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Kraken (2010)

by China Miéville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,9701603,264 (3.6)245
Being chased by cults, a maniac, and the sorcerers of the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit, cephalopod specialist Billy Harrow inadvertently learns that he holds the key to finding a missing squid--a squid that just happens to be an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.… (more)
  1. 171
    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (gonzobrarian)
    gonzobrarian: British cults vs. American Gods.
  2. 150
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another urban fantasy vision of London.
  3. 30
    The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross (ahstrick)
  4. 30
    Weaveworld by Clive Barker (ShelfMonkey)
  5. 10
    City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer (acousticmoose)
    acousticmoose: Another "new weird" fantasy with a city as the main character. And squids.
  6. 10
    The Midnight Mayor: Or, the Inauguration of Matthew Swift by Kate Griffin (TheDivineOomba)
    TheDivineOomba: The London's have a very similar magic system - at times, I felt these two books could be part of the same series.
  7. 00
    City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (Mav.Weirdo)
  8. 00
    Halting State by Charles Stross (MyriadBooks)
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» See also 245 mentions

English (158)  Czech (1)  French (1)  All languages (160)
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
Started unusually sensible but the fluidity of Miéville's reality quickly seeped through it all and he maintained his New Weird style. It's not Bas Lag but entertaining. ( )
  rickycatto | Sep 9, 2020 |
This book is fantastic. The plot is wonderfully unpredictable, the characters are interesting, engaging, well-written. Easily the most memorable book I've read in a while. Funny, exciting, enthralling. ( )
  pamerc | Sep 7, 2020 |
Crackin ( )
  st3t | Aug 3, 2020 |
I was going to give this three stars, but, let's be honest, any book that contains the epithet “munching wanktoasters” doesn't deserve any less than four.

Kraken is full to its eyeballs with fantastic ideas, and Dr Miéville is certainly not lacking in skill when it comes to converting fantastic ideas into a well written story. The book reads like the bastard child of Lovecraft and Kafka that's been adopted and raised by Gaiman and Pratchett and, I kid you not, who was read [b:Spock Must Die!|3229293|Spock Must Die!|James Blish|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1321965983s/3229293.jpg|2893169] as a bedtime story. It features two of the most terrifying villains I've ever read, and not just because all the other characters said they were terrifying. The dialogue is fun, nuanced, and jarringly similar to, you know, real dialogue. And Dr Miéville, a man after my own heart, is not afraid to drop puns without shame, most of them here veering squidward.



No, no, I said squidward, small s.



Anyway. I've only mentioned the things I liked about Kraken because honestly I only liked things about Kraken. So why would it have been — sans wanktoasters — only a three-star book? Because I only liked it. Simply put: its tentacles never quite grabbed me in my special places. And no, I don't know whether that metaphor is supposed to convey a good thing or a bad thing either. ( )
  imlee | Jul 7, 2020 |
I was going to give this three stars, but, let's be honest, any book that contains the epithet “munching wanktoasters” doesn't deserve any less than four.

Kraken is full to its eyeballs with fantastic ideas, and Dr Miéville is certainly not lacking in skill when it comes to converting fantastic ideas into a well written story. The book reads like the bastard child of Lovecraft and Kafka that's been adopted and raised by Gaiman and Pratchett and, I kid you not, who was read [b:Spock Must Die!|3229293|Spock Must Die!|James Blish|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1321965983s/3229293.jpg|2893169] as a bedtime story. It features two of the most terrifying villains I've ever read, and not just because all the other characters said they were terrifying. The dialogue is fun, nuanced, and jarringly similar to, you know, real dialogue. And Dr Miéville, a man after my own heart, is not afraid to drop puns without shame, most of them here veering squidward.



No, no, I said squidward, small s.



Anyway. I've only mentioned the things I liked about Kraken because honestly I only liked things about Kraken. So why would it have been — sans wanktoasters — only a three-star book? Because I only liked it. Simply put: its tentacles never quite grabbed me in my special places. And no, I don't know whether that metaphor is supposed to convey a good thing or a bad thing either. ( )
  leezeebee | Jul 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
Kraken utilises Miéville’s common setting of London, albeit a strange London. This otherness beside the familiar is a strand in his work evident from King Rat and Un Lun Dun through to THE CITY AND YTIC EHT.

This one started out as if it may have been written with a film or TV adaptation in mind - one with a potentially light-hearted take - but soon veers off down strange Miévillean byways which may be unfilmable. For these are the end times and cultists worshipping all manner of weird gods abound.

It begins with a kind of locked room mystery as a giant squid, Architeuthis, has been stolen - formalin, tank and all - from its stance in the Darwin Centre, a natural history museum where Billy Harrow is a curator. He helped to prepare the squid for show and is thought to hold the knowledge that might allow all those interested in its recovery to find it. The police fundamentalist and cult squad, the FSRC, is called in to help investigate the disappearance which becomes more involved when Billy discovers a body pickled (in too small a jar) in the museum’s basement. And these are merely the first strangenesses to be encountered in this book. We also have the consciousness of a man embedded within a tattoo, a tattoo which moves and speaks. Then there is the double act of Goss and Subby - two shapeshifting baddies from out of time (they shift other people’s shapes) - and weird sects, cults and mancers of all sorts.

Never short of incident and brimming with plot the novel is probably a bit too convoluted, with too many characters for its own good, and its one-damn-strange-thing-after-another-ness can verge on overkill. But this is an unashamed fantasy, a form to which I am antipathetic when it is taken to extremes; and Miéville is not one for restraint.

While Kraken sometimes skirts along the edge of comedy it never fully embraces it. There are too many killings and acts of violence for comedy to sit comfortably. I might have liked the novel better if it had. Its main fault is that it never manages to settle on which sort of book it is meant to be, straddling various narrative stools such as police procedural, one man against the odds, woman in search of the truth about her vanished lover, etc.
added by jackdeighton | editA Son Of The Rock, Jack Deighton (Jan 29, 2011)
 
Miéville has done what all great science-fiction has done—and great so-called literary fiction, when it gets around to it—provide a nuanced, highly imagined critique of the zeitgeist, dressed up in a crackerjack story.
 
""... "Kraken" is, no mistake, a literary work. The hint is in the subtitle, "An Anatomy," because Miéville is exploring the gap between the prosaic squid and the mythic Kraken, between the mundane ground of everyday life and the sacred. What precisely turns a fish into a god? What is the anatomy of a legend? And how do gods manifest themselves in our world?
...Miéville's best work since "Perdido Street Station."
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miéville, Chinaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Drechsler, ArndtCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Higurashi, MasamichiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kubiak, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meier, FraukeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valdez, Elisa LazoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
“The green waves break from my sides
As I roll up, forced by my season”

    —Hugh Cook, “The Kraken Wakes”
Dedication
To Mark Bould
Comrade-in-tentacles
First words
An everyday doomsayer in sandwich-board abruptly walked away from what over the last several days had been his pitch, by the gates of a museum.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Being chased by cults, a maniac, and the sorcerers of the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit, cephalopod specialist Billy Harrow inadvertently learns that he holds the key to finding a missing squid--a squid that just happens to be an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.

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Book description
Haiku summary
Welcome to London
and an underground of cults,
cops, baddies and ... squid.
(ed.pendragon)

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