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China Mieville biography and books reviewed

China Miéville lives and works in London. His first novel, King Rat, was published in 1998, Perdido Street Station (winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award) followed in 2000, The Scar (winner of the British Fantasy Award) in 2002, Iron Council in 2004 (winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award), and Looking for Jake and Other Stories in 2006.

... for The City & The City ...

'A fine, page-turning murder investigation in the tradition of Philip K Dick, gradually opening up to become something bigger and more significant than we originally suspected ... Mieville again proves himself as intelligent as he is original' Michael Moorcock, Guardian

'An eye-opening genre-buster. The names of Kafka and Orwell tend to be invoked too easily for anything a bit out of the ordinary, but in this case they are worthy comparisons' The Times

'China Mieville has stepped over a line, the police line that warns fantasy writers DO NOT CROSS. Nevertheless, The City & The City is not a renunciation of his earlier work, but a defiant and rewarding extrapolition of his defining themes' The Scotsman

'It sparks thought in a way that the more conventional novels would never dare to' Daily Telegraph

'A weird and ingenious idea so cleverly and convincingly carried out that the result bears comparison with the modernist myths of Kafka or Borges. No kidding. China Mieville has been lauded as a leading exponent of the 'new weird', and rightly so, but he's far too good to be kept in any sub-genre box. This is an exceptional novel: audacious, original and haunting' Daily Mail 

... for Kraken ...

"While Miéville is far from the first novelist to threaten to obliterate London, he may win the prize for having the most fun along the way... Here we have a prodigious imagination letting rip...The exuberant energy and ambition of Kraken make for a complex novel packed with fascinating and original concepts." Guardian

... for Perdido Street Station ...

"A well-written, authentically engrossing adventure story, exuberantly full of hocus-pocus... Mieville does not disappoint" Daily Telegraph

China Mieville reviews

The City and the City by China Mieville

This is a great story. Mieville has delivered and lived up to the hype generated by his early work, in particular the Bas-Lag series. While this is a vastly different book to that epic series, there is no change in quality.

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Kraken by China Mieville

Miéville is a bit of an acquired taste, he assaults the reader with an unrelenting bombardment of ideas and thoughts which may result in some sinking under their weight. Most, however, are delighted to swim along with the author, happily submerged in words and worlds created by an often ingenious imagination. It is no secret that Miéville is keen on moving the fantasy genre away from the Tolkien and Rowling pastiche and it is to HP Lovecraft that he tips his hat and presents this warm and affectionate tribute.

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Embassytown by China Mieville

Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe. Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now returned to her birth planet. Here on Arieka, humans are not the only intelligent life, and Avice has a rare bond with the natives, the enigmatic Hosts - who cannot lie. Only a tiny cadre of unique human Ambassadors can speak Language, and connect the two communities. But an unimaginable new arrival has come to Embassytown. And when this Ambassador speaks, everything changes. Catastrophe looms. Avice knows the only hope is for her to speak directly to the alien Hosts. And that is impossible.

"China Mieville is one the of most unique and exciting authors writing in any genre at the moment. I would not be surprised if Embassytown doesn’t bag him another bagful of awards next year. With the release of Embassytown Pan Macmillan have decided to repackage all of his former novels and try to make him into some kind of brand, this is wholly unnecessary. Mieville is far too good to be pigeonholed." Charlie White, Fantasy Book Review

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Railsea by China Mieville

On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea–even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she’s been chasing since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a wrecked train, at first it's a welcome distraction. But what Sham finds in the derelict—a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible—leads to considerably more than he'd bargained for. Soon he's hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham's life that's about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea. 

"Railsea is a great book that has the potential to be the kind of classic that others will mimic – like Dune and Moby Dick before it. It is a unique approach to an unexplored part of a world – space has been explored endlessly, under the ocean has been tried, every conceivable corner of the land has been tested. But railroads – at once old and, nowadays, a hope for a cleaner and faster future – have been almost forgotten. Mieville has found a way to bring them into the here and now and used it as a setting for a grand adventure."

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Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

Perdido Street Station is a work of art. At times horrific, beautiful, tragic, comic and even uplifting, with a plot which takes unexpected turns and twists and revelations, one of the most unique settings imaginable and above all a style of dark poetry that is truly exceptional.

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The Scar by China Mieville

A colossal fantasy of incredible diversity and spellbinding imagination. A human cargo bound for servitude in exile... A pirate city hauled across the oceans... A hidden miracle about be revealed... These are the ingredients of an astonishing story. It is the story of a prisoner's journey. Of the search for the island of a forgotten people, for the most astonishing beast in the seas, and ultimately for a fabled place - a massive wound in reality, a source of unthinkable power and danger.

"The Scar was a total delight to read and really had me enthralled from page 1 to 578! The Bas-Lag universe that is just magnificent, and this, combined with his engrossing way of story-telling, really makes The Scar a must read. His genre “weird fiction” is just wonderful."

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Iron Council by China Mieville

It is a time of revolts and revolutions, conflict and intrigue. New Crobuzon is being ripped apart from without and within. War with the shadowy city-state of Tesh and rioting on the streets at home are pushing the teeming metropolis to the brink. In the midst of this turmoil, a mysterious masked figure spurs strange rebellion, while treachery and violence incubate in unexpected places. In desperation, a small group of renegades escapes from the city and crosses strange and alien continents in the search for a lost hope, an undying legend. In the blood and violence of New Crobuzon's most dangerous hour, there are whispers. It is the time of the Iron Council.

"While not as complete in its grotesque beauty as Perdido Street Station, Iron Council is nevertheless a strange and wonderful story, though I do hope Mieville revisits Bas-Lag in the future, and perhaps gives some of his cast, and indeed the whole society of New Crobuzon, a little more by way of a future, since however it resolves, I can't deny that Mieville has created a world I care about populated by vivid characters; some of whom I have come to love."

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