As our world has gotten more industrialized and the use of mirrors and other reflective surfaces has grown, these beings are more and more tied down to this imprisonment. Ah, but here Mieville throws another curve - what of those beings who don't have reflections? Vampires have been with us in legend and folk tale for a long time, and under Mieville hands they are transformed into advance scouts, spies on our world, for these denizens, whom Mieville calls 'imagos', finding ways to break their prison.
Now to top off this already fantastic idea, China describes what happens to our world when these imagos finally do break free of their prison. The resulting bleakness of a war ravaged world fits the Mieville mold perfectly (no sunshine pollyanna stories for him!), as we follow the attempts by one man, Sholl, to communicate with what is left of humanity and get closer to these beings. This individual may be a unique human - no vampire will touch him, except for one, his analogue in the mirror world.Read more ›
So, the basic background, our "hero" Sholl is one of the few survivors of a war against a truly alien enemy. The mirror-world, normally seen uncomprehendingly by you and me through the tain of a looking-glass, has found a way to break through into our reality. The inhabitants of this world are seeking vengeance, because for thousands of years they have been imprisoned and tortured, forced to mimic our world every time it is reflected in a puddle, piece of glass, metal surface or mirror. As mirrors became common-place, more and more of the mirror-world inhabitants were trapped in copies of our forms, and more of their world was distorted into an image of our own......
Now though, they are free on this side of the mirror, and are waging a war that we can't possibly win.
The novella follows the journey of Sholl who, for some reason, cannot be touched or hurt by the invaders. Sholl has a vague plan that may end the bloodshed, and seeks support to help him in his endeavour. Before he can act though, he must gather information, and that will take him into the heart of a frightening and surreal world, where his only hope of survival depends on his immunity to the enemy holding true........Read more ›