Perdido Street Station

Dorian E. Gray israfel at
Sun Feb 9 14:09:24 EST 2003

Tanaqui said...

> me:
> + > A fat book like _Perdido Street Station_ needs every one of its words,
> + > 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
> + I bought it on the (possibly foolish) grounds that Mr. Mieville shares
> + 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

No, but now that you've pointed it out I'll give it a try.
> (irrelevantly, his savaging of _The Sparrow_ and the Harry Potter books
> completely priceless. What did he say about Tolkien that drew you towards
> novel?)

IIRC, he basically appears to share my opinion that Tolkien badly needed a
good editor who would have cut out all the irrelevant history bits and the
multi-page descriptions.  So I figured if he felt like that, he'd share my
ideas of how a fantasy novel should be written, and write it. :-)
> *blink* Oh, well, I can't see how someone who started reading it could
> The book is based around alchemy, art and social politics and the
> had the sort of conversations that interest me.

Unfortunately, the conversations didn't particularly interest me.
> You never met the Weaver, or the handlingers, or the communicatrix, or the
> Ambassador from Hell, or the CI (Created Intelligence) mind or the
> players, or found out anything at all the italics-narrator's personal
> let alone about the rest of the garuda race, or even got further than the
> caterpillar stage of the critters. wow.

No, you're right, I didn't. :-)
> You met one atypical khepri (Lin) and her crisis-energy thaumaturge lover
> (Isaac). Did you get to a vodyanoi (the watery people) at all?

Yeah, I think they came up a little.

I dunno; I just couldn't seem to engage with the characters, and the writing
seemed to me to be very consciously beautiful - almost shouting "look at
this sentence!  Look at these word choices!  Isn't it gorgeous?  Aren't they
perfect?".  I like beautiful prose, but I'd rather it looked effortless.
The "self-consciousness" that I perceived in Mieville's prose seemed to
distract me from the characters and the plot.

::shrug:: I may give it another try at some point, but at the moment, I'm
just glad I only spent EUR5 on it!

Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
israfel at

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be
- O. Cromwell

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