal magic."

That suggests to me that it's a Bas-Lag novel, but I concede that it might not be. I guess I'll check with his publisher and see if I can find out...

James said...

I've removed the mention of Bas-Lag from the title until it's been confirmed. Don't want an army of Mieville fanboys coming after me if it's not. :)

Martin said...

It might well be a Bas Lag novel, I seem to remember it being touted as such when the title was released last year. That blurb reminds me most of King Rat though and I could imagine it being set in London.

Or Ambergris.

Anonymous said...

"The move arguably caused a degree of pressure, since his two subsequent novels - Un Lun Dun and The City and the City - received mixed reviews."

I don't think The City and the City received any more mixed reviews than the Bas-Lag novels. From my impression it might have been his generally best received novel of all.

Maurice said...

I can understand why Iron Council was not so well received. Mieville's style is quite different in that one, I would say very toned down in how he uses his sentences, BUT his ideas and plot are still absolutely crazy and excellent. I was so ready to be disappointed, by it, but that was yet another Bas-Lag book that I did not want to end.

Giant Leaper said...

I don't understand why people found Iron Council a let down, or much different in style, as a huge fan of Perdido and Scar I have loved Iron Council for the same reasons - incredible prose, original and weird settings and events, more-ish characters, magic, darkly mystical themes and tangents...I was worried when I picked it up but thankfully it delivers beautifully on every level. The Kraken certainly doesn't sound Bas Lag though, but still, the blurb is very exciting!

Anonymous said...

To be honest, its sounds like a flat improvisation on Lovecraft. Now I said it.

I hope this is just another aspect of its weirdness.

Sparrowhawk said...

I'm 99% it isn't a Bas-Lag novel at all. I met Mr. Mieville briefly at a talk at the University of Kansas. He signed my copy of Perdido Street Station and while he was signing it I asked him if his new book was a Bas-Lag book. He's very guarded, and the ONLY thing I got out of him was that it wasn't, but that it was more "like that" than "City & The City", but that it wasn't a Bas-Lag book.

Personally, I think Iron Council is an awesome culmination/finale to the Bas-Lag "trilogy". I'm all for an author ending their stint in a certain setting/series if they truly feel it is time to stop. Seems like when someone tries to draw out their series' to please people or explain every single possible little detail, it ends up feeling like filler.

If you're hankering for something similar, you may check out Jeff Vandermeer's "Ambergris" books. He's immensely talented.

philosopheinvisible said...

I hate to break this to you, but the Natural History Museum is in London. And having heard CM read a substantial chunk of this about two years ago I can confirm that it's closer to King Rat than anything since.