September's Fantasy (Morning Session) - Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Please join us as we discuss Perdido Street Station by China Miéville, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2001 and the British Fantasy Society's August Derleth Award in 2000 and the Amazon Editor's Choice Award in Fantasy in 201, and nominee for the 2002 Hugo and Nebula Awards. The novel, which was among's 10 Best SF&F Novels of the Decade, is a steampunk/gritty industrial age story set in a parallel world with vivid and expansive worldbuilding and all the scope of an epic fantasy. Although Miéville has other stories that share the world of Bas-Lag, this novel is an independent stand-alone. The book is of middling length, at about 623 pages.

Please keep your RSVP updated and accurate!* Space is limited for this event. If it fills up, please add yourself to the waiting list if interested. Please note that this is our smaller morning session (our afternoon session can be found here). If enough space opens up in the afternoon session, or if there isn't sufficient interest for our morning session, we may consolidate both sessions into the afternoon timeslot.

From Amazon:

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.

Generous, gaudy, grand, grotesque, gigantic, grim, grimy, and glorious, Perdido Street Station is a bloody fascinating book. It's also so massive that you may begin to feel you're getting too much of a good thing; just slow down and enjoy.”  — Amazon review

*Since missing one of these meetups is taking a spot away from someone else who wants to go, we'll need to have a stricter attendance policy than normal. For book discussions, 3 no-shows in a rolling 3-month period will prohibit you from attending any other book discussion for 2 months after your last no-show. In order to avoid a no-show, please update your RSVP no later than 10pm the night before a discussion. Thanks for your understanding and cooperation!

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  • Kent

    Fun and enlightening discussion, with well-presented perspectives. Good times!

    1 · September 11, 2013

  • Cheryl

    A robust, thoughtful discussion around a lot of different viewpoints. Great fun to listen to the varying opinions.

    1 · September 9, 2013

  • Bill K.

    Interesting discussion like always. I liked the alternate name for the moths, mothzilla. I learned that having a diet of rabbit will cause the same effect as Issac's crisis engine melding the other thoughts and serving it up to the moths to have them eat themselves to death. Truely the 'revenge of the rabbit', as one person pointed out. I still don't think we discovered how Issac figured out how to kill the mothzillas with his crisis engine, but as another point out, it just shows that SWAGs are sometimes right.

    2 · September 8, 2013

    • Sweth C.

      The rabbit thing came up in a conversation this evening, and we went investigating; it turns out that while pretty much any mammal does, as I contended, have all of the essential macronutrients and micronutrients needed to sustain life if you eat all of the organs, etc., in the case of the rabbit, they are so lean that if you are eating the entire rabbit, you can't get enough calories without consuming so much protein that you liver and kidneys can't keep up and you get elevated levels of ammonia and urea that could, as Theo claimed, eventually kill you. The solution, apparently, is to eat the fattiest parts of multiple rabbits and toss the rest. Rabbits only have their revenge on the frugal.

      2 · September 8, 2013

  • David L.

    Not going to make it. I feel awful this morning AND I didn't manage to finish the book. Double whammy. Have fun, everyone!

    September 8, 2013

  • Derek

    Looking forward to the chat. Lots of good things about this book, but plenty I want to gripe about as well.

    September 6, 2013

  • Vijay

    Now that we're less than a week away, please update your RSVP if your availability has changed. Thanks!

    September 3, 2013

  • Cheryl

    Getting ready to board a train for a 9 hour ride to Charlotte, NC. Got my Kindle with Perdido loaded, snacks and wine from Whole Foods. Nothing to do but sit and read!

    2 · August 28, 2013

  • Suyong

    Yes!!! I got in. Am looking forward to discussing this book with others - the author gives interesting interviews and has more arm decorations than any other authors that I know.

    1 · August 27, 2013

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