History Literature / TheCityAndTheCity

1st Aug '17 10:45:49 AM JBK405
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* MistakenForProfound: When Borlú finds Mahalia's copy of ''Between the City and the City'', he tries hard to decipher what all the notes she has scribbled in the margins ''mean'', particularly as they become more frantic and the handwriting is almost visibly angry/frightened. [[spoiler: It is only at the end that he realizes that Mahalia has not been discovering the hidden history of Orciny or the way it controls the cities, but instead that she has discovered that there ''isn't'' an AncientConspiracy. Her notes are just academic references to the other scholars that have already researched and published refutations of the book]].

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* MistakenForProfound: When Borlú finds Mahalia's copy of ''Between the City and the City'', he tries hard to decipher what all the notes she has scribbled in the margins ''mean'', particularly ''mean''. Particularly as they become more frantic and the handwriting is almost visibly angry/frightened. [[spoiler: It is only at the end that he realizes that Mahalia has not been discovering the hidden history of Orciny or the way it controls the cities, but instead that she has discovered that there ''isn't'' an AncientConspiracy. Her notes are just academic references to the other scholars that have already researched and published refutations of the book]].



* OldShame: In-universe, Bowden's book, ''Between the City and the City'', ruffled a lot of feathers in its time and is banned in both Besźel and Ul Qoma. Even though he has publicly disavowed the book and admitted the theories are all crap, he still can't get any decent work, and he still gets accosted by obsessed fans.

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* OldShame: OldShame:
**
In-universe, Bowden's book, ''Between the City and the City'', ruffled a lot of feathers in its time and is banned in both Besźel and Ul Qoma. Even though he has publicly disavowed the book and admitted the theories are all crap, he still can't get any decent work, and he still gets accosted by obsessed fans.fans.
** Ul Qoma apparently sided with the Axis in WWII, which is a blemish on their current efforts to present a modern, cosmopolitan face to the world.
31st Jul '17 11:47:19 AM JBK405
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''The City & the City'' is a 2009 NewWeird crime novel by Creator/ChinaMieville. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad of the decaying {{Ruritania}}n [[LandOfOneCity city-state of Besźel]] investigates a murder; his investigation turns international, and he ends up crossing over to the [[LandOfOneCity sister-city of Ul Qoma]] to continue his work. Ul Qoma happens to be geographically - ''grosstopically'', to use the local phrase - in the same location as Besźel. Not just next to, but literally ''the same place'' as Besźel: streets and buildings are regarded as being either part of Besźel or part of Ul Qoma, sometimes with the location changing for individual rooms within buildings or tiny patches of ground. There are neighborhoods of Ul Qoma that are exclusively Ul Qoman, and neighborhoods of Besźel that are exclusively Besź, but when people go to locations that are 'cross-hatched' (part Besź, part Ul Qoman), they must "unsee" what is in the other city-state unless they formally cross borders. To travel between the cities includes the full process of national travel, requiring visas, passports and customs agents. If they ever allow themselves to recognize that there is a person or building in front of them that--legally speaking--is in another city, they draw the attention of Breach, the dreaded power that enforces the separation.

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''The City & the City'' is a 2009 NewWeird crime novel by Creator/ChinaMieville. Creator/ChinaMieville.

Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad of the decaying {{Ruritania}}n [[LandOfOneCity city-state of Besźel]] investigates a murder; is tasked to investigate the [[DisposableSexWorker murder of an apparent prostitute]]. However, things are (obviously) more complicated than they initially appear, and his investigation turns international, and international when he ends up crossing is forced to cross over to the [[LandOfOneCity sister-city of Ul Qoma]] to continue his work. work. What makes this more than your average MurderMystery is the fact that Ul Qoma happens to be geographically - ''grosstopically'', to use the local phrase - in the same location as Besźel. Not Besźel.

No, not
just next to, "next to", but literally ''the same place'' as Besźel: Besźel.

In this unique double-city,
streets and buildings are regarded as being either part of Besźel or part of Ul Qoma, sometimes with the location changing for individual rooms within buildings or tiny patches of ground. There are neighborhoods of Ul Qoma that are exclusively Ul Qoman, and neighborhoods of Besźel that are exclusively Besź, but when people go to locations that are 'cross-hatched' (part Besź, part Ul Qoman), they must "unsee" what is in the other city-state unless they formally cross borders. To travel between the cities includes the full process of national travel, requiring visas, passports and customs agents. If they ever allow themselves to recognize that there is a person or building in front of them that--legally speaking--is in another city, they draw the attention of Breach, the dreaded power that enforces the separation.



* AlienGeometries: To the perspective of people in one city, people and places of the ''other'' city are not there. In order to travel between buildings that are grosstopically side-by-side you need to travel to the legal border between the cities (Which might be miles away), legally emigrate, and then come back. Trash and rain are the only objects which travel freely between the cities, to everything else it does not matter where you are, all that matters is which city you are in.

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* AlienGeometries: To the perspective of people in one city, people and places of the ''other'' city are not there. In order to travel between buildings that are grosstopically side-by-side you need to travel to the legal border between the cities (Which might be miles away), legally emigrate, and then come back. Trash and rain are the only objects which travel freely between the cities, to cities. For everything else it does not matter where you are, all that matters is which city you are in.



* CultureChopSuey: Both Besźel and Ul Qoma are a blend of cultures and languages from Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The word "Besźel" is Hungarian for "Talk", with the demonym/language name "Besź" meaning "speech" or (By extension) "people who speak [the language]". "Ul Qoma" seems to be an altered transliteration of the Arabic ''Al Iqama'', which is the second call to prayer in Islam. Besź is written with an alphabet that is visually similar to Cyrillic (But is emphatically not actually that alphabet), while Illitan is written using the Latin alphabet after a cultural revolution early in the twentieth century and is described as a mix between Arabic and Sanskrit. Despite the influences from many sources, both countries have sharply xenophobic tendencies, and restrict the immigration of Africans, Arabs and Asians.

