||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2012)|
Miéville at Utopiales in 2010
|Born||China Tom Miéville
6 September 1972
|Genre||Steampunk, New Weird, weird fiction|
China Tom Miéville (/ /; 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 20th-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 a member of the Socialist Workers Party (UK) until resigning in 2013 over the SWP internal crisis about allegations of rape against 'Comrade Delta'. In 2013 he became a founding member of Left Unity. He stood for Regent's Park and Kensington North for the Socialist Alliance in the 2001 UK General election. He published his PhD thesis on Marxism and international law as a book. During 2012–13 he was Writer-in-Residence at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois.
Born in Norwich, England, 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 attended Oakham School, a co-educational independent school in Oakham, Rutland, for two years. At the age of eighteen, in 1990, he taught English for a year in Egypt, where he developed an interest in Arab culture and in Middle Eastern politics.
Miéville studied for a BA degree in social anthropology at Clare College, Cambridge, graduating in 1994, and gained both a Master's 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, entitled 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.
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[original research?]; his work has been categorised as science fiction, fantasy and as "urban surrealism". 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 for him is stultifying and reactionary. He once described Tolkien as "the wen on the arse of fantasy literature." Miéville has cited 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?
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 US 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 13 March 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.
In August 2013, Mieville was one of nine signatories (along with fellow novelist and former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen, veteran film-maker and socialist Ken Loach, academic Gilbert Achcar and General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Kate Hudson) of an open letter to the Guardian newspaper announcing the foundation of a "new party of the left", to be called Left Unity. The letter, which claims that Labour policies on "austerity" and breaking of ties with trades unions amount to a "final betrayal of the working-class people it was founded to represent", states that Left Unity will be launched at a "founding conference" in London on 30 November 2013 and will provide, as an "alternative" to Labour, "a party that is socialist, environmentalist, feminist and opposed to all forms of discrimination".
- King Rat (1998)
- The Tain (2002)
- Un Lun Dun (2007)
- The City & the City (2009)
- Kraken (2010)
- Embassytown (2011)
- Railsea (2012)
Short story collections
- Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law, 2005, ISBN 1-931859-33-7.
- Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to the River Kingdoms (co-authored with Elaine Cunningham, Chris Pramas, and Steve Kenson; Paizo Publishing, 2010)
- With Mark Bould. Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 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 16 March 2013 production of the adaptation.
- 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.
- "SWP factions: Two errors of the opposition". Weekly Worker. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- Letters: "Left Unity ready to offer an alternative" The Guardian, 12 August 2013.
- "A Truly Monstrous Thing to Do: Mieville Interview", 'Long-Sunday.net
- Hanks, Robert (2009-06-15). "The City and the City by China Miéville: review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
- "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 28 June 2012.
- Miéville, China (2006). Between Equal Rights. Haymarket Books. ISBN 1-931859-33-7. P. 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 – International Journal of Socialist Renewal (blog), 13 January 2013.
- "Paramount Vantage Gets 'Details'", IndieWire[dead link]
- "Science Fiction & Fantasy Books by Award: 2001 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
- "Awards won by Perdido Street Station". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
- "Science Fiction & Fantasy Books by Award: 2001 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
- "Awards won by Scar". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
- "Science Fiction & Fantasy Books by Award: 2005 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
- Flood, Alison (6 September 2010). "China Miéville and Paolo Bacigalupi tie for Hugo award". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 9 September 2010.
- Locus Publications (5 September 2010). "Locus Online News » 2010 Hugo Awards Winners". Locusmag.com. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
- Locus Publications (31 October 2010). "Locus Online News » World Fantasy Awards Winners". Locusmag.com. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
- "2012 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- 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.
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|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Media from Commons|
- "Rejectamentalist Manifesto" Blog by China Miéville.
- China Miéville at British Council: Literature
- China Miéville at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- 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