China Miéville is one of the UK’s most respected fantasists, with his novels ranging from the urban noir thriller of The City and The City (recently adapted for television) to the linguistic SF novel Embassytown to the YA fantastical thrillers Un Lun Dun and Railsea.
His most popular work, arguably, remains the very loose trilogy of novels set in the fully-realised secondary world of Bas-Lag. The first of these, Perdido Street Station (2000), was Miéville’s breakout work; the second, The Scar (2002) is oft-cited as Miéville’s strongest single novel; and the third, Iron Council (2004) won a slew of awards and garnered significant critical praise. Miéville has also written a short story set in Bas-Lag, “Jack,! which can be found in Looking for Jake and Other Stories (2005).
Bas-Lag is a strange world, with nary an elf or centaur in sight. Instead, it is a world where regions have become existentially unstable, becoming “torque zones” where reality has collapsed and other dimensions intrude. Humans are the dominant species, but other major races include the avian garuda, the spiky cactacae and the disturbing khepri, who have the bodies of humans but the heads of scarab beetles. Much of the action in Perdido Street Station takes place in the great city-state of New Crobuzon, a fantastically twisted version of Victorian London. The Scar moves the action out to sea, particularly the floating, mobile metropolis of Armada. Iron Council explores the lands south and west of New Crobuzon, along a great railway line linking the city to distant trading partners.
Miéville created maps of Bas-Lag for his own reference, but chose not to publish them, instead supplying only a city map of New Crobuzon for Perdido Street Station. However, Miéville was asked for a map to be published in Dragon Magazine, who wanted to turn Bas-Lag into a Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting. A keen player of D&D in his youth, Miéville acquiesced and the first canon maps of Bas-Lag appeared in issue #352 of Dragon Magazine, published in February 2007. It was from this article that the main map was drawn. Miéville published his original rough map in a convention guide in 2012.
Notes on the Map
The main map above is a combination of the Dragon Magazine map, Miéville’s original sketch map and the geographic information provided in the text of The Scar.
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