Award winning ‘weird fiction’ author China Mieville is interviewed by Justine Jordan in the Guardian about his new novel Embassytown. Amongst other things China talks about the relationship between his literary work and political commitments:
When his mother moved out of London, Miéville went on a scholarship to board at the public school Oakham, where he spent a couple of “very unhappy years”. After a gap year in Egypt and Zimbabwe, he took up a place at Cambridge to read English, but finding the teaching “fairly hermetic and abstracted” swiftly switched to anthropology. It was the point at which, intellectually as well as politically, Miéville came into his own. As a youngster, he’d been involved in CND and anti-apartheid campaigns; now he formalised his leftwing politics into an overarching Marxist philosophy. A masters in international law at LSE followed, along with a year at Harvard.
Miéville is often asked where his revolutionary politics and his fantastical world-building meet, but is wary of making too strong a connection between the two. “I’m not interested in fantasy or SF as utopian blueprints, that’s a disastrous idea. There’s some kind of link in terms of alterity . . . If you think about the surrealists, the estrangement they were trying to create was a political act. There’s some shared soup somewhere in my head from which these two things are ladling.”
Visit the Guardian to read the interview in full.
Pluto Press is proud to have published some of China’s critically acclaimed political writings, such as Between Equal Rights: a Marxist Theory of International Law, and Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction (co-edited with Mark Bould). These are great works in their own right, but also may be of interest to fans of China’s novels who want to get to know his other side.
A Marxist Theory of International Law
Leading Marxist thinker makes a case for a new approach to international law.
Marxism and Science Fiction
Edited by Mark Bould and China Miéville
Analyzes science fiction literature and cinema within broad overview of Marxist theories of the genre.
“This collection shows what science fiction criticism can do when Marxist critical practice is joined by science studies and the rest of theory. The results are tremendously exciting and powerful, explaining not just a genre but our world, from the financial crash of 2008 to the utopian impulses that remain always in us.” – Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars trilogy
“This collection marks a red shift in thinking about the history, form, and impact of science fiction literature and film. In robust dialectical manoeuvres, the essays, by a dynamic mix of scholars, simultaneously revive, critique, and transform the vibrant tradition of Marxist sf criticism. The book is a timely, readable, and incisive intervention in contemporary cultural critique.” – Tom Moylan is Glucksman Professor of Contemporary Writing in English and Director of the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies at the University of Limerick.