China Miéville

A useful graphic guide to all the art referenced in The Last Days of New Paris

1-nTYYIBfQEtBLS5qYsQ2XngI had to share this link. A China Miéville fan has put together a collection of all the Surrealist artwork referenced in the new novella, The Last Days of New Paris. It should definitely help with imagining the manifs roaming the streets of Paris.

The guide is arranged by page number, so you can use it alongside the appendix of artworks included in the book.

Check it out here!

China Miéville has a non-fiction book about the Russian revolution coming out in 2017

No news on China Miéville’s next novel yet, but here’s something: he has a non-fiction book called October: The Story of the Russian Revolution (Amazon link) coming out in May 2017.

It will be published by Verso Books, who describe themselves as “the largest independent, radical publishing house in the English-speaking world”. There’s already some cover art:

mieville_october

I’m not sure if this will be high on my reading list even though it’s my favourite author writing it. Well, who knows? I have been meaning to read more history, after all…

If you want to know more about the Russian revolution now, you could always visit the Wikipedia article. Oh, and it looks like the book’s publication is well timed — next year will be the 100th anniversary of the revolution!

UK and limited-press cover art for The Last Days of New Paris by China Miéville

China Miéville’s newest novella, The Last Days of New Paris, is out now from US publisher Del Rey. I’m working my way through it slowly (I don’t have a lot of time for reading lately, but for the latter half of this year I’m hoping to return to my previous pace!) and it’s pretty interesting. I might review it here when I’m done — no promises though.

Anyway, I just wanted to share some cover art for the book that has surfaced recently. First, the UK cover art for the edition to be published early in 2017, by Picador. I have no idea why the UK gets it so much later than the US, when the opposite is usually the case for Miéville (and most British authors). Here’s the cover, anyhow:

paris_uk

It reproduces an “exquisite corpse” collage by surrealist artist André Breton and some of his contemporaries. I must note that this artwork is included in the US edition anyway, in the front pages of the story (and in black and white). I think it’s alright as a cover artwork, but it may turn some regular fantasy readers off.

The other new cover art is from Subterranean Press’s limited edition, and like several previous China Miéville books they’ve published, it’s illustrated by Vincent Chong:

paris_sub

Exceedingly creepy. I haven’t got to the portion of the novel this is illustrating yet, but I assume it’s based off another piece of surrealist art. The horror-like tone doesn’t particularly match the tone of the novel, I must say. But it’s still fascinating to look at.

That’s all for now. Perhaps I’ll be back in a while with some book reviews and other content! If you’re still with me during this drought of posts, thanks for your loyalty!

The Last Days of New Paris by China Miéville – new description, first review, and free sample!

I am an Amateur of Velocipedes 1941 by Leonora Carrington 1917-2011The US release of The Last Days of New Paris is coming up in August, although the UK release is strangely not until early 2017. I asked the publisher why this was, and got this answer: “We are indeed publishing at the beginning of 2017. While the UK often publishes alongside American editions, we sometimes work to different schedules. I hope that makes sense.”

Oh well. China Miéville’s dedicated fans will just order it from the US, so it’s Pan Macmillan’s loss. Anyway, there’s been a blitz of information about the book lately! Read ahead to whet your appetite for the new book.

Firstly, a new description of the novel (well, it’s closer to a novella in length) from Subterranean Press:

“In Paris you had to be ready to fight art and the Hellish—not to mention Nazis…”

Multiple-award-winning China Mieville’s extraordinary novel The Last Days of New Paris is a door into the heart of a twentieth century that never was, that always was. The hinges it turns on are surrealism and anti-Fascism and occultism, oiled by vivid prose that startlingly mines art and poetry for its images. The story it opens to reveal combines mystery and adventure, philosophy and revolution.

Here is the American Jack Parsons in 1941 Marseilles, navigating a tangle of competing wartime powers incapable of containing the chaos of wartime Europe. A student of the occult, he encounters fleeing surrealist thinkers, and something extraordinary is born in the cauldron of his imagination.

