Jeff Vandermeer, "City of Saints and Madmen," "Veniss Underground," Ambergris

I recently picked up City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff Vandermeer after reading some gushing praise for it and comparisons to other books I love.

It’s ok, but I just keep thinking that they should have called it Loser Street Station, because it’s basically exactly like China Mieville’s work but just not as good. It’s not bad by any means, but since Mieville’s stuff is so ridiculously great, I can’t help but constantly compare it.

Still, I like what the guy’s doing, and he has some cool concepts going on in his steampunky fantasy city. The whole mushroom people sub-race holds a lot of interesting potential, and I like the way that the book isn’t just a novel, but alternately takes the form of straight prose, a series of letters between two people living in the fictional world, excepts from a book that exists in the fictional world, even a dictionary from that world. Cool usage of the medium rather than going for straight prose.

Anyone else read his stuff? How are the Veniss books, starting with Veniss Underground?

Most of the stories in City of Saints and Madmen were written before Perdido Street Station was published. So who’s like whom?