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* CultureChopSuey: Both Besźel and Ul Qoma are a blend of cultures and languages from Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The word "Besźel" is Hungarian for "Talk", with the demonym/language name "Besź" meaning "speech" or (By extension) "people who speak [the language]". "Ul Qoma" seems to be an altered transliteration of the Arabic ''Al Iqama'', which is the second call to prayer in Islam. Besź is written with an alphabet that is visually similar to Cyrillic (But is emphatically not actually that alphabet), while Illitan is written using the Latin alphabet after a cultural revolution early in the twentieth century and is described as a mix between Arabic and Sanskrit. Despite the these influences from many sources, both countries have sharply xenophobic tendencies, and restrict the immigration of Africans, Arabs and Asians.



* FelonyMisdemeanor: Breaching is a much worse crime than anything else that could be committed in either Besź or Ul Qoma, and the police invoke the omnipotent Breach to deal with the murder case not because of how heinous the murder was, but because she was murdered in Ul Qoma but ''dumped'' in Besźel. When her ''American'' parents fly in to Besźel, they are outraged that the police are not investigating the case more thoroughly. They just don't understand that calling in Breach to deal with a case is akin to summoning {{God}} to enact divine retribution upon a wrongdoer - [[spoiler:[[TheManBehindTheCurtain or, at least, that's how the two cities see it]]]].

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* FelonyMisdemeanor: Breaching is a much worse crime than anything else that could be committed in either Besź or Ul Qoma, and the Qoma. The police invoke the omnipotent Breach to deal with the murder case not because of how heinous the murder was, but because she was murdered in Ul Qoma but ''dumped'' in Besźel. When her ''American'' parents fly in to Besźel, they are outraged that the police are not investigating the case more thoroughly. They just don't understand that calling in Breach to deal with a case is akin to summoning {{God}} to enact divine retribution upon a wrongdoer - [[spoiler:[[TheManBehindTheCurtain or, at least, that's how the two cities see it]]]].



* TheOnlyBeliever: Mahalia Geary is the only person to really believe in the existence of Orciny. Except for the conspiracy theorists and nuts most people never believe in it at all, and Doctor Bowden--who used to believe in it and cannot escape that association--has since realized Orciny itself is a myth and his research into it was mainly a product of young, over-imaginative mind. [[spoiler:In the end, [[SubvertedTrope not even Mahalia was a believer]], realizing that she was being deliberately fooled by Bowden. She had, however, convinced Yolanda Rodriguez that it existed and never got around to explaining the truth before her death. To Bowden, having the ''only'' believer be the less-intelligent friend of the girl who had figured him out was almost worse than having nobody believe him at all]].

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* TheOnlyBeliever: Mahalia Geary is the only person to really believe in the existence of Orciny. Except Most people never believe in it at all except for the conspiracy theorists and nuts most people never believe in it at all, nuts, and Doctor Bowden--who used to believe in it and cannot escape that association--has since realized Orciny itself is a myth and his research into it was mainly a product of young, over-imaginative mind. [[spoiler:In the end, [[SubvertedTrope not even Mahalia was a believer]], realizing that she was being deliberately fooled by Bowden. She had, however, convinced Yolanda Rodriguez that it existed and never got around to explaining the truth before her death. To Bowden, having the ''only'' believer be the less-intelligent friend of the girl who had figured him out was almost worse than having nobody believe him at all]].
5th May '17 11:57:11 AM Iaculus
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* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: The artefacts, which are historical, deeply weird, and hinted to have functions and abilities of a decidedly alien sort... but never actually ''do'' anything explicitly supernatural on-screen. In accordance with the book's themes, no explanation is ever given, and the matter is not dwelt upon.

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* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: The artefacts, which are historical, ahistorical, deeply weird, and hinted to have functions and abilities of a decidedly alien sort... but never actually ''do'' anything explicitly supernatural on-screen. In accordance with the book's themes, no explanation is ever given, and the matter is not dwelt upon.
12th Jan '17 4:41:36 PM JBK405
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* BilingualBonus: Because of Besźel and Ul Qoma's influence from [[CultureChopSuey many different people]], many words of Besź and Illitan are the same as (Or similar to) words in real-world languages. "Besźel" itself means "talk" in Hungarian, with the demonym Besź meaning "speech" or "person who speaks [the language]" when applied to people.



* CultureChopSuey: Both Besźel and Ul Qoma are a blend of cultures and languages from Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The word "Besźel" is Hungarian for "Talk", with the demonym/language name "Besź" meaning "speech" or "people who speak [the language]". "Ul Qoma" seems to be an altered transliteration of the Arabic ''Al Iqama'', which is the second call to prayer in Islam. The Ul Qoman language used to be written with an alphabet that was visually similar to Cyrillic (But was emphatically not actually that alphabet), but is now written using the Latin alphabet after a cultural revolution early in the twentieth century. Despite the influences from many sources, both countries have sharply xenophobic tendencies, and restrict the immigration of Africans, Arabs and Asians.

to:

* CultureChopSuey: Both Besźel and Ul Qoma are a blend of cultures and languages from Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The word "Besźel" is Hungarian for "Talk", with the demonym/language name "Besź" meaning "speech" or (By extension) "people who speak [the language]". "Ul Qoma" seems to be an altered transliteration of the Arabic ''Al Iqama'', which is the second call to prayer in Islam. The Ul Qoman language used to be Besź is written with an alphabet that was is visually similar to Cyrillic (But was is emphatically not actually that alphabet), but while Illitan is now written using the Latin alphabet after a cultural revolution early in the twentieth century.century and is described as a mix between Arabic and Sanskrit. Despite the influences from many sources, both countries have sharply xenophobic tendencies, and restrict the immigration of Africans, Arabs and Asians.



* FirstNameBasis: When Borlú introduces himself to the teenage witnesses in the first chapter, [[DiscussedTrope he internally considers how he should refer to himself]]. If they were younger he would have introduced himself as "I'm Tyador", but he thinks that they are too old now for euphemisms and first names so he sticks to professionalism and introduces himself as "Inspector Borlú".



* GoodCopBadCop: Ramira Yaszek sits in on Inspector Naustin questioning some witnesses because Borlú knows that he is liable to get violent if left alone, [[PoliceBrutality but not even her presence can stop him from roughing them up when one starts talking back.]] Afterwrads she manages to morph it into her playing "good cop" after they had seen Naustin as "bad cop".

