Monthly Archives: April 2012

#CBR4 Maneuver #14 – Under Heaven

Target: Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven 

Profile: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Summary: From the Back Cover, “Shen Tai is the son of a general who let the forces of imperial Kitai in that empire’s last war against their western enemies from Tagur, twenty years before.  Forty thousand men on both sides were slain beside a remote mountain lake.  General Shen Gao himself has died recently.  To honor his father’s memory, Tai has spent two years of official mourning alone at the battle site among the ghosts of the dead, laying to rest their unburied bones.

One spring morning, he learns that others have taken note of his vigil.  The White Jade Princess in Tagur is pleased to present him with two hundred and fifty Sardian horses, given, she writes, in recognition of his courage and hour done to the dead.

You give a man one of the famed Sardians to reward him greatly.  You give him four or five to exalt him above his fellows and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal.  Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor.

Tai starts east towards the glittering, dangerous imperial capital and gathers his wits for a return from solitude by a mountain lake to his own forever-altered life.”

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#CBR4 Maneuver #13 – Lamb

Target: Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. 

Profile: Comic Fantasy, Absurdist Literature, Religious Fiction?

Summary: From the Back Cover, “The Birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years – except Biff, the Messiah’s best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in this divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work.

Verily, the story that Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healing, kung fu, corpse, demons and hot babes.  Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior’s pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny.  But there’s no one who love Josh more – except maybe ‘Maggie,’ Mary of Magdala – and Biff isn’t about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.”

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#CBR4 Maneuver #12 – Kraken

Target: China Miéville’s Kraken: An Anatomy

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Metafantasy

Summary: From the Back Cover, “Deep in the research wing of London’s Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid.  But what does it mean when this creature – the kraken – suddenly and impossibly disappears?  For curator Billy Harrow it’s the start of a headlong pitch into a London awash in secret currents of myth and magic – a weird metropolis where competing cults, cops and criminals, wizards and assassins, are locked in a war with unimaginable consequences.  For the magnificent missing sea beast may be more than just a biological rarity.  There are those who are sure it’s a god.  A god that someone is hoping will end the world.”

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#CBR4 Maneuver #11 – The City & the City

Target: China Miéville’s The City & the City

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Crime Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Weird Fiction

Summary: From the Back Cover, “When a murdered woman is found in the city of Besźel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad.  To investigate, Borlú must travel from the decaying Besźel to its equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the vibrant city of Ul Qoma.  But this is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a seeing of the unseen.  With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one.  As the detectives uncover the dead woman’s secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them more than their lives.  What stands against them are murderous powers in Besźel and in Ul Qoma – and most terrifying of all, that which lies between the two cities.”  Read the rest of this entry

#CBR4 Maneuver #10 – The Scar

Target: China Miéville’s The Scar

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Weird Fantasy, Pirate Adventure, Bas-Lag

Summary: From the Back Cover, “Aboard a vast seafaring vessel, a band of prisoners and slaves, their bodies remade into grotesque biological oddities, is being transported to a fledgling colony of New Crobuzon.  They are joined by a handful of travelers, each with a reason for fleeing the city.  When the ship is besieged by pirates on the Swollen Ocean, the senior officers are executed.  The surviving passengers are brought to Armada, a city constructed from the hulls of stolen ships – a floating, landless mass whose bizarre leaders harbor a sinister agenda.” Read the rest of this entry