Image of Railsea


Image of Railsea

A reimagining of Moby-Dick with diesel locomotives and giant moles, this is an interesting and absorbing read with a protagonist who is sympathetic and relatable. One of Miéville’s strengths as a writer is his ability to take the familiar and transmute it into something completely new, and the way he has transformed the language of the ocean and whales into that of railroads and moles is extraordinary.

Sham Yes ap Soorap is a young doctor’s assistant on the Medes, a diesel locomotive that traverses the railsea in search of the elusive moldywarpe, Mocker-Jack. The captain of the Medes, Captain Naphi, has what is called a philosophy with the giant mole and has devoted her life to tracking down the creature that took her left arm. Indifferent to his duties, Sham settles into trainboard life — and when the Medes comes across a mysterious wreck on the edge of charted railsea, he invites himself onto the salvage crew. What he discovers in the wreck will change the course of his life forever. (DEL REY, May, 448 pp., $18.00)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs