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This book shouldn t work And sometimes it doesn t It has issues with bloat and pacing and the plot on occasion meanders, though this latter is mainly due to the picaresque nature of the tale itself, so is perhaps not really a fault I m generally not a fan of the picaresque, but this novel has so many great scenes, a handful of great characters, and enough vibrant atmosphere that it has managed to find a place of deep affection in my heart at the same time that it doesn t quite work for me.Th This book shouldn t work And sometimes it doesn t It has issues with bloat and pacing and the plot on occasion meanders, though this latter is mainly due to the picaresque nature of the tale itself, so is perhaps not really a fault I m generally not a fan of the picaresque, but this novel has so many great scenes, a handful of great characters, and enough vibrant atmosphere that it has managed to find a place of deep affection in my heart at the same time that it doesn t quite work for me.The Malacia Tapestry holds a central place for me in a genre I think ought to be called urban fantasy since that s really what it is fantasy primarily concerned with the urban landscape and its unique issues and characteristics other examples would include Thunderer, Perdido Street Station, and Jeff VanderMeers Ambergris books Unfortunately that label has already been manhandled away and seems to apply to fantasy books in a modern setting which usually have to do with hip, magical private eyes having sex with vampires and werewolves Anyway.Aldiss tome is set in a parallel universe where it appears that view spoiler humans have evolved from dinosaurs, which they still keep as pets hide spoiler and takes place in the environs of the city of Malacia, a location very much modelled on a Renaissance Italian city state Our main character is Perian de Chirolo, an unemployed actor, cad and all around party boy who drifts aimlessly from one situation to another in search of money, sex, and amusement not necessarily in that order As Perian s misadventures progress he finds himself pulled into a political conspiracy and ultimate danger by the twin motivations of money and love We have a central focus for the story in the character of Perian and he is certainly I think at least a likable rogue even when he shows us his less than admirable side He grows as the story progresses and learns some valuable lessons about both love and realpolitik from the school of hard knocks From being a vain, self absorbed dilettante Perian becomes a wounded martyr for both love and politics Despite this central focus, the story can still seem somewhat scattershot due to the meandering plot and several points where it slows down dramatically For me the real draw of this novel lies in two main areas the wonderful prose Aldiss uses in building the city of Malacia for the reader, and the sparkle of several of the characters I was immediately plunged into the world of Malacia upon reading Smoke was drifting through my high window, obscuring the light Something was added to the usual aromas of Stary Most Among the flavours of freshcut timber, spices, cooking, gutters, and the incense from the corner wizard, Throat Dark, floated the smell of wood smoke Perhaps the sawdust seller had set fire to his load again Going to my casement, I looked down into the street, which wascrowded than usual for this hour of day The gongfermors and their carts had disappeared, but the Street of the Wood Carvers was jostling with early traffic, including among its habitual denizens a number of porters, beggars, and general hangers on they were doing their best either to impede or to further the progress of six burly orientals, all wearing turbans, all accompanied by lizard boys bearing canopies over them the latter intended as much to provide distinction as shade, since the summer sun had little force as yet The smoke was rising from the sweepings of an ash merchant, busily burning the street s rubbish One good noseful of it and I withdrew my head If you do not feel yourself immersed in the world of Malacia after that, and wish to plumb its depths and walk its streets, then I don t know if there is much else that I can say.Perian himself, who tells us his tale in candid first person, is a charming rogue He has a discerning eye, though it does seem to restrict itself to surfaces a fact he will grow to rue as the story progresses He introduces his best friend thusly We strolled along in good humour His doublet, I thought, was not a shade of green to be greatly excited about it made him look too much the player Yet Guy de Lambant was a handsome fellow enough He had a dark, quick eye and eyebrows as sharp and witty as his tongue could be He was sturdily built, and walked with quite a swagger when he remembered to do so As an actor he was effective, it had to be admitted, although he lacked my dedication His character was all one could wish for in a friend amusing, idle, vain and dissolute, ready for any mischief The two of us were always cheerful when together, as many ladies of Malacia would vouch The mysterious and paranoid Otto Bengtsohn, half crackpot inventor and half crackpot radical, is another wonderfully painted character Excuse me, I was not about to ask for favours but to offer one