Railsea Railsea question


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logical flaws in "Railsea"
Scrambled Legs Scrambled Dec 23, 2012 02:26PM
I know the whole railsea universe is about sustaining and enlarging the "ridiculous" till it actually becomes serious (China's own words!), but there were a few elements in the story world I could not come to grips with:
- why is it that the rails are not constantly uprooted by moldywarpes who dig up at the surface? (and if so, who repairs them?)
- how can a harpoonist throw a javelin from a racing train and actually "catch" a moldywarpe? (is the prey pulled out of the ground? is it being dragged along?)
- how can a "subterranean submarine" (or a mole for that sake) keep up speed with a racing train?



It's been a little while since I read it, but didn't humans preserve rails close to civilization, and the Angels helped preserve and repair the rails out in the wilds? Otherwise, I assumed that most moldythorpes either weren't able to uproot the rails or couldn't be bothered. I could be wrong, though.

I don't remember if it was mentioned, but in Moby Dick, which Railsea is based on, and traditional whaling, I believe some of the harpoons were attached to the ship or the smaller boats, so once the harpoon was sunk into whale, it couldn't escape or would tire itself out dragging the boats around. Dead whales also floated (usually; Melville notes that occasionally they had a sinker). Not sure about moldythorpes!

As for the super fast subterranean machines and moles...yeah, that was part of the suspension of disbelief necessary for the entire concept to work, I guess. I know where I live, the soil is so solid and rocky it's unfathomable, but wasn't the Railsea hinted to be the ocean with all the water taken away? A sandy post-ocean floor might be softer? Or maybe the trains were just really slow ;)


It is kind of like a train. Forgive the obvious simile. It gets moving faster as it picks up steam.


I had a difficult time finishing this book which I listened to as an audiobook. It started out promising, then I felt that the author dropped the ball on what he set up at the beginning with the various characters quests intersecting. I never felt that the captain was as obsessed as promised, and Sham and all the other characters were so flat, I never understood their choices or felt for them. The whole story seemed to lose focus by the halfway mark, but I stuck it out and finished it. I can't say it was worth my time, though I see so many positive reviews, so I'm glad many others enjoyed it. To each his own.


True. But I had a hard time getting over the horrible sentence structure.

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Ken Railsea did seem YA, but I loved The City & The City.
Jul 06, 2013 09:59AM · flag

No one should read Mieville if they are not interested in his ability to twist and shape the English language as he wishes. I love his style, but totally understand how distracting it can be. This would be a tough sell for kids, even though it is billed as YA. But I got so lost in the sway of his prose that I had to listen to a couple of chapters over on Audible. A great homage to Moby Dick, but still its own book. My review: http://lhealey7604.blogspot.com/2013/...

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Daniel I don't know. "And everything" is not a sentence, and is no spark of genius. A three year old could do just as good.
The plot itself was intriguing and
...more
Jul 06, 2013 02:32PM

I can't make it past chapter 5. I've tried to read this book 3 times. I will not pick it back up.


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