Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The City & The City And Sleeping I Swear

New feature, which hopefully, will appear every week on Wednesday. In my attempt to get a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule going, I'm dedicating Wednesday to some piece of media I'm finished with, digesting or still trying to figure out.

I read two books since I left for Rome. The first is China Mieville's The City & The City with the second being Camus' (which I learned recently is pronounce Cam-Ooooooh) the Stranger. I'll talk about it more on Friday.

SPOILERS for The City & The City, obviously, follow.

The City & The City

I liked it a lot, despite the fact that I couldn't fully visualize the conceit of the setting, that two cities share the same real estate, but none of the same laws. I think because it focused more on being a detective story than something more science fiction y, I was able to follow it was easier for me to swallow.

Also, I am compelled to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of insider betrayals on the police force. I was waiting, the entire goddamn time for either the partner from Ul Qora to be secretly informing on him for the bad guys or for the female cop back in Besz that he was flirting with to fill that role.

Of course, it ended up being the least likely person (as it always is, and often should be) so, I was still surprised. The detective himself wasn't particularly memorable, he could have just as easily been called Damn The Rules, Lives In A Shitty Apartment, Lawful Good Detective A and that would have covered just about everything. But that's only if you consider strict adherence to a traditional good guy style to be a bad thing.

I haven't read a detective/crime story (that wasn't in a comic) in a while, so in addition to being worth the money on its own, it's a nice preparation for whatever the hell 2666 is bringing my way. Seriously. The thing is a behemoth. I think I put it in my drawer just so I didn't have to be intimidated by its sheer weight and surprising height.

Anyway. Back to The City & The City. The premise is interesting. There's a murder and then it goes out of jurisdiction is a pretty uniform plot, but in a city where there are two populations that literally cannot look at each other, it makes the tension and distrust between those two cities, a lot more pronounced. And, it makes finding and collating evidence, the process of justice, even harder.

The details (like that the Besz cops are still on dial up) are a nice reminder of how not far in the future the story is set. Hell, some of it even involves a college! So yes. I like it and I'd even recommend it to my mother or father. That might not be a compliment for some people, but I think it's a testament to how solidly the story is written.

This song has little and I'd argue nothing to do with the book, but it's what I've been listening to since I could sit down at the internet. I don't know what it's about, but the chorus is to kill for. Enjoy.

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