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This topic is about Railsea

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message 1: by Farhana (last edited Feb 02, 2017 04:26PM) (new)

Farhana Faruqee | 8 comments This is a group discussion about "Railsea" among Farhana Faruqee, Anika Akond, Silvia Ojeda, Tajriyan Chowdhury, Navdeep B, and Dhiman Shahid

The setting in the story so far shows clear signs to a dystopian setting. For example, the Earth they live in called "Flatearth" which is almost like a wasteland. Sham, the main character, also states that there are four layers to their world, in which the humans only live in one and a half. Furthermore, the humans are generally afraid of the earth due to the monstrous creatures that abide in it. All creatures are known as prey and predator, and all the creatures want to eat each other.

The main character is slowly noticing flaws in his dystopian setting. For example, when the crew aboard the Medes were betting on animals and forcing them to fight, Sham saw this as injustice. He found it was unfair for them to kill eachother with no cause. Due to this, he grabbed the roosters and separated them and explained the feeling as if he wasn't in control of his body. Furthermore, the protagonist is showing signs of rebellion. For example, when he was sent to investigate the train wreck, he finds a card in which he keeps without telling anyone. When the captain asks about his findings, he disobeys one of the rules of honesty and lies to her that he didn't find anything.

message 2: by Anika (last edited Feb 02, 2017 05:24PM) (new)

Anika Akond | 10 comments To add on to Farhana, Since the novel exists in a dystopian setting, China Mieville tells his novel from the third-person omniscient perspective, this way he is able to describe the context of any particular situation, as well as provide background history for the reader to able to know which way the author is trying to lead the reader. Furthermore, since this book includes diverse places and various characters, which makes it hard for the reader to actually keep up with the current of the book, therefore, the third person narrative that is presented, helps to establish as a storyteller who is connecting every event to help the reader follow the events and be able to have a clear understanding of what is currently going on the book.

China Mieville also added different features and different ways of writing which are very rare, in most books. For instance, the author uses, the symbol of the word "and" instead of actually writing the word, the author also throws illustration in between chapters to help give a visual image of certain things that are presented widely in the book.

Furthermore, this book introduces a world in which almost every inch of land, is covered in rail tracks all over the place in which humankind takes a risky journey out to the railsea in much the same way we venture out to sea in our world. And just like in the sea in our world, the land beneath the railsea in the book is inhabited by dangerous creatures, including flesh-eating giant moles.

message 3: by Dhiman (new)

Dhiman Shahid | 11 comments I also agree with Navdeep about this book taking place in a post-apocalyptic Earth, where the people have dapted accordingly to their environment. One interesting observation I made about this setting is the need for complex civilizations as well as the lack of it. In the novel we see Sham constantly reference his home as a town and he speaks of other "towns" and when he see another train, he tells the reader it is from a local town as well. This makes me interpret that society is not yet at its full potential, as characters incorporate a hostile tone between one another in respect to their towns. When an opposing train passes by the Medes most of the crew snickers amongst themselves about their supperiority in catching moles. Since the trains are sent on the purpose of catching moles, there is a distinctive competitive edge between each other.

I think this constent tone of competition is what restricts these peoples from forming a complex society.
Sham spoke of beasts that lurk beneath the topsoil and above the topsky. He tells us that underground is where monsterous moles and other creatures fight, eating seemingly anything that stands in its path. In the topsky there are winged monsters that are hideous to observe, as their bodies are laced with tentecales. They sometimes snatch up innocent humans to eat when the noxious clouds part. This constant fear of these mosters and of the Earth itself also seems to keep the people of the Railsea from forming a civilization.

I think this book is peculiar in the sense that it explores a new type of writing with odd names as well as using descriptive words such as "stonefaced" or "lumpy" to describe characters. At its begining the book requires some digging further to retain a good understanding as little to no background information is provided. I disagree with Navdeep, because I found the images very helpful in conveying the setting of the novel. This is simply because they provide grotesque images of creatures for a more vivid understanding of the novel.

message 4: by Silvia (last edited Feb 02, 2017 08:35PM) (new)

Silvia Ojeda | 5 comments In addition, the author, China Mieville, uses several techniques and one of them, which I think is important, is description. Mieville clearly describes the setting, events, and the terrifying monsters that everyone is afraid of. Not only does he use descriptive words to describe the beasts but he also uses them to describe the characters and their traits. Also, like Anika said, Mieville provides sufficient background information for the readers in order for them to get a deep understanding of what's going on in the text.

