Derek's Reviews > Railsea

Railsea by China Miéville
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Sep 25, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: steampunk
Read from June 08 to 18, 2012

I was conflicted when I heard this was "a gripping and brilliantly imagined take on ... Moby Dick" (so it says on the cover blurb). On the one hand, Miéville at his best is one of the best writers on the planet. On the other hand, I hated Moby Dick (yeah, I gave it 2 stars - because one would have meant I couldn't finish it).

On the gripping hand, I already panned The Scar because it was too much like Moby Dick!

It turns out Miéville is either mocking Moby Dick, or he's explaining it in terms that make it easy for illiterates like me to understand! In any case, I find the book vastly more interesting than Moby Dick.

Everybody knows that Moby Dick is not actually about hunting whales, it's about the sort of worldview that leads to monomania - about philosophy. In Railsea, Miéville turns this on its head: the massive animals hunted by railsea captains, those animals that in prior encounters have removed a limb or two from said captain, are known as Philosophies! Any captain worth his or her salt has a Philosophy (and one or more missing limbs).

Despite being marketed as a Young Adult novel, I don't see it. The protagonist is, presumably, a youngish adult. Not so young that it seems inappropriate that he frequents pubs, though, and he could in any case be fully adult without anything changing.

The world of Railsea is, as always from Miéville, finely rendered and quite unlike anything anybody else has written.
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Reading Progress

06/08/2012 page 130
29.0% "I was conflicted when I heard this was "a gripping and brilliantly imagined take on ... Moby Dick". On the one hand, Miéville at his best is one of the best writers on the planet. On the other hand, I hated Moby Dick. otgh, I already panned The Scar because it was too much like MB!
It turns out he's either mocking MB, or explaining it in terms that make it easy for readers like me to understand!"

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Chak I hated Moby Dick, too!


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