Railsea – China Mieville

Everybody knows that there are two layers to the sky, four to the world. The downsky goes to two-three miles plus a biscuit above the railsea and after it comes the upsky, prowled by odd alien flyers. It is fortunate that dirt and mist hide that horrible scenery and only sometimes, when the clouds disperse, are you in danger of glimpsing any of those creatures. That Apt Ohm forbid one of them tumbling down dead on your head.

But we are not interested in the skies, we are interested in the four-layered world. The subterrestrial where the digging creatures dig and everything is trying to eat everything else. The mad iron squiggle that is the railsea lying on the flatland, long ago mapped out during the godsquabble, as if by a child scribbling haphazardly on a piece of paper. The third layer of hard rock islands, home to the human cities above the railsea. And above it the mountains, littered with danger and debris from the upsky, the destination of a handful of reckless updivers. Continue reading