Moreover, China Mieville tells this novel in a third person omniscient perspective, as Anika stated. The narrator knows all the thoughts and feelings of all the characters present in this novel, therefore this will help readers understand what's going on outside of the main character's life.

message 5: by Tajriyan (new)

Tajriyan Chowdhury | 13 comments Well, the reason to why I posted late is because I did not read Railsea until today's book club reading. The other days, I was absent, which is why I could not post any comment on thursday. However, now that I have read the first 30 pages in class today, I have something to say and to add on to the thoughts my group members had shared out in this discussion.

So, I absolutely agree with Farhana and Anika, in the part where they say that the setting in the story is evident that it consists of a distant Dystopian setting. I mean, from reading the first 30 pages, it is clear that Miéville is illustrating a Dystopic world because at first, he builds his setting with something known as the "railsea", which are rail tracks that go on and on and does not have an end to it. Secondly, he puts this image where the earth is populated by ferocious and hulky sized naked mole rats and other gigantic animals. There are even unindentifiable creatures/animals that remain in the over polluted sky. The pollution, the gigantic animals residing in Earth, and the unidentified creatures are a warning to humanity, because it may mean that the way we are torturing the Earth and the animals habitats by building enormous industries, may come back to us by the animals revenge, and its want to get their habitat and shelter back. In other words, Mièville wants us to be aware of our actions, since our actions may trigger the minds of animals that may soon come back to us with their revenge and power.

Additionally, I see what sense Dhiman and Navdeep are both thinking in, because they both believe that the setting of this book is not really Dystopic. Navdeep said how this book's setting does not consist of Dystopic characteristics because government control is not implemented within the book. However, Dystopia is an undesirable setting, where it is incredibly frightening with a tension in mind. The oversized animals and the giant moles are scary due to its size, and when you think about it, the size of these animals may symbolise a sort of power among the animals. However, I am making such an analysis after reading 30 pages, and you guys have read around 70 pages, so of course, I might be missing out something.
Back to what I was saying, I believe that in the further pages of the book, the animals might have power among the humans, since the main character, Sham Yes ap Soorap, is a scientist who hunts these large moles for meat, etc. Since these animals are huge, it might be hinting revenge and power among the animals to attack the humans, because think about it, why would the author first state how Sham is a scientist that hunts these huge moles, and create Gigantic animals in Railsea? There must be a signifincance to the size of these animals, and there must be a reason.

I actually agree with Silvia on the part where she says how China Miéville has a sufficient background. I agree to this because he clearly states the animals and how it looks as well as describing the rocks, sea, the blue shadows of the ice cliff, and the flinty sky. If you reread Chapter 1 of the book, you will see how Mièville clearly has a descripful setting with a background mentioned in the prologue and the first few chapters of the book.
Moreover, I also agree with Navdeep on the complexity of the text. I also feel that without the image and the visuals, it would be quite hard for us readers to keep on track and envision the setting in our minds. However, I found the book quite interesting, but I have to admit that some of the vocabulary is quite complex.

All in all, the book so far is interesting, especially the unique Dystopian setting and characteristics. I have never read a book like this, since a normal Dystopian book would have a governmental control, technological control, etc. In this book, it would take the readers some time to identify whether or not this book consists of Dystopian Characteristics.

message 6: by Tajriyan (new)

Tajriyan Chowdhury | 13 comments We started to read a new book called " Night" by Elie Wiesel . Therefore, there will be a new group called Night. However, since we did not have time at school, we only read 9 pages of Night so...

message 7: by Dhiman (new)

Dhiman Shahid | 11 comments This is probably the last post on this group and even though we no longer read this book I would like to give my final analysis of the book. I still intend to read this book and may still post based on this book and make further claims.

One the things I found most interesting in this book is the constant threat of death among the various characters. When Sham attempts to salvage the wrecked train, a large mole pops out of a hole and nearly kills him. The mole is later killed, but rattles Sham nevertheless. The humans characters in this book do not to be in complete control of their world. There is a constant fear of Earth and the concept of freedom to roam freely.

My question here is who build the railsea? Obviously it was not built recently with the moldywarpes and dangerous creatures that occupy the railsea. It must have been built long ago or before these horrid creatures existed. It leads me to further confirm my hypothesis that this is a post apocalyptic future. It also proves that the people of this world must have had a great society of sorts once, as they buillt a great circuit of tracks. This society must have been cut short in its growth due to a drastic apocalypse of sorts because they have few technologies besides using trains as a form of transportation. They also have few weapons to combat the moldywarpes, moles, worms, etc. This could mean the society was peaceful or lacked a need for warfare.

This brings me to my next inference, which is the warning that the book is trying to convey about the future or about our Earth. Our planet right now has great governments and societies. Over 7 billion people inhabit Earth. The previous society in railsea must have similar. Infact it may have been a utopia, however our society can so easily plunge into a post apocalyptic wasteland.

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