China Miéville on challenging the reader

We break briefly from the predominantly near-future science fiction remit of this website in order to bring to your attention an author who I think all lovers of great fiction should discover, if they haven’t already. Wired has a podcast chat with the incomparable (and coolly charming) China Miéville; not only does he write brilliant books that subvert and mash together two or three (or maybe more) subgenres at a time, but his mind is sharper and shinier than a samurai sword*. Go listen to him talk. You may not agree with everything he says, but I defy you to not have your brain stretched.

I rather suspect there are a few Miéville devotees already among the audience here – I like to think our devotion is primarily to great writing rather than partisan notions of genre adherence (though I may be wrong). So, which Miéville would you most heartily recommend? (Or, conversely, which one didn’t you like, and why?)

My personal favourite would be The Scar, but the recently released Kraken is probably the best entry text to the Mieville oeuvre.

4 thoughts on “China Miéville on challenging the reader”

  1. I think The Scar is amazing and one of my favourite books, but for sheer awesomeness I actually prefer The City and The City, which is so tightly put together compared to the Bas-Lag novels which are more deliciously slab-bang. Un-Lun-Dun is another good way to get into his work.

  2. Having just read The City and The City, I’d probably recommend that both for the excellent story and also for being an easier read than something like Perdido Street Station. I’m not entirely sure why I struggled with that book as much as I did.

  3. I loved everything about Perdido Street Station except the very end. I won’t give any spoilers here, except to say that my feminist credentials are in good order and I still hated the very end.

    However, I agree that he’s a fantastic writer. He brings so much imagination to his work, and creates characters with so much depth and substance. And I love the mix of genres, which seems to be more common in British SF/F than it is in the US.

  4. The Scar was my favourite. A city made of ships, giant sea monsters, a weapon made out of possibilities and one of the best female leads I’ve read. I really couldn’t put it down!

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