Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, #1)
This topic is about Perdido Street Station
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Monthly Reading: Discussion > Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, #1) (No Spoilers)

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message 1: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3841 comments Mod
Talk about Perdido in general terms here.


Allan Phillips | 2136 comments Mod
Been looking forward to this one for a long time! Everything I’ve read of Mieville’s has been excellent!


message 3: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
The image on our homepage is indigoxix's take on the moths. It did it to me, very curious to see how it fits the story.


Kalin | 730 comments Mod
Allan wrote: "Been looking forward to this one for a long time!"

Same here, but this'll be my first of his. Heading off to start in 3...2...1...!


TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments Never heard of this one, but it was available for download from my local library, so I am IN! AT 600 pages I will probably have to renew the loan, unless it is a page turner.


Allan Phillips | 2136 comments Mod
As a group, we read Embassytown last September as an author's birthday challenge, and I think just about everyone was very impressed with it. I've also read The City & the City and Railsea, which have made Mieville one of my favorite discoveries of the last few years. To me, his writing has a sort of magical, atmospheric feeling to it, much like Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker. I have several more of his books on my shelf for future reading, and have tried to fit Perdido in before with no success. Here's my chance!


message 7: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 700 comments I loved it. Adjust your expectations, though: it is "weird" rather than traditional SF or Fantasy. Close to Horror in places.

I actually enjoyed the second book, "The Scar", more. Partly because I was already used to the weirdness, and partly because it narrowed the focus to one main character.


Kalin | 730 comments Mod
I've had to look up unknown words four or five times in the first twenty pages. Usually that's something that only happens when I read in a second language!


message 9: by TomK2 (last edited Sep 02, 2020 09:23PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments Kalin wrote: "I've had to look up unknown words four or five times in the first twenty pages. Usually that's something that only happens when I read in a second language!"

LOL. Thats why I like reading on an e-reader! The same was true for my last read, The Diamond Age, and I remember doing it a lot with Blindsight. Sometimes is adds to the tale, sometimes it detracts. I usually enjoy it as long as the reader does not feel harassed, or feels that the author is trying to impress the reader.

I start the book tomorrow.


message 10: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3772 comments Mod
Kalin wrote: "I've had to look up unknown words four or five times in the first twenty pages. Usually that's something that only happens when I read in a second language!"

I had this problem with his another book


message 11: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
The first impression is a favourable one, something between Neil Gaiman and Paolo Bacigalupi.
The universe sure is intriguing.


message 12: by Gabi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gabi | 546 comments I loved Perdido Street Station. It was my first Miéville. Since then I've read Embassytown and City&City. He's a great author.


Linds | 9 comments I just started this, and I've been needing to look up several words too! I was wondering if my vocabulary was especially out of sorts, so it's nice to know I'm not alone. Heh.

I have NO idea what this is about, and so far (I'm still very early in) I'm essentially going "wait, what?" over and over. So far, so good!


message 14: by TomK2 (last edited Sep 03, 2020 02:39PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments Its not your fault! I was reading Rip Van Winkle a few years ago, and had to look up the word "termagant." Rip Van Winkle was published in 1819. Yet termagant is in print again, almost 200 years later in this novel. So, the word is specific and accurate, yet hundreds of years out of use. Sometimes I think authors are copying Bill Oreilly's "word of the day" game.

BTW - termagant was my vocabulary secret weapon ever since. No one ever knew what I had just called someone when I used it.


message 15: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3841 comments Mod
I am beyond the point where I failed the last time I tried this. I am hoping to continue in a few days.


Anthony (albinokid) | 173 comments I love love loved this, after liking but not loving The City & the City. It’s excessive and weird and deeply and richly imagined, and I was totally mesmerized throughout.


Allan Phillips | 2136 comments Mod
If you think you need a dictionary for this one, wait till you read The Book of the New Sun!


Kalin | 730 comments Mod
Allan wrote: "If you think you need a dictionary for this one, wait till you read The Book of the New Sun!"

