January 21, 2005
Amazon.com really thinks that I should buy China Mieville (2004), The Iron Council (New York: Del Rey: 0345464028), plus Kage Baker (2004), Mother Aegypt: and Other Stories (New York: Night Shade Books: 1892389754).
Posted by DeLong at January 21, 2005 07:03 PM
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Don't take it personally, they are ramming the "Iron Council" down my throat every time I drop in too.
Posted by: So-Called "Austin Mayor" at January 21, 2005 07:12 PM
iron council is ok. perdido street station is better. china mieville is a steam-punk sci fi writer and a marxist economist! evidently amazon wants to dose you with some of his fantastical historical materialism.
Posted by: sammy at January 21, 2005 07:15 PM
Posted by: at January 21, 2005 07:31 PM
Well, you should buy Iron Council, of course. Amazon is wrong about lots of things, but they're right about that. (Unless you've already bought it. If so, you probably don't need to own two copies.)
Opinions differ about the relative merits of the three New Crobuzon novels. I happened to like Iron Council the best, then The Scar, then Perdido Street Station, which seems to be a minority view. Perhaps this is because I'm fascinated by the 1848 revolutions, which seemed to me to be what Iron Council was about. But whichever of the three you like best, you really ought to read all of them.
Posted by: Matt Austern at January 21, 2005 08:21 PM
At one point, I was reading a lot of books on three subjects: addiction, astronomy, and primatology. These wee three completely separate issues, but Amazon kept trying to interest me in books that it thought combined them (Hello hilzoy! We have recommendations for you: Orangutans Taking Heroin in Space!)
Posted by: hilzoy at January 21, 2005 08:49 PM
I couldn't finish Iron Council...It's too much new stuff in an old world, and I didn't feel like learning all about it, when I've read two novels already in that world, and I still can't get a grasp of geography or all the basic types...
Posted by: shah8 at January 21, 2005 08:53 PM
Why not just reread Gormenghast and eliminate the middleman?
Posted by: rilkefan at January 21, 2005 10:36 PM
Yes, by all means, read Iron Council. But you should read Perdido Street Station to get a taste of his world.
You might also read the minisymposium about it on Crooked Timber. Warning, though: many spoilers.
Posted by: Theophylact at January 22, 2005 10:08 AM
Since nobody has chimed in on Kage Baker, let me say that the book Mother Ægypt is excellent, but would be easier to fathom in the context of the two series in which the stories interleave: her Novels of the Company science fiction (in which "Mother Ægypt" fits, and without which it seems just to be ambiguously creepy), and the fantasy setting she's been developing in Anvil of the World.
The Novels of the Company are great -- but unfinished. Fast readers will be disappointed in discovering that they've worked through five books-full of slow, entrancing development of a grand time-spanning hard science fiction conspiracy theory to find that the climactic last couple aren't done yet.
But they are good.
Posted by: Bill Tozier at January 22, 2005 11:07 AM
Not to be (I hope) a completely irritating lefty, but Amazon overwhelmingly supported Republican candidates last cycle, offshored much of their customer service operations to India, continue to treat their warehouse staff like endentured servants (not to mention only opening new warehouses in states with loose union laws), and generally paying their employees substandard wages and salaries, and expecting near religious devotion in return.
Beneath the hip veneer, Amazon is just another corporation, and the bottom line is still the bottom line.
I know. I used to work there, and quit a few years ago, exhausted and with worthless stock options.
Need to buy a book online? Try Powells Books:
Posted by: Robin the Hood at January 22, 2005 12:35 PM
I second the Kage Baker. Since Brad has been looking for a spare copy of Mendoza in Hollywood, I think he's probably aware of the Company novels and their unfinished status. The Anvil of the World is also excellent.
The Mieville... shoot. I wanted him to be an Alan Moore, but instead he's a Warren Ellis. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Posted by: Carlos at January 22, 2005 01:24 PM
I've been buying from Amazon for a while, but they are sounding sort of scummy. Is Borders any better?
Posted by: Aaron at January 22, 2005 10:17 PM
"I've been buying from Amazon for a while, but they are sounding sort of scummy. Is Borders any better?"
No idea, but probably not much. Corporations are corporations. Powells is independent, and their stuff comes from the same distributors everyone else's stuff comes from.
Posted by: Robin the Hood at January 23, 2005 01:29 PM
[another comment spam makes it through]
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