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The Scar (Anglais) Poche – 29 juin 2004

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It is only ten miles beyond the city that the river loses its momentum, drooling into the brackish estuary that feeds Iron Bay.

The boats that make the eastward journey out of New Crobuzon enter a lower landscape. To the south there are huts and rotten little jetties, from where rural laborers fish to supplement monotonous diets. Their children wave at travelers, warily. Occasionally there is a knoll of rock or a small copse of darkwood trees, places that defy cultivation, but mostly the land is clear of stones.

From the decks, sailors can see over the fringe of hedgerow and trees and bramble to a tract of fields. This is the stubby end of the Grain Spiral, the long curl of farmland that feeds the city. Men and women can be seen among the crops, or plowing the black earth, or burning the stubble—depending on the season. Barges putter weirdly between fields, on canals hidden by banks of earth and vegetation. They go endlessly between the metropolis and the estates. They bring chymicals and fuel, stone and cement and luxuries to the country. They return to the city past acres of cultivation studded with hamlets, great houses, and mills, with sack upon sack of grain and meat.

The transport never stops. New Crobuzon is insatiable.

The north bank of the Gross Tar is wilder.

It is a long expanse of scrub and marsh. It stretches out for more than eighty miles, till the foothills and low mountains that creep at it from the west cover it completely. Ringed by the river, the mountains, and the sea, the rocky scrubland is an empty place. If there are inhabitants other than the birds, they stay out of sight.

Bellis Coldwine took her passage on an east-bound boat in the last quarter of the year, at a time of constant rain. The fields she saw were cold mud. The half-bare trees dripped. Their silhouettes looked wetly inked onto the clouds.

Later, when she thought back to that miserable time, Bellis was shaken by the detail of her memories. She could recall the formation of a flock of geese that passed over the boat, barking; the stench of sap and earth; the slate shade of the sky. She remembered searching the hedgerow with her eyes but seeing no one. Only threads of woodsmoke in the soaking air, and squat houses shuttered against weather.

The subdued movement of greenery in the wind.

She had stood on the deck enveloped in her shawl and watched and listened for children’s games or anglers, or for someone tending one of the battered kitchen gardens she saw. But she heard only feral birds. The only human forms she saw were scarecrows, their rudimentary features impassive.

It had not been a long journey, but the memory of it filled her like infection. She had felt tethered by time to the city behind her, so that the minutes stretched out taut as she moved away, and slowed the farther she got, dragging out her little voyage.

And then they had snapped, and she had found herself catapulted here, now, alone and away from home.

Much later, when she was miles from everything she knew, Bellis would wake, astonished that it was not the city itself, her home for more than forty years, that she dreamed of. It was that little stretch of river, that weatherbeaten corridor of country that had surrounded her for less than half a day.

In a quiet stretch of water, a few hundred feet from the rocky shore of Iron Bay, three decrepit ships were moored. Their anchors were rooted deep in silt. The chains that attached them were scabbed with years of barnacles.

They were unseaworthy, smeared bitumen-black, with big wooden structures built precariously at the stern and bow. Their masts were stumps. Their chimneys were cold and crusted with old guano.

The ships were close together. They were ringed with buoys strung together with barbed chain, above and below the water. The three old vessels were enclosed in their own patch of sea, unmoved by any currents.

They drew the eye. They were watched.

In another ship some distance away, Bellis raised herself to her porthole and looked out at them, as she had done several times over the previous hours. She folded her arms tight below her breasts and bent forward toward the glass.

Her berth seemed quite still. The movement of the sea beneath her was slow and slight enough to be imperceptible.

The sky was flint-grey and sodden. The shoreline and the rock hills that ringed Iron Bay looked worn and very cold, patched with crabgrass and pale saline ferns.

Those wooden hulks on the water were the darkest things visible.

Bellis sat slowly back on her bunk and picked up her letter. It was written like a diary; lines or paragraphs separated by dates. As she read over what she had last written she opened a tin box of prerolled cigarillos and matches. She lit up and inhaled deeply, pulling a fountain pen from her pocket and adding several words in a terse hand before she breathed the smoke away.

Skullday 26th Rinden 1779. Aboard the Terpsichoria It is nearly a week since we left the mooring in Tarmuth, and I am glad to have gone. It is an ugly, violent town.

