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Perdido Street Station

4.1 out of 5 stars 186 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 700 pages
  • Publisher: Nightshade Book; Limited edition (April 30 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597800244
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597800242
  • Shipping Weight: 789 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 186 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,700,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

When Mae West said, "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful," she could have been talking about China Miéville's Perdido Street Station. The novel's publication met with a burst of extravagant praise from Big Name Authors and was almost instantly a multiaward finalist. You expect hyperbole in blurbs; and sometimes unworthy books win awards, so nominations don't necessarily mean much. But Perdido Street Station deserves the acclaim. It's ambitious and brilliant and--rarity of rarities--sui generis. Its clearest influences are Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy and M. John Harrison's Viriconium books, but it isn't much like them. It's Dickensian in scope, but fast-paced and modern. It's a love song for cities, and it packs a world into its strange, sprawling, steam-punky city of New Crobuzon. It can be read with equal validity as fantasy, science fiction, horror, or slipstream. It's got love, loss, crime, sex, riots, mad scientists, drugs, art, corruption, demons, dreams, obsession, magic, aliens, subversion, torture, dirigibles, romantic outlaws, artificial intelligence, and dangerous cults.

Generous, gaudy, grand, grotesque, gigantic, grim, grimy, and glorious, Perdito Street Station is a bloody fascinating book. It's also so massive that you may begin to feel you're getting too much of a good thing; just slow down and enjoy.

Yes, but what is Perdido Street Station about? To oversimplify: the eccentric scientist Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin is hired to restore the power of flight to a cruelly de-winged birdman. Isaac's secret lover is Lin, an artist of the khepri, a humano-insectoid race; theirs is a forbidden relationship. Lin is hired (rather against her will) by a mysterious crime boss to capture his horrifying likeness in the unique khepri art form. Isaac's quest for flying things to study leads to verification of his controversial unified theory of the strange sciences of his world. It also brings him an odd, unknown grub stolen from a secret government experiment so perilous it is sold to a ruthless drug lord--the same crime boss who hired Lin. The grub emerges from its cocoon, becomes an extraordinarily dangerous monster, and escapes Isaac's lab to ravage New Crobuzon, even as his discovery becomes known to a hidden, powerful, and sinister intelligence. Lin disappears and Isaac finds himself pursued by the monster, the drug lord, the government and armies of New Crobuzon, and other, more bizarre factions, not all confined to his world. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

King Rat (1999), Mi‚ville's much-praised first novel of urban fantasy/horror, was just a palate-teaser for this appetizing, if extravagant, stew of genre themes. Its setting, New Crobuzon, is an audaciously imagined milieu: a city with the dimensions of a world, home to a polyglot civilization of wildly varied species and overlapping and interpenetrating cultures. Seeking to prove his unified energy theory as it relates to organic and mechanical forms, rogue scientist Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin tries to restore the power of flight to Yagharek, a member of the garuda race cruelly shorn of its wings. Isaac's lover, Lin, unconsciously mimics his scientific pursuits when she takes on the seemingly impossible commission of sculpting a patron whose body is a riot of grotesquely mutated and spliced appendages. Their social life is one huge, postgraduate bull session with friends and associates--until a nightmare-inducing grub escapes from Isaac's lab and transforms into a flying monster that imperils the city. This accident precipitates a political crisis, initiates an action-packed manhunt for Isaac and introduces hordes of vividly imagined beings who inhabit the twilight zone between science and sorcery. Mi‚ville's canvas is so breathtakingly broad that the details of individual subplots and characters sometime lose their definition. But it is also generous enough to accommodate large dollops of aesthetics, scientific discussion and quest fantasy in an impressive and ultimately pleasing epic.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This is the kind of book that makes me wish I could give an extra half star.

