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6 September 1972 |
Norwich, England, U.K.
|Genres||Steampunk, New Weird, weird fiction|
China Tom Miéville (pron.: / /; born 6 September 1972) is an English fantasy fiction author, comic writer and academic. He is fond of describing his fiction as "weird fiction" (after early twentieth century pulp and horror writers such as H. P. Lovecraft), and belongs to a loose group of writers sometimes called New Weird.
He is active in left-wing politics as a member of the International Socialist Organization (US), and formerly of the Socialist Workers Party (UK). He has stood for Regent's Park and Kensington North for the Socialist Alliance in the 2001 General election; He published his PhD thesis on Marxism and international law as a book in 2005. He teaches creative writing at Warwick University; in 2012-13, he was Writer-in-Residence at Roosevelt University in Chicago.
Early life 
Born in Norwich, Miéville was brought up in Willesden, northwest London, and has lived in the city since early childhood. He grew up with his sister Jemima and his mother Claudia, a translator, writer and teacher. His parents separated soon after his birth, and he has said that he "never really knew" his father. By virtue of his mother's birth in New York City, Miéville holds dual American and British citizenship.
Miéville was educated at Oakham School, a co-educational independent school in the historic market town of Oakham in Rutland, for two years. When he was eighteen, in 1990, he lived in Egypt teaching English for a year, where he developed an interest in Arab culture and Middle Eastern politics.
Miéville studied for a BA degree in social anthropology at Clare College, Cambridge, graduating in 1994, and achieved both a Masters' degree and PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 2001. Miéville has also held a Frank Knox fellowship at Harvard University. After becoming dissatisfied with the ability of post-modern theories to explain history and political events, he became a Marxist at university. A book version of his PhD thesis, titled Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law, was published in the United Kingdom in 2005 by Brill in their "Historical Materialism" series, and in the United States in 2006 by Haymarket Books.
Literary influences 
Miéville has said he plans to write a novel in every genre. To this end, he has 'constructed an oeuvre' that is indebted to genre styles ranging from classic American Western (in Iron Council) to sea-quest (in The Scar) to detective noir (in The City & the City). Yet Miéville's works all describe worlds or scenarios that are fantastical or supernatural; his work is generally categorized as fantasy. Miéville has listed M. John Harrison, Michael de Larrabeiti, Michael Moorcock, Thomas M. Disch, Charles Williams, Tim Powers, and J. G. Ballard as literary "heroes"; he has also frequently discussed as influences H. P. Lovecraft, Mervyn Peake, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Gene Wolfe. He has said that he would like his novels "to be read for [his imagined city] New Crobuzon as Iain Sinclair does for London."
Miéville played a great deal of Dungeons & Dragons and similar roleplaying games (RPG) in his youth. He attributes his tendency to systematisation of magic and technology to this influence. In his novel Perdido Street Station, he refers to characters interested "only in gold and experience." The February 2007 issue of Dragon Magazine interpreted the world presented in his books according to Dungeons & Dragons rules.
Miéville works to move fantasy away from J. R. R. Tolkien's influence, which he criticised as stultifying and reactionary. (He once described Tolkien as "the wen on the arse of fantasy literature."). Miéville has cited as Michael de Larrabeiti's Borrible Trilogy as one of his biggest influences; he wrote an introduction for the trilogy's 2002 reissue. The introduction was eventually left out of the book, but is now available on de Larrabeiti's website. Miéville is also indebted to Moorcock, having cited his essay "Epic Pooh" as the source upon which he is "riffing" or even simply "cheerleading" in his critique of Tolkien-imitative fantasy.
Miéville's left-wing politics are evident in his writing (particularly in Iron Council, his third Bas-Lag novel) as well as his theoretical ideas about literature. In several panel discussions at conventions about the relationship of politics and writing, he has opposed right-wingers in heated arguments. He has, however, said:
I’m not a leftist trying to smuggle in my evil message by the nefarious means of fantasy novels. I’m a science fiction and fantasy geek. I love this stuff. And when I write my novels, I’m not writing them to make political points. I’m writing them because I passionately love monsters and the weird and horror stories and strange situations and surrealism, and what I want to do is communicate that. But, because I come at this with a political perspective, the world that I’m creating is embedded with many of the concerns that I have... 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 too, that’s fantastic. But if not, isn’t this a cool monster?
- His first novel, King Rat (1998), was nominated for both an International Horror Guild and a Bram Stoker award.
- Perdido Street Station won the 2001 Arthur C. Clarke Award and the 2001 British Fantasy Award, and was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus and British Science Fiction awards.
