Perdido Street Station
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A tiny half-crushed grub waved helplessly on the end of his finger. It was a refflick, a harmless little khepri parasite. The thing must have been rather bewildered by my juices, Isaac thought, and flicked his finger clean. New Crobuzon was a huge plague pit, a morbific city. Parasites, infection and rumour were uncontainable. A monthly chymical dip was a necessary prophylactic for the khepri, if they wanted to avoid itches and sores. Lin slid the contents of the pan onto a plate and set it down, across from her own breakfast. She sat and gestured for Isaac to join her.
He rose from the bed and stumbled across the room. He eased himself onto the small chair, wary of splinters. Isaac and Lin sat naked on either side of the bare wooden table. Isaac was conscious of their pose, seeing them as a third person might. It would make a beautiful, strange print, he thought. An attic room, dust-motes in the light from the small window, books and paper and paints neatly stacked by cheap wooden furniture. They ignored their food and stared at each other for a moment. Lin signed at him: Good morning, lover.
Then she began to eat, still looking at him. It was when she ate that Lin was most alien, and their shared meals were a challenge and an affirmation. As he watched her, Isaac felt the familiar trill of emotion: disgust immediately stamped out, pride at the stamping out, guilty desire. Her headlegs quivered. She picked up half a tomato and gripped it with her mandibles.
She lowered her hands while her inner mouthparts picked at the food her outer jaw held steady. He watched her swallow, saw her throat bob where the pale insectile underbelly segued smoothly into her human neck.
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Humans have khepri bodies, legs, hands; and the heads of shaved gibbons, she had once told him. He smiled and dangled his fried pork in front of him, curled his tongue around it, wiped his greasy fingers on the table. He smiled at her.
She undulated her headlegs at him and signed, My monster. I am a pervert, thought Isaac, and so is she. The item a handful of pork slices was ringed and underneath her exquisite calligraphy was a scrawled question in much cruder script: Got company??? Nice bit of pork goes down a treat!!! Isaac waved the paper at Lin. His outrage was amused but genuine. Lin read it and shrugged. Do you two often engage in this witty banter? She shook her head at the stupid question. Her deliberate use of the slur annoyed Isaac.
Isaac howled in irritation. Not everything I say is about fear of discovery! They had always tried not to think too hard about the rules of their relationship, but the longer they were together the more this strategy of avoidance became impossible. Questions as yet unasked demanded attention. Innocent remarks and askance looks from others, a moment of contact too long in public—a note from a grocer—everything was a reminder that they were, in some contexts, living a secret.
Everything was made fraught. They had never said, We are lovers, so they had never had to say, We will not disclose our relationship to all, we will hide from some. But it had been clear for months and months that this was the case. This insensitivity annoyed him. He had, after all, made the nature of his relationship clear with his close friends, as Lin had with hers. And it was all far, far easier for her.
Perdido Street Station
She was an artist. Her circle were the libertines, the patrons and the hangers-on, bohemians and parasites, poets and pamphleteers and fashionable junkies. And yes, Isaac could play that game. He was known in that world, from long before his days with Lin. He was, after all, the scientist-outcast, the disreputable thinker who walked out of a lucrative teaching post to engage in experiments too outrageous and brilliant for the tiny minds who ran the university. What did he care for convention?
He would sleep with whomever and whatever he liked, surely! That was his persona in Salacus Fields, where his relationship with Lin was an open secret, where he enjoyed being more or less open, where he would put his arm around her in the bars and whisper to her as she sucked sugar-coffee from a sponge. That was his story, and it was at least half true. He had walked out of the university ten years ago. But only because he realized to his misery that he was a terrible teacher.
He had looked out at the quizzical faces, listened to the frantic scrawling of the panicking students, and realized that with a mind that ran and tripped and hurled itself down the corridors of theory in anarchic fashion, he could learn himself, in haphazard lurches, but he could not impart the understanding he so loved. He had hung his head in shame and fled. Isaac could be brilliant, but he was undisciplined.
