Architecture in Contemporary Literature

Building Another World: Perdido Street Station

Author(s): Özgür Tacer * .

Pp: 240-249 (10)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815165166123010032

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)

Abstract

Perdido Street Station is the first book of the Bas-Lag novel series, written by British writer China Miéville. It is regarded as one of the prominent examples of new weird fiction, a literary genre that utilizes aspects of fantasy, horror, sciencefiction and other speculative fictional tropes. Perdido Street Station is set in a world where magic and steampunk technology coexists. The novel is critically acclaimed for its intricately worked out and richly described setting. The city of New Crobuzon, an imaginary metropolis in the world of Bas-Lag, is the center of the narrative with an immense sprawl of architectural elements. New Crobuzon also has a distinctive geography and habitation: It borrows picturesque elements of Victorian-era London and reshuffles them with steampunk esthetics in all brashness. It blends baroque, British and punk to create a unique urban landscape. This essay investigates the ways in which Perdido Street Station represents social segregation and divulges how governments enforce submission by creating monstrous architectural structures. The architectural lines that determine the boundaries of a city’s different layers and define social stratifications, are also linked to New Crobuzon’s power relations. Such depiction is a reminder of Henri Lefebvre’s notion that urban centers are favorable environments for the formation of authoritarian power, where the depicted dystopian government of New Crobuzon forecloses emancipatory aspirations through spatial control and exercises its authority with threatening urban structures.


Keywords: Alienation, Architecture, Bas-lag, China miéville, Cactacae, Darko suvin, Design, Dystopia, Estrangement, Fantasy, Garudas, Khepris, New weird fiction, New crobuzon, Politics, Perdido street station, Remade, Science fiction, Vodyanoi, Xenians.

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