Remade

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The Remade are a fictional group of bio-engineered people in the novels and stories by China Miéville set in the world of Bas-Lag. Bas-Lag itself is a mix of magic and technology, and the Remade are an example of this. They are usually criminals who are punished for their crimes by the addition or alteration of body parts, which may be either organic or mechanical, though the mechanical additions occur mostly in New Crobuzon. The Remade are extremely varied in nature, ranging from those who have had their legs or lower bodies replaced with steam powered engines, to others who have had animal and human body parts attached to them. The nature of the Remaking often reflects the nature of the crime: in Perdido Street Station, a man who stole a painting of a garuda (bird-man) was punished by grafts of feathers, non-functional wings, and a metal beak, to make him look like a grotesque parody of a garuda, while a man who would not give information on accomplices has his mouth 'erased'. There also tend to be "fads" for particular forms of remaking where such ironic punishments are not specified.

Because their new body parts sometimes grant them newfound abilities, Remade may serve specialized purposes in society, often as indentured servants and slaves. In Perdido Street Station, Remades with their heads twisted around and fitted with mirror helmets are used against the slake-moths, giant insects which could not safely be looked at directly, while Remade prostitutes cater to every form of sexual perversion.

Remaking is occasionally voluntary: the character Tanner Sack in The Scar is voluntarily Remade to be amphibious, fully accepting his punishment-inflicted tentacles. The Remade are treated as slaves in New Crobuzon, but in the floating city of Armada and aboard the Perpetual Train in Iron Council they come to be considered equals to the non-Remade or "Freeanole" (free and whole).

Not all Remade fit willingly into their low position in society. The fReemade are escaped Remade slaves who act either as brigands and bandits, or as terrorists and freedom-fighters. The most famous fReemade, Jack Half-a-Prayer, had a praying mantis's arm and was the leader of an urban terrorist group in New Crobuzon until he was Remade again before his public hanging and death.

Remade animals[edit]

Animals too are sometimes Remade in Bas-Lag to suit human purposes. For example, the New Crobuzon Militia uses both Remade horses and rhinoceroses, the latter known as "nashorns", gigantic two-story creatures with drilling horns and gunnery attached to their backs. In Iron Council, a militia strike force is transported via a cathedral-sized Remade fish.

References[edit]

  • Mark Brake; Neil Hook (2008). Different engines: how science drives fiction and fiction drives science. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-230-01980-3.