It’s our world. But instead of the sea separating land and islands and peninsulas and continents, all there is are great stretches of sand. And on that sand are endless rails, multiple rails, heading in all sorts of directions. This is the Railsea.
And in the sea, there are creatures. Huge creatures. Like giant moles and earthworms, tortoises and rabbits with sharp teeth. They hunt and are hunted, for their meat, fur, etc.
There are no boats here. Maybe some airplanes. But it’s the trains that cross the Railsea, trains of various types. Some belong to the hunters, some are private, some are salvagers. Some belong to the navy, and, invariably, some of them are pirates.
China Miélville’s Railsea may be written for the ‘Young Adult’ category, but it’s the kind of story that has the ability to cross generations and appeal to anyone with a penchant for adventure. And such an adventure it is.
Bits of it reminds me of The Pirates of Caribbean, but instead of all that water, it’s just sand. Oh there are creatures, and maybe there is treasure, but right at the very heart of it is an epic adventure that would be brilliant on the big screen.
And even though I was initially worried this book would just be too easy to read, I ended up really enjoying this. There were many times I wish I didn’t have to go to bed, or didn’t have to work. Back in the day when I would read all day long, Railsea would have been one of those books I would not have wanted to put down. Reading this so soon after The City & The City proves that Miélville truly can write stories that are very different from one another. Although he does have a penchant for pretty odd sounding names and places!