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

by China Mieville

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7364812,684 (3.99)77
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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» See also 77 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
4Q 3P (my VOYA code) I have always been a fan of neoclassics but I have only ever read books that have been based on Austen or Brontë novels. This book came at the recommendation of my partner who loves sci-fi. I very much enjoyed the gender swapped Captain Ahab character as well as all of the world building. Definitely a popular read for those sci-fi lovers and may be a good book to attract readers of classics to the sci-fi genre. ( )
  LoisHaight | Jun 8, 2014 |
I loved everything about this book so profoundly that I hardly know where to begin. So, bullet style:

The scenario: a world where most of the earth is covered by a confusion of rails, off which you must not venture or you'll be devoured by tunneling, burrowing creatures, while overhead there's breathable air and then a layer of poisonous upsky, in which fly monstrous creatures from other worlds.

The characters: protagonist Sham, a none-too-enthusiastic doctor's apprentice aboard a moling train (moling trains are like whaling ships); Captain Naphi, a female Ahab in pursuit of her "philosophy," the great white mole Mocker Jack; the mysterious siblings Shroak, the salvor Sirocco, plus pirates, the ferronavy of Manihiki, rail angels, Daybe the daybat--oh. So many marvelous characters.

The plot: a wrecked train, found incidentally by the moling train Medes, on which Sham serves, turns out to have clues to a route to the end of the known world, a place, so legend says, of great sorrow--or perhaps endless wealth. Such knowledge endangers all who possess it and drives Sham's decisions and his adventures.

The language: Oh, the language. I had to establish a special blog just to put quotes from this magnificent book. The humor: In small ways and big ones, the story elicits smiles (as when, for example, Captain Naphi asks someone to get to the point: "Do please," said Captain Naphi, "expedite this journey relevance-ward"--that's a phrase I'll have to adopt myself, I think.)

The postmodern style and references: could have been annoying if they were the focus of the book, but they're not: they're woven in so perfectly that they are merely, and completely, a delight.

Honestly, there needs to be a way to unlock a secret sixth star for books one really, really REALLY loves--and then I'd give this one that sixth star.
( )
3 vote FrancescaForrest | May 12, 2014 |
I loved everything about this book so profoundly that I hardly know where to begin. So, bullet style:

The scenario: a world where most of the earth is covered by a confusion of rails, off which you must not venture or you'll be devoured by tunneling, burrowing creatures, while overhead there's breathable air and then a layer of poisonous upsky, in which fly monstrous creatures from other worlds.

The characters: protagonist Sham, a none-too-enthusiastic doctor's apprentice aboard a moling train (moling trains are like whaling ships); Captain Naphi, a female Ahab in pursuit of her "philosophy," the great white mole Mocker Jack; the mysterious siblings Shroak, the salvor Sirocco, plus pirates, the ferronavy of Manihiki, rail angels, Daybe the daybat--oh. So many marvelous characters.

The plot: a wrecked train, found incidentally by the moling train Medes, on which Sham serves, turns out to have clues to a route to the end of the known world, a place, so legend says, of great sorrow--or perhaps endless wealth. Such knowledge endangers all who possess it and drives Sham's decisions and his adventures.

The language: Oh, the language. I had to establish a special blog just to put quotes from this magnificent book. The humor: In small ways and big ones, the story elicits smiles (as when, for example, Captain Naphi asks someone to get to the point: "Do please," said Captain Naphi, "expedite this journey relevance-ward"--that's a phrase I'll have to adopt myself, I think.)

The postmodern style and references: could have been annoying if they were the focus of the book, but they're not: they're woven in so perfectly that they are merely, and completely, a delight.

Honestly, there needs to be a way to unlock a secret sixth star for books one really, really REALLY loves--and then I'd give this one that sixth star.
( )
  FrancescaForrest | May 12, 2014 |
i'm very fond of Mieville. but although i really enjoyed all the detail and characters of the first half, the last half seemed to lose focus and go formula juvenile. like maybe the author lost interest, or got distracted by shinier projects, or maybe some editor suggested they wanted something rather more generic. or he just had to scramble to make his deadline. whichever, too bad. ( )
  macha | Mar 14, 2014 |
I had things to do other than read a book but a lot of it did not happen after i happened upon this book. In a sense it is as mash-up of other books but it is not only that. It invents it's own world, vocabulary and myths. I loved the rollicking adventure of it.
Hint to the reader: take your time with the first chapters for that gives you time to get the feel of the vocabulary and the people. You have to use some grey cells to decode the world as the author builds it. ( )
  newnoz | Mar 3, 2014 |
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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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