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

by China Miéville

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8445410,672 (3.94)102
Member:riaanw
Title:Railsea
Authors:China Miéville (Author)
Info:London: Macmillan (2012), paperback ; 375 p. ; 23 cm.
Collections:Your library, Fiction, SF/fantasy/horror
Rating:*****
Tags:fantasy

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Railsea by China Miéville (2012)

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I'm a huge Mieville fan but mostly because of his Bas-Lag novels. The others I usually enjoy but there's always something about them that doesn't grab me. This one was the same. I had no idea this was YA novel and there are parts that I definitely thought were written for an adult intellect but not too many.

What I do like about this novel is that he "takes chances", steps outside the box. There's one chapter where the whole chapter is: "Is it time to get back to {specific characters} yet? No, not yet." or something very similar.

The plot is out there and the world is wonderfully creative. I got confused early on whether the rails were underground or over water or both. So it was always hard for me to picture scenes and as usual with Mieville some of the dialogue totally lost me. Not sure this is a good one to do on audio because there are many made up words that might be easier to grok is you're looking at them on the page instead of hearing them read out loud.

Either way definitely worth a read for the Mieville fan and anyone else into very strange tales that don't stick to the normal fantasy tropes. ( )
  ragwaine | Feb 26, 2015 |
Moby Dick meets Mad Max in this China Mieville tale set in a dystopian, future world. This is the third Mieville novel I’ve read and by far the easiest to comprehend and enjoy. The City and The City was a challenging work due to its highly original and sometimes confusing premise. Embassytown was just too arcane and dense for me to enjoy. Compared to these two works, Railsea is a piece of cake.

In the world of Railsea, today’s oceans are replaced with vast planes, crisscrossed by train rails. It is really rather silly, as instead of whaling vessels, we have mole trains, which seek out huge mole-like creatures that can burrow through the ground as fast as a train can travel. Really. In addition to the mole trains, others are salvagers, explorers, still others are “ferronaval” vessels.

Our young hero, Sham al Saroop, begins as a physician’s assistant on a mole train, whose Captain (think Ahab) doggedly pursues the great ivory moldyworp (think Moby Dick) that is responsible for her prosthetic arm. But Sham is an explorer at heart and stumbles upon a treasure map of sorts that sends Sham and the train’s crew on a great adventure.

While entertaining, original and well written, the story is just a little too silly to draw mw in completely. It reminds me a little bit of Stephen King’s Gunslinger series. ( )
  santhony | Feb 13, 2015 |
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Minihiki FerroNavy Has Declared the Document “RAILSEA” as work of Fiction

Minihiki Ferro Navy Office of communication has declared the circulating document “RAILSEA” as a work of fiction. The incidents taking place are completely un-true. The document now being widely circulated claims to be a telling of the adventures of one “Sham Yes Ap Soorap” of Streggeye. Copies of the document are now banned. Anyone in possession of a copy is order to turn it over to the nearest Ferro Navy office.

Where the best works of fiction make themselves believable by including true facts the Navy does stipulate the following items: There may or may not have been a member of the crew of the Mole Train Medes Sham Yes A Soorap. In the document “RAILSEA” he is portrayed as a citizen of Streggeye & as such Minihiki Navy has no record of him. Further inquires about his existence should be directed to the Streggeye console. (The blockade of the console is an unfortunate coincident & total unrelated to events in the document “RAILSEA”.) The train Medes did or does exist & is or was commanded by captained Naphi. The captain is register with the Streggeye Molers’s Benevolent Society. Her register philosophy is in fact a giant “white” or “ivory” mole. These are just the kind of facts that make the story interesting & believable.

However the following items are strictly un-true & border on treasonous. There is no missing FerroNavy train. The Navy does not issue Letters of Marque to Pirates. There is no such thing as demi-salvage.

This document “RAILSEA” has been release at this time to undermine support of new taxes and tariffs funding the building of the new FerroNavy Train “Moledoom”. Further discussion of the document are classified and not for public review. ( )
1 vote misericordia | Feb 5, 2015 |
The story is a blend of Moby Dick and the movie Water World. It's an exciting adventure book with many moments of tension and suspense. It takes a little while to get in to, but I got hooked within a hundred pages. My only complaints is the incredibly excessive use of commas. It occasionally read like the author had his thoughts interrupted by his own thoughts mid-sentence. Eventually I got use to it though, so it wasn't a big deal. He also loves the & symbol, which was annoying at first, but he explains why he uses it within the book. ( )
  renbedell | Jan 26, 2015 |
Moby Dick meets Treasure Island on rails. Beatiful and cunning with a dash of Vonnegut-ish narration. ( )
  pan0ramix | Nov 25, 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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