- The Scar won the 2003 British Fantasy Award and the 2003 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, was nominated for the Hugo, Arthur C. Clarke, World Fantasy, Locus, Philip K. Dick, and British Science Fiction awards, and received a Philip K. Dick Award special citation.
- Iron Council won the 2005 Arthur C. Clarke Award and the 2005 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and was nominated for the Hugo and World Fantasy awards.
- "Reports of Certain Events in London" (featured in the anthology McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories) was nominated for a 2005 World Fantasy Award and tied for the 2005 Locus Award for Best Novelette.
- Un Lun Dun won the 2008 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book.
- He has been a Guest of Honour at multiple science fiction conventions, including Orbital 2008 the British National Science Fiction convention (Eastercon) in London and Readercon 2006.
- The City & the City won the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award, 2010 Hugo Award, and 2010 World Fantasy Award, as well as being a Nebula Award nominee in the Best Novel category.
- Embassytown was nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
In Between Equal Rights (2005), his only major political writing, Miéville advocates a revised version of the legal theory of the Russian Marxist Evgeny Pashukanis, as applied to international law. He synthesises ideas drawn from the Critical Legal Studies movement, particularly Martti Koskenniemi, as well as U.S. international legal theorist Myres McDougal. Miéville argues that the form taken by the law, a process of deciding disputes between abstract, formally equal subjects, can only be explained as essentially related to capitalism's system of generalised commodity exchange, which requires participants with equal rights to property.
But, he argues, just as the symmetry of commodity exchange conceals class division and exploitation, the symmetry of law conceals violent power relations. Law is structurally indeterminate as applied to particular cases, and so the interpretation which becomes official is always a matter of force; the stronger of the contesting parties in each legal dispute will ultimately obtain the sanction of law. Therefore, he states: "The attempt to replace war and inequality with law is not merely utopian but is precisely self-defeating. A world structured around international law cannot but be one of imperialist violence. The chaotic and bloody world around us is the rule of law."
Miéville is a member of the International Socialist Organization (US) and, until March 13, 2013, also a member of the Socialist Workers Party (UK). He stood unsuccessfully for the House of Commons of the United Kingdom in the 2001 general election as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance, gaining 459 votes, i.e. 1.2%, in Regent's Park and Kensington North, a Labour constituency.
Novels and novellas 
Bas-Lag series 
Standalone works 
- King Rat (1998)
- The Tain (2002)
- Un Lun Dun (2007)
- The City & the City (2009)
- Kraken (2010)
- Embassytown (2011)
- Railsea (2012)
- Looking for Jake (collection, 2005)
Roleplaying games 
- Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to the River Kingdoms (co-authored with Elaine Cunningham, Chris Pramas, and Steve Kenson; Paizo Publishing, 2010)
Short fiction 
- "Highway Sixty One Revisited" (in Young Words, 1986)
- "Looking for Jake" (in Neonlit Vol. 1, edited by Nicholas Royle, 1999)
- "Different Skies" (in Brit-pulp!, edited by Tony White, 1999)
- "An End to Hunger" (in Book of Internet Stories, edited by Maxim Jakubowski, 2000)
- "Details" (in The Children of Cthulhu, edited by John Pelan and Benjamin Adams, 2002)
- "Familiar" (in Conjunctions: 39, The New Wave Fabulists, edited by Peter Straub, 2002)
- "Buscard's Murrain" (in The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases, edited by Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts, 2003)
- "Reports of Certain Events in London" (in McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories, edited by Michael Chabon, 2004)
- "'Tis the Season" (in Socialist Review, December 2004)
- "A Room of One's Own" (in Mike Mignola's Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, edited by Christopher Golden, 2008)
- "Jack" (in The New Weird, 2008)
- "The Rope is the World" (on iconeye.com, February 2010)
- "Covehithe" (on guardian.co.uk, 22 April 2011)
Comic books 
- The Borribles: An Introduction, 2001.
- Things That Never Happen: An Introduction, 2002.
- Wizardry and Wild: An Introduction, 2004.
- At the Mountains of Madness: An Introduction, 2005.
- First Men in the Moon: An Introduction, 2005.
- 'Dagger Key' and Other Stories: An Introduction, 2007.
- The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, 2012.
Academic writing 
- "The Conspiracy of Architecture: Notes on a Modern Anxiety", Historical Materialism, 2: 1–32, 1998.
- "Marxism and Fantasy: Editorial Introduction", Historical Materialism, 10 (4): 39–49, 2002.