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* GoodCopBadCop: Ramira Yaszek sits in on Inspector Naustin questioning some witnesses because Borlú knows that he is liable to get violent if left alone, [[PoliceBrutality but not even her presence can stop him from roughing them up when one starts talking back.]] Afterwrads Afterwards she manages to morph it into her playing "good cop" after they had seen Naustin as "bad cop".


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* {{Precursors}}: There are rumors, legends and myths about the people who lived in this territory before the rise of Besźel and Ul Qoma. The SchizoTech found in the archaeological digs has lead some to believe that they possessed advanced technology or magic, and there are now-discredited theories that there have been multiple different civilizations in the same territory. [[spoiler:Ultimately we learn nothing more about these people than what the characters knew at the beginning, as none of them have learned anything new, either. It is never established if they did or did not have any special technology]].
12th Jan '17 10:33:40 AM JBK405
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''The City & the City'' is a 2009 NewWeird crime novel by Creator/ChinaMieville. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad of the decaying {{Ruritania}}n [[LandOfOneCity city-state of Besźel]] investigates a murder; his investigation turns international, and he ends up crossing over to the [[LandOfOneCity sister-city of Ul Qoma]] to continue his work. Ul Qoma happens to be geographically - ''grosstopically'', to use the local phrase - in the same location as Besźel. Not just next to, but literally ''the same place'' as Besźel: streets and buildings are regarded as being either part of Besźel or part of Ul Qoma, sometimes with the location changing for individual rooms within buildings or tiny patches of ground. There are neighborhoods of Ul Qoma that are exclusively Ul Qoman, and neighborhoods of Besźel that are exclusively Besź, but when people go to locations that are 'cross-hatched' (part Besź, part Ul Qoman), they must "unsee" what is in the other city-state unless they formally cross borders. To travel between the cities includes the full process of national travel, requiring visas, passports and customs agents. If they ever allow themselves to recognize that there is a person or building in front of them that--legally speaking--is in another city, they draw the attention of Breach, the dreaded power that enforces the separation.

As Borlú goes deeper into his initial murder investigation, he likewise gets drawn into whispered rumors of a third city, Orciny, that exists between the two cities everybody else can see.

to:

''The City & the City'' is a 2009 NewWeird crime novel by Creator/ChinaMieville. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad of the decaying {{Ruritania}}n [[LandOfOneCity city-state of Besźel]] investigates a murder; his investigation turns international, and he ends up crossing over to the [[LandOfOneCity sister-city of Ul Qoma]] to continue his work. Ul Qoma happens to be geographically - ''grosstopically'', to use the local phrase - in the same location as Besźel. Not just next to, but literally ''the same place'' as Besźel: streets and buildings are regarded as being either part of Besźel or part of Ul Qoma, sometimes with the location changing for individual rooms within buildings or tiny patches of ground. There are neighborhoods of Ul Qoma that are exclusively Ul Qoman, and neighborhoods of Besźel that are exclusively Besź, but when people go to locations that are 'cross-hatched' (part Besź, part Ul Qoman), they must "unsee" what is in the other city-state unless they formally cross borders. To travel between the cities includes the full process of national travel, requiring visas, passports and customs agents. If they ever allow themselves to recognize that there is a person or building in front of them that--legally speaking--is in another city, they draw the attention of Breach, the dreaded power that enforces the separation.

As Borlú goes deeper into his initial murder investigation, he likewise gets drawn into whispered rumors of a third city, Orciny, that exists between the two cities everybody else can see.



* CultureChopSuey: Both Besźel and Ul Qoma are a blend of cultures and languages from Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The word "Besźel" is Hungarian for "Talk", with the demonym/language name "Besź" meaning "speech" or "people who speak [the language]". "Ul Qoma" seems to be an altered transliteration of the Arabic ''Al Iqama'', which is the second call to prayer in Islam. The Ul Qoman language used to be written with an alphabet that was visually similar to Cyrillic (But was emphatically not actually that alphabet), but is now written using the Latin alphabet after a cultural revolution early in the twentieth century. Despite the influences from many sources, both countries have sharply xenophobic tendencies, and restrict the immigration of Africans, Arabs and Asians.



* {{Ruritania}}: Besźel is a poverty-stricken, technologically backward city-state somewhere in southeast Europe. Ul Qoma is in the same region, of course, but its booming economy gives it a much better infrastructure and connections with the First World.



* SherlockScan: [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed]] in the first chapter, after Naustin and Borlú have first looked over the body. The obvious conclusion is that she was a prostitute murdered while working, but after Naustin walks off Borlú asks Corwi for ''her'' take, since she is clearly unconvinced. She points out that the makeup, though thick, is in earth and brown colors, not the bright colors used to emphasize sexuality or attract attention. Her hair is also un-dyed when most of the working girls are blonde and the rest are black or bloodred. To cap it off, her hair--though dirty--is in good condition, even better than Corwi's, and for the streetwalkers in Besźel the priority is food for their kids first, then drugs for themselves, then ''food'' for themselves, with luxuries like conditioner way down the list. None of it is definitive, but Borlú takes it as an indication that there's something more going on than just a crime of passion from a john.
* StagedPopulistUprising: Towards the end of the novel, a citywide--''both'' cities--uprising is started by the Unificationists, the people who believe that Besźel and Ul Qoma should be one city (And historically ''have'' been one city). Since nearly every mention of the unifs from the very start of the book has had people talking about how [[FlockOfWolves most of their members are actually cops]], it takes Borlú very little time to realize the entire event is a cover for [[spoiler:Buric]] to make his escape.
* StupidCrooks: If [[spoiler:Bowden had had an up-to-date map or a henchman who could think on his feet]], Mahalia's murder would have gone undiscovered for days (Perhaps weeks) and likely never been solved. Instead, her body was dumped haphazardly, quickly discovered, the entire event unraveled from there.

