Quotes from Perdido Street Station

China Miéville ·  623 pages

Rating: (49.1K votes)


“Art is something you choose to make... it's a bringing together of... of everything around you into something that makes you more human, more khepri, whatever. More of a person.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“Old stories would tell how Weavers would kill each other over aesthetic disagreements, such as whether it was prettier to destroy an army of a thousand men or to leave it be, or whether a particular dandelion should or should not be plucked. For a Weaver, to think was to think aesthetically. To act--to Weave--was to bring about more pleasing patterns. They did not eat physical food: they seemed to subsist on the appreciation of beauty.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“Its substance was known to me. The crawling infinity of colours, the chaos of textures that went into each strand of that eternally complex tapestry…each one resonated under the step of the dancing mad god, vibrating and sending little echoes of bravery, or hunger, or architecture, or argument, or cabbage or murder or concrete across the aether. The weft of starlings’ motivations connected to the thick, sticky strand of a young thief’s laugh. The fibres stretched taut and glued themselves solidly to a third line, its silk made from the angles of seven flying buttresses to a cathedral roof. The plait disappeared into the enormity of possible spaces.

Every intention, interaction, motivation, every colour, every body, every action and reaction, every piece of physical reality and the thoughts that it engendered, every connection made, every nuanced moment of history and potentiality, every toothache and flagstone, every emotion and birth and banknote, every possible thing ever is woven into that limitless, sprawling web.

It is without beginning or end. It is complex to a degree that humbles the mind. It is a work of such beauty that my soul wept...

..I have danced with the spider. I have cut a caper with the dancing mad god.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“A sense of wrongness, of fraught unease, as if long nails scraped the surface of the moon, raising the hackles of the soul.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“My sustenance is information. My interventions are hidden. I increase as I learn. I compute, so I am.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station



“I wish that there was nothing to hold me here, that gravity was a suggestion I could ignore.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“A sickly little smile grew and died on his mouth like a fungus.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“The summer stretched out the daylight as if on a rack. Each moment was drawn out until its anatomy collapsed. Time broke down. The day progressed in an endless sequence of dead moments.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


I do not dream, der Grimnebulin. I am a calculating machine that has calculated how to think. I do not dream. I have no neuroses, no hidden depths. My consciousness is a growing function of my processing power, not the baroque thing that sprouts from your mind, with its hidden rooms in attics and cellars.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“I turn away from him and step into the vastness of New Crobuzon, this towering edifice of architecture and history, this complexitude of money and slum, this profane steam-powered god. I turn and walk into the city my home, not bird or garuda, not miserable crossbreed.
I turn and walk into my home, the city, a man.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station



“I have danced with the spider. I have cut a caper with the dancing mad god.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


We could take his gag away, thought Isaac, and he wouldn't scream . . . but then he might speak . . . He left the gag in place.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“The point is that you are an individual inasmuch as you exist in a social matrix of others who respect your individuality and your right to make choices. That's concrete individuality: an individuality that it owes its existence to a kind of communal respect on the part of all the other individualities, and that it had better therefore respect them similarly.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“New Crobuzon was a city unconvinced by gravity.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“One day I realized that I no longer dreamed of what I would do when I was whole again. My will burned to reach that point, and then suddenly was nothing. I had become nothing more than my desire to fly. I had adjusted, somehow. I had evolved in that unfamiliar region, plodding my stolid way to where the scientists and Remakers of the world congregated. The means had become the end. If I regained my wings, I would become someone new, without the desire that defined me. I saw in that spring damp as I walked endlessly north that I was not looking for fulfilment but for dissolution. I would pass my body on to a newborn, and rest.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station



“Isaac liked the idea of an inter-aspectual entity so enamored with knowledge that it just roamed from realm to realm in a bath, murmuring with interest at everything it came across.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“...and Lublamai no longer thought of screaming but only of watching as those dark markings rolled and boiled in perfect symetry across the wings like clouds in a night sky above, in water below.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“She was intelligent enough to realize that her excitement was childish, but not mature enough to care.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


