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Ermahgerd. Berks.

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Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon Series #1)

Perdido Street Station - China Miéville Lots of people like to accuse China Miéville of writing with a thesaurus open next to his laptop. How else to explain the frequent appearance of "ossified," "salubrious," "susurrus" and "inveigled" within the 623 pages of Perdido Street Station? Ok, so you can maybe argue that if you write a 250,000 word book, probably less than six of those words should be "palimpsest," but really, I just think he's a smart guy who carefully controls his prose.So the language in The City & The City is stripped down and spare, because he is riffing on detective novel tropes. Kraken is littered with pop culture references as he turns modern urban fantasy upside down. And Perdido Street Station is dripping with ichor grotesquely ornate nouveau-Victorian prose because that's the kind of book this is; dude clearly read a lot of H.P. Lovecraft (speaking of which, if you think this is hard to read, just try a few paragraphs of that). If you don't want to read something over-the-top, generally safe to say: don't read something by China Miéville. As Roger Ebert likes to say, this one goes so far over the top, it circumnavigates the top and doubles back on itself.Shit (I don't mean to swear, but if you are going to read this one, you better be ready for some shit, and some shitting, and things that have recently shat [I swear, the only book with more shat than this book is [book:this book|6426609]]), how else would you have him describe New Crobuzon? A wasted, diseased, dark nightmare metropolis, where an entire neighborhood huddles in the shadows of the skinless ribcage of some ancient felled beast, where a gruff race of living cactus-people inhabits a massive, filthy greenhouse, where the polluted waters run thick with eyeless corpses and surgically altered criminals and wingless bird-men wander the streets? "Oh these words are too big! What is going on?" Ok, here you go: "The dirty city was brown. The brown water ran brownly past the dirty brown banks. A brown-skinned man in a dirty brown trenchcoat walked brownly through the dirty, brown light."I'm not saying you are dumb if you don't like this. I am saying I like this. The world of Bas-Lag is like no place I've been before, so I don't want to hear it described with a bunch of words I hear all the time. You don't even have to know what they all mean. Think about the word "susurrus." How does that make you feel? I could have said "a whispering sound," but things don't make whispering sounds in New Crobuzon, they make susurrus ones. Trust me, this is some salubriously ossified vocabulary.Should I talk about, you know, the plot? I don't think so. I didn't know anything about this going in except that it was set in a big, gross city and probably it was going to be hard to read (it wasn't). In broad strokes, though: it's nuts, which you know to expect if you have read one of this guy's books before. If you haven't had any good ideas lately, possibly it is because China Miéville has been slinking into your bedroom, wraith-like, to feast on your dreams (conceptual spoiler alert!). Seriously, I have read four of his books now, and three of them are densely packed with enough cool concepts to fill at least twice that many normal books. There is a reason this dude coined a new genre.For all the muchness on display, for all of this book's wandering threads and "oh, this would be cool" pit stops, it's immensely readable and, you know, quite thoughtful. I mean, for a book with a sadistic, eight-legged, scissor-happy deus ex machinarachnid who talks in poetry and all caps. If you can find another book that manages to cram a genuinely well-developed sociological argument for Maxrism into the basic plot of Aliens on mushrooms, well... let me know. I'll read that too.Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge Day 11: Book from your favorite author.