Bas-Lag Reading Project Iron Council Part Seven: “The Stain”
The outskirts of the Cacotopic Stain is the featured setting in this section. Personally, there is a sense of disappointment. Is this all there is to the Stain? Changes to geography, mutations, inchmen, and a car transformed into a giant cell? All of these events, encounters, and mutations are cool, but could there not have been more?
“The Stain” is basically running, trying to escape the murder squad sent after it and trying to reach New Crobuzon in time to aid in the revolution there. And the urgency rises as a new threat unfolds.. .
The attack of the inchmen is, perhaps, my favorite scene in this section. These Torque born monsters do a number on the foraging party. Pomeroy is killed, and Judah experiences moments of weakness. Indeed, Cutter’s point of view is very well done. The fear and terror is palpable.
The reason, of course, why Judah is weakened is because the Militia have begun tripping his golem traps. They won’t stop the Militia, but those creatures should delay them for a while.
As Iron Council rolls towards New Crobuzon, refugees from the city begin appearing. They tell of the Collective and its conflict with the government. Of the freedom spirals that have become symbols of the revolution. However, Quarbin interjects himself.
The spirals are not freedom signs. They are a summoning, a marker for a murderspirit, an entity that will destroy New Crobuzon. And Spiral Jacobs is revealed as the tramp ambassador of Tesh.
This raises an interesting question, though. Why are the Tesh wanting to destroy New Crobuzon? What benefit is it to them? Or is it they are desirous of a quick end to the war (much like New Crobuzon appears to be)? What ever the reason, the stage is set for a confrontation.
Next time, Judah Low vs. Spiral Jacobs in “The Remaking.”