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Railsea Hardcover – 15 May 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books (15 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780345524522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345524522
  • ASIN: 0345524527
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 3.6 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,396,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'Fiction of the new century' Neil Gaiman 'Mieville's work is thrillingly imaginative... immensely witty and utterly unforgettable' Scotland on Sunday 'One of the most imaginative young writers around in any kind of fiction' Guardian 'Mieville's imagined societies may be fantastic, but they are utterly coherent... wonderfully infectious' Daily Telegraph" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Venture into the Railsea - an epic journey for readers of all ages. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another great book from Miéville, this is a fantastic starting point if you haven't read him before. In a world covered in rails, where if you touch the bare earth you're likely to be devoured, a young man named Sham Yes ap Soorap goes on his first mouldywarp hunt. Borrowing from moby dick, treasure island and others, this is a book I devoured so fast and felt sad when I'd finished because the characters are so well written you'll know you'll miss them.
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By JC on 5 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love China Mieville and this is one of his best. OK so its supposed to be a Young Adult book and is a little like a less 'full on' version of The Scar but its all the better for that. Don 't be put off by the tag as its still a very readable adult book as well.

The base story is a straightforward rites of passage adventure, not unlike Neil Gaiman's Stardust but based on Moby Dick ( well partly anyway). There is also an element of Anime, at least that's what it feels like, in the twin adventurers that form part of the story. I can just see this story as an anime similar to Steamboy. But the real grabber is the imagination of a world, not quite like ours, with a sea made of rails and the trains that run over them. Absolutely brilliant and don't miss the side references slipped in to give a history of the rails. This is only book and only writter I know that could slip in references to Beeching, Mary Anning and the Fat Contoller whilst chasing a large yellow mole across a sea of rails.

When's the next novel coming out ?
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By John M. Ford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Sept. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Railsea is a "big idea" book. This is not unusual for China Miéville. This book does the same thing for trains that Embassytown does for language. It expands the idea of rail-traveling trains in new directions, stretching our understanding while remaining faithful to their basic nature. The author has covered some of this ground before. In Iron Council he showed what might happen when a train's crew strikes out on their own, removing the tracks behind them and building a new route ahead. Railsea takes things a bit further.

Readers explore a world in which, unsurprisingly, train tracks cover most of the surface much like our ocean covers everything below... well, sea level. Some rocky islands are free of rails and of the poisoned soil beneath them. On these islands are the world's ports and cities. A variety of trains traverse the sea of rails. Some perform tasks similar to our familiar ocean-going ships: trade, exploration, "naval" military engagement, and even piracy. Others have stranger missions. There are trains that hunt the dangerous animals that burrow rapidly though the toxic soil. And there are the mysterious Angels that repair the rails for reasons of their own.

The railsea itself is such a well-crafted integration of the familiar and fantastic that it easily steals the reader's attention from the book's human characters. The characters' actions are interesting, but seem incidental compared to the continuing flow of new information about the railsea.
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This was my second China Mieville, after "The City and the City" - which I loved, but while I very much liked "Railsea", it's hard to believe it was written by the same guy. The most helpful reviews will tell you most of what you need to know. The main thing I would like to add is that if you like Neil Gaiman's novels aimed at the same market, you'll like this.
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A retelling of Moby Dick, but there's far more to it than that. China Mieville produces another highly imaginative and original story with engaging characters, a gripping plot, and lots of entertaining asides... Mrs Ethel Shroake, anyone? It's a Young Adult book, but this rather elderly adult thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It took me a while to get into this, I think because I didn't have too much sympathy for the characters at the start but once the quest got underway it was easy enough. There are some lovely ideas and references to other literature, most obviously to Moby Dick, but Mieville puts an interesting twist on most of these and some provide pleasant comic moments - not laugh out loud comedy but interesting use of irony. The whole notion of substituting a world wide railway for the sea worked very well and the post apocalyptic notion was not intrusive. A reviewer compared him to Dickens and whilst that is stretching a point, he does make a convincing attempt at picturing a society as it faces change and attempts the draod sweep of the brush as he examines social mores and unrest. Ultimately, I enjoyed the read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A beautifully written book brimming with ideas and wonder. Billed as a YA book but so well written and full of ideas I suspect as many adults (such as myself) will enjoy every carefully crafted word and be sad to turn the final page. More please.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fantastic novel by one of my favourite authors. The book has a fascinating post-apocalyptic steampunk premise and a range of literary references and resonances with Melville's Moby-dick. Well worth a look.
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