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Perdido Street Station [Paperback]

China Mieville
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Feb 2001

The metropolis of New Crobuzon sprawls at the centre of its own bewildering world. Humans and mutants and arcane races throng the gloom beneath its chimneys, where the rivers are sluggish with unnatural effluent, and factories and foundries pound into the night. For more than a thousand years, the parliament and its brutal militia have ruled over a vast array of workers and artists, spies, magicians, junkies and whores. Now a stranger has come, with a pocketful of gold and an impossible demand, and inadvertently something unthinkable is released. Soon the city is gripped by an alien terror - and the fate of millions depends on a clutch of outcasts on the run from lawmakers and crime-lords alike. The urban nightscape becomes a hunting ground as battles rage in the shadows of bizarre buildings. And a reckoning is due at the city's heart, in the vast edifice of Perdido Street Station. It is too late to escape.

'A work of exhaustive inventiveness...superlative fantasy' Time Out

'A well-written, authentically engrossing adventure story, exuberantly full of hocus-pocus... Mieville does not disappoint' Daily Telegraph

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Product details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; New Ed edition (23 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330392891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330392891
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 305,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

China Miéville lives and works in London. He is three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award (Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City) and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice (Perdido Street Station and The Scar). The City & The City, an existential thriller, was published in 2009 to dazzling critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell (The Times) and Philip K. Dick (Guardian).

Product Description

Amazon Review

Like the author's 1998 debut book King Rat, this is an urban-gothic novel full of rich city squalor--but this time the setting isn't London but the grimy fantasy metropolis of New Crobuzon. The city sprawls like a mutant Gormenghast, contains strange ethnic minorities such as the khepris (women with huge scarab-beetles for heads), and seethes with seedy technology and thaumaturgy. There are Babbage engines, coke-powered robot "constructs", and an underclass of biomagically "Remade" victims of cruel justice who may be part-machine, part-animal or wholly nightmarish. A visiting garuda--a winged being now stripped of his wings--approaches the overweight, eccentric amateur scientist Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin in hope of buying back the power of flight, and the resulting research programme has accidental but monstrous consequences. Something appalling is loosed, a horror whose deadliness is underlined when New Crobuzon's corrupt government begs help from the Ambassador of Hell ... who refuses, because even the demons are frightened. Dealing with the flying terror becomes a job for Grimnebulin and a much-harried group of cronies--including his khepri lover, the garuda, a reporter for a brutally suppressed subversive newspaper, the group mind of New Crobuzon's constructs, a secret traitor, and one of the strangest giant spiders in fiction. A big, powerful, inventive, mesmerising and memorably horrid novel. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'China Miéville, poster boy for the so-called "new weird", is one of the most interesting and promising writers to appear in the last few years in any genre. Perdido Street Station is a fantastic yarn that follows the roads set by M John Harrison in his Viriconium world and brings an enormous energy and creativity to the table. A reinvention of modern fantasy with guts, brains and plenty of glory. Plunge in.'
--Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Guardian Books Blog

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic... 19 Nov 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book on the recommendation of a friend who had read it. I'd not heard of China Mieville and to be quite honest, had no real interest in the 'weird-fiction' genre. But, alas, I needed a change from the seemingly never ending work of Dean Koontz.

I ordered Perdido Street Station and, like the deep and impressionable person I am, immediately noticed the thickness of the thing...880 pages long. What in the he...? How could anyone, possibly keep me interested for nigh on 1000 pages? Never. Nah. Surely not?

Oh, how I was proven wrong.

This is by far one of the most unique and imaginative books I've read for a long time. The character development and imagery throughout is simply awesome, and you can only squirm at some of the 'pictureseque' portraits painted by Mieville of the city, New Crobuzon. It starts off a little slow, but as soon as you meet Isaac, you simply don't want to put the thing down...even when your eyes are feeling heavy at 1am in the morning.

I can't recommend this book enough. Even if you aren't a big of fan of science fiction/weird fiction, you simply have to taste this because it is simply, brilliant.

5 stars from me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Fantasy 21 Feb 2005
By A Customer
It's huge, and its beautiful in a strange dark sort of way and reads like an Heironymous Bosch painting put into words...
This incredible. fabulous fantasy tale is set in New Crobuzon. The sprawling metropolis who's skyline is dominated by the building that give the book its name, Perdido Street Station.
We begin the story on the polluted river Tar, as a stranger enters the vast industrial city. The stranger is Yagharek, a Garuda. A huge birdlike creature, who as a punishment for a dreadful crime, has had his wings removed and has travelled from the dessert with a purse full of gold to seek the help of Scientist Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin to have his wings restored.
This is the story of Grimnebulin's quest to help the Garuda, and he and his assorted friend's subsequent attempt to defeat the evil he inadvertently releases while doing so. Evil so strong, that the City's militia are useless and the hell demons consulted by the corrupt rulers of New Crobuzon are afraid to help.
New Crobuzon's population is as grotesque as it is marvellous. Among its strange inhabitants are Lin, Grimnebulin's Kephri Artist lover with the human body and scarab head, who makes marvellous pearl coloured sculptures with a secretion from the back of her head and the biomagically made "Remade". Altered as a cruel punishment for wrongdoing, these once human creatures can be partly mechanical, partly animal but either way wholly horrific.
This book is very probably one of the best I have ever read and one that is almost impossible to put down. At 710 pages it's not a book that's for light reading... It's intricate and absorbing. Set against an intriguing industrial gothic background filled with weird science, which Mieville has blended seamlessly with magic to produce something that will feed your imagination for years to come and leave you desperately wanting more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sprawling Steampunk Odyssey 9 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ah, China Mieville. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

