Synopses & Reviews
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.
From China Miéville comes a novel for readers of all ages, a gripping and brilliantly imagined take on Herman Melville's Moby-Dick that confirms his status as "the most original and talented voice to appear in several years." (Science Fiction Chronicle)
"Miéville (Un Lun Dun) returns to YA fiction with a superb, swashbuckling tale of adventure on the railsea, a vast prairie densely crisscrossed by train tracks: 'Tracks & ties, in the random meanders of geography & ages, in all directions. Extending forever.' Sham, an orphan, has gone to railsea as apprentice to a train's doctor. That train, the Medes, is a moletrain that plies the railsea hunting the great moldywarpes (giant moles) that live beneath the dirt, harpooning the subterranean creatures when they surface and rendering them down for meat, fat, and fur to be sold on the mainland. The train's captain, Naphi, is a strange, charismatic woman who lost her arm to an enormous ivory mole, Mocker-Jack; obsessed with killing the creature, she's willing to sail to the mythical ends of the railsea to catch him. Working variations on such classics as Moby-Dick, Robinson Crusoe, and A Wizard of Earthsea, this massively imaginative and frequently playful novel features eccentric characters, amazing monsters, and, at its heart, an intense sense of wonder. Ages 12 – up. Agent: Mic Cheetham Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Miéville manages to weld a rich science-fiction concept to influences like Herman Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson (yes, there are pirates; how could there not be?)" The AV Club
"What made Railsea a definite winner for me was the narrative. The narrator of the story is not only omniscient but also omnipresent. It is the true conductor of this train-it stops whenever it pleases and relates each character's adventure at its own beck and call with as many or as little words as it wants. I found it extremely charming, even though I have the feeling that it might annoy some readers. I also truly appreciated the diversity of this world, in which some families are polyamorous and strong female characters abound." Kirkus Reviews
"[Railsea] feels like a great adventure, meant for girls and boys, as well as for the grown-up readers of science fiction and fantasy who admire the complicated worlds Miéville built for such adult novels as Perdido Street Station and Embassytown." NPR
“Other names besides [Herman] Melville’s will surely come to mind as you read this thrilling tale — there’s Dune’s Frank Herbert....But in this, as in all of his works, Miéville has that special knack for evoking other writers even while making the story wholly his own.” Los Angeles Times
“[Miéville] gives all readers a lot to dig into here, be it emotional drama, Godzilla-esque monster carnage, or the high adventure that comes only with riding the rails.” USA Today
“Superb...massively imaginative.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Riveting...a great adventure.” NPR
“Wildly inventive....Every sentence is packed with wit.” The Guardian (London)
About the Author
China Miéville is the author of several books, including Un Lun Dun, Perdido Street Station, The City & The City, Kraken, and Embassytown. His works have won the Hugo, the British Science Fiction Award (twice), the Arthur C. Clarke Award (three times) and the World Fantasy Award. He lives and works in London.