He pulled the jacket about him with dignity, cuddling his box for greater comfort My name, young sir, is called Otto Bengtsohn I am not from Malacia but from Tolkhorm at the north, from which particular adversities what afflict the poor and make their lives a curse have drove me since some years My belief is that only the poor will help the poor Accordingly, I wish for to offer you work, if you are free The long and the short of it is that on a lark Perian agrees to work for Bengtsohn who is attempting to perfect the artistic process for his mysterious zahnoscope The fact that a beautiful noblewoman is involved certainly doesn t dissuade Perian from jumping in with both feet It is here that his problems begin Malacia is a city that has outlawed all change and Bengtsohn is a man adamant to bring change about Caught in the middle, Perian is bound for catastrophe Perian s illusions, about both himself and others, are about to be shattered and that s never a painless process, however necessary it may be For the majority of Aldiss prose and his characterization of both the city and its inhabitants I give the book four stars, for the bloat and meandering that too often takes us off track I have to remove at least one.If you like atmosphere, intrigue, and mannered prose and aren t too put out by some slow pacing , then I recommend giving this book a try Aldiss s baroque Italianate fantasia, The Malacia Tapestry , overflows with invention and strangeness It creates a unique world based on Renaissance culture and politics, minus the Catholic Church, incorporating magic and the supernatural, fantastical creatures and even an appearance by the Gods themselves The actor hero, the wonderfully named Perian de Chirolo, begins as a rogue and parasite, like a character from Machiavelli s Mandragola , but finds himself drawn into higher and darker adv Aldiss s baroque Italianate fantasia, The Malacia Tapestry , overflows with invention and strangeness It creates a unique world based on Renaissance culture and politics, minus the Catholic Church, incorporating magic and the supernatural, fantastical creatures and even an appearance by the Gods themselves The actor hero, the wonderfully named Perian de Chirolo, begins as a rogue and parasite, like a character from Machiavelli s Mandragola , but finds himself drawn into higher and darker adventures.Unfortunately Aldiss, while a writer profligate with ideas, is no great stylist His prose often struggles to convey the richness of the material although he works hard at it, and the cumulative effect is by no means unimpressive Comparisons that inevitably arise to other writers of the fantastic Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, Michael Moorcock are rarely to Aldiss s advantage Compared to them he seems a bit prosaic In particular his attempts at eroticism come off as clumsy.In his long and prolific career Aldiss has essayed many styles This book was his only attempt at fantasy, and while it isn t entirely successful it remains a rather wonderful curiosity, and I am glad that he wrote it read during my Social Work Years I Remember an elaborate little trifle set in some kind of alternate Renaissance Italy a lively city, a fading city, a city on the rise ornate writing style, beautiful details, it s all quite luscious an extremely shallow hero within an extremely shallow narrative some wonderful set pieces very Jack Vance there is something almost bull headed in this novel s insistence on being a well written bit of airy material, with no deeper meaning that i c read during my Social Work Years I Remember an elaborate little trifle set in some kind of alternate Renaissance Italy a lively city, a fading city, a city on the rise ornate writing style, beautiful details, it s all quite luscious an extremely shallow hero within an extremely shallow narrative some wonderful set pieces very Jack Vance there is something almost bull headed in this novel s insistence on being a well written bit of airy material, with no deeper meaning that i can find Dinosaur Worship wow, did you know that we are actually descended from reptiles i guess this is why it is set in an alternate Italy No suelo poner medias estrellas, pero para prop sitos de El Tapiz de Malacia, sta es un 3.5 Hay ciertos nichos en fantas a que son poco explorados Uno de ellos y uno de mis favoritos es el que cambia la ya no tan usual ambientaci n en la Inglaterra medieval por la Italia medieval o renacentista Tigana es un triunfo absoluto y l rico, y Las Mentiras de Locke Lamora representan una de las m s electrizantes y energ ticas muestras de la fantas a contempor nea El Tapiz de Malacia, del prol fi No suelo poner medias estrellas, pero para prop sitos de El Tapiz de Malacia, sta es un 3.5 Hay ciertos nichos en fantas a que son poco explorados Uno de ellos y uno de mis favoritos es el que cambia la ya no tan usual ambientaci n en la Inglaterra medieval por la Italia medieval o renacentista Tigana es un triunfo absoluto y l rico, y Las Mentiras de Locke Lamora representan una de las m s electrizantes y energ ticas muestras de la fantas a contempor nea El Tapiz de Malacia, del prol fico Brian Aldiss, fue la primera de estas fantas as, y me temo que no llega tan cerca de los dos ejemplos posteriores.Efectivamente hay una muestra de la habilidad de Aldiss m s