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  1. #1
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    THE SCAR - April SFFWFBC Book

    Start the talking people, you voted, you read it, what do you think?

    Personally, I felt The Scar was at the top of the list of books released last year. Mieville broke through even more than in PSS.

    I liked his depictions of the Vampires and how the societies clashed and were living organisims themselves.

  2. #2
    I loved The Scar. The vivid descriptions of Armada really helped me to see it as a living, breathing city. All of the ideas seemed really interesting and original. I think I liked Isaac (from Perdido) a bit more as a main character than Bellis. He was more likable to me, Bellis was definitely an interesting character though. I'd agree with Flagg and say that the vampir's, and the way they ruled their section of the city was really cool. Also, Uther Doul is badass.

  3. #3
    Uh, Moderator
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    Here's a post I made in another Mieville discussion:

    I liked The Scar a lot more than PSS as well, and I read PSS first. I think that in The Scar the story was a lot more focussed, with Mieville not bringing in as many concepts as he attempted in PSS. PSS to me felt like Mieville was including concepts for creativities sake, and it did tend to impinge on the story at times.
    The Scar remedied this greatly though. The characters in The Scar were a lot cooler than in PSS too (Tanner Sack, Uther Doul, The Brucolac). Armada was a great concept, and I really loved the way that Mieville released little bit of information after little bit, using the lack of knowledge of the protagonist as a vehicle for our own exploration of Armada as well.



    Some other things:
    I really got into the city descriptions more with this novel than PSS. Maybe because Armada was such an interesting concept. I found myself sitting there wondering why no one had ever thought of it before.
    I didn't find Mievilles use of new creatures so jarring this time. It seemed more for the story than the sake of it this time.

    I wasn't sure if I'd be a continual reader of Mieville after PSS. Now, he's a must buy.

  4. #4
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    Wow, I thought that I would be the first to state that I liked the Scar more than PSS - seems not - I think the reason for me may be because upon reading The Scar I was very much used to Mievilles style of writing after PSS, and this really helped me concentrate on the storyline this time around. I did imagine what I would think if I read the Scar first, and then commenced with PSS - and on those circumstances mabe things would be different? I must add that these novels REALLY compliment each other far more than other stand alone novels that I have read and that have been set in the same world.

    I would also comment that in my humble opinon the Scar could quite easily be read prior to PSS. There would be some reduction of a few experiences within the reading of the Scar, but these would be offset when reading PSS as the second novel as there are also some experiences to be gained the other way around whilst reading about New Crobuzon.

    One the the things that kept me reading through the book were the small interludes ..... the 'strange' forms following the city. It did not click with me whom they were for sure until quite near the end; and when it did click, it hit me hard with everything falling into place nicely (note/statue/hunters). I also loved the idea behind Uther's possible sword (as did I PSS's Crisis theory).

    The whole novel kept me guessing. I had ideas as to where the storyline was heading, but there were still enough big surprises to give that little bit extra to my reading experience.

    On the negative, I would have liked to read more about the wound in reality and the effect it is having, perhaps also for the story to have headed a bit further past that point of finding the wound.

    Uther was a great character of course. Very dangerous, very calculated, and not only due to his physical skills. I still have not made my mind up whether it was positive or negative as to whether Uther's confrontation with the broculac should have been a descriptive fighting scene-or left to the imagination. What do you think?
    And I had a soft spot for Tanner - nice guy.

    I also hoped to get some more hints about the ribs in Bone Town, New Crobuzon. That is still bugging me hehe - oh and the ghosthead, a novel set just before and continuing after the ghosthead empires arrival would be super.

    Anyway. Great book, unique, and with only a few very minor negative issues for me. The slower scenes kept me interested through Mievilles descriptive ability that I was far more used to this time around.

  5. #5
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    I think you could really see Mieville's maturation as a writer from PSS to The Scar--less meandering in the plot, more tightly woven and the characters were more clearly defined, I felt.

    The interludes worked very well here too. Gave the alternate perspective of what the primary players in the story couldn't understand.

    Once again, the Weird creatures that populated Armada were even more strange and fantastic than in PSS. What really speaks for Mievilles abilities in world-building and creativity is the breadth of his vision in creating the clans and groups aboard Armada--just one ship on the world of New Crobuzon.

  6. #6
    What's up with Mieville always killing or permanently maiming/disfiguring/brain damaging my favorite characters in his books? Leave my favorite characters alone!

  7. #7
    Sith Lord DarthV's Avatar
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    I definitely agree with Drystan about reading PSS helped with understanding Mieville's style. I kept thinking that while reading this one.

    The story definitely seemed to flow more smoothly. I found PSS a little difficult at first, but The Scar seemed more natural.

    I love his creatures! The tragic existence of the mosquito people was just peotic.

  8. #8
    Registered User Blizzaurel's Avatar
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    I read The Scar without having read PSS. I still haven't read it. I absolutely loved The Scar and thought it was one of the most realistic worlds with the most realistic characters I had ever read. Bellis was great-- she had her flaws but I loved her anyways. I also like the way Mieville didn't really have a hero and his protagonist was a linguist. That was very original.

    So this was my first experience with Mieville and it was a GREAT one, he was genius and created an intricate storyline that kept on surprising me time and again. I think I will for sure go read PSS now.