After having read Mieville's collection of short stories my interest was sufficiently piqued to investigate his novels. Having read the synopses for all his books I decided this would be my best entry point for exploring China Mieville proper.

I was both right and wrong. This, the first of the Bas-Lag series is not an easy read, in the same way that Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy is not an easy read. However, like Peake's idiosyncratic trilogy, Perdido Street Station is an instant classic and I can see why it has earned Mieville so many admirers in the world of fantasy fandom.

Good fantasy writers are able to create a believable alternate world. Excellent fantasy writers are able to create a believable and engaging fantasy world alive with cultures and politics. Mieville's world is populated by so many fascinating, bizarre and endlessly endearing peoples that it would be impossible to keep track of them were they not so beautifully realised. As the novel progresses we are intoduced to the insectile / humanoid Khepri, the Cacatae (human cactuses, the amphibious Vodyanoi, the cybernetic Construct Council and the avian Garuda as well as their religions, hisories, cultures, subcultures, countercultures (and yes, even drug cultures) in a way that is never dry or dull but always a dynamic part of the narrative.

For those who demand more than a diverse racial cast of players from their fantasy Perdido street station doesn't disappoint in the plot department either. Told from the point of view of Isaac, a good hearted but rough around the edges academic the story follows Isaac on an epic adventure precipitated by an unexpected visit from a mysterious stranger.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overwritten but bursting with ideas. 6 Nov 2002
In this excellent second novel, Mieville delivers on the potential hinted at in his first work 'King Rat'. Whilst 'Perdido Street Station' is very strong on characterisation and plot, its major achievement is the creation of a unique metropolis, which never fails to surprise and engage the reader.
Mieville is a true polymath, with an ingenious imagination and a formidable vocabulary. He seems able to write with authority on most subjects and weaves technical language and metaphors in to his work with ease. However, one of the greatest joys of this novel is its accessibility; the author uses his obvious intelligence to entertain rather than to impress. The result is an engaging, exciting and highly enjoyable read.
However, a valid criticism of this book is that it is overwritten. This becomes a serious nuisance towards the end of the book, when the highly descriptive prose slows down the plot instead of allowing the pace to pick up as the finale approaches. This loss of momentum caused me to lose interest at what should have been a critical point in the book.
Although this is a great novel, it is certainly not the best that this author can produce. The follow-up, set in the same world, is a far more accomplished novel and if you like 'Perdido Street Station' you will love 'The Scar'.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy at its best..
I'm loving this... still around half-way of the (big) book, but I'm loving every bit...
I'm sure I will buy New Carbuzon 2 and 3... and probably a few more from China. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Micky
5.0 out of 5 stars cracking China
Battled my way through this book.
I'm used to a little less complex Steam Punk stuff.
Having said that I enjoyed reading Perdido Street Station,
very rewarding. Read more
Published 1 month ago by johnny p
5.0 out of 5 stars My first China Mieville book by an addict!
This was the first of many books I have read by China Mieville, it made an enormous impression on me, I am an addictive reader needing to consume all that an author can produce,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. J. Odell
3.0 out of 5 stars Superb story spoilt by the over use of adjectives at every...
I cannot do better than quote from another review " A valid criticism of this book is that it is overwritten. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Stuart
5.0 out of 5 stars utterly compelling, magical reading
If you like realistic fantasy, believable magic, then read this. An otherworld, scarily believable, fantastic! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Duncan r
2.0 out of 5 stars Should be five
Other reviewers have a point that the book is too long and some judgement should have been exercised in cutting unimportant sequences. Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. V. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE - This book is dangerous.
I will not add my analysis to the other eloquent reviews of this novel, just read the other five star reviews. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rosie Gamgee
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique!
For the full review, including spoilers, please check my review on Goodreads: [...]
Now this was definitely weird. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Susie Suey
4.0 out of 5 stars Inventive
Probably the single most cleverly invented world I have ever come across. New Crobuzon is, in itself, powerful character. It gets four rather than five stars for being. Read more
Published 7 months ago by M. D. P. Bradley
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative and vivid prose
This book is well-written and especially stimulating of the imagination. Well worth the effort to get into it in the first place.
Published 9 months ago by Tripe
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