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* SherlockScan: [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed]] in the first chapter, after Naustin and Borlú have first looked over the body. The obvious conclusion is that she was a prostitute murdered while working, but after Naustin walks off Borlú asks Corwi for ''her'' take, since she is clearly unconvinced. She points out that the victim's makeup, though thick, is in earth and brown colors, not the bright colors used to emphasize sexuality or attract attention. Her hair is also un-dyed when most of the working girls are blonde and the rest are black or bloodred. To cap it off, her hair--though dirty--is in good condition, even better than Corwi's, and for the streetwalkers in Besźel the priority is food for their kids first, then drugs for themselves, then ''food'' for themselves, with luxuries like conditioner way down the list. None of it is definitive, but Borlú takes it as an indication that there's something more going on than just a crime of passion from a john.
* StagedPopulistUprising: Towards the end of the novel, a citywide--''both'' cities--uprising is started by the Unificationists, the people who believe that Besźel and Ul Qoma should be one city (And historically ''have'' been one city).city. Since nearly every mention of the unifs from the very start of the book has had people talking about how [[FlockOfWolves most of their members are actually cops]], it takes Borlú very little time to realize the entire event is a cover for [[spoiler:Buric]] to make his escape.
* StupidCrooks: If [[spoiler:Bowden had had an up-to-date map or a henchman who could think on his feet]], Mahalia's murder would have gone undiscovered for days (Perhaps weeks) and likely never been solved. Instead, her body was dumped haphazardly, quickly discovered, and the entire event unraveled from there.


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* WhereTheHellIsSpringfield: The precise location of the cities is not specified any more than "southeast Europe". References are made to Hungary, Turkey and other countries, but none are specifically said to be direct neighbors. The closest we can get is to say that it is somewhere in the Balkans/Black Sea region.
10th Jan '17 9:18:21 PM JBK405
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* AgentProvocateur: The Unificationists are heavily infiltrated by the police so that they can be kept in line and controlled. [[FlockOfWolves There are so many cops that everybody]], ''[[FlockOfWolves including the unifs]]'', [[FlockOfWolves say that there are more cops than honest members]].



* BadCopIncompetentCop: In the introductory chapters, Borlú and Corwi discuss how the Besźel police have "come a long way". The murder of an apparent prostitute is getting more attention than it would have even a few years ago, and Inspector Naustin is not complaining about being assigned to question the local streetwalkers despite the fact that he must resent the duty. However, Borlú still expects a lot of the support to disappear once it becomes ''official'' that the victim was a prostitute, and not even the good cops can keep the bad ones from [[PoliceBrutality roughing up suspects and witnesses.]]



* DamnedByFaintPraise: Borlú deliberately places these barbs at the climax. [[spoiler: Borlú tells Bowden that Yolanda and her boyfriend had truly believed in the myth of Orciny that he had invented, and which Mahalia had seen through. When Bowden had earlier in the novel dismissed Yolanda as not the brightest student, and her boyfriend was an outright stupid pretty-boy security guard at the dig, Borlú knows this point is like a knife in Bowden's already badly damaged ego.]]

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* DamnedByFaintPraise: Borlú deliberately places these barbs at the climax. [[spoiler: Borlú tells Bowden that Yolanda and her boyfriend had truly believed in the myth of Orciny that he had invented, and which Mahalia had seen through. When Since Bowden had earlier in the novel dismissed Yolanda as not the brightest student, and her boyfriend was an outright stupid pretty-boy security guard at the dig, Borlú knows this point is like a knife in Bowden's already badly damaged ego.]]



* DisposableSexWorker: The killer slaps a thick coating of makeup on Mahalia's face before her body is dumped in the hopes that she will be mistaken for a prostitute when discovered. Conversation indicates that the Besźel police do not historically have a solid track record in investigating crimes against prostitutes, and even after noting that they have "come a long way" Borlú still expects a lot of his support to disappear once it is ''official'' that the body is a sex worker.



* HiddenAgendaVillain: Yolanda explains that Orciny is not "stealing" artefacts, they are ''taking them back'' because they had buried them for their own reasons and are going to use them for their own purpose, which nobody in the Cities have figured out. [[spoiler:[[SubvertedTrope It turns out this was just the cover story used to fool Mahalia into working for 'Orciny'. They are actually just selling them to foreign corporations that are researching them in the event that they really are somehow technologically or supernaturally advanced]].]]

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* FlockOfWolves: Nearly every mention of the Unificationists from the very beginning of the book has people commenting that most of their members [[AgentProvocateur are actually cops undercover]]. ''Even the unifs make the same comments themselves''. This is used to emphasize that the unifs are not actually a threat in either city.
* GoodCopBadCop: Ramira Yaszek sits in on Inspector Naustin questioning some witnesses because Borlú knows that he is liable to get violent if left alone, [[PoliceBrutality but not even her presence can stop him from roughing them up when one starts talking back.]] Afterwrads she manages to morph it into her playing "good cop" after they had seen Naustin as "bad cop".
* HiddenAgendaVillain: Yolanda explains that Orciny is not "stealing" artefacts, they are ''taking them back'' because they had buried them for their own reasons and are going to use them for their own purpose, which nobody in the Cities have figured out. [[spoiler:[[SubvertedTrope It turns out this was just the cover story used to fool Mahalia into working for 'Orciny'. They ]] The real thieves are actually just selling them to foreign corporations that are researching them in the event that to see if they really are somehow technologically or supernaturally advanced]].advanced.]]



* JaywalkingWillRuinYourLife: Breach (The act of acknowledging the existence of the other city as well as crossing over into it illegally, but is also the name of the secret police) is treated as a crime worse than murder in Besźel and Ul Qoma. Adult citizens who cross over into the other city through unofficial venues are taken away by Breach and are never seen again. Tourists are merely exiled from both cities, and it is stated that children are also treated more leniently than adults.

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* InsultToRocks: [[PlayingWithATrope Variation]]. Borlú tells Corwi about one time he was sent abroad to a law enforcement conference about policing "split cities" (Berlin, Jerusalem, etc.), with the conference clearly viewing Besźel and Ul Qoma as another example of the type. Both he and Corwi are insulted (He at the time, her now when he is telling the story) at the implication that Besźel and Ul Qoma belong in the same grouping as these other cities, since they believe they are two independent cities in close proximity, not the same city divided in two.
* JaywalkingWillRuinYourLife: Breach (The act of acknowledging the existence of the other city as well as crossing over into it illegally, but is also the name of the secret police) is treated as a crime worse than murder in Besźel and Ul Qoma. Adult citizens who cross over into the other city through unofficial venues are taken away by Breach and are never seen again. Tourists again. It is stated that children are treated more leniently than adults, and tourists are merely exiled from both cities, and it is stated that children are also treated more leniently than adults.cities.



