This Census-Taker: A Novel

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For readers of George Saunders, Kelly Link, David Mitchell, and Karen Russell, This Census-Taker is a stunning, uncanny, and profoundly moving novella from multiple-award-winning and bestselling author China Miéville.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR

In a remote house on a hilltop, a lonely boy witnesses a profoundly traumatic event. He tries—and fails—to flee. Left alone with his increasingly deranged parent, he dreams of safety, of joining the other children in the town below, of escape.

When at last a stranger knocks at his door, the boy senses that his days of isolation might be over.

But by what authority does this man keep the meticulous records he carries? What is the purpose behind his questions? Is he friend? Enemy? Or something else altogether?

Filled with beauty, terror, and strangeness, This Census-Taker is a poignant and riveting exploration of memory and identity.

Praise for This Census-Taker

“China Miéville is a magician . . . who can both blow your mind with ideas as big as the universe and break your heart with language so precise and polished, it’s like he’s writing with diamonds.”—NPR

“The book haunts the reader; what actually happened seems always just out of reach, glimpsed in shadow as it rounds a corner ahead of our vision.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“[Mieville’s] been compared to Karen Russell and George Saunders, and rightfully so.”—The Huffington Post

“Marvellous.”—The Guardian

“Lingers in the mind like an unsettling dream.”Financial Times

“A thought-provoking fairy tale for adults . . . [This Census-Taker] resembles the narrative style, quirkiness, and plotting found in the works of Karen Russell, Aimee Bender, or Steven Millhauser.”Booklist

“Brief and dreamlike . . . a deceptively simple story whose plot could be taken as a symbolic representation of an aspect of humanity as big as an entire society and as small as a single soul.”Kirkus Reviews
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About the author

China Miéville is the author of numerous books, including Three Moments of an Explosion, The City & The City, Embassytown, Railsea, and Perdido Street Station. His works have won the World Fantasy Award, the Hugo Award, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award (three times). He lives and works in London.


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Additional Information

Publisher
Del Rey
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Published on
Jan 12, 2016
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Pages
208
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ISBN
9781101967331
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Fantasy / Contemporary
Fiction / Fantasy / General
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Descend to the depths of primal horror with this chilling collection of original stories drawn from H. P. Lovecraft’s shocking, terrifying, and eerily prescient Cthulhu Mythos.

In twenty-one dark visions, a host of outstanding contemporary writers tap into our innermost fears, with tales set in a misbegotten new world that could have been spawned only by the master of the macabre himself, H. P. Lovecraft. Inside you’ll find:

“Details” by China Miéville: A curious boy discovers that within the splinters of cracked wood or the tangle of tree branches, the devil is in the details.

“Visitation” by James Robert Smith: When Edgar Allan Poe arrives, a callow man finally gets what he always wanted—and what he may eternally despise. 

“Meet Me on the Other Side” by Yvonne Navarro: A couple in love with terror travels beyond their wildest dreams—and into their nightmares.

“A Fatal Exception Has Occured At . . .” by Alan Dean Foster: Internet terrorism extends far beyond transmitting threats of evil.

AND SEVENTEEN MORE HARROWING TALES

“The Invisible Empire” by James Van Pelt
“A Victorian Pot Dresser” by L. H. Maynard and M. P. N. Sims
“The Cabin in the Woods” by Richard Laymon
“The Stuff of the Stars, Leaking” by Tim Lebbon
“Sour Places” by Mark Chadbourn
“That’s the Story of My Life” by John Pelan and Benjamin Adams
“Long Meg and Her Daughters” by Paul Finch
“Dark of the Moon” by James S. Dorr
“Red Clay” by Michael Reaves
“Principles and Parameters” by Meredith L. Patterson
“Are You Loathsome Tonight?” by Poppy Z. Brite
“The Serenade of Starlight” by W. H. Pugmire, Esq.
“Outside” by Steve Rasnic Tem
“Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea” by Caitlín R. Kiernan
“A Spectacle of a Man” by Weston Ochse
“The Firebrand Symphony” by Brian Hodge
“Teeth” by Matt Cardin
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Iron Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, hero of Kevin Hearne’s epic urban fantasy series, has a point to make—and then drive into a vampire’s heart.

When a Druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It’s time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.