  9. #9
    Anitaverse Refugee FicusFan's Avatar
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    I guess I will be the odd person out and say I liked PSS much more than the Scar, which I thought was mostly rather boring, and until the ending, a huge disappointment. I felt 'been there done that' and had to force myself to finish the book.

    The characters, especially the main ones were boring and blah - like watching paint dry. Tanner Sack and Shekel were the only ones with any juice, all the others were husks.

    Bellis was particularly horrid. She was passive, and only concerned with how her interactions looked in terms of being cool and showing no trace of emotion. She was ok with the carving fetish it was the actual raw emotion that grossed her out. A stereotype of a pseudo-intellectual if I ever saw one. Her instant emotive disliking of Armada and pining for NC was unbelievable. Uthar Doul was simply the euro version of the Marlborough Man.

    CM spent a lot of pages, but no real quality time developing most of his characters. They seemed to be mostly stereotypes. He even made vampires boring by just reusing what others had done.

    The writing style was almost enough to make me cry. I am sick of his baroque overwritten, page after page descriptions. I am beginning to think he is a one trick pony, I was hoping for more. I think he has possibility, but he is in terrible need of an editor. His description of the dead pig on the mosquito island: 'an empty bag of tubes and bones ' was brilliant. Why does he waste his time writing pages and pages of twaddle. Once was interesting, more than that is tiresome.

    The story was very uneven, there was nothing remotely interesting to me until about page 200 or so, then what little interest he did generate was dissipated quickly. The whole book was like that, up and down. The overall story didn't compare with the plot of PSS and was not really enough to support 600+ pages.

    Even his whole possibility mining which sounded interesting before he explained it, is nothing more than one of the standard SF time travel theories: every choice creates a myriad of universes and across them, all possibilities come true. He simply adapted it for fantasy.

    Didn't think much of Armada it was not as interesting as NC. Although they were working under Armada all the time it was a very sterile space. Had the book been as inventive as PSS the whole underside of the Armada would have been another thriving, teeming odd ball community rather than the oceanic equivalent of big, mostly empty warehouse. I thought he didn't use the sea much or very well after the home of the cray. The Avanc was just this huge pancake.

    I thought the idol that allowed Simon French to bend the rules of reality was an authorial cheat or your basic Deus ex Machina, can’t think of anything really good so I will just break all the rules and give him a magic wand to accomplish it. I felt the whole hunt thing by the Grindylow was a major let down.

    I also felt CM went into overdrive trying to explain too much of all the other inhabitants of Bas Lag. Using made-up word after made-up word to describe other made-up words which represent the other creatures on the planet. Enough all ready. I cared very little about any of it, because it was all 'post cards from the edge'.

    The way he focused on one in PSS, and just mentioned a few others, I felt was more effective. It is obvious he is going to keep flogging this dead horse, so why the rush to explain everything in Bas Lag all at once? Give out a few per book, and spend the effort to make them memorable. I still care/wonder about the Garruda, I could care less about any of the new ones from Scar.

    Now after all that I will admit the ending was brilliant. He has a real talent for wrapping things up. I almost end up thinking well of the book in spite of my miserable experience.

    I will have to say CM has moved off my ‘must buy’ list and onto my ‘test drive in the store first’ list. He does write at a higher level than most, but rather than giving him a ‘pass’ because his poor quality is much better than many other’s very good, I expect him to live up to his potential, and for me this didn’t.

    Other's mileage may vary

  10. #10
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    One thing I was trying to figure out through the whole book that I haven't quite determined. I read through the book fairly quickly and haven't had a chance to go over a second reading yet.

    The Scar, the physical presence in the novel was described, to me almost like where the impact of a comet or large meteroid hit Bas-lag.

    The avanc, the giant fish-monster that was dragging Armada-how did others see the connection between the Avanc and The Scar? Were they results of the same historical incident?

  11. #11
    I can't remember exactly. But I think the Scar's creation had to do with something the Ghosthead triggered. So if they created some cataclysmic event that created the Scar, it might also have created the rupture that the avanc was summoned out of. The Scar wasn't an actual physical chasm going into the center of Bas-Lag though, was it? It was a dimensional rift that led supposedly to the place the avanc was from or somewhere like it. That's why the avanc could travel through the area surrounding the Scar without being harmed.

  12. #12
    Sith Lord DarthV's Avatar
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    I didn't get the impression that the avanc was from the same dimensional reality as the Ghosthead. The Scar was the result of them ripping into Armada/NC's world. The avanc was summoned from a different dimensional existence. I think CM mentioned that no seagoing vessel in the world could traverse that Ocean, hence the need for something extra-dimensional to power the motion of Armada.

    ?

  13. #13
    Next to Arch Stanton ezchaos's Avatar
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    I read The Scar several months ago, but I felt as if the avanc came from a kind of elemental dimension of water. The Scar was something created (accidentally?) by the Ghosthead Empire. Armarda wanted to harness the avanc so they could get to The Scar quickly.

  14. #14
    DarthV, I was just saying that whenever the Ghosthead created the Scar, the power used to create it might have ripped other holes into other dimensions. Did the Ghosthead come from the Scar or did they create it for the possibility mining?

  15. #15
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    I was under the impression that the Ghosthead created the Scar from their possibility mining and did not come from it .... but don't quote me, even though I did quote it hmmm

    Gee it annoys me when I cant remember facts when I only finished the book recently lol.

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