Tuesday, May 12, 2009

China Mieville discusses The City and The City

This is a sort of follow-up to my earlier post on China Mieville's The City and The City. I found this interview over at Socialist Worker online, which I highly recommend that you read in full, but in case you're busy or lazy, here's an excerpt:

I am trying to critically engage with a debate about the effectiveness of “world building”.

Sharing political culture is one thing, but any writer has different readerships who get different things. The trick is to have a book that has enough integrity that it works within itself.

But if you do spot a reference and you like it, great. That may be sharper for a political writer, but it is there for everyone.

The political aesthetic is complex. For instance, in a previous book, The Scar, the characters face voracious female mosquito-women. They are female simply because it’s only female mosquitos that suck blood.

I was, however, conscious of the trope of voracious/monstrous/vampiric women, so a couple of chapters later I wrote: “Some of [his] companions made nervous jokes... ‘Women,’ they said, and laughed shakily about females of all species being bloodsuckers, and so on. [He] tried, for the sake of conviviality, but he could not bring himself to laugh at their idiocies.”

What an awesome dude. Plan on seeing my interpretation of the novel soon after I finish it. You'd better all buy a copy too. I'm doing my part to make sure the world knows how brilliant Mieville truly is.

In the meantime, you can revisit my interpretation of Iron Council, parts One, Two, and Three.