Here is the resistance fighter Thibaut in 1950 Paris, struggling to survive and fight on in a city haunted by manifs, manifestations from the dreams and nightmares of the century’s most fertile imaginations. These manifs are in conflict with hellspawn called up by Nazi officer-priests.

By turns heartbreaking and breathtaking, this book conjures a world that demands attention, and tests loyalties to concepts as fundamental as reality itself. Here is a tour de force of imagination, here is a crescendo of thought, here, at last, is the exquisite corpse. Here is The Last Days of New Paris, an unmissable new novel by a modern master of the fantasic.

Secondly, the first review of the book is online, from Publishers Weekly as usual. Follow the link for the whole thing. I’m intrigued by the focus on surreal art from the era. It’s bringing up memories of the first university degree I did, in fine arts & media. (If you’re wondering, the artwork accompanying this blog post is the one mentioned in the review, An Amateur of Velocipedes, by the way.)

Thirdly, the US publisher Del Rey is offering a free ebook sampler of its upcoming titles, which includes an excerpt from The Last Days of New Paris. Unfortunately it’s only available to US readers. I’ve tried to download it myself with no luck. If anyone downloads it, let me know what the sample was like, and how long it is.

That’s all for now. I’m sure you’re as excited for the book as I am. Make sure you study up on your art history for August 9th!

Is This Census-Taker set in Bas-Lag?

this-census-taker-bas-lagIt’s been out for quite a while, but I just recently got around to reading China Miéville’s latest book, the novella This Census-Taker. It was a really quick read, at just 130 pages, and I very much enjoyed it, although I wish it had been longer and explored the setting a bit more.

That, I think, was the only drawback of the book: Miéville revels in describing fantastic worlds — it’s his biggest strength as a writer, in my opinion — so for him to take such a restrained approach with This Census-Taker means that I’m left feeling the tiniest bit deprived. I wish Miéville had expanded the end, and unveiled more and more of this weird world. I wish we could have seen the narrator’s full journey from his childhood to the “present day” from which he tells his story.

Maybe the reason I’m feeling deprived is because I think I started to uncover some clues throughout the story, but they never added up to a satisfying answer. These clues were inserted sparsely in description and dialogue, and they pointed to the unearthliness of the setting. A fanboyish part of me started to think that maybe they were pointing in a particular direction, one that the real fans would recognise. You can probably guess where I’m going with this — I mean, I made it the title of this blog post.

* * * * *

In lieu of a real book review I’m going to talk mostly about the setting of the work. I’m no literary critic, so I couldn’t begin to unpack here the deeper meaning of the work, the potential allegory and metaphor and themes propping up the story. There are probably a hundred reviewers who have already done that, and I plan to find their reviews later and read my way to a better understanding of the novella.

What I really want to do in this post is just nerd out a bit, and examine those clues I talked about. I want to see if I can structure an argument to convince myself, let alone anyone else, of my hunch. I really want to ask the question: is This Census-Taker set in Bas-Lag?

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A third China Miéville book for 2016! It’s a picture book!

WorstBreakfast-560x800Hold the goddamn presses! I just stumbled across a third book by China Miéville due to be published this year, on Amazon. But it’s not a novel, it’s a children’s picture book called The Worst Breakfast. I also found the official publisher’s page.

Now don’t get too hyped: it’s only 32 pages long and supposedly aimed at 3-7 year olds — not exactly Miéville’s usual fanbase. But still, more work by our favourite author is always newsworthy. Here’s the slightly odd description:

Two sisters sit down for breakfast, and one remembers a really gross breakfast they once had, and reminds her sister about it. But her little sister doesn’t remember. So then she starts describing all of the really gross things that were in the worst breakfast they ever had, until all they can picture is a table piled sky-high with the weirdest, yuckiest, grossest, slimiest, slickest, stinkiest breakfast two kids can ever have. And then they have a really good breakfast.

The illustrations will be by Zak Smith, previously known for the interestingly-titled body of work Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Gravity’s Rainbow. His style seems like it would fit with Miéville’s penchant for urban grittiness — and damn, does that cover look cool!

The book is out on October 4th.

