Railsea is a young-adult novel written and illustrated by English writer China Mieville, and published in May 2012. Mieville described the novel as "weird fiction", and io9 labeled its mix of fantasy and steampunk elements as "salvagepunk".
Railsea is set on a dystopic, dying world whose oceans, the "railsea", are deserts colonized by ravenous speed-tunneling giant naked mole rats, and crossed by endless railroad tracks of unclear origin. Its plot is an "affectionate parody" of Herman Melville's classic novel Moby-Dick, but also draws on Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure novels Treasure Island and Kidnapped. The novel follows the adventures of three young orphans, Sham and the Shroake siblings, who join train-captain Abacat Naphi's hunt for her nemesis Mocker-Jack, a giant burrowing "moldywarpe".
On board the Medes, Sham yes ap Saroop watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt. The giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey - and the inevitable battle that follows between human and creature that will result in one's death and the other's glory. Travelling the rails of the Railsea, Sham knows there is more to life than hunting moles - even if his philosophy-seeking captain can think of nothing else but the ivory-coloured mole she's been chasing since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a derelict train, and Sham discovers salvage aboard - everything changes for him.
About the Author
China Tom Mieville (born 6 September 1972) is an award winning English fantasy fiction author, comic writer and academic. He is fond of describing his fiction as "weird fiction" (after early twentieth century pulp and horror writers such as H. P. Lovecraft), and belongs to a loose group of writers sometimes called New Weird. He is also active in left-wing politics as a member of the Socialist Workers Party. He has stood for the Regent's Park and Kensington North for the Socialist Alliance in the 2001 General election, and published his PhD thesis as a book on Marxism and international law. He teaches creative writing at Warwick University.
China Mieville lives and works in London. He is three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award (Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City) and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice (Perdido Street Station and The Scar). The City & The City, an existential thriller, was published in 2009 to dazzling critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell (The Times) and Philip K. Dick (Guardian). His most recent novel, Embassytown, was published in 2011.