The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

September 6, 2013

September 6, 1972

A kraken is a mythical sea monster, and a book by that name written by  China Mieville in which he sketches a world wherein this creature is just one of many invisible inhabitants. 

Miéville, born on September 6, 1972, lives in London, and this is the setting for Kraken (2010). The author describes his book this way:

a dark comedy about a squid-worshipping cult and the end of the world. It takes the idea of the squid cult very seriously. Part of the appeal of the fantastic is taking ridiculous ideas very seriously and pretending they’re not absurd.

The novel's hero is Billy Harrow a British Museum of Natural History employee who discovers the 40 foot squid on display, has, vanished. Numerous supernatural entities suffuse the story, including Wati, an ancient Egyptian spirit who must inhabit figurines, or at least such with a vaguely human shape.

Mieville was interviewed  by a sci fi magazine, and his answer to the question “Is Urban the new Fantasy”? struck me as interesting.

I'm sorry, I literally have no idea what this means. I'm not being cute, I promise, I just don't think I understand what this is getting at. Do you mean 'there sure is a lot of urban fantasy around at the moment'? Because yes my goodness me there is. Do you mean 'The adjective "urban" is becoming increasingly disaggregated from what one might have thought its referent would be, and instead portending various fashionable aesthetic tropes actually contingent to metropolitan quiddity'? Also yes, it is, is it not? Will this pass? This too shall pass.

Wati can apparently count cat statues as figurines he can inhabit. In the book he must go from figurine to figurine in order to interact with the world, and he at one point inhabits the feline trim on a Jaguar car. 

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