Perdido Street Station (英語) マスマーケット – 2003/7/29
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Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores. In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none—not even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory.
Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before fathomed. Though the Garuda's request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger.
While Isaac's experiments for the Garuda turn into an obsession, one of his lab specimens demands attention: a brilliantly colored caterpillar that feeds on nothing but a hallucinatory drug and grows larger—and more consuming—by the day. What finally emerges from the silken cocoon will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon—and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it invokes . . .
A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader's imagination.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"[A] phantasmagoric masterpiece . . . The book left me breathless with admiration."
"China Miéville's cool style has conjured up a triumphantly macabre technoslip metropolis with a unique atmosphere of horror and fascination."
"It is the best steampunk novel since Gibson and Sterling's."
From the Trade Paperback edition.
作品の舞台は New Crobuzon という架空の世界で、人間以外に様々な異形の種族が共存している。様々な種族と言っても、伝統的なファンタジーの巨人族や小人といった類ではなく、人間の身体に昆虫が乗っているような遺伝子操作の結果生まれたような異様な種族が多い。
The story begins with our hero, one Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, embarking on a strange quest. Taking a break from his insect-headed, svelte, human-bodied 'khepri' lover, the artist Lin, he tries to help a bird-man 'garuda' with a sack of gold regain his wings. To study flight, Isaac sends a seedy criminal friend to bring him all manner of small birds and insects, including a peculiar caterpillar, to his warehouse laboratory. The vividly colored creature, he discovers, can only grow on a strange new drug called Dreamshit. And grow the caterpillar does--to preposterous size. It forms a chrysalis and metamorphosizes into one of the scariest monsters in all literature: the mind-sucking, brain devouring, slake moth.
Mieville's gift, though, is not only to spin this wondrous, convoluted, and bizarre story, but to wield florid and heated language that propels and projects a reader headlong through that tale. There are subtle but plentiful political insights to recall Orwell's 1984, insights that made this reader sense deep allegorical layers lying beneath the work, palimpsest-like. This seems to be a Mieville trademark. Unlike The City and The City, though, the finale is appropriately climactic, cinematic, and satisfying. Not everyone gets what they want or deserve: there are immense tragedies. When the wild ride comes to a halt, though, one can only stagger away, shaking one's head, looking for more.
Mieville explores a lot of ideas and creates a whole host of strange and intriguing creatures. This is definitely not your average fantasy book - no knights in shining armor, no powerful wizards saving the day. Instead, you have cactus people, strange spider gods, winged bird people from the desert who have a very non-human set of morals and cultural norms. The setting is almost a character in itself.
The prose does get _too_ dense at points, and it feels like Mieville's very, very fond of his thesaurus. Still, his word choices are solid, if obscure, and all around I really enjoyed this book, miserable as the setting and characters often are. It's worth a try. (If you don't like the prologue, feel free to skip ahead - it's pretty different from the rest of the book. But if you're still not into it after a few chapters, it might not really be for you.)
PSS does it all, but I think the thing it does so well are explore the themes of power, loss, and redemption. Morally gray characters are everywhere, and even ones you root for will probably do some pretty s***ty things. Such is real life, and such is PSS.
I absolutely cannot wait to read The Scar and Iron Council now. Consider me a Mieville convert.