"The police arrived at last, coming in a stampy gang."
"Stampy" is followed in the next sentence by "benthic." A few lines later, Billy the hero finds himself "standing by the lack," that is, the space where a stolen object used to be. By the end of the chapter, "a twirl of rubbishy wind was gusting around some klaggy-looking squirrel on a rooftop." I don’t mean to imply that Mieville isn’t assisted by working more or less in sci-fi, the deeper end of genre fiction where an invented language or at least lexicon is encouraged (see A Clockwork Orange, or more recently Adam Langer). But even in the face of genre’s tolerance for overwriting (or experimentation!) the effects — in tone and mood, in economy of expression — that Mieville gets are impressive. And he’s (mostly) using standard English; and I’m just talking about diction, here.
Del Rey 06.29.10
December 19, 2010, 11:01pm Comments