This Census Taker could be considered because of its relatively short length is somewhere between a short story and novel that tells the story of a boy and his family on a giant hill. The main character, a boy not named, narrates the story of his murderous father and the strange Census Taker who comes to take count of all that come from an un named country. It’s a strange tale and contains elements of Mieville’s other works.
The This Census Taker might leave the reader unfamiliar with Mieville frustrated. The story ending will definitely leave the reader with many more questions than answers. It incorporates the “dead end information” style of Mieville’s earlier masterpiece Perdido Street Station. A mention of something that the reader expects resolution upon that never materializes. The dead end information has appeared in other works like Perdido Street Station it mas often resolved in following Bas Lag novels. Although there isn’t anyway to know it would seem unlikely that there would be a sequel to This Census Taker despite the opportunity to enlighten the reader on the great many questions the reader is left with.
There has been some speculation that this story takes place in China Mieville’s Bas Lag It would be difficult to prove that the world is not Bas Lag but the world this story might have enough differences that could leave the reader to believe the story does not occur in Bas Lag. In fact it seems more likely that the story takes place in the same world as Rail Sea another China Mieville novel. It would seem that if Mieville did intend the story take place in Bas Lag he left no definite indication as such. Short of taking place in Bas Lag the story does take place in a world somewhat similar to Bas Lag which should be of some hope to those wishing for a return to New Crobuzon and greater Bas Lag.
Bas Lag is the Middle Earth of the steampunk world and having been seemingly been left behind by Mieville is the subject of much fan speculation. The reason for the speculation is that This Census Taker takes place in a world with similar technology to that of Bas Lag and has a reserved fantasy feel. While there seems to be a strong indication that their are fantastical animals in This Census Taker There isn’t any indication that there are different humanoid races that are common in Bas Lag.
The main characters mother does say that possibly people live under the sea because there are people who live across the sea. This can’t be used as evidence either way but is an interesting look at the world of This Census taker.
There is magic alluded to that would fit into Bas Lag. The presence of electricity would indicate that if the story did take place in a Bas Lag world that it probably took place chronologically afterIron Council. It could take place on a Bas Lag planet either