A new official description of The Last Days of New Paris by China Miéville

9780345543998We now have the official description for China Miéville’s upcoming novel The Last Days of New Paris, from the US publishers Random House.

Read it right here:

A thriller of war that never was—of survival in an impossible city—of surreal cataclysm. In The Last Days of New Paris, China Miéville entwines true historical events and people with his daring, uniquely imaginative brand of fiction, reconfiguring history and art into something new.

“Beauty will be convulsive. . . .”

1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseilles, American engineer—and occult disciple—Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group, including Surrealist theorist André Breton. In the strange games of the dissident diplomats, exiled revolutionaries, and avant-garde artists, Parsons finds and channels hope. But what he unwittingly unleashes is the power of dreams and nightmares, changing the war and the world forever.

1950. A lone Surrealist fighter, Thibault, walks a new, hallucinogenic Paris, where Nazis and the Résistance are trapped in unending conflict, and the streets are stalked by living images and texts—and by the forces of Hell. To escape the city, he must join forces with Sam, an American photographer intent on recording the ruins, and make common cause with a powerful, enigmatic figure of chance and rebellion: the Exquisite Corpse.

But Sam is being hunted. And new secrets will emerge that will test all their loyalties—to each other, to Paris old and new, and to reality itself.

That just sounds amazing. It could be Miéville’s most political and most complex novel yet, and I’m beyond excited. It’s out on August 9th!

We already have the US cover art for The Last Days of New Paris!

That was quick! This new China Miéville novel is supposedly coming out in August next year, but US publisher Random House has already locked in the cover art, which you can see below. They don’t have an official description of the book yet, which usually comes first, but you can read one from a Chinese literary agency in a previous post of mine. Here’s the cover:

9780345543998

I’m so excited for an alternate-history novel from my favourite author!

An exclusive new China Miéville short story available right now in StoryBundle

bestiaryStoryBundle currently has a bundle of ebooks curated by weird fiction experts Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, and it includes a new China Miéville short story you can’t get anywhere else digitally!

One of the books in this month’s selection is The Bestiary, that anthology I talked about ages ago. Turns out I got it wrong back then, Miéville is just a contributor, not the book’s illustrator. The book is made up of stories about weird and wonderful creatures, arranged A-Z, with Miéville contributing at the end for an “invisible letter”.

I have no idea what his story is about, or how long it is. But you only need to pay $15 (USD) to unlock every book in that bundle, so you’ll definitely be getting value for money! I should note that the ebook of The Bestiary is, for now, exclusive to this bundle, and that the hardcover is rather pricey to say the least.

It looks like the bundle is available until the end of December (so if you stumble across this post in 2016, you’re out of luck), and as usual with this sort of thing, you can adjust how much money goes to the writers, how much to charity, and how much to StoryBundle themselves.

Check out the bundle page. Clicking out each book cover gives you the description and other info; and for The Bestiary, you can read the book’s introduction. Remember, if you decide to go for the bundle, to spend at least $15 to unlock every book!

If you snap up the bundle, please let me know in the comments here what you thought of the Miéville story! Me, I might have to wait a while, all my money is going towards Christmas presents at the moment.

 

Limited edition cover art for This Census-Taker

This is better than what we saw yesterday. Check out the nifty limited edition cover art of China Miéville’s new novella, illustrated by Vincent Chong:

tct_chong

 

Very cool. I love the damaged photograph look, and the little details — for instance, why is the census taker carrying a gun?

The limited edition of the novella is available through Subterranean Press for $45 USD.

Just a side note: this is my 100th post for this blog! It’s kind of amazing that I’ve reached that milestone. I hope I can continue to bring content about the books and authors I love, well into the future.

EDIT: Okay, this is weird, I just found more artwork for This Census-Taker on Amazon:

tct_kindle

It’s for the US Kindle edition, released in March. It might also be the paperback cover, but I’m not sure. It’s different to everything else released so far, and pretty visually interesting! It’s apparently a draft, so I’m not sure if it will end up being used. I hope it is, though.

The UK cover art for This Census-Taker is boring

Snore. Picador (the UK literary imprint handling China Miéville’s next book) have chosen to go with the same photograph for the cover of This Census-Taker that Random House did in the US. Check it out below, and compare it to the US cover art.

