China (as I'll call him since I'm too lazy to spell his last name and it's not like he cares) is one of the major figures responsible for bringing steampunk to the fore as a literary genre. It's also a wicked design aesthetic when crafting stuff, and an unfortunate fashion sense. Short short version: steampunk is what all those rad gadgets were in the veritable cinematic masterpiece, "Wild, Wild West". Lots of rivets, brass, and stuff with high falutin' names (that's not a blimp, it's a goddamn DIRIGIBLE!).
China did his masters degree in Cultural Anthropology at the London School of Economics, and it shows. The worlds he build are beautiful, intricate, dirty, and cruel. They're real. He has a beautiful prose style, making one think they are reading an early 20th century novel aimed at the Literary crowd.
So far, I've only read "The Scar" and "Perdido Street Station". They are fantastical, literary, and jaw dropping. His prose is rich and detailed, it's written by an extremely intelligent writer who refuses to dumb down anything for his audience.
He's one of those writers who made me think, "My god, you're not allowed to write like this!", and I adore writers who make me think that. Well, adore in the non-effeminate way, of course (other writers who've made me do this : Tom Robbins, Douglas Coupland, Salman Rushdie and Terry Pratchett).
So if you are into very real worlds, literature with a capital L, and writing that'll blow the brass rivets off your ansible, then pick up some China Mieville post-haste.