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Perdido Street Station | [China Mieville]

Perdido Street Station

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2003 China Mieville; (P)2009 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"The author of King Rat delivers a powerful tale about the power of love and the will to survive in a dystopian universe that combines Victorian elements with a fantasy version of cyberpunk. Mieville's visceral prose evokes an immediacy that commands attention and demands a wide readership. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)

"Mr. Miéville's novels - seven so far - have been showered with prizes; three have won the Arthur C. Clarke award, given annually to the best science fiction novel published in Britain…. [H]e stands out from the crowd for the quality, mischievousness and erudition of his writing…. Among the many topics that bubble beneath the wild imagination at play are millennial anxiety, religious cults, the relationship between the citizen and the state and the role of fate and free will." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (487 )
5 star
 (196)
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Overall
3.9 (313 )
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Story
4.3 (317 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Ryan D. Gilbert Huntington Beach, CA USA 11-21-13
    Ryan D. Gilbert Huntington Beach, CA USA 11-21-13 Member Since 2006

    RiddleofSteel

    HELPFUL VOTES
    109
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    79
    29
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "So very good, but the ending killed it for me"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a very well written book, and Mieville is a very talented writer. He has a wildly vivid imagination, and he was able to transport me thoroughly to his world he has created. It did take me a little to get into the story, because Mieville's writing style is pretty unique and it took a while for my brain to synchronize with his imagery. Once I got locked in though, it was pretty awesome. It's basically a steam punkish world, with sci-fi and fantasy all mashed together,and mashed together brilliantly. I was wondering when I would finally listen to a book like this, and I picked a very good one to start with.

    His character descriptions, to include all of the amazing different races were stunning. He just didn't lightly touch on each character in this world, but really fully flushed out each one, including even the minor ones which just made this world that much deeper.

    Mieville developed a pretty basic main story-line, but it was really just used as a fulcrum for all of the sub-plots and the shadow plot-line. Just reading the summary of the book, I didn't think it would hold me attention, but I was riveted until almost the end.

    Now, I do have one huge problem with this book, and it's purely personal. Mieville made some choices with how he ended this book with some characters and some of the plot lines which I hated, and pretty much tainted the whole book for me. For a writer of Mieville's obvious talent, he really picked some of the lame duck endings that sub-par writers would choose, and he knows better. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but you'll understand what I'm talking about when you see them.


    Overall, this is a very good book and I love Mieville's writing style. If you've always wanted to listen to a world with very strong steam punk influence, sci-fi, fantasy, and any other cool genre you've liked than this is the book for you. Mieville is able to merge all of these worlds seamlessly and was such a treat to venture into. Just for my personal preference, I hated the ending, but for most of you out there this may not be an issue. Even with the lazy ending, I would still highly recommend this story and I"m looking forward to some more Mieville books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Wales, WI, United States 09-30-13
    Diana Wales, WI, United States 09-30-13 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "disappointing conclusion"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Create an ending worthy of the story.


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    All


    Did Perdido Street Station inspire you to do anything?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    Good story and character development , ending needs to be less abrupt.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Orlando Denver, CO, United States 07-04-13
    Orlando Denver, CO, United States 07-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Hard Sci-Fi Connoiseur.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    13
    9
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    0
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mieville's Finest"
    Any additional comments?

    A lot of folks might have some trouble buying into to Mieville's worlds but for my money he's the best in the business at odd, steam-punk sci-fi / fantasy (honestly not sure how you categorize it). Of his novels this seems to flow most smoothly - the characters are rich and interesting. The city is alive and vibrant. All nicely complimented by John Lee's fantastic narration (the guy's a master).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B-- Texas 05-30-13
    B-- Texas 05-30-13 Listener Since 2003

    B--

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unremittingly depressing"
    Has Perdido Street Station turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I have no problems with aliens, even a giant slew of highly improbable ones inhabiting the same city. I do have problems with a story that makes little sense, relies heavily on absurd coincidence, and seems to go on and on and on.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    John Lee is superb as always. Unfortunately, he has little to work with here.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fernando newport news, VA, United States 03-17-13
    fernando newport news, VA, United States 03-17-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    123
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "too much detail"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    this is difficult to answer. it's a good story, one worth listening to, but there is so much unnecessary detail that distracts from the main story. Melville probably should have saved all the extra details for different books.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    the weaver


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    Teafortwo


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    02-28-12
    02-28-12 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    68
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "A great introduction to steam punk"
    Any additional comments?

    Genres: Fantasy, Steam Punk, Adventure

    Character Development: 4/5
    Storytelling Skill: 5/5
    Plot: 3/5
    Narrator: 4/5
    Overall: 4/5

    This was my first true 'steam punk' novel, and I greatly enjoyed it. The world is an imaginative layering of ideas, cultures, forces, and powers. It was very representative of the steam punk imagery I have seen. The characters are realistic and human (or non-human, as the case may be). Both the author and the narrator did a wonderful job of keeping the characters distinct and interesting. It was difficult to pick out the overall plot-line until towards the end of the story because there were so many seemingly unrelated events happening all over the city, bet each was so enthralling that I just wanted more. The only reason that this book didn't get a 5/5 overall is that I prefer stories which touch on what it means to be human in some way, and moves me deeply. This story did not even attempt to touch me on that level, only to entertain, but it entertained VERY well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Revere, MA, United States 07-02-11
    Joseph Revere, MA, United States 07-02-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    Overall
    "Almost"

    An imaginitive, creative, fantastically new world. A contrived, middling plot. Grotesqueries out the wazoo. If youre int he mood for something brutally imaginitive, dark, grimy and vulgar, go for it. Mieville paints a great picture but bites off a little more than he can chew when it comes to plot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JeanneE Wells, VT, United States 02-17-11
    JeanneE Wells, VT, United States 02-17-11 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    18
    6
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    "New Crobuzon haunts me"

    China Meiville has created an urban nightmare that feels hopelessly real and peopled it with corruption, compassion and humanity. Gorgeous writing. The city is the vastest character in the book, and that's saying something in this book with people who still haunt me years after I read it. Since the novel I love is so drippingly rich in description I wondered if it could work as an audiobook. Thank you, John Lee! There are few novels I read twice, but I have both read and listened to Perdido Street Station twice. That's four swampy excursions into the fetid, amazing neighborhoods of New Crobuzon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-27-10
    12-27-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    19
    8
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    0
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    "hallucinogenic pacing"

    This book was an enjoyable listen once I allowed myself to relax into its nonlinear mentality, however, the pacing of the novel needs work. The book is too long, and feels like it should have ended when the killer moth is killed, but instead, three new (and presumably disposable) characters are introduced and the hunt drags on. Lynn, the lover introduced early in the book, with much care and description, languishes the whole book and only appears briefly (and unsatisfyingly) in the end. Another character, wingless and morose throughout, starts to narrate and describe his own sudden inner change into an active and expressive person and it feels as if this is a tacked-on explanation because otherwise the story would become totally unclear. I enjoyed "The City and The City" better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex mahpoac, NY, United States 08-27-10
    Alex mahpoac, NY, United States 08-27-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
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    11
    6
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    0
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    Overall
    "Not sure what this is"

    I stopped listening after about 12 hours. The writing is good and describes a psudo-steampunk environment well, the trouble is after hours and hours of listening there just isn't an interesting stroy and no real prospects that one will develope. It may be a great story and i've bailed just before it started, however nothing interesting after 12 hours is way past my limit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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