Omnivoracious is proud to welcome China Mieville as a guest blogger this week. Arguably one of the most important fantasists of the last decade, Mieville made his mark with the insanely imaginative Perdido Street Station. The novel single-handedly reconfigured the landscape of genre fiction with its combination of pulp and the surreal, the political and the personal. In Perdido Street Station and subsequent novels The Scar, Iron Council, and the New York Times bestseller Un Lun Dun, Mieville also remade the idea of city as character. For these efforts, Mieville has won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. (As a side note, I can say that in addition to the mad talent China also just happens to be an incredibly nice and self-effacing person.)
Now, in his latest novel, The City & The City, Mieville turns his attention to strangeness set in our world. Part police procedural and part exploration of what it means to live both together and apart, The City & The City is set in the city of Beszel on the edge of Europe. Inspector Tyador Borlu must solve the murder of a woman that may be part of a larger conspiracy.
The novel is an Amazon featured book for June, and has garnered wide praise from, among others, Walter Mosley, who calls The City & The City "daring and disturbing. Mieville illuminates fundamental and unsettling questions about culture, governance, and the shadowy differences that keep us apart." And, unless you've been away from the internet for the last month, you'll have encountered any number of glowing reviews of the novel.
So this week, in addition to Mieville's posts, written while on his recent book tour and covering everything from Tolkien to preemptive literary movements, Omnivoracious will be featuring a video interview with the author. Related posts will cover topics like the work of Alfred Kubin, a major influence on Mieville's book, and much more. Check back daily for an intriguing week of the literary and the fantastical.
To get started, here's a snippet of instant messenger interview I originally did with China for the print magazine Weird Tales, in which he talks about his definition of "weird fiction" and tells us which he likes better--reptiles or mammals...