Jason Heller at the A.V. Club posted a beginner’s guide to the works of China Miéville. As you might be aware, I am a huge Miéville fan, having written a stage adaptation of his novel The City & The City. I still recall with great fondness my first introduction to his work. I was taking a writing class and the instructor recommended Perdido Street Station, which I tore through in a couple of days. I have never read anything like it before or since. It takes every trope of the fantasy genre and flips it on its head. It is outlandish where, say, Tolkien is grounded, and gritty where Tolkien is whimsical. And it has moments that are truly terrifying. The slake moth is one of the scariest damn monsters I’ve ever read about.
I fantasize about exploring the vast library of Un Lun Dun, with it’s collection so vast that librarians mount weeks-long expeditions to locate books. I dream of catching of glimpse of a giant rat-like moldywarpe from Railsea. If you haven’t read him before and are curious, check out the article at the A.V. Club. It’ll give you a good idea of where to get started.
I wish I could put my finger on what, specifically, I love about China Miéville’s work, but what I love most is the fact that you cannot pin him down. There is no one work that is quintessentially Miéville – or maybe they all are. Their defining quality is their unpredictability. You just never know what you’re going to get.
(And, oh yeah, he came to see my show and we did an audience Q&A together afterward. Highlight of my career.)