When I first downloaded the book, I thought there was something wrong with my copy, so I went over to Amazon & checked the first chapter. Nope, it was that way on purpose. In fact, one of the shorter chapters in the book is devoted to explaining why the ampersand is used instead of the word “and”. Unfortunately, this little contrivance got annoying the further I read. Maybe that was one of Mieville’s techniques to control reading speed — you read faster by recognizing the shapes of words, & if you aren’t used to seeing & where an “and” should be, you’re forced to slow down.
From my review of China Mieville’s Railsea, at Escape Pod.