I spent my nights in my lodgings, as advised, but my days were my own. I saw what there was to the place. It is ribbon-thin, a strip of industry that juts a mile or so north and south of the estuary, split by the water. Every day, the few thousand residents are joined by huge numbers who come from the city at dawn, making their way from New Crobuzon in boat- and cartloads to work. Every night the bars and bordellos are full of foreign sailors on brief shore leave.

Most reputable ships, I am told, travel the extra miles to New Crobuzon itself, to unload in the Kelltree docks. Tarmuth docks have not worked at more than half-capacity for two hundred years. It is only tramp steamers and freebooters that unload there—their cargoes will end up in the city just the same, but they have neither the time nor the money for the extra miles and the higher duty imposed by official channels.

There are always ships. Iron Bay is full of ships—breaking off from long journeys, sheltering from the sea. Merchant boats from Gnurr Kett and Khadoh and Shankell, on their way to or from New Crobuzon, moored near enough Tarmuth for their crews to relax. Sometimes, far out in the middle of the bay, I saw seawyrms released from the bridles of chariot-ships, playing and hunting.

The economy of Tarmuth is more than prostitution and piracy. The town is full of industrial yards and sidings. It lives as it has for centuries, on the building of ships. The shoreline is punctuated with scores of shipyards, building slipways like weird forests of vertical girders. In some loom ghostly half-completed vessels. The work is ceaseless, loud, and filthy.

The streets are crisscrossed with little private railways that take timber or fuel or whatever from one side of Tarmuth to the other. Each different company has built its own line to link its various concerns, and each is jealously guarded. The town is an idiotic tangle of railways, all replicating each other’s journeys.

I don’t know if you know this. I don’t know if you have visited this town.

The people here have an ambivalent relationship with New Crobuzon. Tarmuth could not exist a solitary day without the patronage of the capital. They know it and resent it. Their surly independence is an affectation.

I had to stay there almost three weeks. The captain of the Terpsichoria was shocked when I told him I would join him in Tarmuth itself, rather than sailing with him from New Crobuzon, but I insisted, as I had to. My position on this ship was conditional on a knowledge of Salkrikaltor Cray, which I falsely claimed. I had less than a month until we sailed, to make my lie a truth.

I made arrangements. I spent my days in Tarmuth in the company of one Marikkatch, an elderly he-cray who had agreed to act as my tutor. Every day I would walk to the salt canals of the cray quarter. I would sit on the low balcony that circled his room, and he would settle his armored underbody on some submerged furnishing and scratch and twitch his scrawny human chest, haranguing me from the water.

It was hard. He does not read. He is not a trained teacher. He stays in the town only because some accident or predator has maimed him, tearing off all but one leg from his left side, so that he can no longer hunt even the sluggish fish of Iron Bay. It might make a better story to claim that I had affection for him, that he is a lovable, cantankerous old gentleman, but he is a shit and a bore. I could make no complaints, however. I had no choice but to concentrate, to effect a few focus hexes, will myself into the language trance (and oh! how hard that was! I have left it so long my mind has grown fat and disgusting!) and drink in every word he gave me.

It was hurried and unsystematic—it was a mess, a bloody mess—but by the time the Terpsichoria tied up in the harbor I had a working understanding of his clicking tongue.

I left the embittered old bastard to his stagnant water, quit my lodgings there, and came to my cabin—this cabin from where I write.

We sailed away from Tarmuth port on the morning of Dustday, heading slowly toward the deserted southern shores of Iron Bay, twenty miles from town. In careful formation at strategic points around the edge of the bay, in quiet spots by rugged land and pine forests, I spotted ships. No one will speak of them. I know they are the ships of the New Crobuzon government. Privateers and others.

It is now Skullday.

On Chainday I was able to persuade the captain to let me disembark, and I spent the morning on the shore. Iron Bay is drab, but anything is better than the damned ship. I am beginning to doubt that it is an improvement on Tarmuth. I am driven to bedlam by the incessant, moronic slap of waves.

Two taciturn crewmen rowed me ashore, watching without pity as I stepped over the edge of the little boat and walked the last few feet through freezing surf. My boots are still stiff and salt-stained.