bien un escritor de ciencia ficci n antes que de fantas a para llevarnos por un mundo fant stico chapado completamente a la antigua Aqu nos hallamos como en La Princesa Prometida y como en la tradici n cl sica de la novela de caballer as con la imagen de una Europa atemporal y anacr nica Los turcos son una amenaza, se menciona a las tierras del Orinoco y a Ragusa el Dubrovink que la hace de Desembarco del Rey, se ores , las menciones al la cultura grecolatina est n por todas partes y en un gui o obvio, hay una tierra al norte llamada Tolkhorm Adem s, es una fantas a que nos demuestra que la idea de dinosaurios conviviendo con humanos en un contexto fant stico no es una idea ni novel ni descabellada aqu los humanos descienden de las antiguas bestias , hay humanos medio reptiles e incluso humanos con alas Muy al estilo de cierta canci n de Kabah.Nuestro protagonista, Perian de Chirolo, es el aut ntico p caro que sin un clavo en el bolsillo se dedica a tirarse a cuanta dama se deje Y en general es un p caro muy bien hecho buena parte de mi pleito con la fantas a actual es de tono Muchos de los autores contempor neos especialmente Lynch, Sanderson y Rothfuss tienen una tendencia exagerada a que sus personajes se comporten como piensan pensamos los geeks de hoy y a ser sarc sticos y manejar el wordplay como si hubieran nacido en este tiempo y esta era En la ficci n especulativa de anta o no era as , y los personajes de esta novela lo demuestran bien Ese sentido picaresco de donosura a n siendo bribones y de actitudes sociales que con toda delicadeza tratan de temas por dem s prosaicos Aqu el gran acierto de la novela.Pero con todo, hay algo como que no termina de cuajar Me pareci que tiene todos los elementos para triunfar o para haberse convertido en un cl sico y no en una novela del mont n entre el largu simo canon de Aldiss pero no lo logra Puede deberse a que la trama se atora especialmente cuando surgen las discusiones filos ficas entre los personajes que si esto o aquello es decadente, que si el artista esto o lo otro, que si el amor Ninguna relevante y todas arrastrando la trama que tiene grandes momentos pista son parecidos a los de Jurassic Park Tampoco es tan obvio en su intento la estructura de los personajes representando una obra que al final se cumple en sus vidas es brillante, pero uno tiene que poner mucha atenci n para ver qu pretende Aldiss fuera de la estructura Mi mejor adivinanza que una tragedia sublime es imposible en un mundo aburguesado.Entonces, recomendable La respuesta depende de si el lector est acostumbrado a la fantas a antigua Si es de los que le baja estrellas al Se or de los Anillos por considerarla lenta y en cambio se puede aventar un tocho de 1000 p ginas de Patrick Rothfuss sin problema, entonces no va a poder con esta novela Caso contrario, si ha le do los venerables nombres de Peake y Moorcock y Leiber y Vance y dem s, entonces adelante This is a well crafted picaresque novel in a wonderful fantasy setting It follows the adventures of Perian de Chirolo, a well born but poverty stricken underemployed actor, in and around Malacia, a city doomed, or blessed, to never change in any substantial way As we follow Perian around the city we learn that what at first appears to be a typical Renaissance trading city is in truth much older and much stranger Malacia is full of winged humans, lizard people, ape men, and things very much li This is a well crafted picaresque novel in a wonderful fantasy setting It follows the adventures of Perian de Chirolo, a well born but poverty stricken underemployed actor, in and around Malacia, a city doomed, or blessed, to never change in any substantial way As we follow Perian around the city we learn that what at first appears to be a typical Renaissance trading city is in truth much older and much stranger Malacia is full of winged humans, lizard people, ape men, and things very much like dinosaurs which Aldiss calls the Ancestral Beasts Perian falls in love, finds novel work, makes passes at anything in skirts with varying degrees of success, betrays, is betrayed, becomes famous, is present at the first use of biological warfare, is nearly killed fighting an Ancestral Beast in front of his beloved, speculates on the nature of Art and Time, and in general is a merry guide to the wonders of the city Well, I persisted throughthan half this book and finally gave up because no real plot seemed to be emerging and I just lost interest I would have quit sooner, but I ve always been impressed with Brian Aldiss s writing, and the quality of the writing was evident here Nevertheless I can only continue for so long with little or nothing happening. |Free Book ♫ The Malacia Tapestry ♡ In the timeless city of Malacia, a place swathed in magic and on the brink of war, lives a young man named Perian de Chirolo a free spirit, a fearless lover who embarks on a harrowing odyssey with dramatic consequences for himself and all Malacians This is a gripping tale of wonder, lust and destiny This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here The Malacia Tapestry follows the exploits of Perian de Chirolo, an actor in the city of Malacia as he looks for work, seduces women, falls in love and becomes embroiled in intrigue Malacia is a combination 16th century Vienna, and Florence, in an alternate world where