Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Congratulations, China Mieville!

Whose "Reports of Certain Events in London" has won the 2005 Locus prize for Best novelette. This good news reported via McSweeney's, who published the novelette in such an annoyingly titled collection (McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories) that I have not yet read it.

Since I'm such a rabid Mieville fan, I'll probably end up (*sigh*) buying the collection, but for now, here's a collection of Mieville links. I'll put it below the fold so that you can decide for yourself the degree of your (or my) Mieville obsession.

Crooked Timber held a Mieville "conference" in January 2005; six very smart readers discussed politics, themes, and narrative within Mieville's Iron Council, and Mieville was nice enough to contribute a lengthy and substantive response and to respond in detail to commentors in the threads.

CT followed up with a congratulatory post when Iron Council won the Arthur C. Clarke award, and in the thread Mieville explains to me how to pronounce his name. (A bit more virtual than having him sign my breast, but the element of slobbering fandom is still there.)

At Fantastic Metropolis, Mieville give his list of "Fifty Fantasy and Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read." It's quite a list, with many less well known books on it.

The unofficial fansite, The Runagate Rampant, seems to be moribund. Inevitably, someone has set up a message board devoted to Mieville's work, where the most recent active thread discusses the rumor that he won't be writing more Bas-Lag novels soon. (The consensus seems to be almost disappointingly understanding of his career needs.) The official site, hosted by PanMacmillan, also seems to be moribund, but there is the nifty retro The Scar-themed arcade game! Which bears a noticable resemblance to Frogger!

A wonderful interview with The Believer. There are so many good quotes in this interview that it's hard to pick just a few. Do you cite Mieville saying he could kiss Neal Stephenson for standing up for his Baroque Cycle as a "science-fiction geek historical novel"? What about Mieville on comparisons of his work to Melville (my take on The Scar)? For me, the emblematic quote of the interview is this one:
I’m trying to say I’ve invented this world that I think is really cool and I have these really big stories to tell in it and one of the ways that I find to make that interesting is to think about it politically. If you want to do that to, that’s fantastic. But if not, isn’t this a cool monster?



A socialist's dystopic Christmas tale, from a future in which all things Christmas have become private intellectual property:
It was getting more bolshy. It was turning into a tinsel riot.

Oxford Street was jammed, I was in the middle of what was suddenly thousands of protesters. It took me anxious ages to make headway through the demonstration. What had seemed an anonymous mob suddenly sprang into variety and colour. Everyone was marching. I was passing different contingents.

Where the hell had all these banners come from? Slogans bobbed overhead like flotsam. FOR PEACE, SOCIALISM AND CHRISTMAS; HANDS OFF OUR HOLIDAY SEASON!; PRIVATISE THIS. One placard was everywhere. It was very simple and sparse: the letters TM in a red circle, with a line through them.

[...]

These people were crazy! It wasn't that I didn't think their hearts were in the right places, but this was no way to achieve things. All they were going to do was bring down trouble on everyone. The cops would get here any moment.

Still, I had to admire their creativity. With all the costumes and colours, it looked amazing. I have no idea how they'd smuggled this stuff through the streets, how they'd organised this. It must have been online, which means some pretty sophisticated encryption to fool the copware. Each different section of the march seemed to be chanting something different, or singing songs I hadn't heard for years. I was walking through a winter wonderland.

This last story is fun, but perhaps not, um, deathless.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous:

If you're prepared to wait until August 30, you can get it in his new collection, "Looking for Jake." (He also corrects a whopping mistake that was in the McSweeney's version, afik).

7/14/2005 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

I can wait. Thanks saving me some cash.

What was the whopping mistake?

7/14/2005 06:15:00 PM  

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