91rFoMIdwQL

At least the typeface is better than the “let’s see what Photoshop’s default fonts are like” look of the US cover.

It’s a real shame that this book breaks the unified look that Crush Creative had been producing for the last five years, in the UK and Commonwealth. That’s what happens when you shift your SF/F author to another imprint, I guess — is it calculated to distance Miéville’s new works from his genre fiction roots? I wonder what will happen for The Last Days of New Paris.

SFF180’s video review of This Census-Taker

There’s one more review of China Miéville’s new novella that I want to share, this time by the excellent Youtube book reviewer Thomas Wagner, on his channel SFF180. Watch it below, unless you don’t wish to know minor spoilers about the storyline and setting:

There’s also a text version of this review at Wagner’s website.

I’ve read/watched multiple reviews of this novella now but I’m still hazy as to exactly what the shape of the plot is, and whether you really could consider it a genre work at all. It sounds like a very nebulous — even unsatisfying — story, and my excitement is just a little dampened. Still, there’s also the novel The Last Days of New Paris to look forward to next year I suppose.

SFF180 is a really great Youtube channel, by the way (in fact I’ve blogged about it before). Wagner updates regularly, not just with reviews but also with editorial content, news about awards and the like, and weekly “Mailbag” shows which spotlight upcoming titles. You should subscribe to his growing channel; when he reaches 2000 subscribers, he promises to take viewers on a tour of his extensive library!

The first reviews of This Census-Taker are starting to appear

9d9bbc75b841c351fd8ac64f9f70a3dbI’ll keep it quick: advance copies have been out for a few weeks, and some reviews of the long-awaited new novella by China Miéville are finally trickling onto the net.

A Goodreads user named Mike was the very first, according to my daily googling (yes, I’m that obsessed). Check out his review here! He liked it, calling it “dark” and a “suspenseful tale of a murder that may or may not have happened”. There are some minor spoilers about the setting and SF/F elements of the story, so heads up if you care to stay in the dark about those.

The first professional review is by Kirkus Reviews, which you can read here. They call the novella “brief and dreamlike”, and describe a bit more about the story’s setting, the events that happen, and the narrator. Again, minor spoilers.

I have to admit, as an enormous fan of Miéville’s biggest and most bombastic novels such as The Scar, that this doesn’t sound like it’ll be entirely up my alley. I’ve always preferred stories with strong, clear fantasy worldbuilding over vague, magical-realism-inflected tales. The fact that in the UK the more literature-focused imprint Picador is publishing this, shows that this will be unlike any of Miéville’s other works to date.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Miéville has shown time and time again that he can draw almost any genre from a hat and make it his own. I still look forward to this book!

Minor China Miéville update, including another description for This Census-Taker

House-on-the-hillA few things to mention today. First, the good people at Subterranean Press have put up a pre-order page for the limited edition of This Census-Taker. It’ll have artwork by Vincent Chong, who has illustrated quite a few of the earlier Subterranean Press limited editions of Miéville’s novels.

There’s also a blog post which mentions the length of the story — around 30,000 words. That’s actually really short! Quite surprising that it’ll be stretched out to almost 200 pages in printed length. Subterranean Press has given us a new description of the plot, too:

A boy ran down a hill path screaming.

This running, screaming boy has witnessed something terrible, something so awful that he cannot even properly articulate it. All he can do is run. His story is investigated, but no evidence is found to support it, and so in the end, he is sent back. Back up that hill path to the site of his terror, to live with the parent who caused it.

The boy tries to escape. He flees to a gang of local children but they can’t help him. The town refuses to see his danger. He is alone.

Then a stranger arrives. A stranger who claims his job is to ask questions, seek truth. Who can, perhaps, offer safety. Or whose offer may be something altogether different, something safety is no part of.

In This Census-Taker, multiple award-winning writer China Miéville offers a story made of secrets and subtle reveals, of tragedy and bravery, of mysteries that shift when they appear to be known. It is a stunning work, full of strangeness and power.

