OT: Perdido Steet Station

Rick Castello rick at 404.978.org
Mon Feb 24 21:24:18 PST 2003

     I also read _Perdido Street Station_ recently, and wasn't sure
     to make of it right away...

     It was a slow start, and pretty thick to wade through at times,
     as if the author was often more caught up with the pleasant way
     the words rolled off his fingertips, than what they said on the

     At the end, the story was interesting, but drawn out.
     I'll read his next one, and hope he gets better.  :)


Philip Hart said:
> I read _Perdido_ recently and was very disappointed.  It has a lot in
> common with Mary Gentle's _Rats and Gargoyles_ in terms of setting and
> out-of-control plot, but little of R&G's occasional charm.  Another
> strong influence is the Titus trilogy of Peake, a much harder but much
> more rewarding read.  - Philip
> On Mon, 24 Feb 2003, Andrew Lias wrote:
>> I just finished reading a novel titled _Perdido Street Station_ by
>> China Mieville and thought that it may be of interest to some of you.
>> It's one of those novels that hard to catagorize by genre.  It is most
>> similar, IMO, to Michael Swanwick's _The Iron Dragon's Daughter_ in
>> that it is set it a world that combines aspects of fantasy and gritty
>> industrial technology, although it has a heavy steampunk flavor as
>> well (e.g., Babbage-like computing machines).
>> This is China Mieville's second book and it has some of the rough
>> edges that one would associate with a new author.  Among its basic
>> faults, there are a few points where the book descends into
>> thaumaturgic techno-babble, there are points where the descriptive
>> flavor gets away from him, and there is one sequence where a specific
>> person, who has barely even been mentioned, shows up and saves the
>> day.  That said, it is an immensely inventive and captivating story.
>> Mieville clearly has the soul of a poet.  His use of prose is
>> beautiful even when dealing with things that are utterly stark and
>> ugly.  Likewise, he has a keen sense of characterization that must be
>> admired.
>> Since much of the delight of the book is in discovering the story, I
>> don't want to give too much of the actual plot away.  I will say that
>> it starts (more or less) with a meeting between a renegade scientist
>> (Isaac) and a Garuda (a type of bird-man) who has has his wings cut
>> off for a violation of his tribes codes of conduct.  The Garuda wants
>> Isaac to restore his ability to fly.
>> >From there the story developes along a number of tangents eventually
>> leading
>> to events and consequences which are quite horrific.
>> Be warned that this is a brutal story.  Mieville is not an author who
>> is afraid of treating his protagoists poorly.  In fact, if there is a
>> moral to the story, I think that it would be that one must honor their
>> responsibilities and attempt to do good to the best of their ability,
>> but that one should not expect that the universe, or anyone else, will
>> reward one for doing so.
>> At any rate, it is rare to find such a promising author so early in
>> his career.  I would definitely advise taking a look.