Book: Perdido Street Station
Author: China Miéville
It was two years ago, when I read his third novel - The Scars -, also settled in his Bas-Lag' universe. I was in my thirties.
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Perdido Street Station
A weird, lurid chase through a fantastic city as terrifying as any of its characters.
New Crobuzon is a richly textured, sprawling city, filled with mutants, magicians and "Remade" criminals. Miéville brings it and its people to life in a way reminiscent of Charles Dickens's worst nightmare. Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast novels and steampunk (stories set in an alternative nineteenth century full of coal-burning spaceships) are also clear influences.
In the middle of all this, Isaac is carrying on an illegal affair with a giant insect when he acquires some colourful larvae. Soon everyone's dreams are at stake...
Perdido Street Station isn't just about inter-species sex and monsters though. This is a richly told, articulate story, unafraid to ask difficult philosophical and political questions.
In some ways closer to fantasy than science fiction - so often a genre over-keen to explain its brave new worlds - Perdido Street Station revels in being lost in the metropolis.
Miéville has talked of a New Weird movement, a bracketing of fantastical authors who divorce themselves from all that stuff with dragons.
Two novels set in the same world followed: The Scar (2002) and (2004).
Work nominated by Gonzo_B.