* MistakenForProfound: When Borlú finds Mahalia's copy of ''Between the City and the City'', he tries hard to decipher what all the notes she has scribbled in the margins ''mean'', particularly as they become more frantic and the handwriting is almost visibly angry/frightened. [[spoiler: It is only at the end that he realizes that Mahalia has not been discovering the hidden history of Orciny and the way it controls the cities even now, but instead that she has discovered that there ''isn't'' an AncientConspiracy. Her notes are just academic references to the other scholars that have already researched and published refutations of the book]].

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* MistakenForProfound: When Borlú finds Mahalia's copy of ''Between the City and the City'', he tries hard to decipher what all the notes she has scribbled in the margins ''mean'', particularly as they become more frantic and the handwriting is almost visibly angry/frightened. [[spoiler: It is only at the end that he realizes that Mahalia has not been discovering the hidden history of Orciny and or the way it controls the cities even now, cities, but instead that she has discovered that there ''isn't'' an AncientConspiracy. Her notes are just academic references to the other scholars that have already researched and published refutations of the book]].


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* TheNotLoveInterest: Borlú is casually seeing two different women in Besźel, but his closest bond is actually with Constable Corwi, a beat cop that he has worked with in the past and who he dragoons into a role as his assistant for the initial investigation. The two of them spend hours together working the case and debating its merits, and when Borlú is sent to Ul Qoma it is Corwi that he most desperately wants to be able to speak to again. [[spoiler:When he is conscripted into Breach at the end of the novel he writes farewell letters to his girlfriends, but visits Corwi--and Dhatt--for a final goodbye]].
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Borlú finds convincing evidence towards the beginning of the investigation that Mahalia's murder was a breach, and presents the argument that the case should be given to Breach to resolve. Everybody expects it to go through, but then the Oversight Committee--as part of its "routine follow-up"--finds evidence to prove that no breach was actually committed. Since the Oversight Committee has never before seemed to do any follow-up at all, let alone something as in-depth as this, Borlú, Corwi and even Borlú's boss recognize that somebody on the Committee must have wanted to deliberately torpedo the attempt to get Breach involved, either because they did not like Borlú personally or because they were somehow involved in the crime itself. They all suspect it to be Major Yorj Seydr, a leader of the National Bloc and a right-wing group bully. [[spoiler:It is actually Mikhel Buric, a member of the Social Democrats, who had helped cover up the murder and did not want Breach involved]].


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* TheOnlyBeliever: Mahalia Geary is the only person to really believe in the existence of Orciny. Except for the conspiracy theorists and nuts most people never believe in it at all, and Doctor Bowden--who used to believe in it and cannot escape that association--has since realized Orciny itself is a myth and his research into it was mainly a product of young, over-imaginative mind. [[spoiler:In the end, [[SubvertedTrope not even Mahalia was a believer]], realizing that she was being deliberately fooled by Bowden. She had, however, convinced Yolanda Rodriguez that it existed and never got around to explaining the truth before her death. To Bowden, having the ''only'' believer be the less-intelligent friend of the girl who had figured him out was almost worse than having nobody believe him at all]].
* PoliceBrutality:
** Conversation indicates that the Besźel police is getting better (They ''could'' be held accountable for their actions if their victims were to make an effort), but there is still a lot of 'old school' police-work that goes on. Borlú knows that Inspector Naustin is liable to get rough with witnesses if left to his own devices, so he arranges to have Ramira Yaszek sit in on the interrogation with him. Naustin ''still'' hits one of the witnesses, but Yaszek was able to intercede and morph it into her playing [[GoodCopBadCop Good Cop.]]
** The Ul Qoman ''Militsya'' is apparently much rougher than even the Besźel forces. Dhatt is honestly confused and surprised at Borlú reaction to him knocking around a witness/potential suspect, and there seems to be no thought at all of any repercussions.


Added DiffLines:

* SherlockScan: [[DownplayedTrope Downplayed]] in the first chapter, after Naustin and Borlú have first looked over the body. The obvious conclusion is that she was a prostitute murdered while working, but after Naustin walks off Borlú asks Corwi for ''her'' take, since she is clearly unconvinced. She points out that the makeup, though thick, is in earth and brown colors, not the bright colors used to emphasize sexuality or attract attention. Her hair is also un-dyed when most of the working girls are blonde and the rest are black or bloodred. To cap it off, her hair--though dirty--is in good condition, even better than Corwi's, and for the streetwalkers in Besźel the priority is food for their kids first, then drugs for themselves, then ''food'' for themselves, with luxuries like conditioner way down the list. None of it is definitive, but Borlú takes it as an indication that there's something more going on than just a crime of passion from a john.
* StagedPopulistUprising: Towards the end of the novel, a citywide--''both'' cities--uprising is started by the Unificationists, the people who believe that Besźel and Ul Qoma should be one city (And historically ''have'' been one city). Since nearly every mention of the unifs from the very start of the book has had people talking about how [[FlockOfWolves most of their members are actually cops]], it takes Borlú very little time to realize the entire event is a cover for [[spoiler:Buric]] to make his escape.
* StupidCrooks: If [[spoiler:Bowden had had an up-to-date map or a henchman who could think on his feet]], Mahalia's murder would have gone undiscovered for days (Perhaps weeks) and likely never been solved. Instead, her body was dumped haphazardly, quickly discovered, the entire event unraveled from there.
10th Jan '17 2:04:23 PM JBK405
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''The City & the City'' is a 2009 NewWeird crime novel by Creator/ChinaMieville. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad of the decaying {{Ruritania}}n city-state of Besźel investigates a murder; his investigation turns international, and he ends up crossing over to Ul Qoma (a Singapore-like city-state, with some Turkish flavor and an embargo by the US) to continue his work. Ul Qoma happens to be geographically - grosstopically, to use the local phrase - in the same place as Besźel, but a completely different culture. There are neighborhoods of Ul Qoma that are exclusively Ul Qoman, and neighborhoods of Besźel that are exclusively Besź, but there are a number of locations that are 'cross-hatched' (part Besź, part Ul Qoman), in which, depending on which city-state one is in, one must unsee what is in the other city-state, for fear of Breach (a kind of secret police). There's also rumors of a third city, Orciny, between the two cities.