I cant wait! :)


message 19: by Gabi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gabi | 546 comments LOL, Allan, good one!


message 20: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Got a busy weekend so I'll have to postpone reading this until Monday, which is terrible because it is an amazing novel. Engaging and controversial enough that I'm already looking forward to a reread.


message 21: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
In case anyone is interested how this book would translate into an audio format, the version I'm reading is mind-blowing good.


TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments While I was reading the first few chapters I didn't think I would make it past 15%. However, it did get better for me by the 4th or 5th chapter. Its not like anything I have previously read, which helps.


Allan Phillips | 2136 comments Mod
I’m only about 30 pages in, but it reminds me a little of Clive Barker’s Imajica. I won’t spoil


Allan Phillips | 2136 comments Mod
.....oops, got dog-bumped. I won’t spoil Imajica, but I consider it in my top ten favorite books of all time.


message 25: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
How is everybody's first impressions of the novel?

This is my first China Miéville novel and I like how unexpectedly the events develop. The wiring itself is top notch, but the story, while weird at times, is pretty strong too. There are a few places lines that I have no idea where they could be going, but I can't wait to find out.

The main characters are pretty unconventional too.


Kalin | 730 comments Mod
First impressions:

I'm finding it a little hard to get invested in. It's definitely very weird, and Miéville is clearly in love with his city, but the worldbuilding is a a little heavy, even by page 100. I can't keep track of the neighbourhoods and how they're supposed to be different from each other. They all seem grimy and destitute. The prose is very rich but I find myself having to reread passages often because my attention keeps sliding away from the text.

I wasn't expecting Miéville's writing to feel so British, New Crobuzon feels very 19th century London to me -- which I guess is what you'd expect from steampunk.

I find lots of little bits fascinating, and I'm curious to see where it's going. I honestly have no idea where to expect the plot to move, since this book feels very unorthodox. My partner -- who has been recommending this to me for ages -- says that it does start slow but has great payoff if you stick with it.


Antti Värtö (andekn) | 809 comments Mod
I'm still at very beginning, but this worldbuilding is so damn heavy - it's like he included ideas for a dozen different novels and packed them all in one book. Come to think of it, Embassytown was also a bit like that - perhaps this kind of overly-rich worldbuilding is his signature style?


message 28: by Ed (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ed Erwin | 700 comments Antti wrote: "... it's like he included ideas for a dozen different novels and packed them all in one book. ..."

I felt the same way. I still liked it. But as I said above, the sequel was better because it had a tighter focus and not as many random extra things.


Allan Phillips | 2136 comments Mod
Like Embassytown, the text is heavy and the descriptions dense, but I still find the story moving along. It's kind of mesmerizing, then you look up and you've read a bunch of pages. There's a lot of commentary in the reviews on the thick world-building, and that some say they liked The Scar (book 2) better, but there weren't many who rated it low.


TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments I must confess to a bit of skimming over some of the city descriptions. The characters are making up for it so far. The plot isnt all that engaging so far, but the oddities of the world and characters leaves me wondering just where it is all going. I am enjoying having no clue what is in store for me next.


message 31: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
I felt like the story skipped a beat at about 40% in, introducing a bunch of new characters and concepts all at the same time, abandoning the opened plot lines. It irked me for a while but it is staying to even out and I hope when it all comes together it won't be a flop a'la Neal Stephenson.


Linds | 9 comments I'm almost a third of the way through. I find that I enjoy reading it (engrossing, yes), but I'm not exactly racing through this book. So I suppose I'm still kind of on the fence. I'm very curious where this is going, and I feel my entire impression of this book will come down to whatever the payoff turns out to be.


message 33: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3841 comments Mod
Yes, it is definitely not a racing through kind of book.

My read complaint is that it is too long and time consuming. I have other things to read.


TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments I have to agree with Kateblue. I am about 200 pages in. I find it cumbersome at times. Sometimes I feel like I am forcing myself to push on. 200 pages in over 10 days? I do 200 pages in one day if I get into a book. I have thought about DNF more than once, then a chapter comes along and rekindles my interest. I will make a decision on finishing this weekend.

it's not that the tale lacks originality, or good characters, or an intriguing plot. It just might not be a good match for me because of the length and writing style.


