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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 (612 )
5 star
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4.3 (427 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Ben 02-28-12
    Ben 02-28-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    83
    3
    Overall
    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
    9
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    "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
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    19
    8
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    0
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    Overall
    "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 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    11
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    "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
  •  
    Harvey Barrington, IL, United States 11-18-09
    Harvey Barrington, IL, United States 11-18-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    189
    10
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    "Escape from a mundane life, this will help!"

    Of course you have to suffer a somewhat slow beginning, but once the action starts it never ends, until it's over. This read/listen made a srong impression on me, far more than a typical fantasy, as Mieville develops analogy and metaphor useful in noting how our own culture compares. Evident in both "Perdido St Station" as well as in "City and the City". If you are willing to imagine the unbelievable as a thesis for people coexisting(or not) with each other, experience this authors work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 02-12-13
    Tim United States 02-12-13 Member Since 2011

    Putting books on the back burner.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Sure What I Just Read"

    I'm not sure what I just read, but I'm looking forward to reading a lot more titles from China Mieville. "Perdido Street Station" is just brilliant. It's like you are reading some kind of horror, sci fi, monsters, and fantasy world with cyberpunks. I could not get enough with the flying moths and the re-mades.

    This book has it all and even dirty sex with whores. The moth creatures are the best part. I never really get freak out on what I listen to but those creatures are just terrifying, but yet I kept listening.

    I'm a fan of Neal Stephenson, but I have to read more from China Mieville because it seems like they are brothers from different mothers. Very similar in their writing styles.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blub 05-30-13
    Blub 05-30-13

    B--

    ratings
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    24
    1
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    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 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Ferguson Albuquerque, NM 02-20-13
    A. Ferguson Albuquerque, NM 02-20-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    15
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    "Incomprehensible"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I'm only 45 minutes into hearing this book, however, it has become an absolute chore for listening.

    Thus far, the book is for me like a face that someone attempted to apply makeup to, but they went far overboard ending in clutter and mess and mascaraey chaos. Metaphors and clever descriptions are good, don't get me wrong (e.g., Cormac McCarthy is one of my favorite authors). But the tangle of adjectives and metaphors in this book so far is a sheer clutteration to the senses.

    It sounds like incomprehensible poetry versus like a good, solid story.

    I'm going to give it a little longer, fingers crossed that something changes and finds me returning to this review to upgrade this rating.


    What could China Mieville have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Try a little less.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John Lee?

    He's good.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Mt. Pleasant, SC, United States 01-31-10
    Robert Mt. Pleasant, SC, United States 01-31-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
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    104
    19
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    0
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    "too much description not enough story"

    Couldn't finish this one. The author seems more intent on describing in great detail the physiology of the characters including crude body functions that seemed to be intserted randomly for no reason that I could figure out.Despite the great descpriptive detail it was hard to tell what character was what through the story that never seemed to develop into anything.
    A for imagination, F for a book.

    2 of 11 people found this review helpful
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