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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 (643 )
5 star
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4.3 (452 )
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    James 03-31-15
    James 03-31-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Overhyped"

    It seems like the "steampunk" theme was an afterthought. The depictions of the city lean closer to (and likely had origins in) dieselpunk, but some editor wanted to ride some red felt coattails. Ctrl+R'ing steel for copper, and aluminum for bronze is also too obvious.

    I like that it was a story of the city, or stories, but it was just a constant roll. There are no twists because there are no expectations.

    John Lee is, as always, great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jonefuroy Leira, Norway 02-25-15
    jonefuroy Leira, Norway 02-25-15 Member Since 2010

    Librarian, father, fantasy fool and tech enthusiasts.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Never disappointed."

    This is my third China Mieville book and I'm yet to be disappointed. In the beginning I had now idea where this story was going, mot as it unfold and the ship got real I must say I was mighty impressed. I think this is my favorite thus far! Thank you so much for a great experience. Worth every penny!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 01-19-15
    John 01-19-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    18
    2
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    Story
    "Great read!"

    Great read, great performance! I read the scar first and highly recommend that as well. Love the world he's created!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. L. Flowers Orange County, CA 11-03-14
    N. L. Flowers Orange County, CA 11-03-14 Member Since 2014

    N2Arkitektur

    ratings
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    13
    2
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    "Best Writer Ever"

    Perdido Street Station is vulgar and profane. It also happens to be the most exquisite prose I have ever read in my life. It is filled with the most glorious descriptions of the most vile, beautiful, and even sometimes mundane things. It manages to be the most original story I’ve ever read while incorporating a pantheon of existing mythologies. It’s a putrid stew of wonderfulness. China Mieville, like George R. R. Martin and Donna Tartt, is another one of those intimidatingly good authors. Like Sam Harris his vocabulary is beyond reckoning, and he is not afraid to use every word of it. He may be the best writer I’ve ever read. I am humbled by his work. Perdido Street Station will immerse you in a seedy world of urban noir steampunk mystery sci-fi and fantasy horror. It is a book written for bibliophiles, lovers of the english language and the written word. It’s a real treat. Treat yourself to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberley 10-01-14
    Kimberley 10-01-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Strange and Wonderful!"
    If you could sum up Perdido Street Station in three words, what would they be?

    Strange and wonderful!


    What other book might you compare Perdido Street Station to and why?

    So far I haven't found anything quite like this book. I wish I could find more comparable to this, a fantasy/sci fi/fiction with a little horror and steampunk. Great character development. I could feel the heaviness of the people's oppression. I wish their was more books to this story. If you like something different don't be afraid to try this book- John Lee is perfect for this.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trausti Reykjavik, Iceland 08-19-14
    Trausti Reykjavik, Iceland 08-19-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Unique world, disappointing story"

    Beautifully detailed, unique world with a steampunky theme. Unfortunately the story just did not grab me.

    I think almost everyone agrees that it takes of very slowly. After getting through 1/3 of the book I went online and found many people like me wondering whether or not to carry through. People assured me to keep going, that it was going to take off. It didn't, at least not for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 05-06-14
    Mark 05-06-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An outlier on the spectrum of imagination"

    I wonder if savants and geniuses have fever dreams that feel like this. Compelling, principled and absolutely enrapturing. Chapeau, Mieville, chapeau. I would read a whole novel about The Torque, fyi... if you feel like it... please.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan D. Gilbert Huntington Beach, CA USA 11-21-13
    Ryan D. Gilbert Huntington Beach, CA USA 11-21-13 Member Since 2012

    RiddleofSteel

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
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    7
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    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
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Hard Sci-Fi Connoiseur.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "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

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