I sat on the pebbles and threw stones into the water. I read some of the long, bad novel I found on board. I watched the ship. It is moored close to the prisons, so that our captain can easily entertain and converse with the lieutenant-gaolers. I watched the prison-ships themselves. There was no movement from their decks, from behind their portholes. There is never any movement.

I swear, I do not know if I can do this. I miss you, and New Crobuzon.

I remember my journey.

It is hard to believe that it is only ten miles from the city to the godsforsaken sea.

There was a knocking at the door of the tiny cabin. Bellis’ lips pursed, and she waved her sheaf of paper to dry it. Unhurriedly she folded it and replaced it in the chest containing her belongings. She drew her knees up a little higher and played with her pen, watching as the door opened.

A nun stood in the threshold, her arms braced at either side of the doorway.

“Miss Coldwine,” she said uncertainly. “May I come in?”

“It’s your cabin too, Sister,” said Bellis quietly. Her pen spun over and around her thumb. It was a neurotic little trick she had perfected at university.

Sister Meriope shuffled forward a little and sat on the solitary chair. She smoothed her dark russet habit around her, fiddled with her wimple.

“It has been some days now since we became cabin-mates, Miss Coldwine,” Sister Meriope began, “and I do not feel . . . as if I yet know you at all. And this is not a situation I would wish to continue. As we are to be traveling and living together for many weeks . . . some companionship, some closeness, could only make those days easier . . .” Her voice failed, and she knotted her hands.

Présentation de l'éditeur

A mythmaker of the highest order, China Miéville has emblazoned the fantasy novel with fresh language, startling images, and stunning originality. Set in the same sprawling world of Miéville’s Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novel, Perdido Street Station, this latest epic introduces a whole new cast of intriguing characters and dazzling creations.

Aboard a vast seafaring vessel, a band of prisoners and slaves, their bodies remade into grotesque biological oddities, is being transported to the fledgling colony of New Crobuzon. But the journey is not theirs alone. They are joined by a handful of travelers, each with a reason for fleeing the city. Among them is Bellis Coldwine, a renowned linguist whose services as an interpreter grant her passage—and escape from horrific punishment. For she is linked to Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, the brilliant renegade scientist who has unwittingly unleashed a nightmare upon New Crobuzon.

For Bellis, the plan is clear: live among the new frontiersmen of the colony until it is safe to return home. But when the ship is besieged by pirates on the Swollen Ocean, the senior officers are summarily executed. The surviving passengers are brought to Armada, a city constructed from the hulls of pirated ships, a floating, landless mass ruled by the bizarre duality called the Lovers. On Armada, everyone is given work, and even Remades live as equals to humans, Cactae, and Cray. Yet no one may ever leave.

Lonely and embittered in her captivity, Bellis knows that to show dissent is a death sentence. Instead, she must furtively seek information about Armada’s agenda. The answer lies in the dark, amorphous shapes that float undetected miles below the waters—terrifying entities with a singular, chilling mission. . . .

China Miéville is a writer for a new era—and The Scar is a luminous, brilliantly imagined novel that is nothing short of spectacular.

