I’ve recently discovered my favorite writer of all time, ChinaMiéville. Yup, on my list he’s right up there with NealStephenson (The Diamond Age and Cryptonomicon, my othertwo favorite novels). As an interviewer puts it, “China MiĆ©ville’s urbanworlds are dark, dreary, decayed… and utterly magical. From the grimy,seedy underbelly of London to the twisted and hauntingly beautifullandscape that is New Crobuzon, China has the distinct ability totransport his readers to other realms”(http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfiction/intchina.htm). I would likenothing better than to write an article about him – finally the literarycriticism skills they’ve been drilling into me are coming into effect -but I haven’t got the time. I can write all I want in these blogs,though! And go back later when I *do* have the time, and recollect mythoughts.

I’ve been going through a few interviews he’s done and am all the wiserfor it: apparently he’s quite into politics: he stood as a candidate forthe Socialist Alliance in the British general elections of 2001(http://www.strangehorizons.com/2001/20011001/china.shtml). And he’ssuffering from academia much as I am myself, currently studying thephilosophy of international law in the PhD program at the London Schoolof Economics.

He purports himself to be a writer of “wierd fiction” – a genre mostlikely unfamiliar to most readers (and which he will not take credit forinventing) and that he defines beautifully on his website,http://www.panmacmillan.com/Features/China/: “The ‘fantastic’ is notethereal and wispy but tough and real, where ‘magic’ operates likescience or science magic.” In Perdido Street (as well as in workssuch as The Diamond Age, actually), magic is somethingunderstandable, something that can be dissected and subjected to logic.The technological and the magic join together in a kind of organiccomplicity to form a kind of magical machine.

On his website, China Miéville further defines Wierd Fiction asthe result of an intermixing of classic genres (principally horror,fantasy, science fiction): “… the sense of subversion, of alienation,of sheer strangeness that saturates [the] work defies easycategorisation as SF or fantasy.” His works, then, transgress theboundaries between these traditional genres – rather than affirmingthemselves through only one medium, they form and shape themselves inthe space between … in something of what we could call a “thirdspace” in literary criticsm itself. “The writing exists where the threegenres meet, and that’s the most fecund kind of fantastic literature,for me” (http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfiction/intchina.htm).

Two themes interested me more than any others in the novel PerdidoStreet Station – two that could really be classified under oneoverarching theme – that of hybridity.

Click to read on…

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