to:

''The City & the City'' is a 2009 NewWeird crime novel by Creator/ChinaMieville. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad of the decaying {{Ruritania}}n [[LandOfOneCity city-state of Besźel Besźel]] investigates a murder; his investigation turns international, and he ends up crossing over to Ul Qoma (a Singapore-like city-state, with some Turkish flavor and an embargo by the US) [[LandOfOneCity sister-city of Ul Qoma]] to continue his work. Ul Qoma happens to be geographically - grosstopically, ''grosstopically'', to use the local phrase - in the same place location as Besźel, Besźel. Not just next to, but a completely different culture. literally ''the same place'' as Besźel: streets and buildings are regarded as being either part of Besźel or part of Ul Qoma, sometimes with the location changing for individual rooms within buildings or tiny patches of ground. There are neighborhoods of Ul Qoma that are exclusively Ul Qoman, and neighborhoods of Besźel that are exclusively Besź, but there are a number of when people go to locations that are 'cross-hatched' (part Besź, part Ul Qoman), in which, depending on which city-state one is in, one they must unsee "unsee" what is in the other city-state, for fear city-state unless they formally cross borders. To travel between the cities includes the full process of Breach (a kind national travel, requiring visas, passports and customs agents. If they ever allow themselves to recognize that there is a person or building in front of secret police). There's also them that--legally speaking--is in another city, they draw the attention of Breach, the dreaded power that enforces the separation.

As Borlú goes deeper into his initial murder investigation, he likewise gets drawn into whispered
rumors of a third city, Orciny, that exists between the two cities.cities everybody else can see.



* AlienGeometries: To the perspective of people in one city, people and places of the ''other'' city are not there. In order to travel between buildings that are grosstopically side-by-side you need to travel to the legal border between the cities (Which might be miles away), legally emigrate, and then come back. Trash and rain are the only objects which travel freely between the cities, to everything else it does not matter where you are, all that matters is which city you are in.



* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Borlú solved the crime of Mahalia's murder and shut down the artefact smuggling operation, but Yolanda died during the investigation, both cities have suffered extensive damage and deaths due to the unification riots, and Borlú has been forcibly recruited into Breach.]]
* BlackAndGreyMorality: Borlú works in a police department that is lax with civil rights in a generally corrupt government, and when he teams up with Dhatt in Ul Qoma he sees that their police are even more brutal in their treatment of citizens and abuses of power (Dhatt in particular is implied to be extorting money and services from businesses with the "police discounts" he receives, and he beats up a potential informant/witness in order to get a ''different'' informant/witness to talk). However, despite their methods they both want to catch Mahalia's killer, and when it comes down to it they would rather risk their careers--and their lives--than abandon innocent people to death.



* DecadeDissonance: For a long time, Besźel was far more technologically advanced than Ul Qoma, and the roads were filled with Qoman donkey traps alongside Besź motor cars. Now the situation is reversed, and Besźel is stuck with late-80s infrastructure - dial-up internet and rickety cars - while Ul Qoma is awash with skyscrapers and broadband. It's implied this is necessary for the separation to keep working - without being able to tell at a glance what city a building or vehicle belongs to, a citizen is perpetually at risk of Breaching.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:Yolanda is dead, as well as many other innocent Besź, Ul Qomans and refugees that were caught in the chain of violence in the climax. Sear and Core gets off with little more than a slap on the wrist from their heading the smuggling ring: itís further implied that many other corporations will withdraw funding from Besźel as a result, sending their economy further into a tailspin. To top it all off, Borlú is forced to remain as an avatar of Breach, which means he can no longer interact with his loved ones and coworkers for as long as he remains in the two cities.]]
* FelonyMisdemeanor: Breaching is a much worse crime than anything else that could be committed in either Besź or Ul Qoma, and the police invoke the omnipotent Breach to deal with the case of the murdered girl. When her ''American'' parents fly in to Besź, they're outraged that the police aren't investigating the case more thoroughly. They just don't understand that calling in Breach to deal with a case is akin to summoning {{God}} to enact divine retribution upon a wrongdoer - [[spoiler:[[TheManBehindTheCurtain or, at least, that's how the two cities see it]]]].
* GreyAndGreyMorality: There are lots of people who aren't very nice here, but the story is rather short on actual heroes and villains - in the end, it's impossible to say who, if any, of the many factions was in the right, or if there even was an 'in the right' at all.
* [[spoiler: IChooseToStay: Borlú, deciding that he won't be able to unsee the cities after his stint with Breach, decides to join them and see both cities freely.]]
* JaywalkingWillRuinYourLife: Breach (The act of acknowledging the existence of the other city as well as crossing over into it illegally, in this case, but is also the name of the secret police) is treated as a crime worse than murder in Besźel and Ul Qoma. Adult citizens who cross over into the other city through unofficial venues are taken away by Breach (the secret police in this case) and are never seen again. Tourists are merely exiled permanently from both cities, and it's stated that children are also treated more leniently.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:[[MegaCorp Sear and Core's]] CEO basically tells Borlú to fuck off while being held at gunpoint, with nothing but DiplomaticImpunity protecting him. It works.]]
* TheManBehindTheCurtain: [[spoiler:Breach. After being played up as a mighty, possibly-supernatural force of municipal vengeance for most of the book, they turn out to be little more than a small, moderately high-tech, and very human group who draw their 'powers' from the citizens' psychological blind spots and their recruits from the breachers they abduct. They only exist because Besźel and Ul Qoma allow them to, and the foreign MegaCorp running the artefact smuggling ring holds them in contempt so complete that they're powerless against it.]]

to:

