Currently Reading: 25 September 2011

Perdido Street Station cover

Perdido Street Station


I’m reading the wonderful and fantastical Perdido Street Station by China Miéville.

“The most exciting, enthralling novel I have read in a long time. It is about everything important — love, work, hope, worlds we knew were out there but needed a writer like Miéville to show them to us. His imagination is vast, his talent volcanic. Read this book. It just might be a masterpiece.” Jonathon Carroll

“This science fiction novel rocked my world. Sex with giant insects. Dream-sucking slake moths. An action-packed thriller with high literary production values. A sprawling, vastly ambitious, exquisitely executed science fiction fantasy with the best possible ending: You want more, more, more.” Andrew Leonard,

(Review snippets quoted from the Powell’s site linked above.)

The Steampunk Opera has an interesting writeup about Miéville, Perdido Street Station, and more here: China Mieville: Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and rage against Tolkien.

His first book, Perdido Street Station was a revelation. in one fell swoop he dismissed the majority of fantasy and started again from scratch. He built another world, an urban one, populated it was astonishingly creative species and intricate social relations, grit, ambiguity, some killer, killer monsters, fresh, fresh ideas one after the other, stirred it all up and let boil.

Steampunk Opera also quotes some rather (in)famous words spoken by Miéville about Tolkien:

China Mieville: “When people dis fantasy – mainstream readers and SF readers alike – they are almost always talking about one sub-genre of fantastic literature. They are talking about Tolkien, and Tolkien’s innumerable heirs. Call it ‘epic’, or ‘high’, or ‘genre’ fantasy, this is what fantasy has come to mean. Which is misleading as well as unfortunate.

Tolkien is the wen on the arse of fantasy literature. His oeuvre is massive and contagious – you can’t ignore it, so don’t even try. The best you can do is consciously trying to lance the boil. And there’s a lot to dislike – his cod-Wagnerian pomposity, his boys-own-adventure glorying in war, his small-minded and reactionary love for hierarchical status-quos, his belief in absolute morality that blurs moral and political complexity. Tolkien’s clichés – elves ‘n’ dwarfs ‘n’ magic rings – have spread like viruses. He wrote that the function of fantasy was ‘consolation’, thereby making it an article of policy that a fantasy writer should mollycoddle the reader.”

Perdido Street Station is a richly imaginative and intensely visual novel that has inspired a great deal of art work – both “official” and fan art…

Marc Simonetti has done some beautiful illustrations.

New Crobuzon Hero is a catalog of all things Bas-Lag, and includes a fan art gallery.

Evan Dahm’s illustration of PSS protagonist Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin can be found here. Evan also wrote an article about the setting of PSS at his blog Making Places: Worldbuilding for narrative media: Show and Tell: Perdido Street Station

Flickr user mystery monotreme has done a gorgeous pen & ink / sepia portrait of a garuda: Garuda & Tenements – Perdido Street Station

I’ll leave you, dear peops, with a lovely and evocative image from a French edition of the book…

September 26, 2011

Comments are closed.