Introducing China Mieville

I cannot speak on the preferences of others, but I enjoy interesting things – I like to have my expectations played with. China Mieville is a favorite author of mine because he subverts expectations constantly. His novels are unfocused messes of dense ideas and nonsensical shenanigans. He can definitely sacrifice clarity for inventiveness at times, but reading his work is colorful and pretty unique.

I once bought a collection of his short stories, and it was amazing. Three Moments of an Explosion is the name of the book, and of one of the short stories, and I love it. Here’s someone else’s review. Check out the title story as well as “The Dowager of Bees” if your preferences at all bend to the surreal. Originally published in the Socialist Review in 2004, “‘Tis The Season” is Mieville’s version of a Christmas story. Plenty of his work is available on his blog, though he doesn’t update it very often.

Frankly, I don’t know the finer details of Mieville’s personal life, but I know that he’s a very educated bald man with piercings who lives in London. Or at least has before – he loves to write about that city. Here‘s a bio page from Penguin Random House publishing.

Taken from the site’s accompanying author essay (written over a decade ago) Mieville has some choice words for stereotyping in fantasy.

There are few greater pleasures in Weird Fiction than a really cool
monster, an unusual alien race. Which is why it makes no sense to me to
cull your creatures from the list of the usual suspects. Elf, dwarf,
centaur – you know the drill.

Few things in fantasy annoy me more than having a particular
race act as a signifier for a particular kind of character. Why are
elves all clever and fey? Are there any dwarfs out there who aren’t
gruff and good with their hands? And what happens if you’re an orc but
you’re not, you know, evil?

He’s a bit counterculture and tends to write novels that on some level just don’t make any sense. In the above, Mieville mentions Weird Fiction, which is the ‘genre’ his writing usually inhabits. It is certainly weird.

Anyway, if you feel like being surprised or a little taken aback by your fiction, give Mieville a glance.

On an unrelated note, this is my updated blogroll:

  • Tor.com, the website of a science fiction and fantasy publisher
  • Exorcising Ghosts, a fan-run aggregator of online Haruki Marukami content in English
  • Largeheartedboy, a blog on the intersection of music and literature
  • and as a bonus, the NPR music section (because writing songs and writing do overlap)
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