As always, it sounds intriguing, but I’m glad we have a full-length novel to look forward to later in 2016. It’s quite puzzling why such a short novella merited its own release — in hardcover, nonetheless. Couldn’t this novella have been included in Three Moments of an Explosion?

picadorAnyway, talking of that full-length novel (The Last Days of New Paris), here’s a tiny tidbit about it from a German bookseller: it will be about 448 pages, and like Census-Taker, published by Picador, Pan Macmillan’s literary imprint. All of China’s previous books were published by Tor UK (the company’s SF/F imprint), so does this signal a move away from outright, unashamed SF & fantasy works from our favourite author, to a more literary/magical-realist oeuvre? Or is it a marketing decision? I’m all for more literary works (god knows Miéville has the talent!), but I just hope Miéville continues to imbue his books with that fun, genre-soaked playfulness that he always has.

Finally, that upcoming anthology Dead Letters which includes a Miéville collaboration has some cover art now. I won’t bother putting it here, just check out this Tor.com blog post to see.

Help crowd-fund a short film of China Miéville’s “Familiar”, to be done with practical effects

familiar_art2I’m all for supporting fan projects to do with China Miéville’s works, and this one looks pretty cool. Mythos Films and director Joshua Gates are adapting China’s short story “Familiar” into a short film, and have turned to Kickstarter to get funding for their practical effects. Here’s the link to the project’s Kickstarter page.

I’m very much in favour of the recent movement to bring back practical effects in a big way (see, for instance, the crowd-funded horror film Harbinger Down, as well as the myriad practical effects going into the new Star Wars film). It’s getting to be a rare art-form these days, but there’s just something about well-made practical effects that shine over CGI. You just need to compare John Carpenter’s incredible The Thing to its recent, forgettable CGI prequel to see what I mean.

The director of this short film feels the same way:

The Familiar was never meant to be shot with digital effects. It must be brought to life with real tools, real parts. It must live. It must breathe! […] Each component will be hand crafted with love and rendered using the latest in animatronics and puppetry.

That’s awesome. “Familiar” is a gross, body-horror-esque dark fantasy story, and this approach to film-making is going to serve it well.

familiarSo far on the campaign page there’s a creepy trailer, which captures the tone of the original story, as well as some concept art. I’m sure there will be more updates as the campaign goes on. It ends on November 16, and I wish them all the best with the fundraising!

A new China Miéville short story will appear in the anthology Dead Letters

stampNot huge news, this, but worth mentioning. As if 28 stories weren’t enough for us, there’s another one by China Miéville coming out next year in the anthology Dead Letters, edited by the horror writer Conrad Williams. It seems to be a collection of letter-themed (and probably mostly epistolary) speculative/horror fiction stories.

Miéville’s story is actually a collaboration with the American author Maria Dahvana Headley, and it’s called “Ledge Bants”. That’s probably a reference to UK slang (“ledge” = “legendary”, “bants” = “banter”), but I could be way off the mark there.

I’ll check out the anthology when it’s released and perhaps review the story. If you want to see the book’s whole table of contents, check it out here!

Dead Letters is out from Titan Books in April 2016.

BBC’s The City & the City miniseries confirmed!

cityskullJust a quick update: BBC have issued a press release confirming that they are going ahead with making a four-hour miniseries based on China Miéville’s The City & the City. Exciting! I talked a little more about my thoughts on the project when I first caught wind of it back in February. Check out the press release and my older post for more info.

It will come to BBC Two in the near future… fingers crossed for next year. Maybe next we’ll hear some casting news, which will be exciting! I’ll bring all the updates as the project continues.

US cover and extract from This Census-Taker by China Miéville

Today io9 has our first sneak peek at This Census-Taker, the upcoming novella by China Miéville. It’s due out on January 5th, 2016 from Penguin Random House in the US, and February 25th from Macmillan in the UK.

(Edit: it’s actually coming out in the UK via Macmillan’s imprint, Picador, who generally publish more literary fiction. From this I assume the story will be fairly light on the SFF/weird content, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!)

