Miéville at Utopiales in 2010
|Born||China Tom Miéville
6 September 1972
Norwich, England, UK
|Genre||Fantasy, Steampunk, New Weird, Weird fiction|
|Notable works||Perdido Street Station (2000), The City & the City (2009)|
China Tom Miéville FRSL (/ /; born 6 September 1972) is an English fantasy fiction author, comic writer, political activist and academic. He often describes his work as weird fiction and allied to the loosely associated movement of writers sometimes called New Weird.
Miéville has won numerous awards, including the Arthur C. Clarke Award (three times), the British Fantasy Award (twice), the Locus Award for Best Fantasy (twice), Locus Awards for Best Novelette and Best Young Adult Books, as well as the Hugo, Kitschies and World Fantasy Awards. His works have received numerous nominations, listed fully below.
Miéville is active in left-wing politics in the UK and has previously been a member of the International Socialist Organization (US), and the short-lived International Socialist Network. He was formerly a member of the Socialist Workers Party and in 2013 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, gaining 1.2% of votes cast. 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. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2015.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Education
- 3 Literary influences
- 4 Politics
- 5 Bibliography
- 6 Adaptations
- 7 Honours
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
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 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. They chose his first name, China, from a dictionary, looking for a beautiful name. 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 UK 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; 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. The Player's Handbook for the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons cited his novel Perdido Street Station as a source of inspiration for the game's designers.
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), 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 has previously been a member of the International Socialist Organization (US) and, until 13 March 2013, was 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".
In 2015, he was announced as one of the founding editors of a new quarterly, Salvage, with editor-in-chief Rosie Warren, editor Jamie Allinson and contributing editors Richard Seymour, Magpie Corvid and Charlotte Bence.
October, published in 2017, documents the dramatic events of the Russian revolution. Jonathan Steele, reviewed it for The Guardian'. Steele considers it a ideological though nuanced retelling: “known as a left-wing activist, … Miéville writes with the brio and excitement of an enthusiast who would have wanted the revolution to succeed. But he is primarily interested in the dramatic narrative — the weird facts — of the most turbulent year in Russia’s history”
China Miéville on Bookbits radio talks about Embassytown
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- King Rat (1998) ISBN 978-0312890735
- Un Lun Dun (2007) 978-0230015869
- The City & the City (2009) ISBN 978-1405000178
- Kraken (2010) ISBN 978-0333989500
- Embassytown (2011) ISBN 978-0230750760
- Railsea (2012) ISBN 978-0230765108
- This Census-Taker (2016) ISBN 978-1509812141
Short story collections
Children's picture books
- The Worst Breakfast (2016), co-written and illustrated by Zak Smith
- Hellblazer (1988) – No. 250 "Holiday Special": "Snow Had Fallen"
- Justice League (2011) – #23.3 "Dial E #1: Dial Q for Qued"
- Dial H (2012–2013)
- Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law (2005). ISBN 1-931859-33-7
- Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction (2009), with Mark Bould. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press.
- Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to the River Kingdoms (2010), with Elaine Cunningham, Chris Pramas, and Steve Kenson. Paizo Publishing.
- October: The Story of the Russian Revolution (2017). Verso.
- "London's Overthrow" (2011). Reprinted in a shorter version as "Oh, London, You Drama Queen", The New York Times Magazine 2012-03-01: 42.
- "Preface to a Book not yet Written nor Disavowed" (2015). China Miéville: Critical Essays, eds. Caroline Edwards and Tony Venezia.
- 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 16 March 2013 production of the adaptation.
- In August 2015 a television adaptation of the novel The City & the City was announced by the BBC. It is due to air on BBC 2.
- 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, 2009 Kitschies 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.
- "Letters: "Left Unity ready to offer an alternative"". The Guardian. 12 August 2013.
- Gordon, Joan (November 2003). "Reveling in Genre: An Interview with China Miéville". Science Fiction Studies. DePauw University. 30 (Part 3). Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- "A Truly Monstrous Thing to Do: Mieville Interview" Archived 12 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine., 'Long-Sunday.net
- Shurin, Jared (4 August 2015). "A Category Unto Himself: The Works of = China Miéville". Tor Books. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
- Hanks, Robert (15 June 2009). "The City and the City by China Miéville: review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
- , D&D Official Homepage.
- "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.
- Contributors, Salvage.
- "October by China Miéville review – a brilliant retelling of the Russian Revolution". The Guardian. 17 May 2017.
- Miéville, China (November–December 2011). "London's Overthrow". Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- "Paramount Vantage Gets 'Details'", IndieWire Archived 28 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- "BBC Two Orders BTS ‘Dad’s Army’ Drama, ‘The City & The City’ Adaptation & More". TV Wise, 28 August 2015
- "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: 2003 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. Archived from the original on 9 April 2012. 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.
- Głaz, Adam (2015). "Reversals and Paradoxes". Extrapolation. 56 (3): 335–352. doi:10.3828/extr.2015.18. ISSN 0014-5483. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
- Spinrad, Norman (Apr–May 2013). "Doors to anywhere". On Books. Asimov's Science Fiction. 37 (4&5): 183–191. Reviews Railsea.
- Caroline Edwards; Tony Venezia, eds. (2015). China Miéville: Critical Essays. Gylphi Limited. ISBN 1780240279. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
Caroline Edwards and Tony Venezia (eds)