Friday, June 28, 2013


Disclaimer: A few faint spoilers for China Miéville's The Scar may follow. Be advised.

The copy I'm currently reading is a library copy, the evidence of which is clear both from the broken spine but, more fascinatingly, by a loose and infrequent series of phrases, underlined in thick, dull pencil every few hundred pages. Collected below are the underlined phrases, along with their page numbers.

pg. 61

"One of the dangling balloonists jerked, and his head snapped back in an arc of blood."

"They collapsed to the deck in great gouts of blood, and died quickly. Their clothes, and bodies, were savaged with an incredible number of wounds, as if they had been outnumbered by hundreds of enemies."

pg. 435

"For every action, there's an infinity of outcomes. Countless trillions are possible, many milliards are likely, millions might be considered probable, several occur as possibilities to us as observers – and one comes true."

pg. 440

"Lightfungus. Dreadcurs. Butterflies with unholy appetites."

pg. 477

"They were to be welcomed, and hopefully transformed, and made citizens. That, after all, was what Armada was–a colony of the lost, the renegade, the absent-without-leave, the defeated."
I feel as though I'm staring at a D&D hook.

What could possibly drive someone to underline these individual, by-and-large unrelated passages, in a book of fantasy fiction, unlikely to be read in an academic context? Only two of the passages, those underlined on pages 41 and 435, have any plot relation to each other, whereas the third passage, five pages later, refers to the previous book in the series, while the last selection seems wholly unrelated.

This is precisely the sort of mystery I would love to never solve. I can only imagine what connection the underliner in question feels between these passages, some spectral framework entirely invisible to me.


  1. Well, I don't know THAT, but I can tell you that Dragon Magazine has 3rd-ed stats for a Bas-Lag game in one of the issues I happen to own.

  2. "...really?" he pressed, intrigued.

  3. Really, he said.

    Let's take this to gmail as I can never get blogspot to notify me of replies here, making conversation problematic at best.