The Who2 Blog

China Miéville Turns 40

Author China Miéville’s was born 6 September 1972. Happy birthday, China!

You’ve never heard of China Miéville? He writes novels. If he wrote more books like Ian McEwan or John Banville or Julian Barnes, you’d have heard of China Miéville as one of Britain’s greatest living writers (or something along those lines). But Miéville writes weird books that are usually called “fantasy.”

Not wizards-n-dragons fantasy, but what he calls “weird fiction.” I’ve read a number of them: The Scar (2002), Perdido Street Station (2000), Iron Council (2004), The City & the City (2009), Kraken (2010) and Embassytown (2011). Those first three, called by some the Bas-Lag series, are the kind of novels that make you think, “this fellow has quite the imagination!” And quite the vocabulary, too. It’s best to read his books with a dictionary nearby, although some of his words are just plain made up.

The City & the City I read twice. Mostly that’s because it’s a very clever novel, and it’s a good example of Chandler-esque hard-boiled fiction (a departure from his earlier work). Also because I didn’t have the ambition to read The Scar again (I still want to).

On top of being an intelligent novelist, China Miéville is a Marxist, with a doctorate in economics. And he looks like a rock star, only smarter. 

For more China, read what he has to say about the future of the novel.

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