- Perdido Street Station
Perdido Street Station
Cover of first UK edition
Author(s) China Miéville Illustrator Edward Miller Country United Kingdom Language English Series Bas-Lag novels Genre(s) Speculative fiction Publisher Macmillan Publication date 2000 Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback) Pages 867 pp ISBN 0-333-78172-4 OCLC Number 42912755 Preceded by King Rat Followed by The Scar
Perdido Street Station is the second published novel by China Miéville and the first of three independent works set in the fictional world of Bas-Lag, a world where both magic (referred to as 'thaumaturgy') and steampunk technology exist. The novel has won several literary awards.
In an interview, Miéville described this book as "basically a secondary world fantasy with Victorian era technology. So rather than being a feudal world, it's an early industrial capitalist world of a fairly grubby, police statey kind!"
Perdido Street Station is set in Bas-Lag's large city-state of New Crobuzon: the title refers to a railway station at the heart of the city.
Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin is an eccentric scientist living in the city of New Crobuzon with his Khepri girlfriend Lin. While Lin, an artist, is commissioned to create a sculpture of mob boss Mr. Motley, Isaac is offered a unique challenge. He is approached by the garuda Yagharek, who asks for the restoration of his wings which were cut off by his tribe as punishment for a crime that he claims has no human equivalent. Isaac is sparked by the seemingly impossible nature of the task, and gathers all manners of flying beasts to study in his lab - including a multicolored, unidentifiable larva gathered through illicit means. Once Isaac learns that the caterpillar only eats a hallucinogenic drug called "dreamshit", he begins to feed it, unwittingly stimulating its metamorphosis into an incredibly dangerous, hypnotic and monstrously large butterfly-like insect, a slake-moth, that feeds off the dreams of sentient beings, leaving them as catatonic vegetables. Later, it is revealed that dreamshit is in fact the "milk" of a fully-grown dream slake-moth, and that four other such creatures have been sold to Mr. Motley, a hideously Remade crime boss, and "milked" to produce the drug. When the fifth larva transforms and escapes, it frees its brethren, and together they plague the citizens of New Crobuzon until Isaac can find a way to stop them.
- Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, a human scientist, dabbling in all fields but obsessed with his pet theory of "crisis energy". Lover to Lin, and close friends with Derkhan Blueday.
- Yagharek, an exiled and de-winged garuda from the Cymek Desert, far south of New Crobuzon. He comes to Isaac in order to have his flight restored, willing to accept any method or price.
- Lin, Isaac's lover, and a khepri artist who is commissioned by the gangster Mr. Motley to create a sculpture in his form.
- Derkhan Blueday, a middle-aged lesbian and seditionist, co-editor of the Runagate Rampant (an underground newspaper).
- Lemuel Pigeon, Isaac's contact with New Crobuzon's criminal underworld.
- Mr. Motley, New Crobuzon's most feared ganglord, who runs a dreamshit harvesting operation, among many other nefarious activities. He has altered his body many times through remaking, into an amorphous collection of body parts and appendages.
- Mayor Bentham Rudgutter, the corrupt mayor of New Crobuzon who bargains with crime syndicates and demons alike.
- MontJohn Rescue, an ambassador of the feared handlingers (powerful parasites who take over other species as hosts), working for the mayor.
- Teafortwo, a dim-witted and friendly wyrman who runs small favours for Isaac.
- Construct Council, a hive-mind artificial intelligence formed in the city's rubbish dump. It controls many constructs (simplistic robots originally engineered for janitorial and other purposes) in New Crobuzon.
- The Weaver, a multi-dimensional being in the form of a giant spider, who speaks in a never-ending torrent of free-verse poetry.
The novel was nominated for the 2002 Nebula Award for Best Novel and Hugo Award for Best Novel. It won the British Fantasy Society's August Derleth Award in 2000, the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2001, the Premio Ignotus Award in 2002, and the Kurd Laßwitz Award in 2003. It also won the Amazon.com Editors' Choice Award in Fantasy in 2001. In May 2009, it was made available as an audiobook from Random House.
Michael Moorcock reviewed the book and said "Perdido Street Station, a massive and gorgeously detailed parallel-world fantasy, offers us a range of rather more exotic creatures, all of whom are wonderfully drawn and reveal a writer with a rare descriptive gift, an unusually observant eye for physical detail, for the sensuality and beauty of the ordinarily human as well as the thoroughly alien." However, he suggests "Mieville's determination to deliver value for money, a great page-turner, leads him to add genre borrowings which set up a misleading expectation of the kind of plot you're going to get and make individuals start behaving out of character, forcing the author into rationalisations at odds with the creative, intellectual and imaginative substance of the book." He concludes, "That aside, Mieville's catholic contemporary sensibility, delivering generous Victorian value and a well-placed moral point or two, makes Perdido Street Station utterly absorbing and you won't get a better deal, pound for pound, for your holiday reading!"
- Burling, William J. (2009), Vint, Sherryl, ed., "Periodizing the Postmodern: China Mieville's Perdido Street Station and the Dynamics of Radical Fantasy", Extrapolation 50 (2): 326–345.
- Gordon, Joan (2003), "Hybridity, Heterotopia, and Mateship in China Miéville's Perdido Street Station", Science Fiction Studies 30 (3): 456–476.
- Rankin, Sandy (2009), Vint, Sherryl, ed., "AGASH AGASP AGAPE: The Weaver as Immanent Utopian Impulse in China Mieville's Perdido Street Station and Iron Council", Extrapolation 50 (2): 239–258.
- ^ Marshall, Richard (February 2003), "The Road to Perdido: An Interview with China Miéville", 3:AM Magazine, http://www.3ammagazine.com/litarchives/2003/feb/interview_china_mieville.html, retrieved 2008-04-20
- ^ Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, 2002 SFWA Final Nebula Awards Ballot, http://www.sfwa.org/awards/2003/NebFinal2002.html, retrieved 2008-04-20
- ^ World Science Fiction Society, The 2002 Hugo Award & Campbell Award Winners, http://www.fanac.org/conjose/wsfs/hugo_nominees.htm, retrieved 2008-04-20
- ^ "2000 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. http://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=2000. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
- ^ "2001 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. http://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=2001. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
- ^ Asociación Española de Fantasía, Ciencia Ficción y Terror, (List of Premio Ignotus award winners, in Spanish), archived from the original on 2008-02-13, http://web.archive.org/web/20080213102525/http://www.aefcft.com/ignotus/resumen.htm, retrieved 2008-04-20
- ^ The Locus Index to SF Awards: Kurd Lasswitz Preis Winners by Year, Locus (magazine), http://www.locusmag.com/SFAwards/Db/LasswitzWinsByYear.html, retrieved 2008-04-20
- ^ Amazon.com, 2001 Editors' Choice: Fantasy, Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=221114, retrieved 2008-04-20
- ^ Random House, Inc., Perdido Street Station by China Miéville - Unabridged Audiobook Download, Random House, http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780739384268, retrieved 2008-10-13
- ^ Moorcock, Michael. "Perdido Street Station Review". The Spectator. http://www.revolutionsf.com/article.php?id=25. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
- Perdido Street Station publication history at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Audio review and discussion of Perdido Street Station at The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast
- Runagate Rampant: Perdido Street Station description, list of awards, publication history, and annotations.
- Perdido Street Station at Worlds Without End
Works by China Miéville Bas-Lag novels: Other fiction: Related articles:
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