Saturday, May 1, 2010

The City & the City by China Miéville

Good Science Fiction uses an altered reality to reveal something about the real world that couldn’t be revealed without that altered setting. Great Science Fiction does this and entertains as well. China Miéville’s The City and the City is really great Scifi. It begins feeling like a dark, well-written, noir-style mystery – a body has been found in the city of Beszel, detective Borlu has been assigned to investigate – but the story quickly takes a sci-fi turn. Beszel exists, somehow, in the same place as the completely separate, foreign city of Ul Qomo. The book is both about the murder and about how these two cities exist intermingled the way they are. Yes, it is sometimes a little confusing, but I trusted Miéville to make it clear as I went along and I was not disappointed. This is the best book I’ve read this year. If you’re up to it, it would make a fantastic book club selection.