* DamnedByFaintPraise: Borlú deliberately places these barbs at the climax. [[spoiler: Borlú tells Bowden that Yolanda and her boyfriend had truly believed in the myth of Orciny that he had invented, and which Mahalia had seen through. When Bowden had earlier in the novel dismissed Yolanda as not the brightest student, and her boyfriend was an outright stupid pretty-boy security guard at the dig, Borlú knows this point is like a knife in Bowden's already badly damaged ego.]]
* DecadeDissonance: For a long time, Besźel was far the more technologically advanced than city because Ul Qoma, Qoma was under economic embargo by the United States, and the roads were filled with Qoman donkey traps alongside Besź motor cars. Now the situation is reversed, and Besźel is stuck with late-80s infrastructure - dial-up internet and rickety cars - while Ul Qoma is awash with skyscrapers and broadband.broadband due to a technological and archeological boom. It's implied this is necessary for the separation to keep working - without being able to tell at a glance what city a building or vehicle belongs to, a citizen is perpetually at risk of Breaching.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:Yolanda is dead, as well as many other innocent Besź, Ul Qomans and refugees that were caught in the chain of violence in the climax. Sear and Core gets off with little more than a slap on the wrist from their heading the smuggling ring: itís further implied that many other corporations will withdraw funding from Besźel as a result, sending their economy further into a tailspin. To top it all off, DontYouDarePityMe: Borlú is forced theorizes that what finally drove [[spoiler:Bowden to remain as an avatar murder Mahalia]] was that she did not come to him to accuse him or harangue him, but instead to ''warn'' him. When he realized that she thought ''he'' had been tricked, that she never even considered that he was behind everything, drove him over the edge after so many decades of Breach, which means he can no longer interact with his loved ones being scoffed at by the public.
* EvilIsPetty: Towards the middle of the book, Borlú begins to suspect that Orciny really does exist,
and coworkers that there really is some sort of AncientConspiracy surrounding the cities that is working towards some ultimate end. Eventually, he discovers that [[spoiler:the entire affair was just a theft and smuggling ring working for as long as he remains in a few thousand dollars, bankrolled by the two cities.]]
idle curiosity of a foreign CEO and "masterminded" by a corrupt city councilman and discredited academic. There is no AncientConspiracy, it was just personal greed and arrogance]].
* FelonyMisdemeanor: Breaching is a much worse crime than anything else that could be committed in either Besź or Ul Qoma, and the police invoke the omnipotent Breach to deal with the murder case not because of how heinous the murder was, but because she was murdered girl. in Ul Qoma but ''dumped'' in Besźel. When her ''American'' parents fly in to Besź, they're Besźel, they are outraged that the police aren't are not investigating the case more thoroughly. They just don't understand that calling in Breach to deal with a case is akin to summoning {{God}} to enact divine retribution upon a wrongdoer - [[spoiler:[[TheManBehindTheCurtain or, at least, that's how the two cities see it]]]].
* GreyAndGreyMorality: There HiddenAgendaVillain: Yolanda explains that Orciny is not "stealing" artefacts, they are lots of people who aren't very nice here, but the story is rather short on actual heroes ''taking them back'' because they had buried them for their own reasons and villains - are going to use them for their own purpose, which nobody in the end, it's impossible to say who, if any, of Cities have figured out. [[spoiler:[[SubvertedTrope It turns out this was just the many factions was cover story used to fool Mahalia into working for 'Orciny'. They are actually just selling them to foreign corporations that are researching them in the right, or if there even was an 'in the right' at all.
* [[spoiler: IChooseToStay: Borlú, deciding
event that he won't be able to unsee the cities after his stint with Breach, decides to join them and see both cities freely.they really are somehow technologically or supernaturally advanced]].]]
* IChooseToStay: [[spoiler:Borlú, realizing that he will not be able to unsee the cities after his stint with Breach, decides to join them and see both cities freely. [[DownplayedTrope Breach had not given him much of a choice, though]].]]
* IJustWantToBeSpecial: [[spoiler: Borlú theorizes that Bowden was not so much interested in the money of the artefact-theft scheme as he just desperately wanted to be respected for his work after so many years of ridicule. When Mahalia, brilliant [=PhD=] student, comes to him talking about how true his work is, he plays along to keep that sensation going]].
* JaywalkingWillRuinYourLife: Breach (The act of acknowledging the existence of the other city as well as crossing over into it illegally, in this case, but is also the name of the secret police) is treated as a crime worse than murder in Besźel and Ul Qoma. Adult citizens who cross over into the other city through unofficial venues are taken away by Breach (the secret police in this case) and are never seen again. Tourists are merely exiled permanently from both cities, and it's it is stated that children are also treated more leniently.
leniently than adults.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:[[MegaCorp Sear and Core's]] CEO basically tells Borlú manages to fuck off while avoid any criminal charges or personal repercussions for bankrolling the theft and smuggling scheme that spurred he entire plot. There is talk of a lower-level manager being held at gunpoint, with punished, and maybe a subsidiary company being sold, but nothing but DiplomaticImpunity protecting him. It works.sticks to the prime movers.]]
* TheManBehindTheCurtain: [[spoiler:Breach. After being played up as a mighty, possibly-supernatural force of municipal vengeance for most of the book, they turn out to be little more than a small, moderately high-tech, and very human group who draw their 'powers' from the citizens' psychological blind spots and their recruits from the breachers they abduct. They only exist because Besźel and Ul Qoma allow them to, and the foreign MegaCorp running the artefact smuggling ring holds them in contempt so complete that they're powerless against it.because to the rest of the world they are functionally just a local law enforcement agency.]]



* MistakenForProfound: When Borlú finds Mahalia's copy of ''Between the City and the City'', he tries hard to decipher what all the notes she has scribbled in the margins ''mean'', particularly as they become more frantic and the handwriting is almost visibly angry/frightened. [[spoiler: It is only at the end that he realizes that Mahalia has not been discovering the hidden history of Orciny and the way it controls the cities even now, but instead that she has discovered that there ''isn't'' an AncientConspiracy. Her notes are just academic references to the other scholars that have already researched and published refutations of the book]].



