The Shell and Mantle (a lovely pan-mollusca blog which regularly reminds me that cephalopods have some very cool cousins) kindly sent me a copy of China Miéville's Kraken after I whined about wanting to read it.

I'm only one chapter in, so this is less of a review and more of a public service announcement that, thus far, my two inner geeks are pulling in opposite directions.

I am, first and foremost, a squid geek. Specifically, a squid science geek. So the fact that Miéville thanks Tsunemi Kubodera in his acknowledgements and then casually mentions Steve O'Shea within the first few pages of the novel ranks highly with me. Kubodera and O'Shea are giants of giant squid biology--Kubodera photographed and filmed the first live giant squid underwater, and O'Shea has captured and maintained baby giant squid in aquaria. I'm very pleased that Miéville did his biological homework.


Second, and only slightly less well known, I am an English geek. And the first chapter of the book contains not one but two egregious grammatical errors.

The first is repeated several times, so I can only assume that it is intentional: the use of "alright" for "all right." Like most grammar geeks, I have a strong prescriptivist tendency, and I'm kicking and screaming on this one, but I also grudgingly acknowledge that "alright" is slowly gaining acceptance.

Language evolves, slang becomes standard, blah blah blah. But the second error is truly an error, not an evolution: misusing "it's" for "its." Here are the rules; I know of no grammarian who will bend them.

So, to sum up: Science geek is stoked! Grammar geek is cringing.

I will keep reading, and let you know how things progress . . .