Finished reading Railsea tonight. It's the second China Mieville book I've read. It's got a fascinating premise, in which railrad tracks are treated as an umpredictable part of nature, like the sea. For reasons that are sort of clever, the word "and" has entirely been supplanted by the ampersand ("&"). Somhow Mieville resists the temptation for cute puns like "s&wich".
Couple more things to say (it's Saturday afternoon now) about the book. First, Mieville's left wing politics are fairly well known. A lot of authors - some would say all of them - mix their political viewpoints into their work. There are wide variations of skill in doing this. Mieville is working at a pretty high level. The book's concluding chapters, which reveal why his world is the way it is, do contain a sharp critique of rentier capitalism. It's not a reductive political book, though.
Also, Mieville references and has fun with a number of well-known maritime novels, including the work of Herman Melville, who it's easy to think Mieville is related to if you read both names in a hurry. Melville's Moby Dick has become recognized as a classic, but it was a commercial catastrophe when first published. MD was a very strange book, for our time or its own. So I'm happy to see that some authors like Mieville have been able to make their weirdness work for them in a career sense.
1. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Beautiful Zelda
2. Laurie Anderson - Sweaters
3. Arcade Fire - It's Never Over (Oh Eurydice)
4. The Fiery Furnaces - Keep Me in the Dark
5. Reading Rainbow - Wasting Time
6. Beck - Turn Away
7. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Summertime
8. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - New Lace Sleeves
9. Jimmy Smith - Memories of You
10. Dirty Projectors - Useful Chamber