Don’t miss any of Kevin Hearne’s phenomenal Iron Druid Chronicles novels:
HOUNDED | HEXED | HAMMERED | TRICKED | TRAPPED | HUNTED | SHATTERED | STAKED

Praise for Kevin Hearne and The Iron Druid Chronicles

“[The Iron Druid books] are clever, fast paced and a good escape.”—Jason Weisberger, Boing Boing

“Celtic mythology and an ancient Druid with modern attitude mix it up in the Arizona desert in this witty new fantasy series.”—Kelly Meding, author of Chimera

“Outrageously fun.”—The Plain Dealer, on Hounded

“Superb . . . plenty of quips and zap-pow-bang fighting.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review), on Hounded

“Exciting . . . [Atticus] is one of the best main characters currently present in the urban fantasy genre.”—Fantasy Book Critic, on Tricked

“Funny, razor-sharp . . . plenty of action, humor, and mythology.”—Booklist (starred review), on Shattered
A thriller of war that never was—of survival in an impossible city—of surreal cataclysm. In The Last Days of New Paris, China Miéville entwines true historical events and people with his daring, uniquely imaginative brand of fiction, reconfiguring history and art into something new.

“Beauty will be convulsive. . . .”

1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseille, American engineer—and occult disciple—Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group, including Surrealist theorist André Breton. In the strange games of the dissident diplomats, exiled revolutionaries, and avant-garde artists, Parsons finds and channels hope. But what he unwittingly unleashes is the power of dreams and nightmares, changing the war and the world forever.

1950. A lone Surrealist fighter, Thibaut, walks a new, hallucinogenic Paris, where Nazis and the Resistance are trapped in unending conflict, and the streets are stalked by living images and texts—and by the forces of Hell. To escape the city, he must join forces with Sam, an American photographer intent on recording the ruins, and make common cause with a powerful, enigmatic figure of chance and rebellion: the exquisite corpse.

But Sam is being hunted. And new secrets will emerge that will test all their loyalties—to each other, to Paris old and new, and to reality itself.

Praise for The Last Days of New Paris

“Beautiful, stunningly realized . . . [The Last Days of New Paris] is a brief vacation in alien latitudes, a midnight layover in an imaginary place.”—NPR

“A thoughtful, highbrow novella . . . Miéville’s self-assured style offers up a strong sense of humanity, while the strange Surrealist monsters give Last Days a fun and complementary mad-science component.”—USA Today

“[A] testament to the necessary, progressive power of art . . . Both moving and disturbingly timely.”—Newsday

“A novel both unhinged and utterly compelling, a kind of guerrilla warfare waged by art itself, combining both meticulous historical research and Miéville’s unparalleled inventiveness.”—Chicago Tribune 

“An extraordinarily original work that foregrounds Mieville’s considerable ingenuity and innovation.”—The Millions

“Hauntingly poetic, strangely beautiful, and erratically intense.”—San Francisco Book Review

“Dazzling . . . quite a feat.”—The Guardian
Winner: 2017 Hugo Award
Winner: 2017 Alex Award
Winner: 2017 Locus Award
Winner: 2016 Nebula Award
Nominated: 2017 World Fantasy Award
Nominated: 2017 British Fantasy Award
2016 Tiptree Honor List

"A mini-masterpiece of portal fantasy — a jewel of a book that deserves to be shelved with Lewis Carroll's and C. S. Lewis' classics" —NPR

Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she's back. The things she's experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West's care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy's arrival marks a change at the Home. There's a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it's up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of things.

No matter the cost.

The Wayward Children Series
Book 1: Every Heart a Doorway
Book 2: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Book 3: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Book 4: In an Absent Dream

PRAISE FOR EVERY HEART A DOORWAY

"Seanan McGuire has long been one of the smartest writers around, and with this novella we can easily see that her heart is as big as her brain. We know this story isn't true, but it is truth." — Charlaine Harris, New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series (TV's True Blood)

"Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is one of the most extraordinary stories I've ever read." — V. E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author of A Gathering of Shadows

"Seanan McGuire once again demonstrates her intimate knowledge of the human heart in a powerful fable of loss, yearning and damaged children." — Paul Cornell, author of London Falling and Witches of Lychford

"So mindblowingly good, it hurts." — io9

"With Every Heart a Doorway, McGuire has created her own mini-masterpiece of portal fantasy — a jewel of a book that deserves to be shelved with Lewis Carroll's and C. S. Lewis' classics, even as it carves its own precocious space between them." — NPR

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from China Mieville’s Embassytown.

Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores. In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none—not even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory.

Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before fathomed. Though the Garuda's request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger.

