Watching God (Review)

Watching God (Review)

ey, I’m a long-term China Mieville fan. He writes wonderfully and while I don’t often understand everything that is being conveyed to me, it’s usually a treat.

Found his name on a collection of short stories titled Out of the Ruins. Possibly I should have peeked at the story he’d contributed to the collection because now, in retrospect, I think I’ve got it elsewhere in my stacks. Anyway, the tale is titled Watching God. It’s a great piece, if not (as usual) a bit esoteric for a guy like me.

So in this story, there is a community of people trapped on a headland. You can tell that technology existed at one time (there are pictures of things in the town’s gallery). But all attempts to recreate technology fail. The people just go about their lives, surrounded on three sides by an ocean (the other way is blocked by impassible terrain). But the strangest thing about this situation are the ships that come to town.

Well, they don’t really “come” in, so to speak. They anchor offshore, nobody on deck. And the people in the town feel their wishes and hopes “collected” by the ships that sail away. Now, I might not be a literary giant but I’m thinking that maybe this is analogous to God, who carries off all our prayers but leaves us nothing to show for it save a sense of an unburdened soul. This is a little side adventure where the main character and a friend attempt to row out to one of the ships. What this represents, I have no idea. Religious mania? Total devotion of one’s life? I’d love to sit in a London pub with Mr. Mieville and ask him, basically, WTF?

Anyway, there are other stories in the collection so I’ll use them as a fallback for when I’m stuck on a longer story.

Like I said, you got me as to what this meant, but I loved the style.