China Mieville—Railsea Shipping This Week

Railsea by China Mieville

Once we're done with the George R. R. Martin shipping marathon, we'll turn our attenttion to China Mieville's new novel, Railsea.  Here's a taste of the acclaim that has come Railsea's way.

From Publishers Weekly (Starred Review):
“Mieville (Un Lun Dun) returns to YA fiction with a superb, swashbuckling tale of adventure on the railsea, a vast prairie densely crisscrossed by train tracks… Working variations on such classics as Moby-Dick, Robinson Crusoe, and A Wizard of Earthsea, this massively imaginative and frequently playful novel features eccentric characters, amazing monsters, and, at its heart, an intense sense of wonder.”

From Locus:
“[Railsea] is told in an arch and sometimes quite funny voice, full of ampersands and invented words (the different “clatternames” for the sounds trains make on the tracks are amusingly onomatopoeic), and the overall tone, despite some occasional real horror, is essentially playful—it's Mieville having some good fun, and taking us along for an exhilarating ride.”

From The AV Club:
“Mieville manages to weld a rich science-fiction concept to influences like Herman Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson (yes, there are pirates; how could there not be?)...”

From Kirkus Reviews:
“What made Railsea a definite winner for me was the narrative. The narrator of the story is not only omniscient but also omnipresent. It is the true conductor of this train—it stops whenever it pleases and relates each character's adventure at its own beck and call with as many or as little words as it wants. I found it extremely charming, even though I have the feeling that it might annoy some readers. I also truly appreciated the diversity of this world, in which some families are polyamorous and strong female characters abound.”

From NPR:
“[Railsea] feels like a great adventure, meant for girls and boys, as well as for the grown-up readers of science fiction and fantasy who admire the complicated worlds Mieville built for such adult novels as Perdido Street Station and Embassytown.”

From Los Angeles Review of Books:
“That irreverence lets Mieville escape the bounds of Moby Dick and strike out on a nineteenth-century nautical adventure transposed onto twenty-fifth-century train tracks. The story is anchored by the lovable Sham, assistant to the ship's doctor and perpetual dreamer, a classic fool bumbling along on a fool's journey. Unfortunately for Sham, there are lots of ways to bumble in this treacherous world. The skin of the land is like the surface of the sea, teeming with submerged, invisible creatures.”

“Mieville's accomplishments here, as in all his outstanding novels, are manifold.”