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Descripción de la editorial
When China Mieville published Iron Council in 2004, the novel was widely and justly appreciated as the conclusion of a trilogy that the author had begun with Perdido Street Station (2000) and continued with The Scar (2002), both highly acclaimed books that quickly established Mieville as one of the most important writers of speculative fiction on either side of the Atlantic. To be sure, the three volumes form a trilogy in only a loose sense. There is no overarching narrative that spans the three installments, and there are no truly continuing dramatis personae, though a character or event prominently featured in one volume may be mentioned en passant in another. What really unites the novels is their common setting in the invented world of Bas-Lag, a kind of alternative Earth though one whose relationship in time or space to our own is never directly broached. In logical rigor and consistency, in almost endlessly inventive detail, and in general three-dimensional solidity, Bas-Lag is one of the most fully achieved imaginary worlds ever created; it is, for instance, vastly richer, more plausible, and more rewarding than Tolkien's Middle-earth. Furthermore, each volume significantly expands our sense of it. Perdido Street Station is set almost (though not quite) exclusively in the city-state of New Crobuzon--a diverse, authoritarian port city that, while stunningly original, owes something to Victorian London, something to modern Cairo, something to the Vieux Carre of New Orleans, and doubtless something to many other sources as well--whereas The Scar departs from the city at the outset and shows us the seaways and the seafaring life of Bas-Lag and also the latter's complex geopolitics in which New Crobuzon is only one powerful player. Iron Council returns to New Crobuzon, but also introduces a vast continental land mass traversed by the great railway project alluded to in the title. Mieville clearly knows a good deal more about Bas-Lag than he has needed to reveal in these three thick volumes; and one expects that at some point--though not, perhaps, immediately--he will return to it. What has generally gone unnoticed, however, is that, in writing Iron Council, Mieville has not only completed the Bas-Lag trilogy but has also achieved a quite different literary consummation: namely, the completion of a fictional diptych about revolution begun with his first published novel, King Rat (1998). A work of smaller compass than the Bas-Lag trilogy, King Rat is also a novel of very different texture and mode. It is set not in an invented world but in the London of the 1990s, though a London invaded by fantastic forces and one that operates, in some ways, "at right angles" (to borrow one of the central metaphors of the text itself) to the empirical London we know. My crucial point here is not only that some continuing thematic and political concerns subsist despite the generic discontinuity, but also that, as we shall see, the generic discontinuity itself amounts to a political intervention of the highest importance. For the two novels are not simply about two different revolutions, but about two radically different kinds of revolution--and the political difference is so fundamental that it might well be described as a generic one.