Allan Phillips | 2136 comments Mod
From what I've read of Mieville's books, they are not the easiest reads, but there is a magical quality about them, and the payoffs have been very effective. It's somewhat slow but I'm not getting disillusioned so far.


Antti Värtö (andekn) | 809 comments Mod
It's definitely a tome, all right; I'm at page 250 in a 900-page edition, and I've already read it for a week. At this rate it'll take me a whole month to finish! But it is good; the reading is show, but I don't dread picking the book up or anything like that.


message 37: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
We've discussed it briefly on Discord and I would like to point out that it works wonders as an audiobook.
I'm using the same version as Antti, it is a long read but alternating between audio and ebook is so far a fantastic experience.

Some chapters are slow and I'm enjoying a truly masterful narration and some chapters are really intense so I'm reading off an ebook, at least twice the speed of the audio.

I just say that I love the style and how unconventional his view on fantasy is, I see some of the elements are brought over from gaming and other sources but trimmed to fit into a steampunk-fantasy world.

Whatever steampunk there is I love it and wish we had more than just a glimpse of it here and there, with the probably exception of (view spoiler)


TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments Very true. I can think of a few books I failed to finish reading, then just loved the audio book. Each of them was long and had parts that were hard to read through, but easy to listen to. But my days of 1.5 to 2 hours of commuting a day are over, and I haven't bothered with audiobooks now that my commute is shorter. If I listen to an audiobook any other time than commuting I fall asleep. Lol.


message 39: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3772 comments Mod
TomK2 wrote: "If I listen to an audiobook any other time than commuting I fall asleep. Lol.."

I have a similar problem if listening in the evening. However, it actually showed me that I may go to sleep and wake in several minutes - at the same time assuming I was wake the whole time, just the plot is lost :)


Allan Phillips | 2136 comments Mod
BC (Before Covid), I would listen to audiobooks on my 13-minute commute to work, plus any other time I was in the car. If I was working a hockey game (as an off-ice official) I’d get a good 45 minutes in driving to and from the arena. Now I get 40 minutes a day on dog walks if my wife doesn’t go, and sometimes I put it on while I’m working, if it’s something mindless enough that I don’t lose focus. I seem to get through more audio, less paper in current circumstances.


Kalin | 730 comments Mod
Okay, this book just got REALLY interesting.


TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments Still wavering on a DNF. A few good chapters has sucked me back in after I promised myself I would start something else tomorrow. I am at 35%. My loan expires in 2 days but nobody had it on hold, so I can renew. Hmmmm.


Allan Phillips | 2136 comments Mod
When I hit a DNF wall like that, I start something short or quick that I can intersperse till I can move past it.


Antti Värtö (andekn) | 809 comments Mod
I got really sucked in to the story at about 30% and started devouring the book: it took me a week to read the first 250 pages and two days to read the next 250!


message 45: by *Tau* (new)

*Tau* | 106 comments Allan wrote: "BC (Before Covid)"

Nice one :-)
Makes you wonder if at some point in the future people will be using this meaning when they say BC and AC ...


message 46: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3772 comments Mod
*Tau* wrote: "Nice one :-)
Makes you wonder if at some point in the future people will be using this meaning when they say BC and AC ..."


Do we start from year 0 or 1? "old" BC was -1 and AC started with 1


message 47: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Art | 2551 comments Mod
The fight scenes are epic, especially the ones featuring (view spoiler)>


message 48: by *Tau* (new)

*Tau* | 106 comments Oleksandr wrote: "Do wo we start from year 0 or 1? "old" BC was -1 and AC started with 1"

And moreover: which year do we take into account?
2019 when the virus was discovered?
Or 2020 when it affected all of our daily lives?
Because before 2020 almost nobody would've thought it would gain such a momentum ...


Allan Phillips | 2136 comments Mod
I’d make 2019 Year Zero, 2020 Year One


message 50: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kateblue | 3841 comments Mod
I have stalled out b/c life and other books. I just find this book daunting. And there's nothing about it that I'm really interested in. He has this great world, but meh.


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