Vermishank had played him like a fish, making him beg for work as a freelance researcher on terrible pay, but with limited access to the university laboratories.
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And it was this, his work, which kept Isaac circumspect about his lover. It is the best steampunk novel since Gibson and Sterling's.
China Mieville's cool style has conjured up a triumphantly macabre technoslip metropolis with a unique atmosphere of horror and fascination. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly.
Overview Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores. In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none—not even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory. Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research.
But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before fathomed. Though the Garuda's request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger. While Isaac's experiments for the Garuda turn into an obsession, one of his lab specimens demands attention: a brilliantly colored caterpillar that feeds on nothing but a hallucinatory drug and grows larger—and more consuming—by the day.
What finally emerges from the silken cocoon will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon—and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it invokes. A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader's imagination.
The book left me breathless with admiration. About the Author.
Clarke Award three times. He lives and works in London. Read an Excerpt Chapter One A window burst open high above the market. Show More. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. To this day, the low, thin wail of an infant can be heard in Keldale's Here are a few books to read in anticipation and to keep in mind in case the show flops. I'll keep my fingers crossed! The Drowned World This time, Ballard's futuristic… more. Flying isn't just for Peter Pan. Many people have dreams where they fly.
Some have dreams where they aim for the ground and miss, which could be considered the same thing. Here are some novels for adults about a favorite fantasy. Before… more. A weird and awesome story in a world unlike anything else. The story itself is a bit of a slow burn at first, but it moves quickly once it gets going. Strong recommendation for people who like "location as character" writing in which a place—real, or, in this case, imagined—is portrayed in deep detail.
One truly gets a sense of New Crobuzon as a city and nation after reading this novel the good, the bad, the strange, the mundane. The characters themselves are little less compelling than the setting, to be frank, but the weirdness kept the book fresh until it got page-turny at the end. An early novel by China Mieville. His writing in this book is frequently over-the-top, a tendency that he managed to reign in with later works. The story however is breath-taking, set in a squalid steam-punk city, and featuring the most imaginative and interesting characters involved in stupendous undertakings.
While Hollywood still creates creaky and portentous movies reminding us that blacks and whites can get along, Mieville features an intense and totally convincing inter-species love affair. I was shocked by the bleak ending of the book - perhaps I am still too much in thrall to Hollywood traditions. But this is a story that will stay with me a long time. This one started slowly for me, but after pushing through the first portion I was utterly absorbed. Not a title for the squeamish, but if you appreciate political intrigue, speculative science, word craft and moral conundrums, this might be for you.
This author has an amazing, intelligent and challenging writing style. You may need to keep a dictionary handy although this isn't a bad thing. This is the first in the BasLag series. This book totally mesmerized me. He has created a world that is thoroughly complex and satisfying without being hard to follow, and the depth of both the individual characters and the sociological milieu is impressive. And the writing! He writes like a dream. I loved this book. Trying to stuff this book in a genre would be a hopeless task, so i can only recommend it to all those who love to read something new and different, something that isn't a easily defined, but draws you in completely.
The story is complex with a variety of flavors and ideas hitting you, and a conclusion i could not have seen when diving into the first pages. At times i found myself frustrated with all that was going on with what seemed to be a complete lack of progression or explanation - but when i threw this book to the side, i always found myself picking it back up again, hungry to know what it was all leading to. First of his fantasy series, showing up most fantasy books as the pale derivative things they are. If I could give this book more stars I would. I'm not a big fantasy fan as my tastes run more towards Hard Scifi and I have a difficult time suspending my disbelief long enough to take the time to understand worlds and species based entirely on imagination.
But Mievill'e's writing is so evocative that it carried me past my initial misgivings and before I knew it I was lost in a great story. There I was looking for something new and outlandish This thing nailed me to the back wall and kept me there until I finished reading "the Scar". As luck would have it China was busy at work on "The Iron Council" so I did not have long to wait for another dose. Skip to main navigation Skip to main navigation Skip to search Skip to search Skip to content. Use current location.