Sunday Morning! The City & The City

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Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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17 Responses

  1. Avatar Andrew Donaldson
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    Not entirely related, but my suite-mate my freshman year of college was from Hamilton, ON, so got to road trip that and visit there several times. As always appreciate these posts, every week it is something I’ve previously not heard of to discover and explore.Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    I really liked “The City and The City” which I read a couple years ago. I particularly appreciated that going through border controls provided an elaborate ritual which allowed you to “see” certain things, even though you might walk down the same physical street.

    For me, Borlu’s blankness seemed like writerly strategy. It is a depiction of process of alienation that works on him particularly since he has never seemed quite fully committed to the shared hallucination that is the Two Cities. I seem to recall an early description of how Breach allowed a little wiggle room for traffic accidents, for instance. Borlu seems to live in that wiggle room, and it makes him disconnected from, well, everything.Report

  3. Avatar J_A
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    The TV series is in Amazon Prime. I just watched the first episode, and really liked it. At least in the series I think Borlu is reasonably fleshed up.

    In any case, the series seems quite good. I look forward to seeing the remaining episodes.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    There is truly nothing new in SF. I can think of two earlier stories with the idea of two groups of people inhabiting the same space but unable to see each other: Jack Vance’s Ulan Dhor and Gordon Dickson’s Perfectly Adjusted.Report

  5. Avatar J_A
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    I’m trough episode three (of four) in the series. I’m looking forward to the end (I have no clue) tonigt

    A couple of obsevations

    The episodes (59′ each) are too dense. Too much happens (all exciting, all moving the history forward), which keeps you focused and in edge all the time – Half way through it you have to pause it because you (at least me) feel physically exhausted. Repeat again at about minute 45′.This series could ave used some meaningless fluff, to fill one or two more episodes.

    David Morrissey (Borlú) is an excellent actor, something I hadn’t realized before. You (I) feel Birlú, his anxiousness, his “when in Beszel, see Beszel” conditioning, and how he has to fight himself after Yolanda crosses and he has to fire his gun (book readers probably know what I am talking about). The Yolanda crossing scene and its aftermath it’s an amazing piece of television.

    The character’s, Borlú included, are as well fleshed as can be when you only see a couple of days of their lives. Past Borlú’s flashbacks, and present Borlú barely seem the same actor, and you can see how he went from there to now. The dinner at the Ul Quoma inspector’s house shows how he longs for a similar family life. The flashbacks after that show how his past life might have been a self delusion (I trust the final episode will clarify that), where perhaps he loved his wife more than she loved him, and he’s becoming aware of that possibility. I think it’s only after that visit that he sees that perhaps he can move on from the past. I think it’s that visit that allows him to later fire the gun.

    The third city mystery is, I think, so far, the least interesting thing of the story. As an explanation for why Borlú’s wife disappeared, it sort of makes sense, but I’m afraid that a third city ex machina will just destroy what, so far, is a compelling human story -with a twist. Good science fiction does not require a magical/technological solution. I don’t care to know why the cities don’t see each other. That’s the twist. I care about the story of people for whom the twist is the normal. Please make Orciny disappear again before I watch the last episodeReport

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to J_A
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      says:

      I still haven’t seen much more than a few scenes online. My plan is to digest the novel a bit longer and then watch the episodes.Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to Rufus F.
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        says:

        I look forward to your take about the novel and the series, and the differences – I hope you publish an update

        I finished the series earlier – Without any further spoilers – It’s good, it’s very, very, good

        and, before I forget again, thank you for bringing The city & the city to our attention. I enjoyed itReport

  6. Avatar J_A
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    says:

    I look forward to your take about the novel and the series, and the differences – I hope you publish an update

    I finished the series earlier – Without any further spoilers – It’s good, it’s very, very, good

    and, before I forget again, thank you for bringing The City & The City to our attention. I enjoyed itReport

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