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Par Kallisthène TOP 500 COMMENTATEURS le 20 novembre 2007
Format: Poche
La richesse de l'imagination de China Miéville est absolument incomparable, au moment d'écrire ce commentaire j'ai l'impression d'en avoir déjà presque tout oublié tellement ses univers sont riches. Il aurait pu se contenter d'exploiter la mine d'histoire qu'il a créé dans Perdido Street Station, mais il a opté pour la création d'une nouvelle ville qui est un peu le contraire de la Nouvelle-Crobuzon, une ville pirate flottante d'un mile carré faite de vaisseaux assemblés de toute origine, L'Armada. L'Armada où tout le monde est libre ... de ne pas la quitter, mais nulle part ailleurs ne cohabitent en paix pirates, les criminels recréés par les chirurgiens de la Nouvelle-Crobuzon, les Khepris, les Cactacaes, les Hotchi et même les ab-dead (ou vampir à qui les citoyens doivent fournir volontairement une petite partie de sang). Il s'agit pourtant d'une vraie ville, avec ses beaux quartiers, ses cafés et même ses promenades panoramiques. Le livre suit l'intégration dans cette société particulière cinq des passagers du cargo Terpsichoria arraisonné ou plutôt réquisitionné par l'Armada. Chaque nouveau citoyen se voit affecté un poste et est jugé sur son intégration. Nous suivons plus particulièrement l'itinéraire de la traductrice Bellis, peu enthousiasmé à l'idée de finir sa vie en cette ville,mais qui sera affecté à un projet grandiose avec son compagnon recréé qui a lui embrassé cette nouvelle vie et accepté sa tentaculaire greffe.Lire la suite ›
3 commentaires 3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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L'auteur nous plonge ici dans un monde étrange, sans préparation... Résultat, des surprises à chaque page, et des coups d'oeil furtifs à ce monde fantastique, si proche de notre 19ème siècle, mais si différent aussi...
On reste accroché jusqu'au bout, mais on reste sur sa faim quand arrive le dénouement, au point de se douter de l'existence d'un second volume...
Les personnages sont intéressants, mais ils manquent d'historique... La plupart ont eu une vie semble-t-il mouvementée, mais seulement quelques allusions y sont faites...
Bref, un bon roman avec quelques faiblesses...
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China Mieville est un auteur à ne pas manquer. Après Perdido Street Station, il trempe à nouveau sa plume dans l'encrier de Nouvelle-Crobuzon. Si les protagonistes de The Scar sont différents de ceux de Perdido, on retrouve avec émerveillement sa richesse imaginative et la qualité d'écriture. Aucun simplisme, aucune volonté grossière de perdre le lecteur : l'auteur nous mène par le bout du nez à travers les yeux des personnages qu'il crée et nous emporte avec lui dans un monde où la nature humaine et non-humaine révèle toute sa complexité.
Remarque sur ce commentaire 2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5 212 commentaires
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 a good read with a new world in his good hands 4 février 2016
Par A. Kristie - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
if you are reading his New Crobuzon series, start at the beginning, and he is a very descriptive writer,. this is an entire new world he has created. with the oldness of centuries gone by and new as flying machines and thought police, but i will not go further than that. If you like science fiction, he is very good at bringing you there, and keeping you there;. i have read three now and dig his world.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Immersive World and Fantastic Journey Overshadowed by Heartless B**ch 20 février 2015
Par Glowguy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
I was excited to read this one after getting completely absorbed with Perdido Street Station which was one of the best "fantasy" novels I had read in a long time. The Scar took me about five times as long to read and was much less compelling to me than its predecessor. The main reason for this is the protagonist (and I use that term as loosely as possible here) - who is without a doubt one of the most unlikable, befuddled, and self-entitled characters I've ever encountered in a novel. She strikes me as someone with borderline personality disorder and the reader has to put up with it for more than 500 pages. Needless to say - this is exhausting and I had to take lots of breaks. Honestly, I found myself rolling my eyes often in regards to her behavior or in some cases actually smiling when she was humiliated.

Fortunately enough of the elements that made Perdido so enjoyable are present here too. Mieville is an extremely talented writer whose head is positively bursting with imagination and the Scar has its share of spectacular ideas. In some ways he is able to make the story work. The book becomes more about the journey than the characters and this journey is pretty epic. Some might get the sense that the ending is a little anti-climactic but I enjoyed the final 100 pages more than the rest and felt that the story built to a satisfying conclusion. That being said - I could have done with a lot less Bellis.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fun read for SF and fantasy. 22 août 2015
Par Michael C. Graves - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This is the first of Mieville's books for me. In retrospect, I would highly recommend reading the New Crobuzon series in order. I am just starting no. 1 "Perdido Street Station" and it defines a lot of things that you have to guess about if you jump in with the Scar, as I did.
The series of 3 books take place on a different world, with early 19th century level of technology, sailing ships, some steam engines, no wireless or wired communications. But they do have airships and submarines. Thee are many kinds of creatures, Cactus people and Mosquito people to name two. Lots of fantasies about weird science etc. The central character of "The Scar" is Bellis Coldwine, a woman who had studied and written a book on an ancient extinct language. She teaches one character to read, another to speak the common language. She loves books and gets a job as a librarian, and hunts for a rare lost book. You might say that she is a "Speech Therapist who loves books" (any resemblance to persons ... is purely coincidental). She has an amazing epic adventure.

