Perdido Street Station

By China Miéville,

Book cover of Perdido Street Station

Book description

Winner of the August Derleth award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Perdido Street Station is an imaginative urban fantasy thriller, and the first of China Mieville's novels set in the world of Bas-Lag.

The metropolis of New Crobuzon sprawls at the centre of its own bewildering world. Humans and…

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Why read it?

6 authors picked Perdido Street Station as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

New Crobuzon is a city as weird as its name sounds, inhabited by avian Garuda, cactus-skinned Cactacae, and the scarab beetle-headed Kephri, among many other fantastical creatures.

It’s a grimy city that if you squinted might just look a bit like Victorian-era London, albeit with more frog-people, airships, and statues crafted from harden spit. And at its center, the titular Perdido Street Station, a towering immense skyrail station, too large and labyrinthine to ever map out.

Miéville crafts a fantasy city unlike any other, plagued by government corruption, organized crime, and labor disputes, that makes New Crobuzon feel real and…

Istanbul and New York are famously cosmopolitan cities, but they’re dullsville compared to New Crobuzon in Perdido Street Station.

Where else can you find such a wild mix of human and nonhuman cultures whose members argue, fight, make art, make love, and plot revolution. I love to tour New Crobuzon’s neighborhoods to see the conflict and creativity that come from twirling the urban kaleidoscope and watching its people and communities fall into new patterns. 

New Crobuzon is not a relaxing place to visit, but there is always something happening. It’s like taking Paris in 1900, Berlin in 1925, and San…

I fell in love with this book the moment I read its opening pages, and the love affair continued up to the final pages and still to this day. China Miéville does weird like no one else. And in this, his multi-award-winning sophomore novel and the first book in the Bas-Lag series, Miéville intelligently fuses a stunning array of genres and modes, from steampunk science fantasy to dystopian and gothic science fiction. So much of this book has lived in my subconscious for decades, inspiring a love for bug-punk, gangland-dystopian worlds with complex and flawed characters. The best book to…

China Miéville is a brilliant writer, and Perdido Street Station is one of his earlier novels, but I would recommend anything he has written. What I like specifically about this novel, though, is that the main character runs a renegade printing press which is key to spreading information about their growing underdog movement, and in addition, his partner is from another species which is vilified and misunderstood. The evil beings in this world that they are fighting are massive moths that are so beautiful if you stare at them they suck your brains out. Ew, right? The group is a…

In the city of New Crobuzon, Perdido Street Station is built within the ribcage of some ancient, unknown beast. The layout of the city resembles the anatomy of such a creature, as well—roads and rivers acting as arteries, districts as organs, and its residents as parasitic insects (especially the ones who are part insect). Perdido Street Station uses its fantastical steampunk setting to reimagine real-world urban crises—bigotry, labor abuses, organized crime, natural and human-made disasters—as they would appear in a world of monsters. The most terrifying part is that despite all of the human-animal hybrids and thaumaturgy, these injustices are…

From Jasmine's list on fantastical civic design.

Mieville’s monsters in the steampunk city-state of New Crobuzon are slakemoths, flying creatures that consume the dreams of their prey at night. As personified drugs, their bodies can be “milked” for hallucinogens but they are actually unstable and dangerous alpha-predators that are bound to destroy the city. Mieville’s is a kind of extended meditation on the beauty and decay of cities at the turn of the last century, but also summons up the intersection of the AIDS crisis, criminal underworlds, and aggressive policing.

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