Where should I start?

Fried Egg

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I haven't read anything by China Mieville but am curious about what I've heard about him. What book would be the best place to start to introduce me to his work?
 

Rich_SP

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ANY! lol
I personally started with his short story compilation; Looking For Jake, which have some truly remarkable stories,,,except 'Tis the Season'. i'm a socialist and I still hated it lol.
However, details is entirely horrifying, Foundations is equally uneasy but absolutely amazing, I couldnt get the title story out of my head for weeks, and An End To Hunger is immensely enjoyable.
and then there's Jack, my particular favourite :D
overall every one of the sotries is worth a read (cept Tis the Season :p)
I then went on to read the Bas Lag novels in order, before finally getting my hands on a copy of King Rat. Perhaps you should start from the beginning with King Rat... it serves as a kind of introduction to his later works as it sort of eases you into his fantasy world...
But just dont start with Iron Council, i reckon that should be read last, after the other Bas Lag novels.
It is also my favourite of his works.
hope that helps :p
 

kaelcarp

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I think it depends on what sort of story you like most. While all of his books are quite good, I think some appeal marginally to more tastes than others. I would definitely start with one of the Bas-Lag books, though...

Perdido Street Station:
Start here if you: Like amazingly inventive worlds and ideas; like urban settings; prefer depth rather than breadth of setting; horror elements mixed in with fantastical ones.
Don't start here if you: Want a fast moving plot that (it takes over 200 pages to get to the meat of the story, but the journey is a treat); want an expansive view of the world (it is almost entirely confined to one city).


The Scar:
Start here if you: Want a expansive view of the world; like a somewhat but not completely unusual story structure; like seafaring stories.
Don't start here if you: Want very sympathetic characters; want a feeling of a big payoff (the story features a series of elements that are put before you and pulled back, which some have found disappointing).

Iron Council:
Start here if you: Are into leftist politics; want a story that takes off running from the first page; like odd story structures; like westerns.
Don't start here if you: Prefer apolitical stories.

My favorite is The Scar, but I probably wouldn't have appreciated it as much if I hadn't read PSS first. If you're not sure, start with PSS. You really can't go wrong.
 

ravenus

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Mieville works better in novels than shorts, I guess he needs the space to flex his chops. The Tain a novella from Looking for Jake is one of the best parts of that collection. I started with PSS and was totally gobsmacked although he does sometimes frustrate by endless detail when you want the plot to race forward.
 

kaelcarp

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Mieville works better in novels than shorts, I guess he needs the space to flex his chops.

I agree. Looking for Jake was very cool overall, but a little uneven. While it contained some great stories, like "Details", some others were a little flat to me. But all of his novels are top-notch.
 

Connavar

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I read a very wierd short story of his in the mammoth collection of Future Cops.

I was impressed by his powerful writing style.

Has he written any other SF ? I dont see novels of sf but maybe another short story.

Otherwise there isnt much choice than trying the first book of his famous series for me.
 

Ragnar

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I'd start with Perdido Street Station as its the first one of the series - if you don't like it, then you probably won't like the rest.
 

Fried Egg

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Well, thanks for your advice and recommendations. I plan to start with "Perdido Street Station". I'll report back when I've read it and let you know what I thought.
 

tori_bingham

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He is certainly very purple and uses a wide range of words, but his writing is just lush, overall. I'd compare his style to Angela Carter and Salman Rushdie, but his storylines to Mechanical Dreams (RPG) with very political overtones.
 

Lady of Winterfell

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Because it's been a few years since this thread was active, I wanted to bring it back up and see what everyone thinks would be a good book to start with. I want to add some Mieville to my TBR pile, and like FE would like to know where to start.

It seems like from the previous discussion Perdido Street Station was the favorite, just wondering if that is still the case.
 

Rufio

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Perdido Street Station is as good a place to start as any, it's the novel that made his name and where most people probably start with him. You could also start with The Scar, which is set in the same world and follows on from Perdido Street Station, but not in a way which would spoil it at all. They both have the same appeal I think, a rich fantasy world bubbling with strange ideas.

Since this discussion he's written The City & The City, Kraken, Embassytown, and Railsea. I haven't read the last, or much about it tbh. Kraken is somewhat similar to the above two but without quite the same vigour. It's still good, but it's not his best work. Embassytown is a science fiction novel that depicts the interaction between human colonisers and their alien hosts, it is all about the unique language and system of thought of the aliens and the effects on it of contact with another civilisation/species. The City & The City is Mieville's least fantastic work, a detective story in a city divided between two nations with a touch of what you could call urban fantasty city planning.

They move away from the slightly steampunkish 'new weird' aesthetic that has been Mieville's milieu and as such are maybe not such good entry points, except that they probably point to the direction he is going in in future rather than where he's already been. Beyond that they are simply two outstanding novels, imo.

So I would recommend Perdido Street Station, The Scar, The City & the City, or Embassytown as good places to start with Mieville, depending on which you most like the sound of.
 

j d worthington

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Interesting that I don't see much concerning King Rat here. While I have some strong reservations on that particular novel -- and, for that matter, Mieville as a whole -- I do think it is a book worth reading. At its best, it is damn' good; at its worst, it tends to be a bit confused (or confusing) at times, but still largely something which grips the reader.

I personally found Perdido Street Station to drag on at times, though one must admit that the imagery is quite powerful, even then. And, again, at its best, a very powerful work. Looking for Jake may, despite its drawbacks, be a rather good place for a new reader to start, as it gives a fairly good sampling of the different types of writing Mieville does, including the different voices and techniques used; and, of course, some of the stories in there I would rank very highly as modern classics of the genre(s)....
 

Lady of Winterfell

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Great, thank you all so much! For now I am going to add Perdido Street Station and Looking for Jake to my list (depending on which one I come across first), just have no idea when I will get around to reading it. But I've heard a lot of people talking about Mieville, so I thought I should read something of his.
 

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