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Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon 1) Paperback – 6 May 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 189 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New edition edition (6 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330534238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330534239
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 5.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Review

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

A work of exhaustive inventiveness . . . superlative fantasy. (Time Out)

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
That said, the dark, almost medieval atmosphere is conjured up most effectively and the idea of a world like our own, but gone strangely awry, is undoubtedly compelling. The inhabitants of the City have an understanding of "chymistry" and physics akin to that of a modern day alchemist and ally this with "thaumaturgical", i.e. limited magical or supernatural power, to achieve their idiosyncratic technology. This peculiarly employed and strangely dated technology, and the cumbersome ways of achieving many of the things we take for granted, are intriguing. Mieville has also come up with some inspired life forms to populate his city: the Kephri and Weaver are particularly evocative. The man sized Garuda are also an interesting development of a classic myth and restoring flight to one who has lost his wings is a central theme in the book. However,how do you get past the old schoolboy problem of angels: where are the muscles to power their wings and how can all that weight ever be lifted?. That may be a bit pernickety, the real flaw is that the ideas in the book are over stretched. Far, far too much space is devoted to constant reference to places: it is intrusive and completely unnecessary. The map at the beginning is a bit of a giveaway and re-affirms my suspicion of any science fiction book that needs such a detailed geographic map to guide the reader. Places and scenery should be generated by, and flow naturally from, the passage of the characters through the narrative, as they do in a "Snowcrash" for example. The topography should be secondary, rather than dominant, yet one feels that for Mieville the map and the names and the rail lines are an end in themselves! Many readers are going to find themselves skipping over repetitive and superfluous descriptive passages.Read more ›
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