Monday, 28 May 2012

Book of the Week - China Mieville, Railsea

China Mieville is one of my favourite writers in any genre. He prefers to call his writing “weird fiction”, though most people would classify it as science fiction or fantasy. He is also a very interesting and highly political writer, as I highlighted in an earlier article. His most recent novel, Railsea, has just been published and is my second book of the week this year to take significant inspiration from Moby Dick (after The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach). Railsea is described as a crossover novel, targeting the young adult and adult markets. Reviews have been outstanding and given the quality of Mieville’s writing and the success of his earlier books I am certain that this will do very well.

The UK hardback from Macmillan already appears to be into more than one printing. Interestingly, there is a signed limited slipcased edition of 500 copies which seems to be available only from The Book Depository and in addition there will be a limited edition from The Subterranean Press. You pay your money and you make your choice.....

“On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt. The giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one's death and the other's glory are extraordinary. But no matter how spectacular it is, travelling the endless rails of the railsea, Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life. Even if his philosophy-seeking captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she's been chasing ever since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a wrecked train, at first it's a welcome distraction. But the impossible salvage Sham finds in the derelict leads to considerably more than he'd bargained for. Soon he's hunted on all sides: by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham's life that's about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea”.

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