Many reviewers criticize Mieville for his lengthy descriptions. "Enough!, on with the story!" I admit it was slow for me to get into the swing of the story, but once I did, I did not find the descriptions laborious at all. I enjoyed the book a lot.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Does not lets us down after perdido street station 12 septembre 2014
Par Sumant - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This book is basically second in the trilogy of <b>Bas Lag</b> and if you were amazed by <b>Perdido street station</b>, I think you will love this book too.This book basically takes place on a convoy of ships known as <b>Armada</b>.

<img src="http://www.curufea.com/games/crobuzon/scar.jpg" height="233px" width="357px" alt="Armada"></img>

But the Armada is definitely more than just rag tag convoy of assembled ships.It is basically a flourishing city like <b>New Corbuzon</b> where engineers,shopkeepers, doctors and costermongers(can help using this word :P) go to work everyday.It is divided into district of ships like Garwarter,Dry Fall,Curshouse and Shaddler and each of these districts have their unique set of rulers and unique set of taxes.

The most powerful of districts is basically the Garwarter district and it is basically ruled <b>The Lovers</b> who love to have symmetrical cuts on each other faces and get some kind of orgasmic high from that.The district which is in direct opposition to Garwarter is basically the Dry fall which is basically ruled by Vampir yes you heard me right there are Vampires on these convoy of ships too known as Brucolac.

The book basically starts with Bellis Coldwine who is basically a linguist and she is running away from <b>New corbuzon</b> as she is being hunted by the militia as she was an ex lover of <b>Issac</b> our renegade scientist from first book.On this ship she meets a host of characters like <b>Johannes Tearfly</b> and <b>Silas Fennec</b> also unknown to her who will play a larger part in the story are sailor <b>Shekel</b> and a remade <b>Tanner Sack</b>, out of them Tanner Sack is being escorted to Nova esperium so that he can spend rest of his life as slave.

<img src="http://outtherebooks.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/tanner_sack_by_trabbold.jpg" height="500px" width="500px" alt="Tanner sack"></img>

But unfortunately their ship gets hijacked and they are thrown into the new world of <b>Armada</b>,but although it is a pirate city but the city does not your average Captain Jack Sparrow like pirates but there is a structure to the society of Armada where in each member of the hijacked ship gets pressganged i.e. adopts to the culture of Armada and starts contributing to the city in one way or another.Th difference between personalities starts popping up as soon as this takes place because <b>Bellis</b> tries in vain to continuously struggle against the situation in which she is put and starts getting involved in murkier plots by <b>Silas Fennec</b> who has his own agenda to follow while the other people like <b>Tanner Sack</b> who is an engineer by profession adopts smoothly to the Armada culture, even the young boy <b>Shekel</b> manages to learn a lot of new things on Armada.

Also Armada has its own story where the lovers are doing something without taking their fellow rulers in consideration, we get a lot of murkier politics in the plot which is very fascinating to read, and finally we come to understand who is playing whom.And standing in the middle of these power games is powerful fighter known as <b>Uthar doul</b> who can change the rules of the game due to the possibility sword which he is using.

I think Mieville has outdone himself in <b>The scar</b>, his imagination has no boundaries.I think if he wouldn't have been an author then he would surely have become some kind of mad scientist, because the way he manages to walk the fine line between sci-fi and fantasy and mutation is simply mesmerizing.for me this book is 5/5 stars.
2.0 étoiles sur 5 And I loved the the fantastical stretching of the boundaries of reality ... 16 septembre 2016
Par Jerome N. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I admired Miéville's ability to weave a tight crime story in a city of two distinct cultures that either did or didn't occupy the same space at the same time in The City & The City. And I loved the the fantastical stretching of the boundaries of reality in what I will just describe as urban brain-sucking pest control, in Perdido Street Station. But The Scar, set on the same fantasy planet as the other two books, was undisciplined and way too long. The setting and the plot lines covered so much territory and was stretched so thin, that it was more like an outline or an early draft. Cut it down by half, and it might be worth it. Miéville is a very good writer, but this doesn't show it.
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