Monday, 30 April 2012

Coming Attractions | Railsea by China Mieville

So here's something to get excited about.

Railsea is almost here!

Specifically speaking, it's not more than a month out, wherever in the world you are... that is assuming you're either in the UK or the United States, where Railsea will be released on May 24th and May 15th respectively.

In the unlikely event that you're wondering what Railsea is - why it's only the new novel by our man Mieville! - here's a bit of blurbage to whet your appetite:

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 and 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-coloured 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 series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible — leads to considerably more than he’d bargained for.

Soon he’s hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham’s life that’s about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea...

Doesn't that sound superb?

Railsea is YA, as I understand it, and while that mightn't be the most optimistic of omens - the consensus seems to be that Mieville's only other YA effort, Un Lun Dun, is his weakest work to date, and truth be told I don't know that I'd disagree - but while that mightn't be the most optimistic of omens, as I was saying, I'm still hella hopeful. Mieville's been on a winning streak ever since that Gaiman-esque digression, and last year's Embassytown stands among his best books yet.

Add to that: this tantalising new novel looks to touch on the selfsame subject matter as Iron Council, and I dare say it may have a whiff of The Scar about it as well. That's already a damn sight more Bas-Lag than I'd expected. And the more Bas-Lag the better, yes?

Not to speak too soon, but I haven't had an advance copy of Railsea yet myself, so we're all in the same boat this time. Or else the same, uh... train.


In any case, besides my enthusiasm for anything and everything Mieville, the material reason I opted to blog about Railsea today was this excerpt, published on late last week. It features the prologue and the full first chapter of the book, and needless to say, it floated my goat.

So off you go, folks! Read it. Weep that there isn't more. Meanwhile we'll compare our notes a little later...


  1. I finished it two weeks ago. I dunno man, I didn't entirely dig it. I'm considering reading it again before I review it.

    It's like he's trying too hard to be China Mieville.

  2. I can't really call YA my cup of tea, but Mieville's name is more than enough to spur my interest in this one. As for Un Lun Dun, it wasn't my FAVORITE of his, but I really did like it. Another of those I wouldn't at all mind, though that's not to say I'd complain if it was another mindblowing masterpiece like The Scar or Embassytown.

  3. "It's like he's trying too hard to be China Mieville."

    This observation is certainly cause for concern.

    Still, surely even a caricature of China Mieville would make for leagues better reading than most authors are able to convey on their best days?

    In any case, I finally got my grubby paws on a copy of Railsea a few days ago, so we'll soon see!

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  6. This book is just so different and so captivating. He's very imaginative with all of his work. It's very different, yet very intriguing.