If there’s one book I recommend more than any other, it’s China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station.

It’s the sort of book that turns you into a raving evangelist for it, that makes you call your friends at odd hours of the night telling them to find an all-night bookstore, find it NOW, put down the phone, you’ll wait. When I first read it, I finished it, put it down, slid my feet into my sandals and drove to the book store at about ninety to buy the sequel, The Scar. I think what I said to James was “Book…dude…gotta…sequel…” and then I was out the door. (James takes this sort of thing in stride.)

It is dense, unwieldy, crude, and baroque. It is a termite mount of roiling adjectives. The plot doesn’t actually lurch to life until after page 200, but you don’t care–you’ve been wallowing in filth and marvels and your suspension of disbelief got kicked down the stairs and eaten by wild dogs.

It is something that I wish to god I’d written, and am pretty sure I couldn’t have, but which makes me want to try.

I mention this because in my recent re-reading of books I’ve loved, I finally got my copy back from a loan, and have been re-reading it.

It’s an indication of how weird this book is that I had nightmares last night lifted straight out of it. My sleeping brain, which embroiders everything with oddity, couldn’t improve on slake-moths and Torque. It was not a restful night.

So, this is my plug. Read this book. It makes my fucked up nightmares look pedestrian.

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