Railsea

  • by China Miéville
  • Narrated by Jonathan Cowley
  • 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 listeners 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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Talented Mr Cowley a mismatch for Railsea

China Miéville's writing is both dense and fragmented—reading it aloud is no easy task, so it is no great criticism of Jonathan Cowley to say that he is not suited for the role he has assumed in narrating Railsea. His reading is warm and personal, but he stumbles on the nuances of the language—those the finicky inflections and the odd staccato that characterizes the calculated casualness of Mr Miéville's distinct voice. Much is lost as a result, and the narrative seems murkier and less impressive than it does on the page.

It would have been more difficult to isolate the faults of Mr Cowley's performance had it not been for narrator John Lee's masterful renditions of previous works by Mr Miéville. Mr Lee has a rare crispness in his delivery that allows Mr Miéville's punctuation to survive the transition from the written to the oral miraculously intact. We can only hope that he will bestow his talent on Railsea somewhere down the line, for this novel, while not as awe-inspiring as Mr Miéville's best works, is still worthy of the best possible delivery.
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- H James Lucas "contemplator of typography, mixology, and archivism"

Cowley not suited for Mieville

China Mieville is verbose and dense, there's nothing more to be said about it. His descriptions are rich. Maybe I'll try reading the physical book, that does seem to go better.

Cowley's narration is simply flat. It sounds as though he was unfamiliar with the writer and the subject matter, and even the underlying theme of the book. I'm sure he's done great work previously, but I'm not sure he's suited to this type of dark, misty SF.
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- Erin - Audible "Nothing I love more than a well-rounded character and intense plot."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-15-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audio