Fascinating stories within the overall book, with complex and thorough characters. The writer is extremely descriptive and I took a few months to get through the first 100 pages, but then just a few days to get through the last 500. My problem was that I kept trying to read it on the way to work and it is too descriptive and complicated to read for a few minutes at a time here and there, I needed some dedicated reading time. It definitely isn't light, young adult fantasy. This is edgy, dark, and will make you really reach back to SAT vocab. I liked this book a lot but would only recommend it to people are already sci fi/fantasy readers, it would be a big jump for those dabbling in the genre for the first time.
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Format: Paperback
While accolades like "Dickensian" are a bit over the top, there hasn't been a new novelist in years that deserved as much excitement as China Mieville. Here we have a very impressive tour-de-force of modern science fiction mixed in with cyberpunk, subversive politics, and other heavy aspects of the Gen-X mindset. This novel takes place in a wasted city that is surely inspired by London, on a devastated planet that is probably Earth in the very distant future. Humans have mixed with many races of aliens into a dysfunctional society that has degenerated into a dark age of chaos and repression. Mieville does show some tendencies of the rampaging young writer with a few too many ideas, as this book tends to ramble in places. Sometimes we are lost in lengthy technical descriptions of machinery and architecture (an example is an overly long write-up of the workings of a mailroom in chapter 9), there are too many place names with no impact on the story, and a few too many bizarre alien races.
On the other hand, Mieville has a real gift for political intrigue and power plays in his writing, and bizarrely creative concepts and settings. My favorite is a garbage dump that evolves a collective artificial intelligence due to a computer virus. The most mind-blowing aspect of this novel is the villains - a tribe of mutants who feed on one's thoughts and dreams, and excrete dark psychic pain in amounts that drive entire populations insane. So while Mieville needs a little practice reining in his many ideas into a leaner-and-meaner focus, this book still has the power to blow your mind in ways that sci-fi hasn't been capable of in ages. Here's a hot new writer that deserves to be hot.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If I had to place stupendously imaginative novel Perdido Street Station in a genre, I'd say it was fantasy steampunk. Exotic and nightmarish creatures abound in New Crobuzon, a bustling, chaotic city milieu in a world featuring both magic and primitive technology. There is also a political dimension to the story, which highlights the abuse of power and also reflects the author's left-wing convictions. Be warned that there is a scarcity of happy outcomes for the characters, who are complex and never two-dimensional. If you have read and loved Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast books, you will immediately warm to China Mieville.
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Format: Paperback
Perdido is not a casual read. The language is dense, and if you're vocabulary isn't up to snuff, you'll probably struggle with this. Mieville also dedicates an incredible amount of time to imagery and atmosphere. On top of all that, the book takes a while to warm up, and at times the plotting feels loose and disjointed.
So, you may be asking, why did I give this five stars? Because once the story got going, I couldn't put it down, flaws and all. Mieville's imagination is nearly boundless and it's a book, love it or hate it, that's unlike anything else. And in the Weaver, a spider-like god that walks the web of reality, Mieville has created one of the most interesting and wonderfully bizarre characters I've ever come across. The minute he/she/it stepped on the page, I was enthralled. Always. I'd reccomend checking this one out for the Weaver alone.
And even though Perdido felt aimless at times (a tighter plot would have done wonders), certain scenes were so amazing that I doubt I'll ever forget them. The chapter involving the Ambassador of Hell was simply brilliant, and it's just one amongst the many.
Though Perdido is not without its faults, its pros far out-weigh the cons, especially in the latter half. For the patient and open-minded, this is not a book to pass up, for it will definitely make an impression and probably a lasting one.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I finished this a while ago, but it’s one of those books I need a certain distance from before I am ready for any sort of evaluation.
Miéville is not Peake, and I think one does him a disservice by a comparison which can only disappoint. “Perdido Street Station” has a richly detailed setting, painted with all the stops pulled out and a loving eye for the small particulars that create the big picture. But where Peake populated his stories with well-rounded, memorable, idiosyncratic, living, breathing beings, Miéville ‘builds’ his characters like he builds his city, creating props for his fantastic stage rather than personalities. I caught myself wondering, in fact, if it’s not New Crobuzon, who is the true protagonist of the story.
The story ...
Whose story? Isaac’s? Yagharek’s? New Crobuzon’s?
Yagharek with his lyrical, introverted voice came more alive for me than Isaac did, but he was not really given enough room to be the protagonist; he’s more of a catalyst and the frame that tries to hold this sprawling behemoth (pardon the pun) together. Which again leaves the city. The characters don’t really drive the plot, the city does -- this steaming, moving, writhing conglomeration of streets, buildings, machines and populace. And it does not merely drive the main plot, but throws out a multitude of independent little polyp arms, plot lines that lead back to themselves or nowhere in particular. A baroque monster, ugly, frustrating, barely comprehensible at times and utterly fascinating.
What’s it about? Responsibility? Consequences? Guilt? Who we are and what makes us who we are? Maybe.
Why read it?
Read more ›
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