Thanks to the wonderful Angela Meyer a.k.a. LiteraryMinded, in September I was lucky enough to join her in a fancy hotel room to interview speculative fiction writer and socialist, China Miéville. As a lot of you might know, I’m a big fan of his work and consider myself influenced by him a great deal. Given I’m the only person that writes under the genre ‘Marxist horror,’ Miéville is probably the closest to me in terms of style, sometimes describing his writing as ‘New Weird’ though perhaps he’s a much subtler in his politics.
The interview is published in the Crikey blog, LiteraryMinded in two parts.
…I like trying to poke at what makes London different than Paris, different than Sydney, different than New York, you know. There’s nothing terribly unusual about loving different cities and writers liking cities but I do like big cities and every time I come to a city – you almost try and get a kind of mouth feel for it, you know, and it’s amazing how quickly it happens. You can get out of the plane and spend two minutes walking through a city you’ve never been to before and you can feel that it feels different from the last one you were at and you’re like okay, what is that? Trying to put words to that. In a way it’s trying to put words to that sense of the specificity of place that I hope is what you’re talking about – it’s very much trying to express that. It’s quite ineffable.
Y’no people have talked about this before and to me, it’s kind of a non-issue. I mean there is a tradition amongst some on the left of having a rather fallacious notion of what culture is and how it works and what fiction is, and so you get this kind of pious and unconvincing sense of, y’no, ‘if you are a socialist you shouldn’t…’ or whatever, and I think – it’s not a job recruitment form, it’s a novel, it’s doing a different thing. I’m not asking you to agree with him. I’m not asking you to agree with his choice of job, I’m not asking you to agree with a single decision he makes in the entire book.