- "The Commodity-Form Theory of International Law: An Introduction", Leiden Journal of International Law, 17 (2): 271–302, 2004.
- Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law, 2005, ISBN 1-931859-33-7.
- "Anxiety and the Sidekick State: British International Law after Iraq", Harvard International Law Journal, 46 (2): 441–458, 2005.
- "Floating Utopias", in Davis, Mike and Daniel Bertrand Monk (eds.), Evil Paradises: Dreamworld of Neoliberalism (New York: New Press), 2007.
- "M.R. James and the Quantum Vampire - Weird; Hauntological: Versus and/or and and/or or?", Collapse, IV: 85–108, 2008.
- "Weird Fiction", in Mark Bould and Sherryl Vint et al. (eds), The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction (London: Routledge), 2009.
- "Cognition as Ideology: A Dialectic of SF Theory", in Mark Bould and China Miéville (eds), Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction (London: Pluto Press), 2009.
- "Multilateralism as Terror: International Law, Haiti and Imperialism", Finnish Yearbook of International Law, 18, 2009.
- "London's Overthrow", 2012 
As editor 
- Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction (co-editor), 2009.
- In 2006 Miéville's short story "Details" (collected in Looking for Jake) was adapted as a screenplay by Dan Kay, and subsequently picked up by the studio Paramount Vantage.
- In February 2013, a stage adaptation of The City and the City, written by Christopher M. Walsh and directed by Dorothy Milne, made its world premiere at Lifeline Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. Miéville attended the March 16, 2013 production of the adaptation.
- "Joan Gordon - Reveling in Genre: An Interview with China Miéville". Depauw.edu. 2003-11-01. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "A Truly Monstrous Thing to Do: Mieville Interview", 'Long-Sunday.net
- "Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to the River Kingdoms (PFRPG) Print Edition", Paizo Publishing Website.
- "Scar by China Mieville". panmacmillan.com. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
- China Miéville, "'The Borribles'. An Introduction".
- U.S.A. "The Believer - Interview with China Miéville". Believermag.com. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
- "Science Fiction & Fantasy Books by Award: 2001 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- "Awards won by Perdido Street Station". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- "Science Fiction & Fantasy Books by Award: 2001 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
- "Awards won by Scar". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
- "Science Fiction & Fantasy Books by Award: 2005 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
- Flood, Alison (September 6, 2010). "China Miéville and Paolo Bacigalupi tie for Hugo award". The Guardian (London). Retrieved September 9, 2010.
- Locus Publications (2010-09-05). "Locus Online News » 2010 Hugo Awards Winners". Locusmag.com. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
- Locus Publications (2010-10-31). "Locus Online News » World Fantasy Awards Winners". Locusmag.com. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
- "2012 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- Miéville, China (2006). Between Equal Rights. Haymarket Books. ISBN 1-931859-33-7. Pg. 319.
- "Resigning from the Socialist Workers Party", International Socialism, 11 March 2013
- "BBC NEWS – VOTE 2001 – RESULTS & CONSTITUENCIES – Regent's Park & Kensington North". BBC News.
- Ansible 168, July 2001.
- Laurie Penny "What does the SWP's way of dealing with sex assault allegations tell us about the left?", New Statesman, 11 January 2013
- Paul Kellogg "Britain: Reflections on the crisis in the Socialist Workers Party", LINKS - Internatiobnal Journal of Socialist Renewal (blog), 13 January 2013
- Amazon.com page for Railsea
- "China Miéville To Write New New 52 Comic, Dial H". Bleeding Cool.
- The Borribles: An Introduction[dead link]
- Patrick Parrinder - Introduction by (2005-09-27). "Penguin Group". Us.penguingroup.com. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
- http://www.thebookseller.com/news/mievilles-london-essay-saqi.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter "The Bookseller"
- "Paramount Vantage Gets 'Details'", IndieWire[dead link]
Further reading 
- Sandra K. Rankin; University of Arkansas (2009). China Mieville and the Misbegot: Monsters, Magic, and Marxism. ProQuest. ISBN 978-1-109-20301-1. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
|Find more about China Miéville at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Media from Commons|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Travel information from Wikivoyage|
- "Rejectamentalist Manifesto" Blog by China Miéville.
- China Miéville at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Author page at Random House—also out of date.
- Author page at Macmillan - his UK publisher
- Lenin's Tomb, where Mieville is an infrequent contributor.
- "Fifty Fantasy & Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read", an annotated book list originally compiled by China Miéville for Fantastic Metropolis
- In a Carapace of Light: A Conversation with China Miéville at Clarkesworld Magazine