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

by China Mieville (Author)

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1,428909,722 (3.84)132
"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)
Member:Daedalcipher
Title:Railsea
Authors:China Mieville (Author)
Info:Del Rey (2012), Edition: Limited Edition, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
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Railsea by China Miéville (2012)

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» See also 132 mentions

English (89)  French (1)  All languages (90)
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
A cross between Moby Dick and Dune, with a crew chasing an underground beast -- in this case a giant mole. The book follows the adventures of Sham ap Soorap, a young doctor's apprentice on his first voyage. Trains follows interlocking rails all over the planet, and Captain Naphi is seeking her nemesis. Meanwhile, orphaned Sham comes across a wreck of two explorers and goes off to tell their children what happened, becoming involved in their quest and various efforts to thwart it. While some of Sham's personality felt legit, his ascension to giving orders on the ship during a crisis was silly. I liked his adoption and nursing back to health of a daybat, Daybe. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
enormously inventive, quite bizarre and very wonderful. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
Before I start reviewing this, I just want you to do one thing, read the title of this book. Railsea. Now imagine what that means.

If you have imagined a world covered in railtracks, with trains as ships then you have gotten a bit of an inkling about the world this book is set in. And if you happened to further imagine that burrowing animals might be a threat to these locomotives and so have placed giant moles and stoats and turtles are huge monstrous beasts, well, then well done you, because I certainly wouldn’t have imagined it before reading this book. I do love it though.

Sham ap Soorap is out on a moler’s ship. This is his first voyage on the Railsea, he is the doctor’s apprentice, although he isn’t entirely sure that this is what he wants to spend his life doing. The captain of his train, the Medes’ captain is a captain with a “philosophy” that is, an obsession. Many hunters have them. Her’s is the great white mole. And if you can see ever so slight echoes of Moby Dick, well, yeah, that is kindof obvious. And that isn’t the only literary influence on this book. There are pirates and salvagers, molers and warengines, excitement and orphans. All packed into the one book. It really is great fun.

However, it does take a little while to get going, and the narration is, well, idiosyncratic to say the least. Personally I really enjoyed it, but I could see some readers not liking the & instead of and, and the little interlude chapters could be taken as irritating rather than entertaining. Horses for courses and all that.

I don’t think this would count as my favourite Mieville novel, I really enjoyed it, and I love the idea of it, but I still think, that for all its flaws The Iron Council is my favourite. This is more than entertaining though. And I love the cover. All his books have been reissued with this style cover in the UK market and I think that they look fabulous. ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
After reading two of his novels, I'm still not really sure how I feel about China Mieville. Wikipedia says that his fiction is sometimes classified as "New Weird," which seems to be a good descriptor. This particular book is designated as YA fiction, and borrows elements from "Moby Dick."

It took about half of the book before I got used to the concept of the "railsea," of the earth itself as a dangerous terrain, and of the rails themselves. Mieville himself said, "Basically the book is pinned on a very simple, very silly joke, which is Moby Dick -- only with moles instead of whales, and once you do that then a lot of things spin off from it." I liked the book overall, especially the journey that Sham and the Shroakes took, the dangers and adventures they encounter; however, as the book wrapped up the momentum seemed to falter, and I was left unsettled at the end. Mieville's style of writing didn't particularly bother me, and I found the out-of-character chapters to be an interesting interlude. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
Moby Dick on rails meets One Piece in a layered world with hints of a far bigger world (Bas Lag?) all tied together with thaumaturgy. Unexpected YA novel from [a:China Miéville|33918|China Miéville|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1243988363p2/33918.jpg]
  rickycatto | Sep 9, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miéville, Chinaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bauche-Eppers, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mège, NathalieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Pocket (7236)

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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.

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