Perdido Street Station

Tanaqui tweaver at imbolc.ucc.ie
Sat Feb 8 02:52:55 EST 2003


 
me:
+ > A fat book like _Perdido Street Station_ needs every one of its words, and
+ > is also a joy to read, but I would never dream of attempting to push it on
+ > someone who didn't have much time to spare for books that don't deliver a
+ > hit as fast as games or anime

Dorian:

+ See, now, I'm gonna differ on this one.  I have no objection in principle to
+ Great Long Books, but I was *very* disappointed by "Perdido Street Station".
+ I bought it on the (possibly foolish) grounds that Mr. Mieville shares my
+ opinion of Tolkien, so I thought that he might write a book that I would
+ like.  

Have you read the short story _An End to Hunger_ by him on the Register site?
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/15732.html

I think it's wonderful, but didn't enjoy his first (shortish) novel _King
Rat_ all that much, so I resisted people trying to push _Perdido Street
Station_ on me. I was very worried about getting bored in a Great Long
Book by him. I'm afraid that I was snared by all that social matrix stuff
which made it a better Fantasy Novel to me. Hey, folks, there's no monarchy
in _Perdido Street Station_, but a Parliament based on restricted suffrage
and an efficient use of politicking nastiness backed by an informer culture
and a militia. The workers are oppressed, the races have realistic tensions
between them, and it's a true conurbation-industrial fantasy. 

I think he likes M. John Harrison and Mervyn Peake rather a lot. It shows in
PSS. As do his Socialist Worker son-of-hippies roots.

(irrelevantly, his savaging of _The Sparrow_ and the Harry Potter books were
completely priceless. What did he say about Tolkien that drew you towards his
novel?)

+ But I found the prose too longwinded for my taste, the characters
+ utterly uninteresting, and the plot...well, I gave up somewhere around page
+ 100 because I just didn't care enough about the characters to read on.  So I
+ can't really comment on the plot other than to say that nothing much seemed
+ to happen in those hundred pages.  Nothing that interested me, anyway.

*blink* Oh, well, I can't see how someone who started reading it could stop.
The book is based around alchemy, art and social politics and the characters
had the sort of conversations that interest me.

I was delighted by perceived themes in common with Mary Gentle's _Rats and 
Gargoyles_, which China confirmed, though his thaumaturgy is entirely 
different in character. 

I would, as I said, never give it to someone looking for a fast hit, though
the savage politicking provides plenty of action... as does the plot about
the hunt for the nightmare critters unleashed upon New Crobuzon.

You never met the Weaver, or the handlingers, or the communicatrix, or the
Ambassador from Hell, or the CI (Created Intelligence) mind or the political
players, or found out anything at all the italics-narrator's personal history
let alone about the rest of the garuda race, or even got further than the 
caterpillar stage of the critters. wow.

You met one atypical khepri (Lin) and her crisis-energy thaumaturge lover
(Isaac). Did you get to a vodyanoi (the watery people) at all?

Tanaqui
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