Tag Archives: Squid

Hoi An, Danang and Hue too hot

Hue Imperial Citadel promenade
Hot muthas

Despite its wealth of historical monuments and glorious vistas, central Vietnam in May is an act of self-flagellating masochism.

But let me begin this account from the beginning, with everyone’s favourite travelling trope – a crazy bus story.

We took a sleeper bus from Dalat round the mountains down to Danang, with the rain pounding the windows and the night sky lit by lightning, like an epileptic’s nightmare.

During the night, the bus came to a halt on a twisting mountain road. Up ahead, vehicle floods lit a rabble of people inspecting some obstacle in the way. I needed to stretch my legs so I got out to have a nose at what was going on.

Continue reading Hoi An, Danang and Hue too hot

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Kraken – China Miéville – [Book Review]

Kraken by China Miéville
The book I brought out with me, Kraken, by China Miéville.

I first came across China Miéville last year, during a sci-fi binge that I had hoped would bring me up to date with the genre. Despite enjoying science fiction, my sample of it was rather antiquated – Shelley, Verne, Wells – being mostly from Literature classes.

Some cursory research (Top 100s and the like) led me to The City & The City (2009), an immensely rewarding fusion of science fiction and crime noir by Miéville. The concept is elegant: a city inhabits the exact same geographical space as another entirely foreign city, with denizens of both forced to ignore, avoid and “unsee” the existence of the other. The penalty of interacting, or even noticing, the opposite plane is named Breach and is swiftly and ruthlessly dealt with by an ethereal force of the same name.

It’s ruddy ace, it is. The plot follows a detective as he investigates a murder that appears to have involved some form of Breach from the neighbouring city, but a conspiracy is afoot and dark forces attempt to pervert the course of justice. Read it. It’s brilliant.

However, there’s something of a hangover from The City that lingers in Kraken, Miéville’s subsequent novel, like one rum too many. Continue reading Kraken – China Miéville – [Book Review]