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Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories Hardcover – August 4, 2015
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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“Even when he is orbiting somewhere in a galaxy too far away for normal human comprehension, the genre-subverting English novelist China Miéville is dazzling. His latest collection of short stories, Three Moments of an Explosion, crowds virtuosity into every sentence. . . . There are things to admire in every story, even the ones you can’t quite grasp. The book left me feeling unsettled, uneasy, nervous, and I think that is Mr. Miéville’s point. He wants to draw attention to the scratching under the floorboards, the panic in our heads, the rebellion of nature and inanimate objects. As he says, ‘These days there are so many odd and troubling noises in the city.’”—Sarah Lyall, The New York Times
“You can’t talk about Miéville without using the word ‘brilliant.’ . . . His wit dazzles, his humour is lively, and the pure vitality of his imagination is astonishing. . . . My favourite of all these tales is ‘The Rules,’ two and a half pages long. Read it. You won’t regret it, or forget it.”—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Guardian
“[A] gripping collection . . . Miéville expertly mixes science fiction, fantasy and surrealism. . . . Amid the longer stories are more cerebral, poetic flash pieces that will haunt the reader beyond the pages of this exceptional book.”—The Washington Post
“The stories shine . . . with a winking brilliance.”—The Seattle Times
“Horror, noir, fantasy, politics, and poetry swirl into combinations as satisfying intellectually as they are emotionally. . . . Bradbury meets Borges, with Lovecraft gibbering tumultuously just out of hearing.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Three Moments of an Explosion is a book filled with fabulous oddities.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Miéville moves effortlessly among realism, fantasy, and surrealism in this dark, sometimes horrific short story collection. . . . His characters, whether ordinary witnesses to extraordinary events or lunatics operating out of inexplicable compulsions, are invariably well drawn and compelling. Above all, what the stories have in common is a sense that the world is not just strange, but stranger than we can ever really comprehend.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
China Miéville is the author of numerous books, including The City & The City, Embassytown, Railsea, and Perdido Street Station. His works have won the World Fantasy Award, the Hugo Award, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award (three times). He lives and works in London.
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My six favorites:
“Three Moments of an Explosion” somewhat arbitrarily divides the last act of a condemned building’s existence into three overlapping scenes.
“The Dowager of Bees” is about a card game that is so complex that players must be very careful about the rules. It’s my favorite story in the collection.
“Säcken” explores the uncomfortable meme of something unwanted dropped into a weighted burlap sack and thrown in the lake. It becomes more familiar.
“Keep” plays out in the middle of an epidemic, with the characters variously concerned about infection, quarantine, and side effects. It seems almost normal for a small trench to start forming around any infected person who stays in the same place too long.
“A Second Slice Manifesto” introduces a new approach to painting and describes several representative works created in this style. This art can only be appreciated from a very specific perspective.
“Four Final Orpheuses” lists four different versions of what Orpheus might have been thinking as he stepped into the light. Some are darker than others.
The stories were as enjoyably weird as I expected. I did notice patterns in the author’s topic choices that weren’t apparent in his longer works. There were maybe one too many stories in script form, for example. After the second one it stopped seeming clever. The patterns reminded me of the second time I saw Robin Williams on late-night TV. Suddenly he didn’t seem quite so original as he was clearly drawing repeatedly from the same set of ideas. Still very good, but not quite as good when you can see the brush strokes.
That said, still a very good collection. Worth reading, worth keeping to reread.
I liked quite a number of these although sometimes an ending, or lack of, would leave me hanging but overall I didn't mind terribly. Sometimes, certain stories I feel, if they had been fleshed out and longer, would have made decent novellas. I do quite enjoy this authors work and will still continue making my way through all his works.