Perdido Street Station
is, itself, only a minor part of the book that is its namesake. Only near the end do the characters actually go there, even though it is often talked about during the book. It's the center of the city of New Crobuzon
, where all the trains and vehicles come and pass through, and is probably the most important area too.
The plot is heavy, as is the atmosphere in this paperback which numbers a bit over 860 pages (51 Chapters in eight parts), and it needs the length; The sheer number of twists and subplots is incredible, and to tell you even one would really ruin the book, they tie so well; All the mystery, suspense, and surprise is slow enough to keep up with, but quick enough to startle.
The cast is relatavely large, but the author gives each his/her/its own voice, and sticks to it. There is no one-size-fits-all speech pattern here. You can recognise characters by the way they talk.
The book contains some pseudo-science and is more science fantasy than science ficton.
The number of races in this book is also quite a feat of imagination: Though the Humans are the most common, there are scarab-headed women called Khepri, Bird people called Wyrmen and Garuda- Garuda being more like birds of prey and the Wyrmen like Seagulls- bloated water-living beings called voyodani, cactus-folk... the list is extensive, and though I'd like to continue it, it would spoil some of the book.
The first main plot is that Isaac Dan van Grimnebulin, a notorious freelance scientist, gets paid by a Garuda called Yagharek to help him fly again. I say first main plot because- they develop more. And more and more...
The thing is, China's imagination is incredible. The attention to detail is worthy of a masterpiece, and the humour ithough black is realistic. One can really imagine the sprawling, insidious metropolis of new Crobuzon, the cruel Militia- the group of police the Government control...
A genuine masterpiece that takes my breath away, China breathes life into the world of Bas-Lag.
Like Anzin, I think this is a wonderful book and should be found by everyone as quickly as possible-and bought up.
Available from www.panmacmillan.com