Here’s the cover:

1389773673997882770

Like the US cover for Three Moments, it’s a little boring. But if you go over to io9 you can read a small extract which is much more intriguing. That poor boy…

To be honest, since I heard this was a novella (~200 pages) and since the announcement of a full-length novel coming later in 2016, I’m much less excited for this. But, it could end up being excellent. Who knows? Also, much like Alastair Reynolds’ recent Slow Bullets, expect to pay full novel price for this novella. It had better be worth it.

More info: US/UK

Poll: Choose your 3 favourite China Miéville books!

For a bit of fun, I thought it would be cool to poll the readers of this blog about their favourite China Miéville books. So, if you want, pick three of the ones below! Feel free to argue about it in the comments afterwards. I’ll let the poll run indefinitely so the numbers can build up.

For the record, my favourites are The Scar, Iron Council and Embassytown. That might change in the future, though.

The Last Days of New Paris — China Miéville’s other new 2016 novel!

tumblr_m7hrygIhxd1qdl9q3o1_500Tor.com dropped a bomb quite subtly in the last paragraph of their Three Moments of an Explosion review. It turns out This Census Taker won’t be Miéville’s only work released next year. There’s also a whole other novel, called The Last Days of New Paris!

I did some googling and I found a Chinese literary agency with further details:

THE LAST DAYS OF NEW PARIS is an intense and gripping tale set in an alternative universe: June 1940 following Paris’ fall to the Germans, the villa of Air-Bel in Marsailles, is filled with Trotskyists, anti-fascists, exiled artists, and surrealists. One Air-Bel dissident decides the best way to fight the Nazis is to construct a surrealist bomb. When the bomb is accidentally detonated, surrealist Cataclysm sweeps Paris and transforms it according to a violent, weaponized dream logic.

Wow. We really are blessed with so much new material in such a short time! I’ll update when other details are known.

UPDATE: Check out a new, longer description here!

Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories by China Miéville — My thoughts on every story (Part 3)

threemoments_storybystory3AKA: The post with the actual book review in it! Skip to the bottom if you just want to read that.

I’ve polished off the final 9 stories of Three Moments of an Explosion sooner than I thought I would. The creativity on display throughout this collection has kept me coming back for more. So now it’s time of the final part of my story-by-story thoughts, and at the end of the post, my overall review of the collection. Be sure you’ve read parts one and two before you delve into these last stories!

Read on for short descriptions and thoughts about each individual story. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil any endings. (NB: page counts are for the UK hardback edition)

“Keep”

(39 pages) This lengthy story concerns a curious kind of apocalypse: circular moats begin to appear spontaneously around people who stay still too long. Even stranger, there are reports of sounds from within the moats. It makes for gripping reading, following the crumble of civilisation due to the moats. There may also be a metaphor somewhere in there about the human need to distance oneself from others. Once again though, Miéville chooses to end the tale on a premature climax, favouring a poignant-but-perplexing final image over an actual resolution. It’s beginning to become a problem with stories in this book.

“A Second Slice Manifesto”

(4 pages) This is an exceptionally clever little piece, which describes a strange new art movement just plausible enough to exist. Artists take existing paintings and produce new works that act as “slices” through the scene: producing anatomical cross-sections of the people therein, in the manner of CT scans (search for such scans in Google Images and you’ll immediately know what I mean). Not satisfied, Miéville takes this concept and adds a really creepy twist. I won’t be able to look at certain paintings in the same way again.

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Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories by China Miéville — My thoughts on every story (Part 2)

threemoments_storybystory2And now here’s the second part of my story-by-story thoughts on Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories! If you haven’t yet, read part one first.

For this post I’m tackling the next 9 stories of the book, which will just leave 9 more for the final part of this series. I hope people are getting some enjoyment out of reading my thoughts while they wait for the official release of this book! Or, perhaps people are coming here after they’ve read the book themselves, to see what other people thought.

