The railsea is explained fairly early on in the novel and consists of rails everywhere. People cannot walk on the bare earth because of the enormous burrowing animals that populate underground. There are trains of every conceivable description and we join one that is a mole hunter. Then we follow the story of one young man sent by his parents to train as a medic on this mole train. China's narrative is very clever, the prose is good, the characters are well rounded and it has what regular readers expect in the way of weird creatures. It's also difficult to predict. Not one of his longer novels, he does manage to keep the story entertaining and exciting.
It could be a good introduction to China's world. Recommended.
The Scar is the second book in a trilogy known as Bas-Lag. The first is Perdido Street Station and the third is The Iron Council.
I enjoyed this book very much indeed. China Miéville is fast becoming one of my favourite writers. Unfortunately I thought that this book lacked the sparkle that was in PSS. Something I can't quite put my finger on.
The story centres around people who live in New Crobuzon and who were on a sea journey to get away from it for their own reasons. They were then attacked by pirates and taken to the floating city of boats, Armada. Naturally the press-ganged want to go home, in spite of the fact that they were journeying away from home when they were captured. This forms the basis of the story.
The remade are there and now a familiar concept, pirates are there and there are also vampires. A few new species are also introduced, some of them don't have names. As I've come to expect from CM the characters are well rounded and believable even although the reader knows that they cannot possibly exist and the story, whilst long - this book is over 800 pages so not for the faint hearted - there is not a spare word in it. It just didn't delight me quite as much as PSS.
It isn't necessary to have read the first book in order to make sense of the second but for those who have there is a small connection between the two.
I will read the next one and I'm looking forward to it but I am hoping to get a bit more of the sparkle that I experienced with PSS. Nevertheless, I highly recommend The Scar.
This is the third book in the Bas-Lag Trilogy and is as epic as the other two (Perdido Street Station and The Scar). At 600+ pages it’s very long indeed, but the shortest of the three, and the reader is immediately drawn into Miéville’s fictitious world full of weird creatures and even more weird places.
Miéville’s writing is so unique that there really isn’t any point in relating the story of The Iron Council here because it won’t make sense – the story description on the back of the book didn’t make sense to me when I read it and I have read the previous two in the trilogy. The prose is astonishing, the plot amazing and the world that Miéville creates Is completely believable, even although it's impossible to exist.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it. Perhaps not as an introduction to China Miéville although it can be read on it's own as a separate story.
This is going to be difficult to review.
China Miéville is one of my favourite writers.
The book is a very short one, 168 pages or so, and is set in Paris, France (just to be clear) during the years 1941 and 1950. Both years Paris is occupied by the Germans, Nazi era. The main character is a Resistance fighter and all of the other members of his particular cell have been killed. He meets someone else who seems to want the same thing that he does but turns out to be his mortal enemy. Now, this is the hard bit, the Germans are working towards controlling what's called in the book a manif. This is short for manifestation and means that the Germans are trying to control a piece of art (i.e. figure from a painting) that they have somehow managed to bring to life. There are many manifs around, all out of control and some more deadly than others. There are also Devils and Demons on the loose and out of control. The main character has, and can control to a certain extent, something called an exquisite corpse, of which there is more than one scattered around. This is made up of weird things that shouldn't work at all, let alone together and comes in very useful when the two main characters are being shot at.
I got lost somewhere in the middle of the story - but I don't mind that - so it's not a straightforward summary of the storyline. If you look at the attached photo of the cover of the book, the picture is of the main character's exquisite corpse and then you'll see the difficulty in describing it (and the other manifs).
China does provide an afterword to say how he came to write the book and a list of the manifs at the back and from which art they came. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I'd recommend it but I think really to only people who are familiar with China's work.