Blog Archives

#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

#CBR4 Maneuver #9 – Perdido Street Station

Target: China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Weird Fantasy, Psychological Horror, Bas-Lag

Summary: From the Back Cover, “Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies the city of New Crobuzon, where the unsavory deal is stranger to no one – not even to Isaac, a gifted and eccentric scientist who has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research.  But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as a Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges the has never before encountered.  Though the Garuda’s request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger.  Soon an eerie metamorphosis will occur that will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon – and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it evokes.” Read the rest of this entry

#CBR4 Maneuver #5 – Pirate Sun

Target: Karl Schroeder’s Pirate Sun (Virga #3)

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Military Fiction

Summary: From the Back Cover,

“Chaison Fanning, the admiral of a fleet of warships introduced in the first book, has been captured and imprisoned by his enemies but is now rescued and set free.  He must flee to his home city to confront the ruler who betrayed him.  Perhaps while there, he will also regain his lovely, powerful, and subversive wife, Venera.  He has not seen her since she fled, careening off into the air of Virga before he was captured, with the key to the artificial sun, Candesce, at the center of Virga” Read the rest of this entry

#CBR4 Maneuver #4 – The Rise of the Iron Moon

Target: Stephen Hut’s The Rise of the Iron Moon (Jackelian 3)

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Alien Invasion

Summary: From the Back Cover, “Born into captivity as a product of the Royal Breeding House, friendless orphan Purity Drake suddenly finds herself on the run with a forgone vagrant after accidentally killing one of her guards.

Her strange rescuer claims he is escaping from terrible forces who mean to enslave the Kingdom of Jackals as they conquered his own nation.  Purity doubts his story, until reports begin to filter through from Jackals’ neighbors of the terrible Army of Shadows, marching across the continent and sweeping all before them.

Purity may have little love for her government, but she chooses to fight to save her homeland and people.  The thing is, she hasn’t a clue how to do so.

As Jackals girds itself for war against an army of near-unkillable beasts serving an ancient evil, it soon becomes clear that there is more to Purity than meets the eye.  The kingdom’s only hope may be a strange little royalist girl and the last, desperate plan of an escaped slave.” Read the rest of this entry

#CBR4 Maneuver #3 – The Kingdom Beyond the Waves

Target: Stephen Hut’s The Kingdom Beyond the Waves (Jackelian 2)

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, Fantasy, Adventure

Summary: Adapted from the Back Cover, “Professor Amelia Harsh is obsessed with finding the lost civilization of Camlantis, a legendary city from prehistory that is said to have created the perfect pacifist society.  Without official funding, Amelia is forced to accept an offer of patronage from Abraham Quest, the man she blames for her father’s bankruptcy and suicide.  Quest has evidence that proves that the Camlantean ruins are buried under one of the sealike lakes that dot the murderous jungles of Liongeli.

Amelia will blackmail her old friend Commodore Black into ferrying her along a huge river on his ancient U-boat.  With an [untrustworthy] crew of freed convicts, Quest’s force of fearsome female mercenaries on board, and a lunatic steamman acting as their guide, Amelia’s luck seems to be going from bad to worse.  Her quest for the perfect society has a good chance of bringing her own world to the brink of destruction.” Read the rest of this entry

#CBR4 Maneuver #1 – The Court of the Air

Target: Stephen Hunt’s The Court of the Air

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, Fantasy, Adventure

Summary: From the Back Cover, “When streetwise Molly Templar witnesses a brutal murder at the brothel she has just recently been apprenticed to, her first instinct is to run back to the poorhouse where she grew up.  But there she finds her fellow orphans butchered, and it slowly dawns on her that she was the real target of the attack.

Oliver Brooks has led a sheltered existence in the backwater home of his merchant uncle.  But when he is framed for murder he flees for his life, accompanied by an agent of the mysterious Court of the Air.  Chased across the country, Oliver finds himself in the company of thieves, outlaws and spies.

Soon Molly and Oliver will find themselves battling a grave threat to civilization, an ancient power thought to have been quelled millennia ago.  Their enemies are ruthless and myriad but the two orphans are also aided by indomitable friends in this endlessly inventive tale full of drama, intrigue, and adventure.”  Read the rest of this entry

CBRIII Maneuver #29 – The Eyre Affair

Target: Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Series, Detective Novel

Summary: Edited from goodreads.com “Welcome to a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality, (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem, militant Baconians heckle performances of Hamlet, and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, until someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature. When Jane Eyre is plucked from the pages of Brontë’s novel, Thursday must track down the villain and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide.” Read the rest of this entry

CBRIII Maneuver #27 – Embassytown

Target: China Miéville’s Embassytown

Profile: Sci-fi, Speculative Fiction, Linguistics

Summary: From goodreads.com “In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak.

Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language.

When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties—to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.” Read the rest of this entry