China Mieville

By: tanekakoko

May 17 2007

Category: China Mieville

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China Miéville is a British author of what he describes as “weird fiction”. This description references the horror tales H.P. Lovecraft. Miéville is considered as a part of the New Weird literary movement which draws inspiration from Lovecraft and other early writers of weird tales. The authors in this genre often combine elements of horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery and westerns in an effort to expand the storytelling opportunities within their works. Miéville’s fiction uses elements of various genres, strong characterization, compelling storytelling and a dose of politics to create award winning novels that would be of interest for readers looking to move beyond the sometimes limited parameters of genre fiction.

Miéville was born in Norwich, England and has lived in London since his youth. He has a B.A. in social anthropology from Cambridge and a master’s with distinction from the London School of Economics. He has written a number of books; KING RAT, PERDIDO STREET STATION, THE SCAR, THE IRON COUNCIL, and UN LUN DUN. LOOKING FOR FOR JAKE is a collection of short works. Miéville has also written a number of articles with a range of topics that include architecture, Marxism, world building in fantasy writing, and a bibliography for aspiring Socialists. The topics listed here read as list of a few of the themes which appear in his fiction. Other themes would include personal choice, physical and spiritual transformation, socio-economic struggle, technology, racial and cultural diversity, architecture and betrayal.

Mieville’s reputation rests on his first three books; PERDIDO STREET STATION, THE SCAR, and THE IRON COUNCIL. In these books he has created the expansively realized world of Bas-Lag that is both familiar and alien. Bas-Lag is based upon an industrialized Victorian England and has all the smoke, filth and social ills of that age. New Crobuzon is the main city of Bas-Lag and in PERDIDO STREET STATION this sprawling Dickensian city becomes a character in it’s own right. The fact that New Crobuzon is industrialized and the characters embrace urbanization is in opposition to the bucolic settings and pre-industrial nostalgia of many fantasy writers.

Bas-Lag is populated with humans and a menagerie of non-human life forms and cultures that add to the otherness of this imagined world. Creatures such as the scarab beetle headed Khepri, the Garuda with an avian head and feet merged with human body, the Cactacae plant people, the frog like Vodyanoi and others mingle with humans. An important creature that exists in this world is the Remade. The Remade were once human or otherwise who, as a result of a conviction by the city of New Crobuzon’s judiciary, have been transformed or “Remade”. This process grafts organic and/or non-organic appendages to the victims’ bodies. The addition then serve to enslave the Remade and to mark them as both convicted and freaks.

Mieville uses the alien races, Remades and humans in a large cast of characters who drive his stories. These characters include scientists, linguists, artist, street urchins, socialist revolutionaries, blue collar industrial workers, thieves, beggars and more. He takes these characters on epic journeys, both physically and spiritually, during which horrible and amazing thins will transform them and their world. Bus as a self-described pulpist Mieville will make these journeys full of action and adventure in the form shoot-outs, revolutionary street battles, vampires, pirates battling at sea, unknown beasts in the wilderness, magic, espionage and political crises. There is a lot going on in Mevilles’s fiction and a poor writer could lose the plot amongst all the description. Mieville does not and it is a testament to his skill that his characters and their development have always been the life blood of his work.

Novels
King Rat (1998)
Perdido Street Station (2000)
The Scar (2002)
The Tain (novella, 2002)
Iron Council (2004)
Un Lun Dun (February 2007)

Short fiction
“Highway Sixty One Revisited” (in Young Words, 1986)
“Looking for Jake” (in Neonlit Vol. 1, edited by Nicholas Royle, 1999)
“Different Skies” (in Brit-pulp!, edited by Tony White, 1999)
“An End to Hunger” (in Book of Internet Stories, edited by Maxim Jakubowski, 2000)
“Details” (in The Children of Cthulhu, edited by John Pelan and Benjamin Adams, 2002)
“Familiar” (in Conjunctions: 39, The New Wave Fabulists, edited by Peter Straub, 2002)
“Buscard’s Murrain” (in The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases, edited by Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts, 2003)
“Reports of Certain Events in London” (in McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories, edited by Michael Chabon, 2004)

Collections
Looking for Jake (collection, 2005)

Nonfiction
Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law (nonfiction, 2005)
“At the Mountains of Madness”: An Introduction, 2005
“The Borribles”: An Introduction, 2001

Bibliography is copied from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Mieville#Bibliography, 05/17/07

Interviews

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtHUMQMVXj4″>

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