is a novel by China Miéville
, officially Young Adult
. However, the "young adult" part mainly means a lack of swearing, sex or graphic violence, rather than any lack of mindbendingness.
Sham ap Soorap is an unhappy surgeon's mate on the Medes
, a moling train than plies the lethal ground of the railsea and hunts the giant moldywarpes that live at the top of its food chain. Especially Mocker-Jack, the huge blond moldywarpe that took Captain Naphi's arm. But when Sham is picked to search a wrecked train, he finds himself in possession of a MacGuffin
that various nasty people are looking for.
- Action Girl: Several, especially Caldera, Naphi and Sirocco.
- Adventurer Archaeologist
- After the End: Although some time after, and nobody really remembers the details.
- Ambiguous Gender: Dr. Fremlo.
- And the Adventure Continues: The ending has the main characters going off to seek adventure on an even bigger scale.
- Animal Nemesis: Parodied. The town that Sham comes from expects every real hunter to have one. It is referred to as 'having a philosophy.'
- Brother-Sister Team: Caldera and Dero
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Most of the weirder creatures that seem mundane have weird names like the giant moles, birds, and some insects.
- Cavalry Betrayal: The Manihiki army
- Cool Big Sis: Caldera
- Cool Train: Many, especially the Medes and the Shroakes' exploration train.
- The Angels (at least, the ones that travel on tracks).
- Derelict Graveyard
- Diesel Punk: Since it seems most technologies of the current era run off fossil fuels and everything has a mixed air of the idealized 1930's and 1940's both good and bad, this certainly fits.
- Drill Tank: Sirocco's vehicle
- The Empire: Manihiki
- Everything Trying to Kill You: The ground outside the rock "islands", the "up-sky", oh and the lack of cover anywhere from the things below.
- Ghost Ship At least a few of these, especially the wrecked ones.
- Ghost Town
- Has Two Daddies: Caldera and Dero. And a mummy as well.
- Historical In-Joke: One of the gods is "Railhater Beeching." He's named after Dr Richard Beeching, notorious in Britain (perhaps unfairly so) for closing vast numbers of railway lines.
- Last Bastion / Lost World: subverted - the controller and 'Heaven's Citizens' have turned into degenerate primitives and the Railsea dwellers are doing much better than they are.
- Lemony Narrator
- Mega Corp.: The Controller and those that built the Railsea certainly did a lot.
- Moby Schtick: The plot involving Naphi and Mocker-Jack.
- More Predators Than Prey: Lampshaded in the narration.
- Not So Safe Harbour: Bollons
- Obfuscating Disability: Naphi
- Sand Worm: A whole ecosystem of them, of invertebrate, mammalian and even avian varieties.
- Scavenged Punk
- Scavenger World
- Shout-Out: To Roadside Picnic (with the incidental mention of the name Strugatsky) and Thomas the Tank Engine (with the top-hatted god named That Apt Ohm - a Significant Anagram)
- Sinister Geometry: The very twisting, knarled, booby-trapped, crazy tracks that make up the Railsea.
- Transplanted Humans: It is mentioned at least twice that the humans of this world come from another and at one time had space travel.
- Treasure Map
- Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: The "Angels" both flying and on rail; they are portrayed in an almost 'demonic' fashion and feel very creepy in both description and the Railsea dweller's fears.
- Unrobotic Reveal: Naphi