dinosaurs, known as ancestral animals still roam The constant in Malacia is that there is never any change Many people see it as a curse, but the rich and powerful, for obvious reasons, strive to keep it that way.I was expecting The Malacia Tapestry follows the exploits of Perian de Chirolo, an actor in the city of Malacia as he looks for work, seduces women, falls in love and becomes embroiled in intrigue Malacia is a combination 16th century Vienna, and Florence, in an alternate world where dinosaurs, known as ancestral animals still roam The constant in Malacia is that there is never any change Many people see it as a curse, but the rich and powerful, for obvious reasons, strive to keep it that way.I was expecting a lot from this book Brian Aldiss is a renowned science fiction author I had read one of his books, Non Stop and thought it was excellent Also this book is on the list of the best 100 books of Modern Fantasy, but although it was well written, it was disappointing The fantasy elements, such as the dinosaurs, lizard people, were just colour, they could have been removed with no basic change in the story Aldiss might as well have set the story in real life Vienna for all the difference it would have made Further the central plot is not very inspiring boy seduces girl, decides that he loves her after all, then finds she has different ideas Meh Boring and disappointing.Somehow, the dinosaur bits never work out properly.Everything about this book seems forced.The plot is just too pointless and vapid, the author s intention to make the play in the story mirror the story itself too transparent, the ending almost like the author got bored of the book and stopped writing one evening after a bout of stomach upset.Not recommended. I found this novel somewhat disappointing, and I m giving it three stars mainly on the strength of the world building Malacia is painted quite vividly by Aldiss, and makes a rich background for the story But unfortunately it s a story that doesn t really go anywhere, with characters that don t inspire much interest or attachment The protagonist, Perian de Chirolo, never acquires enough depth to generate much feeling of investment in his fate, and his capers and adventures don t have enough ze I found this novel somewhat disappointing, and I m giving it three stars mainly on the strength of the world building Malacia is painted quite vividly by Aldiss, and makes a rich background for the story But unfortunately it s a story that doesn t really go anywhere, with characters that don t inspire much interest or attachment The protagonist, Perian de Chirolo, never acquires enough depth to generate much feeling of investment in his fate, and his capers and adventures don t have enough zest to bring him to the level of a lovable rogue.It seems that Aldiss was trying to write something of a picaresque novel blended with philosophizing and social criticism, but neither aspect is developed properly On the picaresque side, the episodes are fairly repetitive and don t include enough of the excesses and reversals that give picaresque its savor On the contemplative side, the ideas presented are barely sketched and left relatively undeveloped They tantalize a little, especially towards the end, but don t deliver any satisfaction.Although plenty of things happen, there isn t much of a plot, and there isn t much adversity or challenge in the story De Chirolo has ambitions, and he is thwarted at times, but these struggles don t feel very significant, as there is never really very much at risk As a poor, roguish character, he has little to lose, and even his life doesn t come under threat until the very end, where the climactic event is too predictable in its basic form to really create any tension.As I already mentioned, de Chirolo is a fairly shallow character, and for most of the story he is completely unaware of his own shortcomings and hypocrisies Only in the last last quarter of the book does he goes through a dramatic event that apparently marks the beginning of a change in his attitudes, yet this change only manifests in him telling people he is going to change The way he responds to betrayals of the sort that he himself committed several times before shows that he hasn t really changed much at all.Part of the theme of the book is of course change itself Malacia is under a curse that it should never change, and mysterious Supreme Council helps ensure this lack of change by abducting those who would introduce change and tossing their dismembered bodies into the river This background give the potential for some exciting developments in the story, but by the end of the book this potential is left untapped Is the message that these hopes for change are futile Perhaps But the lack of a significant plot in this book is a large weakness.Malacia might have been a better milieu for a series of short stories, in this case It is a kind of eternal city filled with fertile archetypes, but not a place where anything truly momentous happens, it would seem Life goes on from millennium to millennium in much the same way as before I could appreciate a Malicia of this kind But I feel that Aldiss develops the story as if Malacia really could be on the cusp of a major change, and then in the end, this feeling drains away, leaving a vague sense of unfulfillment