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Railsea by China Mieville
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Railsea (original 2012; edition 2012)

by China Mieville

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976658,821 (3.92)111
Member:jmgold
Title:Railsea
Authors:China Mieville
Info:Del Rey (2012), Hardcover, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

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Railsea by China Miéville (2012)

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Might be a good intro to Mieville. Must try not to be intimidated by length. Recommended by someone who empathized w/ my dislike of Hunger Games.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Railsea is a hard book to describe - sort of Moby Dick meets Mad Max. I found it a rousing good time and excellent choice for audio. ( )
  TheDenizen | May 31, 2016 |
first mieville novel. not sure if I like his writing style. hard to follow at times. interesting story though. ( )
  thefamousmoe | May 1, 2016 |
Railsea is China Miéville's latest novel. Although officially classified as a young adult novel, it will undoubtedly be appreciated by adults too. It tells the story of Sham Yes ap Soorap, a young doctors apprentice riding on the moletrain Medes. The Medes Captain Naphi has a philosophy, a life goal: hunting the great ivory colored moldywarpe, known as Mocker Jack, that took her arm. Sham, however, feels that, at least for him, there must be more to life than riding the endless rails of the railsea hunting prey. When the Medes finds an old, wrecked train, Sham finds something that eventually ends up sending him on a quest & changing his life. I don't want to say much more than that.

This is a clever, imaginative science fiction/fantasy novel set in a well-realized world where an intricate tangle of railway tracks cover the earth. Most people have a real aversion to setting foot on the earth below the railsea where giant carnivorous predators of all kinds lurk, including the huge moldywarpes (giant moles), mole rats, antlions, burrowing owls, earwigs, blood rabbits, & others.

Obviously, in Railsea Miéville was influenced by Herman Melville's Moby Dick, but in the acknowledgments Miéville credits many writers & artists that inspired him, including: Joan Aiken, John Antrobus, the Awdrys, Catherine Besterman, Lucy Lane Clifford, Daniel Defoe, F. Tennyson Jesse, Ursula Le Guin, Penelope Lively, Spike Milligan, Charles Platt, Robert Louis Stevenson, & the Strugatsky Brothers. (I can see other influences too, like Herbert's Dune, the movie Tremors.)

China Miéville is a remarkably creative & talented writer. Even though Railsea is a YA novel, Miéville's use of language & prose will greatly appeal to adult readers. Some younger readers actually might find the prose challenging, however, the story is so inventive & entertaining that most will stay with it even if it requires more mental thought than lesser novels. There are a wide variety of characters in the novel, including trainfolks, pirates, salvagers, rumourmongers, explorers, & more.

You might have notice my use of the ampersand symbol "&" instead of the word "and" it this review. There is a reason for this as Miéville cleverly uses the ampersand rather than the word "and" in Railsea. Miéville writes: "There was a time when we did not form all the words as now we do, in writing on a page. There was a time when the word "&" was written with several distinct & separate letters. It seems madness now. But there it is, & there is nothing we can do about it. (pg. 163)"

Railsea is very highly recommended; http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/


( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Did not finish. I'm very happy to suspend disbelief, but I found the fundamental theme of this book - monster moles on dry land as an analogue of whales at sea - intolerably irritating. I also didn't find the characters engaging enough to bother persisting. I love all of China Miéville's other books, just not this one. Plenty of other LibraryThing members loved it, so it's just me... ( )
  RegT | Mar 9, 2016 |
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To Indigo.
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This is the story of a bloodstained boy.
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Our minds we salvage from history's rubbish, & they are machines to make chaos into story.
Angels, unremittingly & absolutely sane, cannot but seem to poor humanity relentlessly & madly murderous.
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"On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one's death & the other's glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea--even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-colored mole she's been chasing since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a wrecked train, at first it's a welcome distraction. But what Sham finds in the derelict--a kind of treasure map indicating a mythical place untouched by iron rails--leads to considerably more than he'd bargained for. Soon he's hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters, & salvage-scrabblers. & it might not be just Sham's life that's about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea. Here is a novel for readers of all ages, a gripping & brilliantly imagined take on Herman Melville's Moby-Dick that confirms China Mieville's status as "the most original & talented voice to appear in several years" (Science Fiction Chronicle)"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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