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Looking for Jake: And Other Stories by China…

Looking for Jake: And Other Stories (2005)

by China Miéville

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Although not biiled as a horror anthology, some of these stories are
up there with the creepiest I've ever read... hey, if it can give me chills
while I'm on my subway commute, that's pretty good!

With this collection, Mieville proves that he's equally a master of the
short story as of the sprawling labyrinths of his novels. He's probably
one of the best young writers today, in any genre.

The book includes:

* Looking for Jake
In a could-be-tomorrow London, the city has been the victim of a mysterious
invasion of invisible beings... the population has been worse than decimated...
and a young woman writes a letter to her missing lover...

* Foundation
Meshes the trials of a "house-whisperer" who does building inspections with
the horrors of war perpetrated in Iraq.

* The Ball Room
A classic ghost (?) story of a children's playroom in a store like Ikea, haunted
by a sinister presence. Told from the point-of-view of a security guard.

* Reports of Certain Events in London
This is a *great* story. Told in the first-person format popular in the 19th & early
20th century, it proposes that Mieville has received a package addressed to
'Charles Melville,' containing a number of documents from a secret society devoted
to researching occult phenomena involving the mysterious appearance and
disappearance of certain streets and roads... Brings the style and themes
utterly convincingly into the present day...

* Familiar
A modern-day back-alley witch creates a 'familiar' to enhance his power. But
when he rejects it, things swell far out of control.

* Entry Taken from a Medical Encyclopedia
Takes the German concept of an "earworm" (Ohrwurm) awfully seriously, with this
'alternate history' of an epidemic.

* Details
The narrator, a young boy, takes food from his mother to a housebound and eccentric old lady. But does she have a valid reason for shutting herself away from the world, into an empty room? A horrific take on the human tendency to see patterns....

* Go Between
A nondescript man follows mysterious and anonymous instructions, leaving
packages of mysterious origins and unknown content as he is told. But who is he
working for? What are the consequences? A very philosophical piece.

* Different Skies
An elderly man installs an antique stained-glass window - which leads to his being haunted by delinquent children of yesteryear.

* An End to Hunger
A sharp and ironic tale of a genius hacker who targets a liberal online charity -
and the consequences of his actions.

* 'Tis the Season
Wow! it's a happy, feel-good Christmas story! With some very funny, ironic commentary on the commercialization of the holiday.

* Jack
Set in New Crobuzon (the grotesque and decadent city of Mieville's novels), the
story deals with a Remade who was a Robin-Hood-like figure to the city's underworld - until he was ratted out. Slightly gimmicky, but still an excellent story.

* On the Way to the Front
A short story in 'graphic' form. Could use a bit more text, in my personal opinion.
Soldiers on their way to or from battles are mysteriously seen on the streets and
buses of London. But where is the war? Who is fighting?

* The Tain
The novella takes us back to the milieu of the first story, but this time more is explained.
London has been invaded by the creatures from the other side of the mirrors... One man, seemingly immune from their ravages, has a plan... but is it too late for the city?
Inspired by a piece by Jorge Luis Borges.
(see: http://www.hum.au.dk/romansk/borges/vakalo...f_mirrors.html ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
I wasn't sure what to expect from China Mieville when it came to short stories. But I've read a handful of his novels and was excited to see what he could do with the medium. I was not disappointed. I was slightly terrified by a few of them, and overall I couldn't believe how good they were. I borrowed this from the library, but it's one that I'm going to have to pick up for my own. I already know I'm going to have to give these another once over, when I do I'll be able to articulate my thoughts a little more clearly. ( )
  cattylj | Feb 28, 2015 |
If proof were needed that "genre fiction" can be is inventive and well-crafted as so-called "literary fiction", China Mieville would be it. In this collection of short stories, he revels in plots and settings which traditionally-minded critics would snob - futuristic dystopias, post-apocalyptic war-torn urban scenarios, steampunk cities... there's even a fairly conventional but surprisingly chilling ghost story. The streets of London are often referenced, sometimes explicitly, occasionally as a barely disguised backdrop. But it is a London at once recognisable and uncannily different. Indeed, this is a common thread which runs through the stories - the ordinary and mundane become extraordinary, fantastical and, more often than not, scary.

There are some duds - ironically, I found the title-story one of the least striking of the collection. On the whole however, this is a gripping book and a great introduction to the strangely familiar yet disturbingly weird world of Mieville. ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Dec 28, 2014 |
I very much disliked these short stories. Generally there was an interesting idea behind them, but there was little in the way of plot or structure, and the writing wasn't special.

The novella at the end was better, but still not satisfying. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |

I've read most of Miéville's novels, but hadn't come across much of his short fiction except insofar as it has been nominated for various awards. This was a good set of stories, mostly leaning towards horror, mostly set in contemporary London (one set in New Crobuzon). There's a lot of very effective writing and scene-setting - I particularly liked the short story told through correspondence and diary entries about a wandering street. Nothing that quite grabbed me by the throat, but all very pleasing. ( )
  nwhyte | Dec 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Jake
First words
I don't know how I lost you.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the collection "Looking for Jake" by China Mieville.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Contains the following stories:
"Looking for Jake"
"The Ball Room" (co-written with Emma Bircham and Max Schaefer
"Reports of Certain Events in London"
"Entry Taken from a Medical Encyclopedia"
"Go Between"
"Different Skies"
"An End to Hunger"
"'Tis the Season"
"On the Way to the Front" (illustrated by Liam Sharp)
"The Tain"
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345476077, Paperback)

What William Gibson did for science fiction, China Miéville has done for fantasy, shattering old paradigms with fiercely imaginative works of startling, often shocking, intensity. Now from this brilliant young writer comes a groundbreaking collection of stories, many of them previously unavailable in the United States, and including four never-before-published tales–one set in Miéville’s signature fantasy world of New Crobuzon. Among the fourteen superb fictions are

“Jack”–Following the events of his acclaimed novel Perdido Street Station, this tale of twisted attachment and horrific revenge traces the rise and fall of the Remade Robin Hood known as Jack Half-a-Prayer.

“Familiar”–Spurned by its creator, a sorceress’s familiar embarks on a strange and unsettling odyssey of self-discovery in a coming-of-age story like no other.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"What William Gibson did for science fiction, China Mieville has done for fantasy, shattering old paradigms with fiercely imaginative works of startling, often shocking, intensity. Now from this brilliant young writer comes a groundbreaking collection of stories, many of them previously unavailable in the United States, including four never-before-published tales - one set in Mieville's signature fantasy world of New Crobuzon."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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