Well, I finally finished China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station. (Yes, I’m a damned slow reader… after staring at several monitors all day at work, these old eyes tend to get tired fast when I sit down with a book at the end of a day.) Regular readers of this blog (are there any?) might recall me ranting about the author’s fascination with shit and his pompous use of obscure words a few weeks back.
The bad news is, I haven’t changed my opinion about these aspects of the book. The good news is, it’s a damned fine story. In fact, when things get exciting, Mieville’s style becomes much more streamlined and enjoyable. You can imagine him writing faster and faster and not stopping to try and shoehorn in the subject of his most recent “Word of the day” email. Hopefully as he matures as a writer, his wonderful imagination will stay the same and he’ll realize his job is to tell a good story, not dazzle us with his vocabulary.
It’s a dark tale, no doubt, and the city it takes place in is old and grimy and corrupt. It can all get to be a bit much after a while (another reason it took me so long to read it… I had to keep stopping to take a shower so I could feel clean again). The technology is a wonderful spin on ‘steampunk’ and is way, way fun. None of the characters are particularly lovable, so if you’re into Real Heros you might want to pass on this one.
Otherwise, fascinating stuff. A twisty-turny story set in a downright weird world. Gets my thumbs up (I’m sure Mr. Mieville will let out a great sigh of relief when he hear’s about this! Heh.)