* OldShame: {{Invoked}}. Bowden's book, ''Between the City and the City'', ruffled a lot of feathers in its time, and is now banned. Even though he has publicly disavowed the book and admitted the theories are all crap, he still can't get any decent work, and he still gets accosted by obsessed fans.
* ProperlyParanoid: Yolanda Rodriguez [[spoiler: It's not enough to save her.]]
* SaveBothWorlds
* SchizoTech: The artefacts found beneath the two cities, causing the archaeological teams investigating them no end of headaches.
* SecretPolice: Breach... Sort of. It's a faceless omnipotent magical/alien/divine law-enforcement thing that stops unauthorized crossing over between Besźel and Ul Qoma.
* SelectiveObliviousness: Citizens of Ul Qoma and Besźel are quasi-legally obligated to employ a kind of SelectiveObliviousness at all times to avoid noticing the other city. Failure to do so results in Breach, a crime punishable by [[spoiler:recruitment]]. Despite this, it's implied that [[spoiler: the two cities' mutual selective obliviousness developed independently, and were responsible for the creation of Breach as a power in the city]] rather than the other way round.

to:

* OldShame: {{Invoked}}. In-universe, Bowden's book, ''Between the City and the City'', ruffled a lot of feathers in its time, time and is now banned.banned in both Besźel and Ul Qoma. Even though he has publicly disavowed the book and admitted the theories are all crap, he still can't get any decent work, and he still gets accosted by obsessed fans.
* {{Pride}}: Borlú ultimately realizes that what drove [[spoiler:Bowden]] to take part in the conspiracy was not the money he would get, but instead his anger at the way his professional career has been a laughingstock for decades. By joining up, he could make his ridiculous mistakes ''true'' and vindicate himself, even if only in his own eyes.
* ProperlyParanoid: Yolanda Rodriguez believes that her life is in danger from unknown forces controlling the cities. [[spoiler: It's She is right that her life is in danger, [[RightForTheWrongReasons but it is not enough to save her.Orcini after her, but instead the local criminals and government officials cleaning up.]]]]
* RightForTheWrongReasons: Yolanda Rodriguez believes that her life is in danger from unknown forces controlling the cities. [[spoiler: [[ProperlyParanoid She is right that her life is in danger]], but it is not Orcini after her, but instead the local criminals and government officials cleaning up.
]]
* SaveBothWorlds
SaveBothWorlds: Borlú does not care for Ul Qoma any more than any other Besź, and Dhatt feels the same way in reverse, but they both work to save ''both'' cities.
* SchizoTech: The artefacts found beneath the two cities, causing the archaeological teams investigating them no end of headaches.
headaches. Complicated gears and clockwork of sophisticated metalwork are buried along with crude stone tools and primitive clay pots. A now-discredited theory that somebody came up with to explain how it all fits together is that there was a yet-unidentified civilization that lived in the region before the two cities emerged, this civilization originally dug up the artefacts, and then for some unfathomable reason ''buried it all again''. Modern archeologists no longer believe this, but they use it as an example of the way the situation does not make sense.
* SecretPolice: Breach... Sort of. It's a faceless omnipotent magical/alien/divine law-enforcement thing that stops unauthorized crossing over between Besźel and Ul Qoma.
Qoma. [[spoiler:It is ultimately revealed to [[TheManBehindTheCurtain just be a normal secret police organization]] who draw their 'powers' from the citizens' psychological blind spots.]]
* SelectiveObliviousness: Citizens of Ul Qoma and Besźel are quasi-legally obligated to employ a kind of SelectiveObliviousness at all times to avoid noticing the other city. Failure to do so results in Breach, a crime punishable by [[spoiler:recruitment]]. Despite this, it's implied that [[spoiler: the two cities' mutual selective obliviousness developed independently, and were responsible for the creation of Breach as a power in the city]] rather than the other way round.



* UnreliableNarrator: Borlú, thanks to his culturally-imbued prejudices and blind spots.

to:

* UnreliableNarrator: Borlú, thanks to his culturally-imbued prejudices and blind spots. There are things that he does not see, or rather does not ''allow'' himself to see, that the audience therefore also misses.
24th Jul '16 10:57:41 AM nombretomado
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''The City & the City'' is a 2009 NewWeird crime novel by ChinaMieville. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad of the decaying {{Ruritania}}n city-state of Besźel investigates a murder; his investigation turns international, and he ends up crossing over to Ul Qoma (a Singapore-like city-state, with some Turkish flavor and an embargo by the US) to continue his work. Ul Qoma happens to be geographically - grosstopically, to use the local phrase - in the same place as Besźel, but a completely different culture. There are neighborhoods of Ul Qoma that are exclusively Ul Qoman, and neighborhoods of Besźel that are exclusively Besź, but there are a number of locations that are 'cross-hatched' (part Besź, part Ul Qoman), in which, depending on which city-state one is in, one must unsee what is in the other city-state, for fear of Breach (a kind of secret police). There's also rumors of a third city, Orciny, between the two cities.

to:

''The City & the City'' is a 2009 NewWeird crime novel by ChinaMieville.Creator/ChinaMieville. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad of the decaying {{Ruritania}}n city-state of Besźel investigates a murder; his investigation turns international, and he ends up crossing over to Ul Qoma (a Singapore-like city-state, with some Turkish flavor and an embargo by the US) to continue his work. Ul Qoma happens to be geographically - grosstopically, to use the local phrase - in the same place as Besźel, but a completely different culture. There are neighborhoods of Ul Qoma that are exclusively Ul Qoman, and neighborhoods of Besźel that are exclusively Besź, but there are a number of locations that are 'cross-hatched' (part Besź, part Ul Qoman), in which, depending on which city-state one is in, one must unsee what is in the other city-state, for fear of Breach (a kind of secret police). There's also rumors of a third city, Orciny, between the two cities.
16th Mar '16 8:06:59 PM supergod
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Added DiffLines:

* MisplacedWildlife: Wolves live in the streets of both Besźel and Ul Qoma, but the scruffier and scrawnier variety is tacitly native to Besźel, while the larger and better-groomed wolves are supposedly native to Ul Qoma. When the (Besź) narrator shoos away a clean-looking wolf from his garbage, his neighbors act as shocked as if he had breached.
16th Mar '16 7:55:54 PM supergod
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* MisplacedWildlife: Wolves live in the streets of both Besźel and Ul Qoma, but the scruffier and scrawnier variety is tacitly native to Besźel, while the larger and better-groomed wolves are supposedly native to Ul Qoma. When the (Besź) narrator shoos away a clean-looking wolf from his garbage, his neighbors act as shocked as if he had breached.
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