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2010.10.15

The City and The City

The city and the city

Masterpiece. The crazy style of China Miéville is notorious. He specialized into a science fiction sub genre called weird fiction, which mixes the real world with some out-of-the-place elements that are common of the characters, somewhat like Lovecraft. Almost all his books are great. But The City and The City is really really great.

The story is a noir murder investigation. The main character is the detective Tyador Borlú and the story is first person point of view. Borlú is a great character, clever but not a Sherlock and a little sarcastic about his job.

One curious thing is that I “read” the audiobook. At the beginning i was completely lost because the name of the characters and places: Besźel, Ul Qoma, Tyador Borlú are just unusual.. I had to check the names on internet to see how they are written. After some time, they become familiar.

{SPOILER ALERT begin}

It’s basic concept is fascinating: two cities that occupy the same physical space, at the same time. People that live in one have to “ignore” the existence of the other. “Trespass” this is a crime worse than murder. Crazy crazy concept. That is just one element that stick you to the book.

{SPOILER ALERT end}

As of September 2010, the novel only won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, tied with Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, the BSFA Award for Best Novel of 2009, as well as the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award and won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

The city and the city
The city and the city
The city and the city
The city and the city

My Rating: 9
Goodreads: 3.89
2009.12.30

2009 Art Review

2009 was a great year. I had the opportunity to watch/play/read/listen several great games, films and books. This list is what I could remember.

Games

Most, but not all, I finished

  1. Braid – PC
  2. Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars – Wii
  3. The Beatles: Rockband – Wii
  4. Dawn of Discovery – Wii
  5. de Blob – Wii
  6. Dragon Age – PC
  7. Drakensang: The Dark Eye – PC
  8. Machinarium – PC
  9. Neverhood – PC
  10. Planescape Torment – PC
  11. Race Driver: GRID – PC
  12. Torchlight – PC
  13. The Witcher – PC

Movies

  • 5cm Per Second
  • Akira
  • Amadeus
  • Army of Shadows
  • Citizen Kane
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  • Doctor Zhivago
  • Drag Me to Hell
  • Ghost in The Shell
  • The Hangover
  • Helvetica
  • Home
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Lady Vengeance
  • The Manchurian Candidate
  • Oldboy
  • The Sinning
  • Star Trek
  • Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
  • Tokyo Godfathers
  • Up

Books

Some of them I used the audiobook

  • David Allen – Getting Things Done
  • David Allen – Making It All Work
  • Malcolm Gladwell – The Tipping Point
  • Malcolm Gladwell – Blink
  • Malcolm Gladwell – Outliers
  • Peter F. Hamilton – Fallen Dragon
  • Peter F. Hamilton – The Dreaming Void
  • Peter F. Hamilton – The Temporal Void
  • Raymond Kurzweil – The Age of Spiritual Machines
  • Stephen King – The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands
  • Stephen King – The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass
  • Umberto Eco – Foucault’s Pendulum

And 2010 might be even better.

2009.05.07

Braid

200 megabytes is the size of the entire game. And yet, probably one of the most surprisingly good games in some time.

Braid tells the story of Tim and his journey to find the princess. Its a basic platform game, with the controls just like old Mario, except one thing: you can control time. By pressing a button (and further in game, by some other situations) you can turn back time. Even after you died. If the controls are similar to the famous plumber, the game dymaics is completely different. It is a puzzle game.

Braid

Braid is an action-puzzle game about manipulating the flow of time. To rescue a princess, the player journeys through a series of worlds; in each world, time behaves differently. The game provides a mind-expanding experience that is filler-free, treating the player’s time as precious.

Braid

The puzzles are very well designed and the difficult progression is a state of art. Considering that it is a one-man work (Jonathan Blow. did it alone, except for the music, which he licensed, and graphics, which he hired a guy for the job), it’s amazingly good.

Metacritic: 93