Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Oh, the Words!

   How exciting it is to be reading a great book and to come across a word that's either completely new to you, or just one that is never really used widely. I love the casual display of intellect and inventiveness.
Pan Macmillan, £7.99
   'Kraken' was my introduction to the world of China Miéville. I only picked it up because I misread the blurb and thought it would be a straightforward thriller, so it was a nice surprise as a Fantasy reader to start coming across references to 'knacks' - the term used in this instance for supernatural talents. Fun! Though all of his books contain elements of this fun, this is arguably Miéville's most light-hearted work to date, apparently a treat he gave himself (he's a bit of a cephalopod geek) after the hard graft of more serious books. The language is casual, urban, full of slang, and just plain weird, in a wonderful way. 

   'He had mentioned the phenomenon to people, and though some had reacted with alarm, many told some anecdote about horripilation or twitches when they were under pressure, and Billy remained fairly sanguine.'

   '"Say Rubenesque or zaftig at your peril," Leon had said.'

   '"Shall we say a black cloud in water already black? There's a koan for you, Billy."'

  'What do you call that? Billy thought.That reconstitutive intelligence, berserker meme-splicing, seeing in nothings first patterns, then correspondence, then causality and dissident sense.'

   '"The Archi-bloody-teuthis, Billy Harrow, yes. The giant squid. That thing in the jar. That. That got took. And is been and gone. Are you really surprised someone might worship it?"'

   'Billy had another dream at last, that night. He had been feeling vaguely guilty at the lack of oneiric insights. But at last he had a dream worthy to be so called, rather than the vague sensations of cosseting dark, cool, glimmerings, heaviness, stasis and chemical stench that otherwise filled his nighttime head.'

   'All the way over them all, the cloud moved fast. It took shape. Church-sized clots of it evanesced, leaving - it was not a mistake - a lumpy anthropoid outline in night matter, a man shape crude as a mandrake root, a great cruciform figure over the city.'

   And finally, the best curse word I've ever seen: 'Fucksnot'. What more is there to say?   

1 comment:

  1. Ah how I love your passion for finding a new curse word that is unable to be labelled as unlady-like, but alas I have to tell you your search is not over!! ;)