Read on for short descriptions and thoughts about each individual story. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil any endings. (NB: page counts are for the UK hardback edition)

“Säcken”

(31 pages) Jesus christ. A terrifying horror story, up there with the creepiest work by Laird Barron, with notes of Koji Suzuki’s Ring as well. Two women go on a retreat to a lake-house in rural Germany, where a piece of local history comes back to haunt one of the women. It’s shit-your-pants scary! I still feel uneasy just thinking about it. This story is probably the most horrific thing Miéville has ever written — the slow build-up of dread, the imagery, everything is crafted to make sure you don’t sleep after you read it.

“Syllabus”

(3 pages) A much needed bit of humour following the last story, this is an absurdist work which takes the form of the outline for a three-week university course. There’s no real point beyond a playful poke at academia and a bunch of jokes strung together, including some funny riffs on time travel, alien visitation, and government privatisation.

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Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories by China Miéville — My thoughts on every story (Part 1)

threemoments_storybystory1Presenting the first part of my story-by-story thoughts on China Miéville’s brand new collection, Three Moments of an Explosion!

This post will focus on the first 10 stories of the collection. Check back soon for two more posts, covering the rest of the stories in the book. There are 28 stories in total, making this a very meaty collection!

At the end of the third post I’ll give an overall verdict about the book, and which stories I liked the best. After that, I may go back and revisit Miéville’s first collection, Looking for Jake. And there are a handful of uncollected stories I could always track down and review as well!

Read on for short descriptions and thoughts about each individual story. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil any endings. (NB: page counts are for the UK hardback edition)

“Three Moments of an Explosion”

(2 pages) This is a cool little piece of flash fiction using three speculative fiction ideas to explore the relatively mundane scenario of a building demolition. I like the way Miéville combines satirical SF in the vein of his earlier short story “‘Tis the Season”, with interesting counterculture, oddball physics, and supernatural elements. A crazy idea that shows off the author’s incredible mind. As for why the story is used as the title of the entire collection — who knows? It’s just a cool, evocative title I guess.

“Polynia”

(21 pages) That “icebergs over London” story which most Miéville fans have probably read online by now. A simple weird fiction premise, mixed with some elegiac musings on climate change, that Miéville does a lot with. It’s fantastically written, told from an interesting perspective (a pre-teen hooligan), has beautiful imagery, and it creeps me out just thinking about it. While it ends without explaining very much, preserving the weirdness makes the story all the more indelible in my mind.

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It arrived today!

fxWsMeUThis is just a short post I had to make because I can’t contain my excitement. Three Moments arrived today! I ordered it from Book Depository, which shipped copies early for whatever reason, and today it was on my doorstep! That makes it more than two weeks early. I couldn’t be happier.

My plan is to post three story-by-story impressions posts as I read the collection. The first post will cover the first 10 stories, while the second and third will cover 9 more stories each. Length-wise it works out, as each group of stories divided that way runs about 145 pages. At the end of the third post I’ll give my overall impressions about the book as well.

Before I begin though, here’s some info about the book from the table of contents, which might be of interest to Miéville fans who are chomping at the bit for their copy to arrive. All of the info below is based on the UK hardcover edition, published by Pan Macmillan.

  • Exact book length: 431 pages.
  • Longest stories: “In the Slopes” and “Keep”, each 39 pages.
  • Shortest stories: “Three Moments of an Explosion” and “Four Final Orpheuses”, each 2 pages.
  • Number of stories shorter than 10 pages: 11
  • Number of stories longer than 20 pages: 8
  • Average story length: 15.4 pages
  • Finally, there’s a dedication, some acknowledgements, and an epigraph at the start of the book; but there aren’t any notes on the stories included throughout, or at the end.

The full list of stories in the collection can be found here. Now, time to start reading!

The limited edition cover art for Three Moments of an Explosion is stunning

Check out the absolutely gorgeous and haunting cover art by the one and only Dave McKean, for Subterranean Press’s limited edition of Three Moments of an Explosion:

Three_Moments_of_an_Explosion_by_China_Mieville

That’s just… beyond words. Too bad it’s completely sold out. I’ve never wanted a limited edition of a Miéville book so much before!

Am I the only one getting a slight Stanley Donwood vibe from it as well?

(In one more bit of Miéville news, Kirkus Reviews has their review of the new collection up now. It’s a hugely positive review and it gives some info on a handful of the new stories!)