Two Strikes on China Mieville (But A Home Run for Rex Stout)
For the second time, I have given up on a China Mieville novel . . . I tried to read Perdido Street Station and loved the wild imagery, the inter-species love affair, and the detailed bestiary of New Corubuzon, but got bored with the repetitive plot, and now I have given up on his new novel, Kraken, which happens in an bizarrely imagined version of London and recounts a "squidnapping" and-- among other things-- a Giant Squid Cult, a strike among magical familiars, people who can be folded up like origami, and other cool Philip K. Dick-esque (Dick-ian?) conceits, and although there is plenty of action, once again, the plot is rather lame and repetitive and so three hundred pages was enough for me . . . but the book I switched to-- a Nero Wolfe mystery called Some Buried Caesar, by Rex Stout-- is worth reading: a plot worthy of a Raymond Chandler novel, hard-boiled wisecracks worthy of Dashiell Hammett, and the near idolatry of a prize-winning bull named Hickory Caesar Brindon . . . a bovine protagonist always referred to by his full moniker: ten prize orchids out of ten.