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The Scar

by China Mieville

This book creates such a strange world that you need to concentrate quite hard and hang on until Chapter 2, when it will get a firm grip on you. It's an unsettling and exciting read, full of disturbing images that may invade your dreams if you read late at night. This is the second in a series, but stands very well on its own. Perhaps I would have had less of a shock if I had started with the first book.

Extract

Machinery Beach, she thought, and looked out across the dirty-red sand and scree. Some way off were shapes she had taken to be boulders, huge things the size of rooms, breaking up the shoreline. They were engines. Squat and enormous and coated with rust and verdigris, long-forgotten appliances for unknown purposes, their pistons seized by age and salt.

There were smaller rocks too, and Bellis saw that these were shards of the larger machines, bolts and pipework junctions; or finer, more intricate and complete pieces, gauges and glasswork and compact steampower engines. The pebbles were gears, cogs, flywheels, bolts and screws.

Bellis looked down at her cupped hands. They were full of thousands of minuscule ratchets and gearwheels and ossified springs, like the innards of inconceivably tiny clocks. Each particle of wreckage a grain like sand, smaller than a crumb.

Parallels

The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman
Gridlinked by Neal Asher
 

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