Thursday, April 27, 2017

This Census-TakerThis Census-Taker by China Miéville
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can't say that I'm completely satisfied with this novella, but I can say that I'm haunted by it. I'm haunted by all the little details that make up this world so much like our own, the hints of wars and magics and strange chemicals and vials and keys that provide people with purpose and a way out or through the labyrinths of their lives...

Not to mention a very Schrodinger's Cat view of reality, where murderers are and are not, where the murdered is and is not, where, perhaps, everything is rewritten and only census takers can determine the correct average.

Not that I'm truly or even likely getting the grok of this novel. I am just using my intuition. But it's possible.

We've got a murder mystery, first and foremost, and not even the MC, a kid who constantly doubts what he's seen, can really take the measure of it. No one in the town can, but everyone suspects everything.

And then there's the trademark monsters and monstrosities that Meivillé is so good at.

I can honestly say this feels like a more mature work from his earlier stuff, more willing to take the slow path while all the little details encroach upon us from the periphery.

I respect it. It also happens to be nominated for the '17 Hugos, and while I wouldn't put it at the top of my list, I totally agree it should be here. It's very impressive in its way even if I catch myself wanting a lot more than where it ended.

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