Thursday, October 21, 2010

China Miéville

China Miéville is the author of The City & The City, his sci-fi/fantasy/detective novel which shared the 2010 Hugo Award for best novel.

From his Q & A about the book with Marjorie Kehe for the Christian Science Monitor:

Your work is often described as “weird fiction.” How do you see your genre?

“Weird fiction” is a term that comes from the 1920s and the work of writers like HP Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. If I and others call my stuff “weird fiction” it’s in homage to and [in recognition of being] inspired by that tradition of that somewhat grotesque, horror-tinged, blurred line between science fiction and the fantastic. But if I’m talking to people that don’t particularly know the field, then I tend to say that it’s science fiction, because that’s simpler. I’m not someone who gets their knickers into a twist about the specificity of these labels.

The premise of the two cities – Beszel and Ul Qoma, physically overlapping and yet legally and culturally divided by some terrible, forgotten act of history – is so intriguing. Where did it come from?

What happened in my head was the literalization of a fantastic idea of cities that overlapped and that became more and more set in the real world. The real-world ramifications and metaphors came after that. But once I had decided that I wanted to set it in the real world you begin thinking about how the real-world logic works and it came to me quite quickly that this was a real-world logic dictated by social filters and borders and [legal codes] and national boundaries – exactly as in the real world but just exaggerated. As is always the case with most of the ideas that you have as a writer of the fantastic, it’s very hard to pin them to an exact spot. It’s only in the second or third phase that...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue