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Arts and Letters

Silicon Council.

Seen and taken from Cliopatria, Crooked Timber holds an online symposium on China Mieville and Iron Council, which includes informed essays by John Holbo, Belle Waring, Henry Farrell, Miriam Elizabeth Burstein, John Quiggen, and most notably, Mieville himself. I haven’t gotten through all of these yet, but there’s some really good stuff here, including Mieville’s nuanced analysis of the great Tolkien-Moorcock divide in fantasy writing. (I for one think that, when it comes J.R.R.T., Moorcock is full of it, as is Phillip Pullman.) Of Mieville’s books, I most enjoyed Perdido Street Station and most admired The Scar. Iron Council was a good read in fine phantasmagoric Mieville form, but I ultimately thought it was too self-conscious in its historical agenda — At times I felt I was reading J. Anthony Lukas’s Big Trouble by way of Mervyn Peake. I appreciate what Mieville was trying to do…I just don’t think he quite pulled it off.

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