Get back to work, he would tell himself sternly. There's a garuda to get airborne.
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“I can dig my claws into the rim of a building's crown and spread my arms and feel the buffets and gouts of boisterous air and I can close my eyes and remember, for a moment, what it is to fly.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station



“Shadows fell on them like predators as the light went out.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“It had acquired a name, Spatters, that reflected the desultory randomness of its outlines: the whole stinking shanty-town seemed to have dribbled like shit from the sky.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“The choice not to have sex, not to be hurt. The choice not to risk pregnancy. And then... what if she had become pregnant? The choice not to abort? The choice not to have a child?”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“It was not a purer realm that loomed vastly over the city. Smokestacks punctured the membrane between the land and the air and disgorged tons of poisonous smog into that upper world as if out of spite. In a thicker, stinking haze just above the rooftops, the detritus from a million low chimneys eddied together. Crematoria vented into the airborne ashes of wills burnt by jealous executors, which mixed with coaldust burnt to keep dying lovers warm. Thousands of sordid smoke-ghosts wrapped New Crobuzon in a stench that suffocated like guilt.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“Работа поглощала её целиком. Хотелось каждый вечер, вернувшись домой, находить там свежеприготовленный фруктовый салат, билеты в театр и секс.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station



“Teafortwo was a wyrman. Barrel-chested creatures like squat birds, with thick arms like a human dwarf’s below those ugly, functional wings, the wyrmen ploughed the skies of New Crobuzon. Their hands were their feet, those arms jutting from the bottom of their squat bodies like crows’ legs. They could pace a few clumsy steps here and there balancing on their palms, if they were indoors, but they preferred to careen over the city, yelling and swooping and screaming abuse at passers-by. The wyrmen were more intelligent than dogs or apes, but decidedly less than humans. They thrived on an intellectual diet of scatology and slapstick and mimicry, picking names for each other gleaned without understanding from popular songs and furniture catalogues and discarded textbooks they could just about read. Teafortwo’s sister, Isaac knew, was called Bottletop; one of his sons Scabies.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“Young mudlarks searching the river quag for scrap had been known to step into some discoloured patch of mud and start speaking long-dead languages, or find locusts in their hair, or fade slowly to translucency and disappear.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“Within a few generations, he had explained to Rudgutter, the Weavers evolved from virtually mindless predators into aestheticians of astonishing intellectual and materio-thaumaturgic power, superintelligent alien minds who no longer used their webs to catch prey, but were attuned to them as objects of beauty disentanglable from the fabric of reality itself. Their spinnerets had become specialized extradimensional glands that Wove patterns in with the world. The world which was, for them, a web. Old stories told how Weavers would kill each other over aesthetic disagreements, such as whether it was prettier to destroy an army of a thousand men or to leave it be, or whether a particular dandelion should or should not be plucked. For a Weaver, to think was to think aesthetically. To act—to Weave—was to bring about more pleasing patterns. They did not eat physical food: they seemed to subsist on the appreciation of beauty.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“The southern half of Riverskin was indistinguishable from Flyside, which it adjoined. It was cheap and not too violent, crowded, mostly good-natured. It was a mixed area, with a large human majority beside small colonies of vodyanoi by the quiet canal, a few solitary outcast cactacae, even a little two-street khepri hive, a rare traditional community outside of Kinken and Creekside. Southern Riverskin was also home to some of the city’s small number of more exotic races. There was a shop run by a hotchi family in Bekman Avenue, their spines carefully filed blunt so as not to intimidate their neighbours. There was a homeless llorgiss, which kept its barrel body full of drink and staggered the streets on three unsteady legs.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station


“Outside the wind had picked up a little. Isaac sheltered his prize and walked quickly up the little alley that adjoined The Dying Child with Paddler Way and his workshop-home. He pushed open the green doors with his bum and backed into the building. Isaac’s laboratory had been a factory and a warehouse years ago, and its huge, dusty floorspace swamped the little benches and retorts and blackboards that perched in its corners.”
― China Miéville, quote from Perdido Street Station



About the author

China Miéville
Born place: in Norwich, England, The United Kingdom
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