While Isaac's experiments for the Garuda turn into an obsession, one of his lab specimens demands attention: a brilliantly colored caterpillar that feeds on nothing but a hallucinatory drug and grows larger—and more consuming—by the day. What finally emerges from the silken cocoon will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon—and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it invokes . . .

A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader's imagination.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak. Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language. When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties: to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak—but which speaks through her, whether she likes it or not.

Praise for Embassytown

“A breakneck tale of suspense . . . disturbing and beautiful by turns. I cannot emphasize enough how terrific this novel is. It's definitely one of the best books I've read in the past year, perfectly balanced between escapism and otherworldly philosophizing.”—io9

“Embassytown is a fully achieved work of art. . . . Works on every level, providing compulsive narrative, splendid intellectual rigour and risk, moral sophistication, fine verbal fireworks and sideshows, and even the old-fashioned satisfaction of watching a protagonist become more of a person than she gave promise of being.”—Ursula K Le Guin

 “The Kafkaesque writer journeys to the distant edges of the universe in his latest sci-fi thriller.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Utterly astonishing . . . A major intellectual achievement.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Brilliant storytelling . . . The result is a world masterfully wrecked and rebuilt.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from China Miéville’s Embassytown.

A mythmaker of the highest order, China Miéville has emblazoned the fantasy novel with fresh language, startling images, and stunning originality. Set in the same sprawling world of Miéville’s Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novel, Perdido Street Station, this latest epic introduces a whole new cast of intriguing characters and dazzling creations.

Aboard a vast seafaring vessel, a band of prisoners and slaves, their bodies remade into grotesque biological oddities, is being transported to the fledgling colony of New Crobuzon. But the journey is not theirs alone. They are joined by a handful of travelers, each with a reason for fleeing the city. Among them is Bellis Coldwine, a renowned linguist whose services as an interpreter grant her passage—and escape from horrific punishment. For she is linked to Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, the brilliant renegade scientist who has unwittingly unleashed a nightmare upon New Crobuzon.

For Bellis, the plan is clear: live among the new frontiersmen of the colony until it is safe to return home. But when the ship is besieged by pirates on the Swollen Ocean, the senior officers are summarily executed. The surviving passengers are brought to Armada, a city constructed from the hulls of pirated ships, a floating, landless mass ruled by the bizarre duality called the Lovers. On Armada, everyone is given work, and even Remades live as equals to humans, Cactae, and Cray. Yet no one may ever leave.

Lonely and embittered in her captivity, Bellis knows that to show dissent is a death sentence. Instead, she must furtively seek information about Armada’s agenda. The answer lies in the dark, amorphous shapes that float undetected miles below the waters—terrifying entities with a singular, chilling mission. . . .

China Miéville is a writer for a new era—and The Scar is a luminous, brilliantly imagined novel that is nothing short of spectacular.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from China Miéville’s Embassytown.

With this outrageous new novel, China Miéville has written one of the strangest, funniest, and flat-out scariest books you will read this—or any other—year. The London that comes to life in Kraken is a weird metropolis awash in secret currents of myth and magic, where criminals, police, cultists, and wizards are locked in a war to bring about—or prevent—the End of All Things.

In the Darwin Centre at London’s Natural History Museum, Billy Harrow, a cephalopod specialist, is conducting a tour whose climax is meant to be the Centre’s prize specimen of a rare Architeuthis dux—better known as the Giant Squid. But Billy’s tour takes an unexpected turn when the squid suddenly and impossibly vanishes into thin air.

As Billy soon discovers, this is the precipitating act in a struggle to the death between mysterious but powerful forces in a London whose existence he has been blissfully ignorant of until now, a city whose denizens—human and otherwise—are adept in magic and murder.

There is the Congregation of God Kraken, a sect of squid worshippers whose roots go back to the dawn of humanity—and beyond. There is the criminal mastermind known as the Tattoo, a merciless maniac inked onto the flesh of a hapless victim. There is the FSRC—the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit—a branch of London’s finest that fights sorcery with sorcery. There is Wati, a spirit from ancient Egypt who leads a ragtag union of magical familiars. There are the Londonmancers, who read the future in the city’s entrails. There is Grisamentum, London’s greatest wizard, whose shadow lingers long after his death. And then there is Goss and Subby, an ageless old man and a cretinous boy who, together, constitute a terrifying—yet darkly charismatic—demonic duo.

All of them—and others—are in pursuit of Billy, who inadvertently holds the key to the missing squid, an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.
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